Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What You Make of It

There's a good post by Brad Plummer over at the New Republic on the difference in lifestyles in the United States and Europe and how it's one big political football. One of the things that isn't mentioned is cost and quality of lifestyle. I feel that if more cities had the option of urbanism, the ability to live in a real urban place as opposed to quasi urban, that many more people would as they say "instantly lower their carbon footprint".

Living here in San Francisco and visiting Chicago last weekend has shown me that honest urban places in the United States are hard to come by. And the reality is that in certain stages of a persons life, there is an opportunity and want to live this lifestyle that is often forgone for lack of availability. While my lifestyle in Austin during my last two years was fairly urban by Austin standards, I don't feel like the experience even closely matches up to what I've experienced here in San Francisco.

I also consider myself very lucky to live here, mostly because urban living can be expensive due to its popularity. But it's a trade off. It's trading road rage for crazy bus riders. It's trading a larger apartment for a smaller one and a pub around the corner you can head to if you're feeling cramped. It's trading a large yard for dolores park.
Rosenthal wonders whether similar measures could fly in the United States: "I believe most people are pretty adaptable and that some of the necessary shifts in lifestyle are about changing habits, not giving up comfort or convenience."
It's all about what you're up for but the urban lifestyle isn't for everyone. There are however enough people out there that want it despite what a lot of waning popular wisdom will tell you.

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