I felt comforted reading an article in the latest (December 2011) National Geographic called "The City Solution". It discussed findings on how cites are actually better for the environment and people than living in rural areas, especially cities that are dense and compact (vertical). There are stats suggesting that cities are actually greener than small towns - with a few exceptions, densely populated cities have a smaller carbon footprint.
I have always believed that living in vertical cities rather than small towns or horizontal cities (sorry LA) was better for people and the environment. Why infest the beautiful countryside? We can live vertically in dense cities with large green urban spaces (which is a must) and leave the rest of the earth to everything else. Cities just have to be careful of not sprawling outwards creating the horror of all horrors - suburbs!! Look at LA; it is just one big sprawl. The more vertical a city, the more a city it is. A conglomeration of reclusive enclaves with just a small tuft of an actual city in the middle cannot really be a city. There is no identity. One would just identify with the suburb in which they live. I still have hope for LA. I have heard it is trying to revitalize itself to make it more of a city than just a few corporate HQs where no one actually lives - something I like to term a faux city.
I never understood wanting to own a house, or for that matter having a family (meaning - gasp! children). I grew up in a house in a very small town. I guess not buying into the whole automaton-like thinking of "must get married in order to procreate resulting in a need to make an inappropriate amount of room for way over-empasized things called children". My image of suburbs are large swaths of land overrun by new families (meaning the traditional narrow heterosexist definition of a group of people living together that MUST consist of their offspring) who think they are somehow special because the parents had sex, which, duh, leads to babies (thank whatever that my kind of sex does not!). Nothing really awe inspiring about this. Been happening for hundreds of millions of years with countless other species. You don't see those other species posting picures of their wrinkly newborns all over the Internet forcing the rest of us to sretch out a painful fake smile and ooh and ahh over something that looks exactly like every other one of its kind. Another image is the almost military march of strollers blocking the sidewalks or other lesser beings (those of us so unfortunate to have or not want children and strollers as big as cars) patroling the quiet sububan streets making sure everything is right for their oh-so-special offspring - Again, hundreds of millions of years people!
Of course cities are full of these "look at me and my kids and make every effort to bend to our, especially, our precious children's, every wish" types. But here in the vertical city, I have more of a right and feel safer in giving them the dirtiest look I can muster - and I can muster a pretty scathing dirty look - when they take up two-thirds of the elevator or sidewalk with one ridiculous Hummer-sized stroller. Just carry your precious cargo becuase they are only precious to you! Why make the rest of us suffer for something that happens ALL THE TIME (way too much in fact) and that we had nothing to do with? Sometimes I just want to say, "This is my city. Go out into the "family-friendly" burbs or towns and infest the rest of the Earth." But then, would I really wish that upon the earth? So, I say, with grinding teeth, welcome traditonal families to the vertical city, but keep your precious ones (to you) quiet, keep them on a leash, and don't even think of driving those SUV strollers on my streets or bulldozing your way into my elevators!
Whew! this is what happens when you just start writing and let your fed-up mind take control - cities-suburbs-annoying families-frustration. My appologies...well, not really.