A couple of years ago, I published an article on “living in the city vs. living in the country” that generated strong reactions.
I’d like to revisit this topic today and share whether I still feel that living in the city is overall the better lifestyle for me.
But first, what were the pros and cons of city vs. country living from my readers?
“I live in the City because I want to walk more and buy less. I also wanted to get rid of my car (too expensive to maintain, and I am now retired). I also like being near interesting people (University of Michigan campus) and hip down-towners with bustling coffee shops and conversation. When one walks, you buy less so as to avoid heavy loads.” Zo
“How timely – just yesterday I had a conversation with a friend who left the city 9 months ago. She told me that she has put on almost 10 pounds. She used to walk everywhere, and now she sits in her house or sits in the car.” Isabelle
“the country is nice for getaways and visits, but for everyday life, the city really has what people today need and crave. At a time when people are connected via the Internet but less connected emotionally, a city provides the human touch as well as the security of knowing you don’t have to travel far to get the material amenities you need.” Oona
“After living my life in cities, my husband and I moved to the mountains a short drive from Lake Tahoe. We have a couple of acres with a greenhouse, workshop, and gardens. We are in a small town without a stop light and just a few stores. But I have never been happier. We are self-reliant, and my dogs are happier and healthier too with the ability to run on our gated land. Why am I so happy here? Because I wake up in the morning looking at tons of pine and cedar trees and the best part is the people. Friendly and caring. I go into a city to shop a couple of times a month and make it a special occasion. It is fun! I wouldn’t move back to a crowded, polluted city for anything in the world!” Darlena
“It is not overall safer to live in the city. In the countryside, I don’t lock my doors. Ever. I couldn’t get away with that in the city. Sure, you are exposed more to nature in the countryside, which can be dangerous. But what, let’s hide in the “safe” cities so that we don’t have to deal with nature? My experience of people who spend most of their lives in cities is that they are completely ignorant of nature. By living in cities, humans are quickly losing their connection with nature, and their knowledge of the natural world.” Danette
“I really enjoyed being challenged by your perspective. I lived the first 20 years of my life in the city. Then when I married, we have lived in the country for 40 years. Even though I love it where we are, I am ready to move back to the city. I think every stage of life holds different priorities for us and maybe we should learn to listen to our inner voices. As the saying goes, “Bloom where you are planted.” Kathy
There are many opinions on this topic, and I would say that each lifestyle has different things to offer to different people.
In my article, I wrote that studies had shown cities to be safer than the countryside, due to a lower risk of traffic accidents.
Also, it’s usually not possible to live in the country without a car, which leads to a sedentary lifestyle.
Now, I’d like to address a few more points.
The challenge for cities in the future is to improve their air quality. In Europe, it has been below standards for years, and there was no explanation for this until the Volkswagen scandal came out. We now know that most diesel vehicles sold by VW and other companies have been polluting European and American cities for years through the lies and deceptions perpetrated by these companies.
Many European cities are now facing the onerous task of removing those vehicles from the road. Some are even thinking about making the downtown parts of some cities free of gas vehicles.
In any case, I think that things are only going to get better for cities in the future when it comes to air pollution. The VW scandal showed what was going on, and many cities are now reacting to the public’s outrage and implementing laws that will make cities even more livable and healthy in the future.
Once you’ve gotten used to living somewhere without a car or where you have many transportations options, it’s very difficult to go back.
In Montreal, we have a bike-sharing system, car-sharing systems (like Car2Go), Uber, a subway system, a decent bus network, great bike lines, and it’s easy to walk everywhere. I find this lifestyle much healthier overall and would not go back to a car-dependent location. Even though I still own a car, I only use it for specific errands and day trips outside of the city.
Access to Culture
I’ve gotten used to living in a place with a vibrant cultural life, where lots of things are happening and where you get the feeling of aliveness and positive energy.
In Montreal, I go to world-class concerts that are either free or very affordable. I can take classes on any subject I want. I can get an incredible variety of produce and fantastic vegan food. And there are lots of social activities, parks and a great mountain to hike.
I was recently in Hawaii for the 10th time, and even though I love the ocean and Hawaii as a place to visit, I could not imagine living on the Big Island. Although there’s a community of people interested in natural living, I found it to be a culturally dead place when compared to a city like Montreal. I would choose another Hawaiian island, like Oahu.
But again, this is just the perspective of a city dweller who got used to the life that a place like Montreal has to offer. My opinion is just an opinion and not necessarily right.
What do you think? Leave your comments below.