To live in a city is to live in a community of people who are strangers to each other. You have to act on hints and fancies, for they are all that the mobile and cellular nature of city life will allow you. You expose yourself in, and are exposed to by others, fragments, isolated signals, bare disconnected gestures, jungle cries and whispers that resist all your attempts to unravel their meaning, their consistency. […] The city, our great modern form, is soft, amenable to a dazzling and libidinous variety of lives, dreams, interpretations.
(Jonathan Raban, Soft City)