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My issues with cities

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The Emerald Legion
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My issues with cities

Postby The Emerald Legion » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:06 am

Since I felt like the topic deserved a thread and to avoid further derailment into this particular topic.

1.) City life is inherently less free than country life.

The close confines of the city, combined with the complex infrastructure needed to keep city life going inherently limits what you can do. Combine this with the fact that most people who live in cities don't own their home, and are thus beholden to maintaining it in a saleable state for their landlord. Meaning you have little freedom within your home and even less outside it.

This is not only a problem for the obvious loss in quality of life, but also because over time it denigrates the value of freedom. Simply growing up in a city teaches you all the wrong lessons about life, through no fault of your own. When you grow up all your life in an area where you're not free to build a fort in the back yard. Or not free to make a major renovation on your home. Not free to play with toy weapons for fear of misunderstandings and accidents. Not free to have a basic social meet like a bonfire.

Instead you get channeled towards public facilities. Bars, parks, clubs. Instead of being able to get together with friends for free and cook some food over an open fire, you end up either all crammed into someones apartment. Or meeting at some either commercial or public place designed to have fun and you're once again now in public. Not able to just be with your friends and your friends alone.

All in all, that adds up. Already we have to contend with a public education system more concerned with teaching you to be obedient to authority than it is with your education but even after you get out of that, life in general confirms this very authoritarian outlook where 'the powers that be.' control your entire life.

By and large this is partly why I feel Democrats culturally care so much about sex and gender issues. Because who they sleep with and how they dress is one of the few freedoms city folk have.

2.) Cities either make you incredibly poor, or incredibly rich. And if the former you get trapped. You end up almost literally chained to your job trying to keep above water because living in the city is expensive, why? Because demand is high, and other residents are rich. Particularly if you have a family you end up in a situation where staying amounts to slavery, and leaving is too expensive. Cities are more or less going to end up catering only to the super rich who inhabit them and dominate the lives of all others. So in a sense, living in a city is a bargain with those super rich. Either you do it carefully and make out with your wealth and move back to safer pastures, or you end up trapped and stuck in a never ending cycle of wage slavery.
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San Lumen
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Postby San Lumen » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:13 am

People chose to live in cities on their own volition.

Few of what you wrote has any basis in reality. You also did not address what you propose be done remedy it.

What is the system you alleged that should be abolished to harm cities?

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Postby Nilokeras » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:22 am

What a beautifully sheltered view of rural life. Go Google 'rural poverty in America' and report back on what you see, oh middle class suburban OP.
Last edited by Nilokeras on Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby The Emerald Legion » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:25 am

San Lumen wrote:People chose to live in cities on their own volition.

Few of what you wrote has any basis in reality. You also did not address what you propose be done remedy it.

What is the system you alleged that should be abolished to harm cities?


Severely curttail the authority of overall city governments on general city life, decentralize utilities and separate the city out into discrete self contained chunks of area.

I've occasionally considered the idea of using anti-trust laws to crack down on landlords in cities in order to discourage renting and encourage owning, because while renting is generally a valuable service in some scenarios, it's particularly predatory in cities. But I'm not quite comfortable with it, because it would be a step on the road of giving city governments authority again.
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The Emerald Legion
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Postby The Emerald Legion » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:27 am

Nilokeras wrote:What a beautifully sheltered view of rural life. Go Google 'rural poverty in America' and report back on what you see, oh middle class suburban OP.


Or I could just look at the people living in a shack near my mom's place. Poverty exists in rural areas yes. It's not quite as predatory as poverty in cities and has vastly different causes.
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Nilokeras
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Postby Nilokeras » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:33 am

The Emerald Legion wrote:
Nilokeras wrote:What a beautifully sheltered view of rural life. Go Google 'rural poverty in America' and report back on what you see, oh middle class suburban OP.


Or I could just look at the people living in a shack near my mom's place. Poverty exists in rural areas yes. It's not quite as predatory as poverty in cities and has vastly different causes.


I'll give you a hint since you seem to be showing a typically suburban disinclination to stepping outside your bubble: predatory landlordism and the destruction of renter's lives and livelihoods began in rural areas and directly lead to the forces you see at work in cities.

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Postby San Lumen » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:34 am

The Emerald Legion wrote:
San Lumen wrote:People chose to live in cities on their own volition.

Few of what you wrote has any basis in reality. You also did not address what you propose be done remedy it.

What is the system you alleged that should be abolished to harm cities?


Severely curttail the authority of overall city governments on general city life, decentralize utilities and separate the city out into discrete self contained chunks of area.

I've occasionally considered the idea of using anti-trust laws to crack down on landlords in cities in order to discourage renting and encourage owning, because while renting is generally a valuable service in some scenarios, it's particularly predatory in cities. But I'm not quite comfortable with it, because it would be a step on the road of giving city governments authority again.

