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Benefits of City Living

14 May. 2011 Posted by Hannah Mich in eco-friendly lifestyle, urban living, city living
living green, city living, urban, citysystems

Cities have this stigma of being polluted, dirty, and some environmentalists’ worst nightmare. Although cities are not perfect, they have some excellent environmentally friendly qualities that we can build upon to improve our environment and quality of life.

Due to the dense populations, people tend to live closer together and usually in smaller dwellings compared to suburban and rural dwellers. In cities, homes are mostly condos, apartments or townhouses; and according to a 2001 “Residential Energy Consumption Survey”, the average condo or apartment in a two to four unit building is approximately 1,400 sq ft, whereas the average single family home with a basement is approximately 3,100 sq ft. Smaller dwellings mean fewer possessions, less energy expenditure for heating and cooling, which all helps with managing waste and pollution.

Living closer to neighbors is not the only thing people live closer to in cities. They may live within walking distance to their work, restaurants, grocery stores, and other businesses. When businesses are not within walking distance, public transportation in the form of trains and buses may be used. Therefore, city dwellers are less likely to own a car. For example, 55 percent of New York City households do not own a car, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. Our proximity to our friends, family and neighbors as well as local businesses does not just help eliminate pollution, but it plays an important role in our relationships, sense of community and physical well-being.

In fact, we are not the only species that live together in “cities” or dense populations; think about an anthill and beehive as just a few examples. Running away from cities into the suburbs and rural areas is not a solution to the problems that plague our cities and the people who continue to live there. We need to recognize the benefits of city living in respect to our quality of life and health; and we need to be innovative enough to create harmony and a connection between our city environment and the landscape and wildlife that surrounds it. Altering the landscape is inevitable, but with a little creativity, effort and prioritizing we can preserve nature and achieve our aspirations.

Call To Action: 

Evaluate current living situation
Re-evaluate your "green" philosophy
Contact local officials about zoning and development

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References: 

http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/recs/sqft-measure.html
U.S. Energy Information Administration: Residential Energy Consumption Survey, 2001

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