Every city is by necessity a tyranny. Density determines how people live and how they do not. Freedom is in part inefficiency and city living is fed by the need to achieve social efficiency. Bloomberg’s much denounced nanny state tactics are only an extension of the same drive to maximize social efficiency.
Bloomberg may have become the poster billionaire for such behavior, but the majority of cities have their own solutions to the problems of people that come at the expense of individual freedom. The same efficiency that compresses the maximum number of people into an existing space is also applied to every other area of their lives. In cities of strangers, there is no area of life too intimate to be examined and made more efficient.
Unlike the country, the city is its own frontier. Its great adventure is not exploration, but existence. The city is always changing, mutating, falling apart and coming together under assault from waves of new immigrants and social challenges. Its spaces are inner spaces; whether those of the mind of the individual on a crowded bus, the meaning of the squiggles in a piece of abstract art or that club hidden at the end of an old alley.
Cities are never stable. That is what makes them exciting. Truly old cities become fossilized, but they still always seem on the verge of being tipped over. The city is a social breakdown in motion and the authorities are always scrambling to apply emergency measures to salvage it. There are always poor people somewhere and other people on the verge of rioting. A criminal underclass haunts its towers and slums. And most of all there are too many people.