Forgive me for not chiming in on the potato discussion. Jae's right on that.
I've been living and working in Munich for the last six months. I have tons of experience using the excellent public transportation here. I live in an apartment building that is 15 minutes away from where I work. It houses people very efficiently. The grocery store is anywhere between 5 and 15 min away by foot. I have no bicycle. I have no car (here). Everything I need to live and function as a member of society is within 15 minutes by foot.
What do I think?
I cannot wait to go back home to my suburban town and live freely and away from everyone else.
I strongly disagree with and absolutely reject the "New Urbanism" (sidebar, that's a really stupid name) concept. I've lived in the European model that it is trying to emulate, and I've been going crazy. There is no space to live. No green areas without going to a public park. No scenery. No ability to BBQ. Nowhere to park a car, so people do without. I am kept up late by people smoking in their apartment. I am woken up early (or late) by people playing music. I cannot sit outside, as there isn't an outside to sit on. There are no trees. There is no wildlife. Everything costs roughly double what I would deem prudent. There is simply buildings and efficiency and I cannot stand it.
My German friends find nothing wrong with the city. In truth, it is a very beautiful, clean, safe city. I enjoyed visiting and touristing around here in years and trips past. Living here, I feel choked and stifled. Whereas Europeans view the urban model as liberating, I find it cramped and very uncomfortable. I cannot function in a European-model city, and do not ever intend to again. What works for Europe does not necessarily work for America, do not kid yourself otherwise.
Back in the states, I live 30 minutes away from Denver at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Anywhere I want to go takes at least 5 minutes by car. I worked 15 minutes by car, 30 min by bike. The grocery store is a good 5-8 mins. I have nearly an acre of land to do my own thing on. I have trees. I have herds of deer in my front driveway in the morning. I see bears and mountain lions occasionally. My nearest neighbor is 100 yards away. The nearest bus stop is a one mile walk away. My town has one of the best bus systems anywhere, and is part of the RTD, itself consistently ranked in the top 3 nationwide. There is no subway, no mass transit train system where I live. There is one of the best universities in in my town. The education system here is regarded as one of the best. I love it. I cannot wait to get back home. I have decided to veer away from my desired career field to live in the town I love.
Call me a stereotypical American if you want. I don't care. I will NEVER live in a big city again, nor will I ever subscribe to this horrid "new urban" idea. Jae's post on p2 hit the nail on the head perfectly.
D_Y, your posts sound like you have researched and written essays about said New Urbanism, but reek of someone who is spouting what your professor told you to think. The concept is all high and minded, but inherently flawed. Americans like their space. They will never consciously decide to live where they are miserable unless their jobs are worth it. I do not want to live in an apartment building just so I don't need to own a car. Long before I was ever a car addict, I have hated living in big cities (born and moved away from San Francisco) and loved going biking in the mountains above Boulder. I know I'm not the only one.
Please lose the attitude where those of us who cannot stand living in a big city (and who have done so) are somehow inferior and lesser people. It's supremely condescending. I get it, you advocate this concept. Try to live it, as I'm actually doing now, and then tell me if it's all great and wonderful.
A racing addiction makes a crack addiction look like a vague desire for something salty.
Fear disturbs your concentration.
- Sabine Schmitz
Last edited by Bimmerman; 06-18-2009 at 08:10 AM.