Urbis is the genitive case of the Lain noun urbs (city). Urbis = of the city. I chose this term because my professional life has been devoted to the study of urbanism—cities and urban life. I am not only a city person, an urbanite, but also an urbanist, one who is an active “student” of cities and urban life. For nearly five decades cities have been, for me, an endless source of discovery, wonder, challenge and joy. They are my natural habitat.
Cities are humankind’s greatest and most complex invention. There is a reason that people have gravitated to them since the Nile, Indus, and Yellow river valleys first allowed enough abundant food for people to take up other activities, To write, to make art, to trade, and to think. Aristotle wrote that “men come together in cities for safety, and remain there for the good life”; but it is the opportunities that the city affords us, opportunities to reach the fullest dimensions and capacities of being human, that is the great magnet of urban life. That attraction endures, unabated.
I attached media to the title because I have chosen over the years to both learn about and express myself about urbanism and its processes through a variety of media, particularly since the 1980s, literature, painting and film. Much of my research and publication since then has dealt with approaching the study of urbanism through the lenses of the arts and humanities. This reflected in most every dimension of this site.
But also, as they say, I was “trained” to be a professional urban planner, a professionally active urbanist, and while this site principally reflects my academic professionalism, it is also shaped to participate collaboratively and as a consultant, or as an international tour guide, on projects with other persons and institutions as an urban planner, policy designer and policy analyst.
The third and final element or dimension of this website treats my old ambition to participate in the process of urbanism in a personally creative way. Here I am referring to my novelist alter ego as Sebastian Gerard. Although to date I have produced only two novels, it would be evident to anyone reads them that the city remains consistent presence, influence, if not been an outright character in these narratives.
UrbisMedia Ltd is therefore, in sum, a multi-dimensional account of my continuing output as an urbanite and urbanist.