ew0k makes a great case for “slow-mo driving”
This is only tangentially related, but I’ve been living in a high-density urban neighborhood for the last several years, and a change that has fascinated me lately is how much my world has shrunk. I spend most of my time in an area that’s scarcely 130 hectares (~0.5 square miles) large. My shopping, dining, the baby’s daycare, my spouse’s job (mine too, but I work from home), the gym that I used pre-Covid, most of my socializing — all the activities of a typical middle-class life are contained in this tiny area.
When I lived in small towns (and I do mean “small towns”, not suburbs), I’d range much further in a typical week than I do here in the city. I’m actually a bit ambivalent about it! It’s definitely convenient (I walk everywhere), and I like that it reduces my family’s “ecological footprint” (though I’d note that the practice of framing environmental impact as a series of individual choices, and not the result of governmental/corporate policies, is total bullshit). But it’s also a bit claustrophobic at times. When I do break out of the neighborhood, it has to be deliberate and always feels urgent. My neighborhood has enough green space to walk the dog and see plenty of birds, but you don’t get the chance to feel surrounded by trees, which is a sensation that both my spouse and I frequently need.
It’s difficult (but not impossible) to find a lifestyle that marries the benefits of my current one with one that’s closer to more green spaces, but it ought to be easier. If I could replace all of the parking lots and highways here with gardens and forest, this would probably be the perfect place for me.