"Cities are machines that produce interactions," she explained at the outdoor lecture hall. While most of us go out of our way to avoid having to acknowledge persons we do not know, she argues the presence of strangers is probably why you live in a city in the first place. "The culture of cities is a culture of strangers."
Stranger interactions can be emotional and meaningful. Most of us can recall some insight gleaned from a fleeting interaction with someone at a coffee shop or queuing up for a train. Kio says it’s actually "good for your brain" to talk with strangers as we become more creative when our frame of references grows wider. Stranger interactions make us more tolerant people, and also expand "our sense of the group we belong to."
In the opening of issue #2 of the Daredevil re-launch, you’ll find the Man Without Fear perched beneath the iron undercarriage of a fully realized replication of the High Line Park, complete with “10th Avenue Square” viewing platform, antiquated iron filigree, and passing traffic below. Resting on a authentically rendered steel column, our hero listens in on a conversation between two men above. The following image exchanges viewpoints, establishing a wide shot with the park’s infamous benches, concrete planks, and “wild” flora on full display. The interlocutors now appear at eye level; beneath them, Daredevil calmly (read: creepily) waits in anticipation. The scene is set.
To younger audiences not native to New York City, the images may appear as a fanciful construct, an amalgam of familiar park elements, bridge-like infrastructure, and urban scenarios, held together by considerable amounts of imagination. This is an introduction to architecture, not only to its more palpable aspects of scale and material, but, more importantly, to its narrative and theatrical capacities. These scenes unfold on the psychological terrain of collective urban experience, manifested by dark, empty public squares, brooding towers, schizophrenic glass office blocks, and derelict religious structures. In the case of Daredevil, and all others, the superhero maintains an asymmetric relationship with the built environment, on which his existence rests. Simply put, the city doesn’t need its superheroes as much as they need it.
Les Cités obscures (literally The Obscure Cities, but published in English as Cities of the Fantastic) is a graphic novel series set on a Counter-Earth, started by the Belgian comics artist François Schuiten and his friend, writer Benoît Peeters in the early 1980s. In this fictional world, humans live in independent city-states, each of which has developed a distinct civilization, each characterized by a distinctive architectural style.