We are city folk. I’m not sure how or when it developed, but Alli and I love urban living. While we certainly are activists for the joys of the city, we aren’t exclusivists. We love small mountain communities, rolling farmland and the towns outside the city — the suburbs. For us, however, the city is home. And here’s why:
Density: Cities are packed with people. Houses are slammed against each other and apartments are stacked up high. Streets swarm with all stripes of humanity on bicycles, in cars, riding buses and boarding light rail (or, as true urbanists hope: Walking). This people potpourri creates an incredible amount of energy. Weekend days in the city are filled with street festivals, political picketers, farmers markets, sporting events…on top of the normal hustle and bustle.
(photo credit: Lancaster Living)
Culture: We like living in community with folks who look, think and act radically different than we do. It’s not a race issue as much as a variety issue. Our neighbor, Vicky, has lived in our flavorful neighborhood for 45 years. She’s a widowed, African-American great-grandmother who has lived through the civil rights era and has spent a life watching the streets where we now live. There is a Latino entrepreneur who peddles his tamale varieties while peddalling his bicycle through our neighborhood. It’s a joy to be surrounded by people and perspectives from different age brackets, cultures, faith backgrounds, and educational levels.
History: Our cities are like living memoirs, filled with stories, buildings, scars, and relics of our country’s past. We love the aging homes, ornate old church buildings, and the stories of our city’s yesteryear. The richness of these stories is woven through the tree-lined streets and historic neighborhoods–and the people who walk them.
Need: In 1900, 9% of our world’s population lived in cities. In 2000, that percentage exploded to 50%. Where there are lots of people; there are lots of challenges. Cities, and uniquely so in our country, are poor. We are drawn to live in tough neighborhoods because we feel called to do so.
City living is the hip thing to do these days. But, for the above reasons, I don’t think that we are living here (solely) because its cool. I just think it happens to be that many people share some of these same appreciations. But, either way, we love it.