Replacing locks with culture

Some of us are in dialog about starting a new urban based community.  This has me meditating on the differences and relative advantages of each setting.  Urban communities can take advantage of local mass transit systems, cultural activities, and greater employment opportunities than rural regions. Cities are great to recruit from and find more friendly neighbors to ally with (this is a function of the absolute number of people in cities, it is not an editorial on the friendliness of urban dwellers).  Rural communities can more easily grow their own food, have a smaller pollution exposure and a more relaxed lifestyle generally speaking.

where is the border?

where is the border?

But the big difference is locks.  We are blissfully able to leave things unlocked in rural Virginia.  This is not especially peculiar to the communes, many of our neighbors leave keys in their cars and leave their front doors unlocked.  Several of our local friends don’t even have keys to their doors, having never needed them.

For a forgetful, sloppy person like myself this is a goddess send.  It means the bag that i have left behind is almost certainly in the place i left it.   It means i don’t worry when my son wanders off to play outside by himself for prolonged periods.

But what i think is that if we could measure the fear, sadness and distress that urban living create, we would likely evaluate it differently.  i consider myself an urban rat – i love subways and crowds and density of experience and architecture.  It strikes me as strange that i have been living rurally for so long.  And my guess (from my experience with life long urban dwellers coming to visit rural communities) is that urban living is more toxic and psychologically problematic than we want to  believe.  Yet we deny this so we can keep living there.

The trend is clear

The trend is clear

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About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

5 responses to “Replacing locks with culture”

  1. richard w. lisko says :

    i remember a trumpet disappearing from your room, one of woody’s beautiful turtles being stolen from his space, and a pile of loot being taken from twin oaks offices in the place where vermin used to live. rural living isn’t all that different than city in that aspect.

    • paxus says :

      Dearest JBird:

      There are certainly exampls of things going missing. But months to years can go by without stuff getting taken. The trumpet in my room was much more likely misplced than stolen (there were more valuable things which could have been taken easily). Woody did loose turtles and we have had 2 cars stolen and a cash box theft in my 15 years. But this is less than 1/10 of what i roughly estimate urban theft is like – and everything in the city needs to be locked down, we have buildings and rooms which have no security at all. We CANT lock or residences and most of our rooms and there is still 1/10 the crime. It is a different type of thinking.

  2. Tree Bressen says :

    Having done both, in my mind the biggest difference between rural and urban communities is that in most rural communities the community itself plays a far larger role in people’s lives. Whereas unless an urban community is unusually focused (say, a strongly religious group), the community tends to be the 3rd or 4th item down people’s priority lists–after job, school, partner, other activist or activity or social commitments, etc. This has enormous implications for the life of the community.

    • moonraven222 says :

      I want to echo what Tree said. I’ve also been part of urban community building and it’s difficult. There are lots of distractions in the city and it’s a lot harder to find people who want to make communal living a priority.

  3. Keenan Dakota says :

    Paxus, I ditto all you say about security and no locks. I like feeling safe. Several women have told me over the years that the experience of walking around Twin Oaks in the dark and not feeling afraid is very empowering. I have mentioned to a couple of nervous new people that the only way a bad person could jump out at you at Twin Oaks is if you are carrying a flashlight (otherwise, they can’t see you).

    Two cars stolen? One van was stolen and returned a week later. Are there two cars I’m missing?

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