My Perfect City Challenge Entry

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Updated to say: I think you should please go and vote here instead of in my comments. Don't even scroll down on the other site. Just look at the stars and mouse over them to rate my story. When you give me a rating, it automatically registers the click as a vote! Not as labour intensive as it sounds. Honestly.

The following is an entry into yet another blogging contest! This particular contest was initiated by Accelerate Cape Town. It is called The Perfect City Challenge and contestants have been asked to come up with their own idea of Utopia. It is hosted by this amazing site and there are some cool prizes up for grabs, including free blog hosting. The winner will be determined by reader votes. So if you read it and like it, kindly vote for me!

My Perfect City.

The city of my dreams has the seductive romance and chic of springtime Paris; the dizzying dazzle of Rio de Janeiro during Carnivale; the year-round pulsating vibrancy of New York City; the distinguished and stately air (that can’t even be drowned out by the constant drizzle) of foggy old Londontown; the distinct and oddly delightful neon kitsch of the Sunset Strip in Vegas.

It hums to the rhythm of the beat poets of San Fransisco; to the jazz splashing out of the Bourbon Street bars in the French Quarter of New Orleans; to the intimacy of a late-night band moaning out a sensual tango in a tiny club in Buenos Aires; to a haunting Puccini aria soaring up from a stage Vienna; to the Islamic muezzin melodiously beckoning the faithful to prayer in Mecca; to the contagious laughter of happy people, young and old, anywhere in the world.

My perfect city has the tapped potential of an Oscar winner in Hollywood; the intellect of a Harvard graduate; the creativity of Leonardo da Vinci. My Utopia is beautiful, yet its beauty isn’t without flaws, for flaws, after all, are what lends character to people and places. It is as safe and comforting as a mother’s embrace, as welcoming as an old friend, as comfortable to be in as a favourite pair of jeans.

Every morning, it flings open its windows and doors to a new, sun-drenched, wind-swept, or rain-slicked day. Commuters and tourists hop on and off the efficient, punctual and fast public transit system – rides are free within city limits. Telecommuters who wish to get out of the house for a change of scenery set up shop at the charming sidewalk cafés, benefiting from the city’s free wireless and uncapped (uncapped!) fast (100 gbps) broadband Internet connection.

The architecture is diverse and interesting and steeped in history – or, if the buildings are modern and new – the stories behind their design. No more mind-numbingly boring carbon copied houses and buildings like those found in suburbia.

However, without the people living, working and loving in its buildings and moving through its streets and parks, the city would be a mere ghost. Therefore there are no abandoned buildings. No deserted alleys. The people are everywhere, all the time. Cyclists zoom past on the city’s winding bicycle paths. Others simply walk, and not just for the sole purpose of getting exercise. No, they walk (or jog, or rollerblade), simply because it is futile to resist the urge to be swept up in the energetic vibe of this city.

Children play safely in the parks – fragrant, lush havens throughout the city. At every park, street artists vie to show off their skills, leaving onlookers gawking in amazement. Grinning dogs strain at their leashes while walking their owners through the parks, on the sidewalks and on the beaches.

Entrepreneurs and artisans sell their wares at bustling, colourful markets. Housewives shop for fresh produce and use the time to linger, chatting with neighbours and vendors.

There is a library in almost every neighbourhood. They are free to join and open seven days a week. But for those of us who simply can't resist owning yet another tome, there are plenty of interesting little bookshops to feed the addiction. (And hopefully, an insatiable hunger for knowledge and books will be the only thing associated with the word addiction!) In my city, books are cheap, untaxed and in abundance.

Schooling is free in the city, and the standards are high, because in my dream city, teachers (and policemen, paramedics and nurses) are paid more than rock stars.

In my ideal city, residents promptly receive all their mail. It is delivered to their doorsteps, six days a week.

Every night, as the sun drowns somewhere beyond the far reaches of the ocean, my dream city dons a glittering gown of winking lights. Electricity is plentiful and cheap and generated by solar power and unobtrusively placed wind turbines. Buildings are sufficiently and inexpensively heated and cooled when necessary.

The streets are swept clean before everyone goes home. (Not that anyone in my dream city litters!) And in my dream city, everyone has a home to go to. There are no more homeless people. No more shabby street urchins. No more prostitutes. No more souls decaying in their own despair. There are no more chokingly, smoky, dangerous slums or depressing shanty towns. Proper homes – albeit modest and small – have been erected to house the poor and the formerly homeless.

The sweet, heavy scent of freshly-made coffee and newly-baked bread waft through the streets of my dream city. It mingles with the spicy, mouth-watering aromas of the cosmopolitan cuisine being cooked up in homes and restaurants. No one in this city ever goes hungry. No citizen is without hope.

Some might scoff at this description of the Utopia of my imagination. They might tell me that developing such a place would be impossible, impractical, illogical.

However, if those naysayers would only take a closer look at our very own Cape Town, they would see that the possibilities to make that city even greater are endless. It already has so many of the qualities that I have described. In many respects, I believe it is South Africa's version of Paris, San Fransisco, Rio, Buenos Aires, London...

Yet Cape Town is no cheap imitation. It is utterly, divinely, unique. With the buildings and people nestled safely below her ample, mountainous bosom - often modestly covered with a cloudy shawl - she lives up to her nurturing title as South Africa's Mother City.


EfromDC said:

Excelent RedSaid!!! As Always!!

RIDE said:

Well done red. Beautifully written.

Wildcard said:

I love it! Just want to run away to city like that!

Koos said:

Marvelous! Great creativity!

Lily said:


CRAZY said:

Great work Red! Fantastic!

Miss V said:

Wirklich toll! Absolutely awesome

SilverSabre said:


I love this city so much. The way I got here was actually quite awesome, i remember thinking as a student being in cape town for the first time in my adult life (on a orientation day with the company that sponsored me) that it was the one city I would love to live and work in.

5 years later and I have to say it is everything I had imagined it would be. Beautiful vibrant and so packed with diversity...a true 'fruit salad' of a city.

I love this post Red, it (was there ever any doubt) gets my vote hands down.

To all the rest of the comment posters, please go vote on the site :) I think this definitely deserves the award.


Lisa said:

Excellent post, hon! I went over and voted for you! :)

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • Lisa : Excellent post, hon! I went over and voted for you! :)... [go]
  • SilverSabre : :) I love this city so much. The way I got here was actually quite awesome, i remember thinking as ... [go]
  • Miss V : Wirklich toll! Absolutely awesome... [go]
  • CRAZY : Great work Red! Fantastic!... [go]
  • Lily : Perfect!... [go]
  • Koos : Marvelous! Great creativity!... [go]
  • Wildcard : I love it! Just want to run away to city like that!... [go]
  • RIDE : Well done red. Beautifully written.... [go]
  • EfromDC : Excelent RedSaid!!! As Always!!... [go]
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