I've been fortunate enough to live in the city, really, the ghetto, the suburbs and on a farm, all before going to college. Gives you some perspective.
When I moved from the northeast to the southeast, I made the mistake of thinking I was going to live among the great unwashed of Merka. After all, the school system I was leaving had as many students as the town I moved to had citizens. Rubesville.
Overtime, I learned that southerners, while slow speaking, genteel, better armed and bigger car-ed were not dumb. I actually ended up making some adjustments.
In the big city, the clubs stay open all night. In the small rubesville, you can actually afford a house. As I've aged, I've decided the place for me is a nice exurban city. Close enough that Ma and I can hitch up a wagon and make it to Main Street by sunset, but far enough the your average barbarian invasion or plague doesn't bother us much.
It's always amused me how city and country folks look at each other. On the one hand, sybaritic libertines, and on the other, chaste city folks. Or maybe that's backwards.
Back in 2004, the Seattle noospaper Stranger issued this crie de cour. Now in 2004, it looked like the Democratic Party was headed for third party status in a two party system. The Stranger issued the Urban Archipelago manifesto. Man, they were pissed:
It's time to state something that we've felt for a long time but have been too polite to say out loud: Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America. We live on islands of sanity, liberalism, and compassion--New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and on and on. And we live on islands in red states too--a fact obscured by that state-by-state map. Denver and Boulder are our islands in Colorado; Austin is our island in Texas; Las Vegas is our island in Nevada; Miami and Fort Lauderdale are our islands in Florida. Citizens of the Urban Archipelago reject heartland "values" like xenophobia, sexism, racism, and homophobia, as well as the more intolerant strains of Christianity that have taken root in this country. And we are the real Americans.
Say it brother!! Jokes aside (even poor ones) the UA Manifeto stands as a good testament to, generally youthful, urban angst. Even if it's a bad testament to How Stuff Works ("small faggy organic farms" do not the world feed). A recommended read.
Then add to this to your hip pocket: "The Emerging Urban Archipelago." It's a 2001 article from the UN Chronicle (cue black helicopters, right? No.)
The urban millennium has ushered in the era of globalization, which is increasingly shaping the world's ideas, economy and politics. Technological advances in communications are linking people's lives in ways never thought possible before. Today, it is possible to know in an instant what is happening in a city or a household half a world away. National borders are becoming less significant as the flow of trade, capital and information becomes more frequent between cities rather than between countries.
Generally true. I heard, several years ago, that by like, 2020-30, the seventy-five percent of the worlds population was going to live in cities. I don't know how close we are to that, but it's an interesting trend ("Today, one robo-farm can feed 200 hundred humans" will be a fun future statisitc).
The elite in many developing countries has more in common with the elite in developed countries than it has with its own citizens. They speak one global language and deal in one global currency
That would be your Davos effect. Not good or bad, just is. But the nut:
The world is no longer a community of States, but an increasingly borderless network of interconnected cities where power is being shared more evenly and governance is becoming more democratic.
Read it all.
You know, I can't help but think, in our post-future of the perpetual peace, this is the direction we're headed. Feels logical, you know.
A while back, Wretchard wrote about Gated Communities, and their indication of a societies health. Scale that up, in our increasingly disconnected world, and you get gated cities, increasingly insular and increasingly disinterested in where stuff comes from. As long as it's there.
Hey, here's a picture of some fun, in San Fransisco: