On Cities and Homes

The first thing we ask someone when we meet them, after their name, is where they are from. It has caused me to wonder why where we live means so much? Especially when for many people where they live has little to do with it being their home. As they may spend years in different places, moving from city to city for their education, work experience, etc., most people realize that this is just a temporary point in their lives, and then they will move on.

However, I also believe that every place someone lives, even for a short time, has something physical about it that makes one choose it as part of their journey in life. If they can reflect upon why they liked a particular location or an environment, then they also can learn something about themselves.

I have often wondered how much of the city as an environment affects people’s opinion for where they choose to call home. Is it the scale of the neighborhoods, architectural elements and the style of the homes and buildings that gives them comfort or makes them feel happy, and eventually have an influence on people’s decision to settle down?

While we aren’t all connected with homes today — due to the mobility, the individualism, and the economy — on some level we do recognize the importance of place, as well as do assume we can’t be fully context-free.

Winston Churchill once observed that we shape the buildings and then the buildings shape us.

The place where one lives becomes a part of her self-definition.

The first time I came to San Francisco, I’ve been struck by the city; and it is more than just its attractions that make me love it so much. It is the character of the neighborhoods, their rhythm and the way the afternoon sun warms the facades to give them a beautiful glow. It is the blend of historical architecture and modern architecture. It is walking along the ocean front as the sun slowly sets.

All the “vibes” of the city feel just right and make it resonate with me as if in a hundred of ways it sends a message: this is where your heart is now.

I do believe it does matter what message a city sends you.

If home is where the heart is, then the truth is, the location of your heart does affect who you are.




We are the stories we tell to ourselves.

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Aleksandra Smelianska

Aleksandra Smelianska

We are the stories we tell to ourselves.

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