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lands and populations

last saturday there was a party out in clearwater... this little not-town outside wichita where some friends of mine have a house.

I was shocked when I moved to Pittsburg, Kansas, population 18,000, because there were kids who showed up at the school saying, "This is so crazy, I've never lived in a city before, it's so busy here. There are so many stoplights." There was, like, one road with stoplights.

And on a totally unrelated note, Battlestar Galactica cracks me up because it's about a world where the entire human population is less than 50,000. I don't think there'd be huge press conferences, a host of radio shows, people following the president around all the time, this gigantic black market for supplies. Everyone would know the president. But I digress.

I got to Wichita and it was so insane here that the small town kids can't even take it. I'd never heard that before, but a guy from work said, "I just had to buy a house miles outside town, I can't take the city, it's not how I was raised." wtf? Wichita too big? Wichita is the smallest city I could ever possibly imagine living in. There are about 500,000 in the metro area... but you get the feeling like we all know each other. Seriously. you always know what's going on and who's coming to town. If you go to some big event, like a concert or riverfest, you WILL see people you know.

So I have friends don't think that's small town enough, and have to move out 25 miles from a grocery store, on a gravel road and six acres.

It was still a fun party. They had a bonfire, and it was nice out, and we sat outside drinking keg beer and watching the fire. It was really relaxed but it made me laugh at the footprint that us middle americans require. Most of the land is just there, they're not doing anything with it. I mean, the area is dry, you can't do much, it's a lot of pasture land. We're not going to contribute to the corn harvest any time soon. But there's so much space here in America. It's a funny place.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 19th, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
I....just can't even imagine.

I think it would be really nice, don't get me wrong. I just...like, we think Philadelphia is small after living in NY, you know?
Jun. 19th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC)
Ah, but if you live in London or New York for a couple of months, you will absolutely understand that LET-ME-OUT feeling.
Jun. 19th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
my college town of 60K is pretty big by my standards ;o

going to Houston where there's probably as many people living there as there are in all of arkansas was kinda ':o'
Jun. 19th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
That's why I like where I live...
You'll have never heard of my home town (unless you like Rugby that is) but Widnes is ideal.

Firstly, the population is 55,000. That means you have sufficient density of people to have everything within a couple of miles (and fast broadband to boot).

I don't actually own a car, something that would be unthinkable in the United States. By the combination of cycling and taking the train, I can get anywhere I like. Staying fit while saving the planet! W00t.

Secondly, it's close to two major cities: Liverpool (436,100 people) and Manchester (2,240,230 people). These are both a 30-minute train ride away. This makes it easy to mix suburban and city life.

Thirdly, while my town is fundamentally an industrial town so it is easy to get out of. There's lots of beautiful country-side just minutes away by bicycle.

When I went to Canada earlier this year, the space was truly breath-taking. That said, I really can't understand how people could live in a town of 4000! These places were literally hundreds of kilometres from any major city. I'd go crazy if I lived there!

I've come to understand why American shows all glamorise the big city. Most Americans probably live in small towns like the ones I saw for most of their lives. There's some sort of romance attached to cities - because for most people their experience of the city is simply what they did on vacation. Anybody who has actually lived in even a small city such as Liverpool understands that romance to be total garbage.

Even so, I spent my degree years at Liverpool and despite it's many faults, it has a special place in my heart.

Jun. 20th, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
Re: That's why I like where I live...
Most Americans typically live in suburbs with very few living in small towns. Admittedly, many of those suburbs are suburbs of small, largely ignored, provincial cities, but suburban living dominates the US.
Jun. 20th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
i grew up in a small town. but i love the hustle and bustle of the city. i love how each neighborhood here in chicago is like a little town unto itself with distinct vibes and personalities. i love the green oasis that is lincoln park in the middle of the concrete and high rises. i love that i can walk down the street on a sidewalk and not have to worry about walking on the side of the road (something one has to do on many streets in michigan city). i can walk to the grocery store. I don't have to drive (which is good, because i never did bother to get my license!) its just funny, i don't think i would want to live anywhere else other than a city.
Jun. 20th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)
There was the same issue at college in Manhattan, Kansas. Unlike KU we got a lot of the kids from the Western half of the state. I, however, was amazed at how amazingly tiny it was. Of course, I'm finding San Francisco to often be distressingly small in some respects. While the Bay Area is, IIRC, the 5th largest metro region in the country, the City itself is only about 700-800,000. Of course, this is all packed into what is roughly a 7 mile by 7 mile area. And one where people tend to ignore at least half to three-quarters of that area.

Still, there are times like when I want to find a good place to buy spices locally or a good game shop for roleplaying (I mean, I know of at least two off the top of my head in Berkley, but I don't want to pay $7 round trip on BART just to head over there) and I'm almost unable to find them that I really start to think about how distressingly small it is for being such a major city.

I don't think I could handle living in any place less dense, which, IIRC, means New York is the only other choice in the US.

I don't get people who want to leave the city on weekends or have this idea of "getaways". I moved to the city because I wanted to be here. I don't want to get away from it.

As for BSG that's still a really large number of people and keep in mind that they're spread out over about 40 or so different ships. Given the security and value of limited resources like fuel I doubt that they leave their "neighborhood", so to speak, very often.

Oh and the reason you always know what's happening in Wichita is because there's nothing there to begin with ;) I'll ask my friend Donnie who just moved away from Wichita his thoughts on the differences between it and SF.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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