By Carlie Douglas
What is the centre of modern cities? In Medieval times, it was the Church, visually, physically, economically, and socially. Visually, no structure rose nearly as high as the church tower. As soon as a person entered a village, they could see the tower easily. This can still be seen in small villages in the English countryside. Physically, the towns often grew around the church (barring restraints in the landscape), making it the centre. Economically, the church was often times responsible for the well being of the townspeople. Socially, all town activities revolved around church functions. In modern times, however, this church-centred society has largely dissolved. Visually, we have built close to and above the level of the church tower so that it is no longer a visual connection for residents and these medieval structures are often overlooked. Physically, the towns have expanded due to a variety of reasons unconnected to the church such as proximity to employment, amenities, etc. Economically and socially, the church has largely been taken out of the equation due to the erosion of the church in modern life. So, what IS the centre of modern cities? Is it the largely disused civic centres? Or the shopping and business districts? Or are our modern cities missing a defined, united centre?