systematic landscapes

As for cities in general: I think they might be our greatest invention. They drive creativity, they help us manage resources, and they can be hives of tolerance. In a village, you can’t stick out too much. in the city, if anyone judges you, you tell them to go to hell. So, there’s that positive side. But the other side is that they are simply so congested with material history and the spiritual traces of those histories, including some very dark events. Your contemporary Chicago is haunted by the Chicago of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Chicago of innovation and of systematic exclusions. Rural landscapes can give the double illusion of being eternal and newly born. Cities, on the other hand, are marked with specific architecture, built by long-vanished others for their own uses, is the shell that we, like hermit crabs, climb into.
—  Teju Cole, Known and Strange Things