Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Welcome to Summerfield, NC . . .

. . . now go home.

At least, that's how I read Elizabeth Edmonds's feelings in her "Counterpoint" guest op-ed in this mornings N&R. She asks Greensboro's young families who are moving to exurban Summerfield,

Why do you young whippersnappers move into 'charming' communities like Summerfield to get away from hectic city life and then proceed to drag business and development into the charming community until it looks just like the place you left?
She eulogizes the small-town pleasures of hanging out at the feed store and shooting the breeze with friends, and bemoans the nine new subdivisions and "big government on a local scale" that the newcomers have brought, along with their demands for more services and amenities.

It's a classic paradox, isn't it? And it applies not only to urban development but also to things like tourism (even eco-tourism) and dining.

People who are enthralled by the pristine environment of the Antarctic traipse down there and stomp the native lichens to death while they're bugging the penguins. They find a great little restaurant and talk it up to their friends until "nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded" (as John McNulty -- not Yogi Berra -- once said.) Anthropologists go to distant jungles to study tribes unsullied by the modern world, only to find that their subjects would like to have an iPod Nano just as much as any suburban teenager.

But I got kind of a kick out of Edmonds talking about "hectic city life." In Greensboro?

Hah. There's a reason this blog is called A Little Urbanity, you know.


Anonymous said...

Buggering penguins? Does Yost know about this?

Anonymous said...

I can't stop giggling about Greensboro being a hectic city. But, I suppose the definition of hectic all depends on your point of view. I think Manhattan is a hectic city, but Greensboro is pretty calm. However, I grew up in a small village in Upstate New York with a population of about 4,000 people. The closest city is really close, maybe 15 minutes away, and it has a population of about 60,000. A small city, not at all hectic. I once talked to someone who lived in an outlying area - very rural, maybe about 40 minutes from where I grew up. She told me that she was making a trip to the 'city' and she was excited and nervous. I assumed the meant New York City because when we talk about going to the city, we mean NYC. It's about a 4 hour train trip. I soon found out, though, that I was wrong. She was talking about our tiny little, non-hectic city of 60,000. So, it really depends on your point of view, I guess.