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> It's because your cities are bad.

If by "bad" you mean "big," sure. The problem you're describing is almost entirely driven by the scale of American cities.

(The problem the article is describing is driven in part by that, in part by the very nature of what people tend to do in their 30s.)

American cities may be bad, and big may equal bad, but those are separate issues.




They don't mean big, they mean bad. Which obviously is subjective: In this case, I assume they mean, as I do, "bad" from the perspective of "encourages community building & social connections".

If you walk down a street in, say, Amsterdam, or down one in St Louis, it's two very different experiences - Amsterdam teeming with life, it feels close, safe and small. You can bike anywhere in 30 minutes; the layout of the city itself encourages pedestrian traffic. The marginal cost of popping into the bakery next to the wine store is 30 seconds, so the streets are lined with small mom & pop stores that care, genuinely care about how their street is doing, that the sidewalk is welcoming..

St Louis is a city replanned for cars - you do not move in St Louis but by automobile. The marginal cost of going to two stores instead of one is at least ten minutes, so you always go to Schnucks and call it a day. Biking from one point to another is a lost cause - I literally saw a woman crush the skull of a bicyclist with her SUV in St Louis just last month, he's dead now because fuck bike lanes.

And Amsterdam is three times as populous as St Louis.

Cannot recommend https://www.amazon.com/Death-Life-Great-American-Cities/dp/0... enough for this - urban planning has a massive impact on our lives.


I remember how the "walkable city" and "walkability rating" idea started popping up ~2004 [at least for my radar]. Like the idea of these shopping oasis out in the middle of nowhere vs a mix-use neighborhood vs the financial district that turns into Tumbleweed City on weekends or after 6pm.


Not always; NYC is large population-wise, but reasonably compact (on average).

Suburbia makes me sad. The density is so low that you need a car to get anywhere, and everywhere is outside walking distance.


NYC is always a special case. Most US cities aren't NYC.


That is the point that elktea is making. More USA cities should be like NYC.


But do people in NYC bond any more with strangers than they do in Peoria? Phoenix? Some outer-ring suburb of St. Louis?


I live in Berlin and it's not hard meeting new people in Bars, Clubs, meetup.com events and the like - but then again I'm not over 30 yet, the same is true for most of the people you usually meet that way.

You wouldn't have all that without a certain density that allows you to have all that within walking distance or easily reachable via public transport.


>You wouldn't have all that without a certain density that allows you to have all that within walking distance or easily reachable via public transport.

Bars, clubs and restaurants flourish in suburban areas, provided they target the appropriate clientele. There is lots of disposable income in suburbia.


Not for people who aren't with the majority culture more often than not. Gay bars don't exist in most suburbs, for example.


>Gay bars don't exist in most suburbs

Neither do straight bars. Where I'm from we call them "bars", and they cater to no specific culture.


If you're a gay dude in a straight bar, you become quickly aware about how the culture isn't really set up for you, mostly in terms of sheer numbers. Of course one can just go to hang out, but if you're looking for companionship or at least the chance of it, traditionally gays have had to have a place to go where they'd have a better than 5% chance that the guy that is funny/interesting/good looking isn't straight.


Additionally, sexual orientation isn't a "culture".


No, but there are cultures that are near-exclusively tied to sexual orientation ("Mainstream-gay culture" for instance). People who are rejected by the culture they grew up with tend to gravitate towards those.


That would be worth studying.


>More USA cities should be like NYC

Have you considered that the suburbs exist in their current form because some people actually want it that way? Not everyone wants to live in a city like NYC, evidenced by the fact that many people avoid high density like the plague.


NYC pushes families out faster than the other ones. The underlying problem, IMO, is that cities are too expensive and inconvenient for certain types of people, including families and the disabled.


It's really sad--high density is actually lowers living expensives and yet there is no serious amounts of cheap high density in this country.


Housing in some cases eats up the savings of having everything withing walking/biking distance. And that's a problem with city hall and not the city itself.


Living with kids on Manhattan is definitely quite expensive (at least, for me), but you can have a proper city environment in both Queens and Brooklyn, with 20-40 mins commute to basically anywhere on Manhattan (where the jobs are).


Not really, plenty of cities in the US where you can get by without a car. I actually found Portland to be way more mellow than NYC without a car.


There's a difference between "big" and "sprawled".


It doesn't really make that much difference whether the city is sprawled or not. People move to other cities.

Of the friends who I used to hang around as a student in Helsinki region (Finland), one lives in Singapore, one lives in Jakarta, one in Turku, and two in Tampere, one still in the Helsinki region where I am too. I spent a stint in Beijing in between.

We do stay in touch over Facebook etc, and see perhaps once per year on holidays or in family parties, but is it really a problem of urban sprawl that I don't see them so often?


>If by "bad" you mean "big," sure. The problem you're describing is almost entirely driven by the scale of American cities.

Not really, it has nothing to do with scale -- it's all about the spread and lack of public spaces for meetings, cafe culture, etc. Paris is 10-50 times as big as tons of American cities (of e.g. 100,000 people) that are totally hostile to walking around for example.




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