Urban Lifestyle Not for Everyone

Originally published in The Boston Globe

February 19, 2011
Henry Barbaro (Jamaica Plain) Letter to the Editor, The Boston Globe

I FIND it annoying when Harvard economist Edward L. Glaeser recommends living in the city, although he admits to living in a woodsy suburb himself ("If you love nature, move to the city," Op-ed, Feb. 10). I am also tired of well-intentioned, self-righteous types proselytizing about the virtues of "smart growth" and living in higher densities, while not mentioning how contact with nature is critically important to the human psyche.

Depending on your sensibilities, living in the city means sacrificing quality of life. It means living with more crime, more traffic, more noise (car alarms, modified mufflers, car stereos), less privacy, lower air quality, fewer parking spaces, less trust in others, less safety to walk about at night, fewer songbirds, and fewer stars at night.

If I was told to make all these sacrifices so that there would be less carbon in the air, I would laugh.

Henry Barbaro
Jamaica Plain