Feb 072017

I know everyone says that, but it’s one of the nice things about human psychology that we can know it’s not true but still believe it on a gut level, because we like where we are so much. I live in the South Denver Metro area, in an area called “DTC” (the “Denver Tech Center”). It’s my favorite combination of density and nature.

As I’ve said many times before, I hate the suburbs. They sprawl and they’re ugly and inefficient. Dense living, such as multi-story apartments, are far more efficient both for energy- and land-use. And by not sprawling across miles and miles, we reserve that land for ACTUAL natural wilderness, rather than the aesthetic horror that is lawns.

And just on an aesthetic level, I love large, imposing buildings. Sided in glass and given a decent architect to make them structurally interesting, it feels like living among giant cut diamond artifacts, gleaming in the sun.

The problem is that in many cities, the space between these soaring buildings is ugly. It’s cracked concrete and sooty asphalt. It’s chainlink fences and deteriorating lampposts. This dirty sterility drives me away from many highly-dense urban settings.

Fortunately, there is DTC. It contains towering glass structures, surrounded by corporately-maintained strips of well-mimicked wilderness. It’s like someone took the best parts of our neon post-cyberpunk future, and blended them artfully with tolkeinesque elven forests. Here’s a few pictures taken between my apartment complex and the Starbucks I walk to most days.

As one can see, even the deer were fooled into thinking they were in a pretty nature place. :) This is not a common occurrence, but man was it cool. I’ve posted a video below that shows how close they let humans get to them, they’re mostly unconcerned with us. I could probably have touched one if I wanted to, but I think that’s probably a bad idea. Plus, the three bucks with very pointly antlers made me cautious of scaring them.

  8 Responses to “My city is the best city”

  1. Unlike with various other “My is best!” claims, this one seems like it could be close to true for a lot of people. More likely is that most people live in better-than-median cities.

    How is this possible? People have some freedom of movement and different aesthetic preferences. Some people like lawns; they’re more likely than you are to spend time in the suburbs.

    • I think you might have gotten cause and effect backwards there. Most people I know are from the same city as me and they all like it. It might be some form of localpatriotism (like you are more likely to like the soccer team of your hometown) or because you are part of [People from this city] and this is your group so you stick up for it by saying your city is the best. And over time it becomes the truth and it really is the best city for you and therefore you also like it’s more or less unique properties.
      So although there are clearly things I don’t like about my city (you have to cover a lot of altitude difference going anywhere for example) I like a lot of other things (the dialect people speak here, the public transportation system, the fact that it doesn’t get as cold as the surrounding area in the winter…) and give them more weight.

      So I think the freedom of movement argument might be true for some people, that really didn’t like it where they come from, but I also think that a significant portion of the people stay in or near their hometown.

      • I think this may be true for small places. For larger cities like New York or London, a significant percentage of people (possibly an outright majority) are people who actively moved there because it was such a large gravitational center.

      • I definitely agree that’s often the case, but people do move between cities and in aggregate I think it does cause the effect I mentioned.

        Even if you move between cities for other reasons, how much you like the place you move has an effect. For example, you might move for a job, but you can choose whether you want to take that job or keep looking for something elsewhere; you’re more likely to move for a job if you like the city you move to.

        • Arg I wish I could edit. Somehow I missed your last paragraph. I think we’re mostly in agreement, but that I estimate a bigger effect size than you do.

          I don’t think it’s a very big effect, but I think it is big enough to be noticeable.

    • I’ll second everything that Senjiu says, and add that a lot of housing decisions come as a package deal. Where I live has a lot of advantages, like being close to my job with good schools, but I have to put up with having a house in the suburbs with a lawn. And if I hadn’t fine to college, then I might not have realized that living in a dormitory is basically my ideal way to live. Not everyone gets to try other living conditions.

  2. Oh and apart from the reply I just wrote: Having deer in the city is awesome. Seeing a squirrel jump from tree to tree gives me a smile for a few minutes but to encounter deer like that would probably make me smile for the whole day whenever I think of it. :-)

  3. Beautiful photos. I love those deer just wandering around; though you are right to avoid getting too close, deer can carry ticks that can hop to humans.

    I visited Colorado and Denver a few years back and really liked it. It and the surrounding area are really stunning. My friends and I even mused about moving there, it made such an impression. Moving there for the natural beauty trades off being a little bit too small and car centric for me personally, but for someone with different tradeoffs, I could very well see Denver being the best city in the US.

    To constantly be in such a pretty location, in some ways you’re a very lucky man.

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