Monthly Archives: May 2014

WHY I CHOOSE URBAN OVER RURAL LIVING

I often get asked why I love living in downtown Toronto so much.

Sitting in bias, I always want to chuckle and respond with “why would you want to live anywhere else?” but as an urban planner and a generally understanding and open-minded human being, I try to respond with the least bias possible.

There is a general understanding that young people love to live in busy places but once they get older or get ready to settle down they will surely want to move to places described with the following adjectives: safer, quieter, cleaner, and more private.

I have three comments regarding the places described in this way:

1. Who said that these qualities are the official standard for a good quality of life?

When looking for a place to live, everyone has different wishes, wants, and standards. If we were to make a list of all the requirements that people have across the globe, we would end up with thousands of requirements. It may be true that it is more sensible for a single 20 year old to live in a smaller apartment, and for a family of 5 to live in a more spacious home, but this does not explain location.

2. Who said that urban environments don’t retain these qualities?

Urban environments do in fact retain qualities that most people mistakenly assume they cannot possibly have. It is possible to raise a family in a downtown neighborhood defined as safe, quiet, clean, and yes, will give you your privacy.

3. Is everyone’s life so similar that every person will ‘grow out’ of urban living?

Not every person will fit a standard life path. Many will border the status quo, and some will never come near it. It is unreasonable to expect that everyone will ‘get over’ downtown living and finally ‘mature’ into suburban family life.

 

I would have to say that my favorite things about living in an urban environment are…

 

Being completely alone in a sea of strangers and feeling like I am part of something greater, with the thrill of the off chance that I might bump into someone I know…

spadina

people

greathall

Feeling safe – eyes on the street folks…

street

safe

wet

Never having nothing to do, even if you have no one to hang out with…

dance

coffee

allie

¬†Being able to retreat into privacy and quiet when I need it…

home

homes

elalmacen

Taking public transit – just like the suited lawyer from the business district, the mom with her stroller, the kids going home from school, and the guy talking to himself…

christie

ttc

transit

Wanting to walk for pleasure and discovering new things…

kens

 

walking

yorkvilleThe old and the new presents a story – that we are all part of now, and that we can shape for the future…

oldandnew

westelm

ROM

Public spaces and the spaces in between, as shortcuts, destinations, and resting points with a view…

NPSskate

trinny

 

cafepatio

 

And lastly… a statement that would be very difficult to illustrate in a few images… being surrounded by as many different people from me as possible – race, culture, opinions… this keeps everyone in check. This reminds everyone that the world does not revolve around themselves. This makes people more aware and less ignorant.¬†

 

To me, urban living is healthy, happy living. It provides me with my current needs, and I can only imagine how proud I’ll be when I start a family here one day.

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