Living in the City

You must be logged in to create new topics.

Living in the City

  • B.K. Marcus

    An old friend of mine from New York City (where I grew up) just told me he’s glad my family doesn’t live in a major metropolis. That reminded me of two books I read last year:

    1. The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    2. Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser

    Both books make the argument that cities are where unexpected opportunities happen, where ideas cross-pollinate, and innovations blossom.

    I believe them. But I really don’t want to live in a city.

    Have any of you read either of those books — and do you have any thoughts on what they have to say about city life?

    You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • Roger Browne

      This reminds me of the following podcast by Jake Desyllas:

      “City Air Makes You Free”

      Having lived most of my life in Sydney, Australia, but now living in semi-rural England, I agree that cities are the place to be if you want to be in the thick of opportunity, ideas and innovation. The internet has slightly blurred the distinction between city and elsewhere, but hasn’t eliminated it.

      Of course, some people prefer aspects of rural life (cleaner air and water, lower-stress lifestyle etc) but they need to weigh that up against the foregone advantages of a city.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      Anonymous

      I think if you have a job that doesn’t require a specific geographic location than living in a rural area “close” to a city would be nice. I grew up on Cape Cod with that small town feel, surrounded by various trade-craft and bustling tourism . Boston on a good day is about an hour and a half to two hours away so if you wanted to enjoy a show at Charles Playhouse or spend a day in the city you can- but it’s easier to just spend the night there. In general though the populations do seem to be moving more and more towards urbanized zones.

       

      Lately I’ve been entertaining New Hampshire more and more but there aren’t any major airlines based out of MHT and my girlfriend’s family all lives in the Metroplex here in DFW.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      B.K. Marcus

      I tended to think about the city issue in terms of job and career (and the online option), but one of the points Nassim Taleb makes (which I think Hayekians would be especially sympathetic to) is that opportunity isn’t part of the planning that let’s use organize a life in a particular location. Progress, he seems to imply, requires a heavy element of chaos and the cross-fertilization of ideas that take place in a metropolis.

      I don’t think any of this is enough to make me move back to a city, but I want to try to make the case as strongly as I can, even while I resist it.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      Anonymous

      I would have to agree that a city buzzing with trade and art and travel will have a much greater “idea yield” than a small isolated town. I’m more biased towards living on the edge of a city between the urban and the rural (yeah I know, suburbs); especially now with the internet you can tap into the largest cross-pollinators of them all.

       

      Maybe all this combined with semi-frequent travel will give someone the best of all worlds if they are trying to stay outside the city. In the past you could argue about the hazards of not moving into the city for opportunity as the agricultural life was losing ground during the industrial revolution but today there is just so much technology that’s fusing together the opportunities and life experiences of people regardless of where they live.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      Anonymous

      I’ve never read those books, but I know of a few books that glorify the city and about how it’s the place for growth and activity. I’m speaking though of the books of Charles Dickens, mostly David Copperfield and Great Expectations. These were written in the mid 1800s and, though they do glorify the city a lot, they also talk about the horrors and hardships of the city and the most idealized place in Dickens’s work seems to be the countryside and much of the British at the time would agree. In my opinion, I think that the city is a place for adventure and business but it’s not the ‘Ideal’ if you’re looking for quiet and stability.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

    • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      Josh Wells

      I once had a house in the country. I think the only thing I really missed was pizza delivery. 🙂

       

      The stormy summer nights when you could open the bedroom window and have nothing but the sound and smell of nature roll in more than made up for that disadvantage though.

       

      I’ve read that libertarians tend to have an INTJ personality type. I would be curious how that personality type squares with city vs rural lifestyle. I think rural life is more suited to introverts.

      You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

        B.K. Marcus

        There’s a character in Douglas Adams’s Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul who is an American expat living in the UK. She too only misses pizza delivery.

        I sure feel like the libertarians I’ve been meeting are extroverted. But I suspect you’re right about the rural introverts.

        Small cities are a good compromise, especially university towns. They are especially nice in the summer. 😉

        You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

      • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Viewing 5 reply threads