If There Was a City…

… somewhere west of the Cascades,

… either on the US side of the border, in a borderless world, or in a Canada that did not have the immigration hurdles the current Canada does.

… with San Francisco’s urban form. No, scratch that, not possible: SF is the way it is in part because of when it started growing rapidly, and that is about a half-century earlier than any of the Northwest cities started doing so. So make it with an dense urban form dominated by neighborhoods like Portland’s Northwest District or Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

… not ringed by a huge moat of urban sprawl; the country begins relatively close to the urban center.

… with a good, comprehensive mass transit system that could take you to that edge of the city where the country begins.

… without the Willamette Valley’s hellish late spring grass pollen counts.

I would live there and be very happy, even if it were a bit more expensive than I’d like, even if it were in the Willamette Valley and hotter in the summer than I like. Because there’s lots I like about cities.

But no such big city exists. All the ones which do exist are fundamentally broken.

Seattle’s the least-bad match, but the way in which it is broken speaks volumes as to how I don’t belong there, because a city gets to be broken in the way Seattle does only if the vast preponderance of its residents lack the sort of values that would lead them to demand things go in a different direction.

Sure, one cannot demand absolute perfection, but I’m not demanding absolute perfection above. Nothing I’ve described above is fundamentally impossible in the current, statist, capitalist world.

With the exception of the bit alluding to immigration hassles, in fact, it comes very close to describing the real-world city of Vancouver, BC. So what I’m describing is hardly unrealistic in any sense of the imagination.

It just doesn’t happen to exist. Hence, my focus on living out of the city.

And having said that, I now promise to write a good anarchistic political rant here sometime soon. Things have been awfully skewed towards the personal as of late, and it’s time to re-establish some form of balance here.