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C200: Coming Home

2011 April 13
by dan bertolet

Rediscovering cities means coming home. Because over the past few generations, the predominant culture of the United States became drunk on a way of life that negates the city. And we got lost out there.

Since cities first appeared 5000 years ago, no culture in history has so widely strayed from the settlement patterns that sustain the health and spirit of human beings. Our bodies were designed for walking; our brains were designed to learn directly from others; our souls were designed for cooperation and sharing; our hearts were designed to be close to other hearts, and deeply attached to place.

A million plus years of evolution in closely knit social groups doesn’t take kindly to isolation. And isolate is what this country’s most pervasive built environment does. No coincidence either, that our prevailing economic philosophy is one that worships the individual.

But we’re waking up. Human nature is rebelling. A life of strip malls and subdivisions viewed through the windshield doesn’t cut it. People want to live in places that cultivate connectedness—to the physical city itself as well as the people in it. As happens when you walk instead of drive.

And it’s not about size, but form. True cities, small and large alike, have the power to bring people together. To bring them home.


It’s been 29 days, 67 posts, and 14,000 unique site visits since yours truly started this Citytank C200 series thing. The response was much greater than I ever anticipated, and I thank all of you who contributed. All the pieces that have been submitted to date have now been published, and so I thought it fitting to put a punctuation mark on the end of this first wave of the series with my C200 contribution, above. I plan to continue publishing new C200 pieces as they are submitted, and I encourage people to go for it. Meanwhile, Citytank will start featuring more of the sort of content that made hugeasscity a household word.