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Bright Lights Small Community

February 5, 2009

philadelphia fairmount park summer 2008 3230, originally uploaded by bly2k.

When you think of a sense of community you probably think of a small town, perhaps the idyllic, even mythic Main Street USA. What you may not realize is that sense of community that exists in the largest cities in the world. It may not exist city-wide but it exists in a every little neighborhood and community that makes up a city proper.

Within an easy walk from my house I can reach a hair salon, grocery store, post office and a host of places to eat from fast food to fine dining. A little bit further, but still in walking distance, is a hardware store, a pet store and a liquor store. I can bike to downtown and the historic section of Philly, and get to a really nice fabric store and yarn store that offer night classes. For the first time in my life I know almost everyone on my street. We say hello to one another, take each other’s packages and take turn cleaning the leaves off the sidewalk.

I wouldn’t have imagined that there would be this sense of community in a city but I guess looking from the outside in you wouldn’t. City people have a hardcore reputation to maintain after all šŸ™‚ Ideally, most of us would probably like to own some land and cultivate it, but the reality is that it’s not possible for all of us now or ever. Is there even enough land in the US for everyone to own 5 acres? Perhaps if we tore up all the concrete but that isn’t going to happen. For those of us who have to work in or near a city or can’t afford land of our own the city is perhaps a greener place to live than the suburbs.

In tough economic times would it not be a better utilization of our resources to green up our cities instead of our suburbs?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2009 12:43 pm

    I’m grateful to live in Austin, TX, which is extremely focused on staying green and is definitely as series of communities similar to those you’ve described. It is possible to convert our concrete jungles into agriculturally sustainable meccas without ripping out the highways, and if we learn to live well in the cities we can reduce urban sprawl considerably.

  2. February 5, 2009 11:22 pm

    Oooh, I agree completely! I lived in a small town last year, and we decided it was actually more sustainable for us to live in a city. Where before we had to drive everywhere to get anywhere, now we have a village that surrounds us. I haven’t left our neighborhood in 2 weeks! Matt and I both work within 1/2 mile of our home, and everything we need is within about 1 mile. We LOVE it.

    And there are many, many more ways that our community comes together now. I say hello to people as I walk down the street, many of the local business owners know us now, …

  3. Anne W. permalink
    February 9, 2009 1:43 pm

    I do think we should place a priority on greening the cities and teaching citizens to be more ecologically-minded. Not everyone is suited to country living and cities are important to the civilization. So, it only makes sense to focus resources on making cities more sustainable.

    A sustainable city makes for happier citizens, happier citizens make for happier, more satisfying neighbors. It’s a win-win situation!

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