Re: City vs Country
From: Dspreitzer (
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 20:21:22 -0500
Rob, and other interested cohousers:

I am surprised by your vehemence regarding city life.  I think instead of
putting down city life and city dwellers, you should thank them since in this
day and age, they are allowing you your rural lifestyle (unless you are
totally off the grid and living as humbly as the unibomber).

Not everyone can live in the countryside.  There just isn't enough room on
the planet. Nowhere have I seen this so clearly portrayed than travelling
through China where most people live in close quarters since nearly all
available land is used for farming in order to feed the 1 billion people.  I
was in cities in China of 4 million people, looking out from a high-rise of
about 15 stories and I could easily see the edge of the city in all 4
directions.  The ag-land was within sight!  Give me an American city with the
same population and I bet you'd be hard-pressed to see any of the borders.
 The enemy, I think, is suburbia and urban sprawl which causes way too much
wasted space, and prevents adequate public transit systems from being put in
place, as well as a whole lot of unnecessary concrete.

Only in cities is public transit sustainable.  If everyone drove cars, as I'm
sure you must need to, the world would be far more polluted. It is people who
live and work in cities who build the computers that your very livelihood
relies upon.  Most factories are urban and we all have things in our houses
that were built in factories. And the trucks that deliver things to our local
markets were built in factories too.

I am a city dweller, and happy to be so. I live in a fantasic neighbourhood
and am surrounded by neat people and a whole lot of neat urban gardens, which
require a lot of creativity.  I don't have to get in a car very often, I can
walk to my daughter's school, groceries, parks - and museums, and other
cultural events are minutes away by subway.  Everything is convenient.
 Unlike you, I actually enjoy the hussle and bustle of city life. I find it
exciting, exhilarating, and quite friendly and safe.  It doesn't wear me down
at all.

And I totally disagree with your prediction of the collapse of the urban
 centres.  I sure hope you're wrong.  At the same time, I am wondering if
your rural life is actually sustainable, meaning, could you all feed
yourselves and get by in a crisis?  Let's hope it never happens, but let's
not fool ourselves than any of us are really safe from catastrophe.  Our
worlds, be they rural or urban, are so interdependent these days that it is
clear that the domino effect would effect all of us.   I think we should be
comforted knowing that there are others among us who are happy living quite
different lifestyles.  

And I agree we need to steward the land. I feel like I'm doing my part by not
encouraging the building of cohousing communities on new, undeveloped land.
 We need to do more in-fill projects, or tear down fences. Let farmers live
on ag-land!
Donna Spreitzer
Collaborative Housing Society - Toronto
On a very dreary Wednesday night. Thankfully, we have now found housemates
(mom and 2 kids) with whom we'll share our lovely old urban home. Glad there
are some like-minded folks around here

In a message dated 9/8/97 11:08:48 PM, you wrote:

>Allen Howell asked:
>What are your personal opinions of city versus country?
>I would NEVER live in city. I get enormously stressed out in urban 
>environments to the point I am constantly unhappy and uncomfortable. I go
>Seattle maybe once a month at the most and I am never comfortable there. 
>Surrounded by artifical landscapes of concrete and steel, loud noise, bad
>violent and dangerous people, people that avoid looking you in the eye, the 
>constant  crush of crowds.  No thanks, for my opinon cities embody
>that is broken in human culture. I went to NY city once, and that was once
>much. I could never imagine under any circumstances living in such a place.
>can barely even imagine living in the suburbs of a mellow place like
>I am a country, small village person. I delibrately choose to live out
>the sidewalks, surrounded by nature several thousand feet on any side. I 
>choose to create community in the country because it makes sense. Rather
>being isolated, create a small village, share your life and things. Steward 
>the land so when the cities and the economics systems they depend on fail, 
>there is something left. 
>That's me. Come visit anytime. The Forest is always a nice retreat.
>Rob Sandelin
>Cedar Village permaculture retreat center (forming)

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