The government has no authority to limit the power of municipal governments nor limit break them up into smaller entities,

I doubt you can use anti trust laws like that. If people want to rent that is their choice.
Last edited by San Lumen on Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Marsane » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:42 am

This isn't an issue with cities. This is an issue with the institutions and systems that exist. Cities themselves are molded by the system they exist in; urban planning is often utilized as a tool for institutions to better project their objectives onto a large population.

Plenty of urban planners have come and gone and suggested a multitude of ways to improve city life. Very few of these ideas take hold because its more efficient to build a parking lot than a community green space. You can have a community-centric urban center; Oglethorpe, Corbusier, Jane Jacobs are all figures which have proposed to do so with significant amount of design experience and justification for their proposals.

Jacobs' ideas in particular are still utilized it design-centric courses to urban planning (specifically in areas with plentiful historic building stock; East Coast US for example).

That's by no means an exhaustive list; simply the largest and most easily accessible figures.
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The Emerald Legion
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Postby The Emerald Legion » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:44 am

San Lumen wrote:
The Emerald Legion wrote:
Severely curttail the authority of overall city governments on general city life, decentralize utilities and separate the city out into discrete self contained chunks of area.

I've occasionally considered the idea of using anti-trust laws to crack down on landlords in cities in order to discourage renting and encourage owning, because while renting is generally a valuable service in some scenarios, it's particularly predatory in cities. But I'm not quite comfortable with it, because it would be a step on the road of giving city governments authority again.

The government has no authority to limit the power of municipal governments nor limit break them up into smaller entities,

I doubt you can use anti trust laws like that. If people want to rent that is their choice.


The people have whatever power they feel like exercising.
"23.The unwise man is awake all night, and ponders everything over; when morning comes he is weary in mind, and all is a burden as ever." - Havamal

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San Lumen
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Postby San Lumen » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:46 am

The Emerald Legion wrote:
San Lumen wrote:The government has no authority to limit the power of municipal governments nor limit break them up into smaller entities,

I doubt you can use anti trust laws like that. If people want to rent that is their choice.


The people have whatever power they feel like exercising.

The government doesnt have the authority to break up a municipality or limit their government but the people can via a referendum. How you get a referendum on the ballot varies by locale. On what basis does a government have such a power?
Last edited by San Lumen on Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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The Marlborough
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Postby The Marlborough » Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:06 pm

San Lumen wrote:
The Emerald Legion wrote:
The people have whatever power they feel like exercising.

The government doesnt have the authority to break up a municipality or limit their government but the people can via a referendum. How you get a referendum on the ballot varies by locale. On what basis does a government have such a power?

Actually if a state government wanted to they could revoke a municipalities status as a, well, municipality. California almost did that with the city of Verona a number of years ago. Threatened they were going to force it to be part of LA iirc.

Re OP not all cities are the same. Some cities have a lot of home ownership for example or people are able to buy their flats. There are plenty of issues with cities, don't get me wrong, but axing them completely is just...yeah. Not going to work.
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Postby Page » Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:32 pm

There are definitely some good points but it must be pointed out that deurbanization is really not at all feasible for the foreseeable future. If we one day reach a level of technological advancement so that most jobs can be eliminated and we can meet our energy needs exclusively with renewables then humans may be able to start spreading out but there is no way it can happen short term. You can't build trains to every little village and country home, everyone would need a car and the environment can't handle that, and the majority of workers having to commute by car rather than having the option to walk or bike or take a bus to work means the working class will lose even more of their income to transportation costs. And what about housing? Where are all the new homes coming from? Another big problem is the survival of small business. You can put a Walmart in the sticks and people will drive to it but how are independent businesses going to thrive without a dense population within walking distance?
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Postby San Lumen » Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:33 pm

The Marlborough wrote:
San Lumen wrote:The government doesnt have the authority to break up a municipality or limit their government but the people can via a referendum. How you get a referendum on the ballot varies by locale. On what basis does a government have such a power?

Actually if a state government wanted to they could revoke a municipalities status as a, well, municipality. California almost did that with the city of Verona a number of years ago. Threatened they were going to force it to be part of LA iirc.

Re OP not all cities are the same. Some cities have a lot of home ownership for example or people are able to buy their flats. There are plenty of issues with cities, don't get me wrong, but axing them completely is just...yeah. Not going to work.

That’s not something they would do lightly though. It would take extraordinary circumstances.

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Postby Major-Tom » Thu Jan 07, 2021 12:51 pm

Personally, I'm happy that I don't live in a major city, and enjoy living in a community where I know a good bulk of the people here. I love seeing people I know at grocery stores, the gym, hiking, you name it just out of the blue.

But I understand that isn't for everybody. And I understand that if we had everybody live in rural or semi-rural areas, our environment would suffer, our economy would suffer, and ultimately, we would lose a lot of our strength as a country. Urbanization is a natural phenomena where people of all stripes (usually) can come together and create a thriving city built around industry, prosperity, and efficacy. Large urban areas are always going to have problems. For some people, such as myself, I see those problems as outweighing the benefits for my personal preferences. But, as a whole, there is nothing wrong with cities, and I look forward to seeing further innovations that lead to better-run and more affordable metropolises in this country.
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Postby Adamede » Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:32 pm

I would never live in a city willingly but rural life ain’t exactly without its own problems.
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Postby San Lumen » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:00 pm

Adamede wrote:I would never live in a city willingly but rural life ain’t exactly without its own problems.

I acknowledge this as well and this blind hatred of one over the other needs to stop.

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Postby Shazbotdom » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:06 pm

The Emerald Legion wrote:
San Lumen wrote:People chose to live in cities on their own volition.

Few of what you wrote has any basis in reality. You also did not address what you propose be done remedy it.

What is the system you alleged that should be abolished to harm cities?


Severely curttail the authority of overall city governments on general city life, decentralize utilities and separate the city out into discrete self contained chunks of area.

I've occasionally considered the idea of using anti-trust laws to crack down on landlords in cities in order to discourage renting and encourage owning, because while renting is generally a valuable service in some scenarios, it's particularly predatory in cities. But I'm not quite comfortable with it, because it would be a step on the road of giving city governments authority again.


Antitrust laws to ban landlords?

Yeah, no.

Seeing as there is no true monopoly with landlords, that idea is shot dead in the dark.
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Postby Nation of Ecologists » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:10 pm

here's what the problem is: If everyone moved from living in cities to rural places those places would no longer be rural. Seriously. Unless you want some major land reform its not happening. Instead, we should focus on making cities livable places instead of getting rid of them. It'll be easier to protect the environment that way too, since nature will be able to reclaim those ghost cities. Cities aren't the problem, the way cities are handled is.
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Postby San Lumen » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:12 pm

Nation of Ecologists wrote:here's what the problem is: If everyone moved from living in cities to rural places those places would no longer be rural. Seriously. Unless you want some major land reform its not happening. Instead, we should focus on making cities livable places instead of getting rid of them. It'll be easier to protect the environment that way too, since nature will be able to reclaim those ghost cities. Cities aren't the problem, the way cities are handled is.

Well said. The agrarian society ended around the 1830s. It’s not coming back.

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Postby United Dependencies » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:28 pm

San Lumen wrote:The government doesnt have the authority to break up a municipality or limit their government but the people can via a referendum. How you get a referendum on the ballot varies by locale. On what basis does a government have such a power?

That might be the case where you live, but in my state, cities are recognized as creatures created by the state. As a result, states are free to add to or remove from their powers at will.

Hence the whole HB2 debacle.
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Maybe dragons took their jobs. Maybe unicorns only hid their jobs because unicorns are dicks. Maybe 'jobs' is only an illusion created by a drug addled infant pachyderm. Fuck dude, if we're in 'maybe' land, don't hold back.

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Postby San Lumen » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:31 pm

United Dependencies wrote:
San Lumen wrote:The government doesnt have the authority to break up a municipality or limit their government but the people can via a referendum. How you get a referendum on the ballot varies by locale. On what basis does a government have such a power?

That might be the case where you live, but in my state, cities are recognized as creatures created by the state. As a result, states are free to add to or remove from their powers at will.

Hence the whole HB2 debacle.


I doubt such a action would go over very well.

What’s the HB2 debacle?
Last edited by San Lumen on Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby United Dependencies » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:34 pm

San Lumen wrote:I doubt such a action would go over very well.

What’s the HB2 debacle?

The State of North Carolina passed a law that required people to use bathrooms consistent with their birth certificates. This overrode a city ordinance which allowed people to use the bathrooms of their choice.

Not the first time the state government has messed with local governance. the NC General assembly has also stripped away control of airports from local municipalities.
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Obamacult wrote:Maybe there is an economically sound and rational reason why there are no longer high paying jobs for qualified accountants, assembly line workers, glass blowers, blacksmiths, tanners, etc.

Maybe dragons took their jobs. Maybe unicorns only hid their jobs because unicorns are dicks. Maybe 'jobs' is only an illusion created by a drug addled infant pachyderm. Fuck dude, if we're in 'maybe' land, don't hold back.

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Postby San Lumen » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:35 pm

United Dependencies wrote:
San Lumen wrote:I doubt such a action would go over very well.

What’s the HB2 debacle?

The State of North Carolina passed a law that required people to use bathrooms consistent with their birth certificates. This overrode a city ordinance which allowed people to use the bathrooms of their choice.

