Why do people live in cities?

MonacoMonkey's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | banana points 2,218

So 100 years ago, it made sense (and was forgivable). Horses were difficult to maintain, alternative transportation lacking, slow, and inadequate. And the only real way to comminucate was face to face.

Then they invented the telephone, internet, and smartphone/apps that are more powerful than NASA from 30 years ago. They also invented cars, built superb infrastructure, and generally made getting around really, really frictionless.

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Yet people still stack themselves in boxes dozens of stories high, in crowded cities. With no personal land, no personal lakes, marble fountains, etc etc. And they (in certain instances) pay tens of millions for this 2 bedroom box.

I'm not saying to move out into the sticks, away from civilization. I'm talking about an estate/villa in a nice suburb within 20 minutes from city center.

So with no apparent benefits, the question is why?

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*full disclaimer. I lived in Manhattan for 10 years. Didn't mind it, but definitely didn't see the allure.

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Comments (19)

Jun 27, 2018

I do it because I'd kill myself if all my neighbors were like you.

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Funniest
Jun 27, 2018

Was this posted from the bar at Applebee's?

Jun 27, 2018

lol'd at the visual

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

Jun 27, 2018

Who's more autistic, me or this kid?

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

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Jun 27, 2018
MonacoMonkey:

Why Do People Live In Cities?

Because cities have jobs, by design.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Jun 27, 2018

"I'm talking about an estate/villa in a nice suburb within 20 minutes from city center."

Where exactly is this possible?

Jun 28, 2018

Probably Philly, specifically the Main Line

Jun 27, 2018

Here in Chicago, the North Shore (NorthWestern area) is cool if you have millis in the bank and don't mind being surrounded by soccer moms in yoga pants briskly walking in packs holding 1.5lb dumbbells looking very concerned.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

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Jun 27, 2018
MonacoMonkey:

Then they invented the telephone, internet, and smartphone/apps that are more powerful than NASA from 30 years ago. They also invented cars, built superb infrastructure, and generally made getting around really, really frictionless.

Yes, but teleportation is not fully operational yet.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Jun 28, 2018

Depends on the city. I've lived in a few European cities and compared to the alternative (European towns and suburbs) I love them. Sure, the price you pay is that rent is more expensive and they are more crowded/polluted but they also tend to be centres of culture and language, culinary hubs, have countless job opportunities and much more to do than smaller towns. As for things like parks and green spaces, the issue isn't that big in European cities. Paris, Madrid, London, Rome, Milan, Copenhagen and countless more have numerous parks and large communal gardens.

Also, for most large cities villas/estates won't be 20 minutes away from the centre; more like 40-50 minutes.

Jun 28, 2018

Some of my clients allow telecommuting for their staff, up to 30% currently. These are employees who live beyond the regular suburbs and it is a good concept for the environment, productivity and efficiency.
With more automation there is the possibility to decrease staff within the city.

Jun 28, 2018

Because they get many facilities in cities whether they don't get in villages.

Most Helpful
Jun 28, 2018

The real answer is simple. Some people work, others own.

I haven't seen too many of your posts @MonacoMonkey, but in between the social-Asperger's style rants I have noticed a few comments about you pursuing independent sources of income. You're entrepreneurial.

The overwhelming majority of people aren't. They don't have the risk tolerance. They are workers. People in general trade time for money. 2-3,000 hours per year, depending on profession, for anything ranging from $60,000-X,000,000 in salary. Accounting, consulting, marketing, tech, banking ... it doesn't matter. Employees are workers.

People live in the place convenient to their opportunity set and their requirement set.

If you're someone whose life revolves around a calendar set by another person, your place of living needs to be conducive to meeting that calendar while allowing you to fulfill all your personal obligations or preferences: errands, seeing friends, and the like.

Cities offer the highest concentration of jobs, service amenities (launderers, doctors, salons and spas, etc.), and entertainment amenities (theater, museums, dance, dining, etc.). Where else can you find a way to get everything done that you need to while navigating around a non-negotiable block of 70 primetime working hours?

If you're someone whose life revolves around a calendar set solely by your own whims, your place of living can be whatsoever you want it to be. It must be conducive only to your preferences.

This is why hedge fund and private equity titans live in Connecticut, North Jersey, or well out on Long Island. This is why guys who run their own businesses live wherever they do.

Commuting isn't a problem because the 60 minutes each way doesn't consume 30% of your non-working waking hours like it does for the employee. If you get in at 11, who cares, everyone who works for you is going to snap to. Besides, you used the first couple hours of your day to read, handle emails, and do calls from the car or your back deck or wherever.

A suburban estate makes a ton of sense now. It offers the chance for a sprawling physical footprint, garage, pool, sizable house with numerous purpose-specific rooms, clean air, space for the kids and dogs to run around ... where else can you find a way to optimize for lifestyle while still accommodating the few things that require you to head somewhere location-specific?

It's all about the locus of control. If external, you're probably a city-dweller. If internal, you can choose whether the city suits your needs (it probably does if you're young, liquid, and single) or the country does.

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Jun 28, 2018

Great write up! There are essentially two economies:

  1. Time and Effort Economy- trade your time for a pay check . Certain rules pertain to you maintaining job. Show up on time, do assigned tasks, etc. The better you get and the more valuable you become, the more you make but it that is controlled by a boss.
  2. The Results Economy - As the name implies, the only thing that matters is results. Nothing (especially compensation) is based on time, effort, hierarchy, etc. Think of it this way, does the board care if a CEO works really hard, puts in 100 hours a week , etc. while the stock price declines? No, he gets sacked. However, when results show that the stock went up 30%, he gets a multi million dollar increase.

Yes, the Results Economy takes an entrepreneurial spirit, either and actual entrepreneur / owner or at least a results oriented person (think sales, commission based, eat what you kill) who makes their own path.

Great visual of the top dog making calls from his back yard deck. That's reality. Yes the entrepreneur / owner is free to come and go but they actually are focused on results 24/7. When they're not doing it, they're thinking about it. One or two properly timed and framed phone calls could make their yr. (I call those Focus Days where everything is about revenue - closing deals, networking for new deals, servicing existing deals, recruiting more talent to find more deals, etc. )

You'd be amazed at how much time is wasted in the Time and Effort economy. But, as someone noted, most aren't wired for the results world.

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Jun 28, 2018

This is awesome and I love your heuristic. Great post.

Jun 28, 2018

Props to APAE and rickle for salvaging a MonacoMonkey shitpost

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Jun 28, 2018

I'm an entrepreneur and prefer big cities for the networking. Cant really meet amazing people if you're in bumfuck nowhere...

Jun 28, 2018

In the US, public transit can be pretty awesome, especially since some businesses see the efficiency benefits and are concentrated there.

And when you live in middle America, all they have is Olive Garden. What if I want authentic-style pizza or real handmade pasta? Should I fly from middletown all the way to Italy? What about for Mexican or sushi (even though I haven't found good sushi outside of NYC in America).

Also, if you live in middletown, you would mostly need to buy a house. Cities offer more options if you don't have a lot of equity or are unwilling to take care of all the things around homeownership.

There's a ton of reasons cities are great. They're even more energy efficient based on clusters.

On what APAE said above, I believe this is very true. Funny thing is, in cities like DC, it used to be all black because white people wanted to live in suburbia--the Great American white pikett fence dream. Hence, gentrification is a big topic and a problem in places like SF. The units are built in a way to offer workers easier access to get to work. I believe millennials pushed the trend towards cities because it is more efficient in dollars and cents, as well in other ways, after all of the economic crises we've had (housing, tech, financial, etc.).

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Jun 28, 2018