Urban Lifestyle & Culture | This Could Be Phoenix - Part 4
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Urban Lifestyle & Culture

I once had a conversation with a pro-suburbanite about why I loved the city. Their response was common and concise, “I love living closer to nature too much to live in the city." Actually, to say I "once" had this conversation is an under exaggeration. In fact, that is one of the most common justifications I hear in response to asking people why they chose to live in the suburbs.

The Paradox of Suburbia

On the surface, this statement actually seems quite valid. I lived in the suburbs and I felt much closer to nature when I was there than I do now in the city. Cities are our urban cores at the center of the surrounding suburbs and, naturally, the further out from the city you are, the more likely you will be closer to nature. So if you are a nature lover then you probably want to live in the suburbs, and if you are an urbanite, you probably want to live in the city, right? Well, not so fast. There is something paradoxical about this belief. Suburbia is actually the leading cause of environmental destruction in the United States. No other phenomenon has caused as many acres of forest to be destroyed here.

What’s the cause for the recent rise in urban living? I blame it on Seinfeld. It was the first show to glorify the urban lifestyle. As millions of Americans sat watching TV in their suburban home, Seinfeld depicted a way of life that never crossed the minds of suburbanites. Ok, so I can't blame it on Seinfeld, but you have to admit, ever since then there have been an increasing number of shows set in energetic urban environments. It’s hard to turn on the TV and not find a show that fits this description; Sex In The City, How I Met Your Mother, Grey’s Anatomy, CSI New York, Rules of Engagement, and the list goes on.  In fact, the Millennial generation is increasingly choosing urban environments over the suburban lifestyle they were raised in, and the proof of this can be found in all the shows now geared precisely to this way of life.

We all heard the phrase "sharing is caring" while growing up, ingrained in our heads by adults in an effort to promote positive, unselfish interaction between playmates. We love those short, catchy one liners that rhyme, don't we? But the funny thing is that our culture as a whole reflects a far different ideal: individual ownership equals success. The American Dream was built upon this idea, even. Everyone can prove their success by how much they own, be it land, a house, a car, or any other trappings of American prosperity...or so the story goes.