Re: City vs Country
From: Ben Sher (
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 1997 15:15:07 -0500
This is a false dichotomy (between "city" and "country."  There is no doubt
that both forms of life as they are presently constituted are artificial
and dysfunctional.  (Though some cities such as Toronto are more functional
then others.)

Perhaps what we need now is a new kind of "in fill" in which the population
is more evenly dispersed across the landscape, wherein these people live in
closer proximity to the earth and to food production, in which they cohere
in something more like the scale of cohousing.  The great cities will
persist; and so too areas of wilderness.  But the greater proportion of
humankind is going to have to learn anew how to live relatively
non-destructively and in harmony with the landscape across the great
breadth of it.  I don't perceive any other alternative.

Meanwhile civilization--in all its forms, both urban, rural, and everything
in between--as it is presently constituted is deeply problematic: billions
of people utterly dependent on very fragile systems of food production and
transport and water delivery and sewage and solid waste disposal and energy
provision: all of these systems can and probably will fail or run out in
the next century, in different places and at different times, and millions
will suffer hugely.

On the other hand, a relative dispersion of human population across the
landscape can serve to buffer people from such disruptions.  In the long
run we just need to apply so many of the things we've learned and relearned
(the old knowledge) in order to develop a way of life that stewards the
unique place we share.

Ben Sher
Placerville Cohousing

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