Cities owe their existence to water. The first cities around the world tended to evolve on waterways, often at the intersections of one or more bodies of water.
- London is on the Thames river, which connects this inland point with the ocean nearby.
- New York is where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic ocean
- Tenotchitlan (Mexico City) was founded on an island in lake Texcoco, connected to the mainland by large causeways on which trade and tribute flowed.
- Mumbai emerged from 7 island fishing villages in a sheltered bay and at the mouth of several rivers
- Cities like Sydney, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver are also built around a sheltered harbour where large ships safely dock
The waterways were and still are the lifelines of many cities. Goods and people come and go along them. They supply food too, including fish and seaweed.
Today, the waterways around cities also provide great recreational opportunities from boating to swimming to beach-jogging.
But cities also have used–and many still do–the surrounding water to dump waste–garbage, sewage, and other unwanted items. For all that waterways have given humans, through facilitating urban growth and the rise out of poverty and insecurity that has come with it, you would think people would have more respect for the waterways.
That hasn’t been the case, at least not until recently. Gradually city dwellers have become more concerned about waterways, and have started to clean some of them up. They’ve also tried to better understand what makes a vibrant, healthy marine eco-system in order to bring that back.
And the waterways are starting to say thanks, in their own way, with unexpected gifts like a Whale in the City.