Sunday, March 23, 2014

City mouse vs. country mouse

I came across this article on Facebook recently, and I thought it was a good article, and worth a blog post as well, because I have more to say on this topic than would fit in a Facebook status. In case you don't want to read the article (for shame! It's short!), it's an interview with a UVA professor of urban and environmental planning about something he calls "biophilic cities". I don't really want to get into a discussion about what those are because I'm not sure I have enough knowledge to explain it, but I do want to touch on the role of cities in a environmentally conscious society.

One thing I find among the greenies, particularly here in Alaska, is that they can really be down on cities. Cities are viewed as blemishes on the landscape -- they produce enormous amounts of pollution, require a lot of resources, and are basically voids of nature -- or at least, that's the way they're viewed in a place where there's plenty of available land. Here, everyone wants their own plot. Get back to the wilderness!

But in some ways, cities have an opportunity to be more environmentally friendly than someone on an isolated plot of land. Shared living spaces means that we can economize on transportation, heat, and energy needs. In the city, you might be able to walk to your local grocery store, or neighbors house. On a farm or a homestead, you need transportation to do those things.

All this to say, I think the idea of bringing nature to the cities is a good one. Sure, it won't be as natural as real nature! But let's face it, if you live in the country, you want the people in the city to stay there anyway. Why not help find ways to make it more desirable, and less of a burden on the surrounding country side?


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more and there are a lot of greenies that would agree with you. There are way too many people, so concentrate many in the cities to economize how we use nature. I think the Germans (at least prior to WWII)understood this and tried to make cities livable with green spaces and preserved natural areas in the country such as The Black Forest. Berlin was supposedly a model city with many open green spaces, the zoo, etc. I don't know how it is now with the bombing, the Communist legacy, and the modern suburban sprawl.


L said...

That's interesting, Dad. I'll have to do more research on the sustainability of Berlin and the impacts of WWII.