Not the first time the state government has messed with local governance. the NC General assembly has also stripped away control of airports from local municipalities.

That’s not the same as abolishing a municipal government.

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Postby United Dependencies » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:38 pm

San Lumen wrote:
United Dependencies wrote:The State of North Carolina passed a law that required people to use bathrooms consistent with their birth certificates. This overrode a city ordinance which allowed people to use the bathrooms of their choice.

Not the first time the state government has messed with local governance. the NC General assembly has also stripped away control of airports from local municipalities.

That’s not the same as abolishing a municipal government.

The general assembly has also revoked a corporate charter and, as a result, unincorporated a town before.

https://www.ncleg.net/enactedlegislatio ... 9-235.html

https://canons.sog.unc.edu/repealing-a-city-charter/

edit: Again, this is North Carolina specific. I have no idea whether or not other states/countries do things differently.
Last edited by United Dependencies on Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Alien Space Bats wrote:2012: The Year We Lost Contact (with Reality).

Cannot think of a name wrote:
Obamacult wrote:Maybe there is an economically sound and rational reason why there are no longer high paying jobs for qualified accountants, assembly line workers, glass blowers, blacksmiths, tanners, etc.

Maybe dragons took their jobs. Maybe unicorns only hid their jobs because unicorns are dicks. Maybe 'jobs' is only an illusion created by a drug addled infant pachyderm. Fuck dude, if we're in 'maybe' land, don't hold back.

This is Nationstates we're here to help

Are you a native or resident of North Carolina?

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Postby Krasny-Volny » Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:39 pm

OK, as somebody who grew up on a farm and now lives in a mid-sized city, I'll give this a crack. I don't regret moving out of a really rural area.

The Emerald Legion wrote:The close confines of the city, combined with the complex infrastructure needed to keep city life going inherently limits what you can do.


Yeah, but there's more to do in the city.

When I was growing up, walking the road, walking the railroad tracks, or going for long drives was a date. The only other things to do were fishing in the warm months, hunting in the cold months. And 60-70% of the time you don't catch, trap or shoot anything worthwhile, anyway. It's mostly an excuse to get outside and sit around.

Now I'm spoiled for choice. There are millions of clubs catered to every interest and hobby under the sun. I can find like-minded people for just about anything. There are tons of bars and nightlife venues for socializing. There are bowling alleys, dance halls, skating rinks, movie theaters, and concert/sporting arenas. I'm never really bored.

This is not only a problem for the obvious loss in quality of life, but also because over time it denigrates the value of freedom. Simply growing up in a city teaches you all the wrong lessons about life, through no fault of your own. When you grow up all your life in an area where you're not free to build a fort in the back yard. Or not free to make a major renovation on your home. Not free to play with toy weapons for fear of misunderstandings and accidents. Not free to have a basic social meet like a bonfire.


Just because you live in the city doesn't mean you can't do these things. If you live in an area with a lot of public lands, feel free to commute back to the country to have your bonfires, shoot your cans, and build your forts. In my area, I can drive 15 minutes outside town to the lake or some other piece of public land and have all the fires I want over the weekend. And do all the target practice, too.

Instead you get channeled towards public facilities. Bars, parks, clubs. Instead of being able to get together with friends for free and cook some food over an open fire, you end up either all crammed into someones apartment. Or meeting at some either commercial or public place designed to have fun and you're once again now in public. Not able to just be with your friends and your friends alone.


See above. And anyway at least there are way, way more people to make friends with in the city than the country. When I was a kid I didn't really have any choices when it came to my social circle. The people that are there are there. You settle for being friends because there's nobody else around, even if you don't really have that much in common. Now again, I'm spoiled for choice.

We still go out in the country when we want to have a bonfire.

2.) Cities either make you incredibly poor, or incredibly rich. And if the former you get trapped. You end up almost literally chained to your job trying to keep above water because living in the city is expensive, why? Because demand is high, and other residents are rich. Particularly if you have a family you end up in a situation where staying amounts to slavery, and leaving is too expensive. Cities are more or less going to end up catering only to the super rich who inhabit them and dominate the lives of all others. So in a sense, living in a city is a bargain with those super rich. Either you do it carefully and make out with your wealth and move back to safer pastures, or you end up trapped and stuck in a never ending cycle of wage slavery.


That depends very much on the city. There's a couple cities I can think of off the top of my head where $750/month is the absolute cheapest rent you can find, in cramped apartments in terrible, crime-ridden neighborhoods which are also food deserts. And a couple where $750/month will get you a house in a decent neighborhood, with a swimming pool.

If you find you're stuck in a form of wage slavery where you're living from paycheck to paycheck and that money goes mostly into food and rent, I'd suggest moving to another city (at least if you live in the US). There are cities which are very cheap indeed.
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