Dear Mr. President,
While shopping with my sister and her husband today, they mentioned that they are looking for houses outside of the city. The hustled pace and crowded nature of Seattle is too much for them, apparently. I suppose this must be some aspect of settling down, getting older, finding that self-reliance that so many adults seem to value.
As for me, I need the city. The community of urban youths like myself, who may not be poor, but who have to keep working, moving, running, constantly, to escape the pull of our debts. We huddle together, sharing light and warmth and WiFi; sharing cigarettes on the sidewalks outside. We exchange information- the petty, the profane and the occasionally profound pieces of insight that aid and ease our survival. We sustain one another as we sustain ourselves, knowing that the community is more important than lower taxes or an illusion of safety.
The suburbs, as I remember them from my childhood, are all about divisions; mine from yours, ours from theirs. Keeping up appearances to keep people from talking, keeping up the lawn to look better than the neighbors, keeping out the Others. Is this solitude the unavoidable desire of maturity? Will I, too, find my life too slow for the city, my needs too big for the high-density life style? I hope this is not the case.
I think the future will inevitably look more like the city than the suburbs.I think, as much as we try to resist it, the truth is that the world is getting smaller, more diverse, more complex. We need each other more than ever. The walls we build around our houses, around our neighborhoods, around our countries, will only make it more difficult for every one.