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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book Review: Thousands of Broadways

Jessa Crispin writes:

Americans love the myth of the small town, while the reality is a little harder to come by. Small town culture is actually in decline, which maybe explains the renewed nostalgia. We are an increasingly urban species. Timothy Clack states in Ancestral Roots that by 2020, 60 percent of the Earth's population will live in cities. We crowd together in our big city centers while the small towns face dwindling populations and increasingly destitute main streets. Kids who grow up in small towns, myself included, talk of "getting out" and "escaping." Those left burdened with running the family farm or trapped by poverty or bad luck are looked upon with pity. When couples decide they'd like a slower way of life these days, they don't move to the small towns — they move to a suburb, many of which try to recreate the small town ideal. Unsuccessfully. The lawns might look the same, but while small towns often painfully feel like they're sealed off from the outside world, suburbs exist in relation to the city. You meet your needs — food, work, entertainment — in the city and retreat to your suburban hideaway. This is why you hear people who live in the Chicago suburbs referring not to "Chicago" or "the city" but to "downtown."

link: The Smart Set: Town Crier - July 22, 2009


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