At the Christmas holiday I had a trip to bath, a small city at south western of England. The city is famous for spa built at Roma time. The city has a long history from Rome time. I spent 4 days at Bath and visit historical attractions and old town there. Living in this city give me a feeling of living in eighteen century.

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View over Bath city centre from Alexandra Park , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath,_Somerset#/media/File:Bath,_Somerset_Panorama_-_April_2011.jpg

Except those famous attractive buildings including Roma Bath, abbey and churches, what really inspired me is the city building style. Buildings in this city are in the similar style in honey colour. It really makes the city looks harmonious. When I was walking in the city, I could feel the sense of belonging that the city has.

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street view, photographed by author

From my urban planning study, I know that the sense of belonging of city and character is very important for a city that make a city different from the others. The sense of belonging could give residents safety and the sense of stability. During my study before, our tutors always tell us it is very important to keep the buildings in a city harmony and make it different from the others for city identity. And it is very hard for modern cities to keep identity because there are so many similar buildings built like skyscrapers make those cities look the same. And those years urban designers try to find and keep identity for certain city, they use some building elements like traditional eaves, windows and local materials to decorate modern ones. It looks like these designers are really struggling between local identity and modern style.

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new building, photographed by author

However, in Bath I found the different thing. It looks like that the defined building style is a real rule that designers should comply with. And I learned that urban planning of Bath makes a big contribution at eighteen century that as an exemplification to other cities in England. The architect old John Wood and his son made the decision that Bath should be built in the same style and use local material. They did the 3D design for north part of the city and ask the developers to comply with the master plan. That planning let us see the harmony city till now. It is a really excellent example for city identity.

I start to think about that is there a contradiction between city identity, harmony and modern style? What should urban designers do to find a proper way for that? Although it meet more difficulty then the old time, that is always what we should think and do.