Reflections on My City

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From birth, I have had the same address, lived in the same house, stayed in the same bedroom. My current home is the only home I have ever known and the only place I have ever truly been comfortable with. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, “among all respondents to the survey only 37% have never left their hometown” (D’vera Cohn & Rich Morin, para.10). While I have never really been exposed to anything other than my current living conditions, I personally feel that when it is time for me to be on my own and in my own home, I want to live someplace else. I will look for something with similar characteristics to what I have now, but not exactly the same. In a perfect world, I could get a happy medium. I want something that is neither city or country, that is not too fast-paced, but not too isolated either. I like the idea of a smaller town, everyone knows each other and looks out for them, but not close-minded. I want to have more opportunities than I have now. I already know that the chances of having a successful well-paying job in my hometown are slim to none. I want to be exposed to more cultures and meet people with different views. But most importantly, I want to feel comfortable, accepted and at ease where I am at.

I currently live in the outskirts in between two small cities, Cleveland and Helen. My city has very similar traits of the country. Very limited places to shop, a minimum of a thirty-minute drive to do anything remotely fun, and a relatively small population. However, I would not consider it as rural. The city of Cleveland currently has a population of roughly thirty-five hundred, and according to the United States Census Bureau, rural is “…referred to the population living outside settlements of one thousand or fewer inhabitants”. While I wouldn’t consider Cleveland rural, it isn't necessarily urban either. It does have some traits to consider it urban, like the population “for an urban area range between 1,500 and 50,000 people, and most U.S states using a minimum between 1,500 and 5,000 inhabitants” (Volcovic, 5). Cities are often referred to bustling places that are full of noise, activity, and liveliness, and my town is rarely like that. Cities often have higher crime rates and pollution, which is relatively low in my area.

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Cities can be very desirable in some aspects compared to the country life. One advantage that I wish we have in my city is more diversity. Different cultures are hard to find and the majority of people have the same political and religious views. With a small town, small minds usually come with it. They often believe their views are superior and politics are brutal. Which is why it is hard to find different ideas. Because small towns are populated by countless generations of the same families who all have the same views, outsiders are often not welcomed with open arms. They believe that their slow-paced life has worked for this long and they do not see any reason for change. In their eyes, outsiders only bring change with them, so they are often looked down upon. Janelle Lutgen, a Republican activist in Iowa, when talking about the natives’ discomfort with diversity, said: “I think it’s more the unknown than the actual problem, It’s more a perceived problem than an actual problem”. With that, she shows that the only problem is the stigma that surrounds change. However, with cities, there is more of a racial and cultural melting pot. People migrate from all over and because of that you are given an insight into their customs, arts, social institutions and you are given a different perspective of how people are raised and their beliefs. Cities are booming with adventure. Constantly meeting new people and always having something to do.

Another advantage is the public transportation, which is something that people in rural areas dream about. There are so many benefits to public transportation such as a reduction in air pollution, an increase in fuel efficiency, and it is also a good way to save money. Car payments, on top of car insurance, and then the gas can get extremely costly. Plus, the maintenance on a vehicle can add up too. Public transportation can eliminate over half of those costs. It is also a good way to bring money into the community. According to www.nationalexpresstransit.com, “According to APTA, an investment of $10 million in public transportation generates about $32 million in increased business sales, and residential property values for homes located near public transit with high-frequency service performed 42% better on average. In fact, it has been stated that the hidden economic value of public transit could be up to $1.8 billion per year per city, which is a considerable amount of capital”. Not only does public transportation reduce the amount of air pollution and traffic congestion, it gives those who can’t drive the opportunity to still be mobile. Whether it be due to anxiety, or having a car is too expensive and not an option, public transportation can give those the chance to still be involved in their community and “allows them to get to work, to school, to the grocery store or doctor’s office, or just to visit friends, without having to engage a friend or relative to do the driving” (Transit Operations, 6). Overall, it makes the life of the everyday person more convenient.

However, living in the city can have its disadvantages too. Because of the overcrowded locations, it can be threatening depending on your personal views. The crime rates can be high, bacteria spreads so quickly with the high populations, and personal space becomes something of the past. While many would like to believe that living in rural areas are safer, according to www.governing.com, “The violent crime rate in rural areas, meanwhile, has climbed above the national average for the first time in 10 years” (Greenblatt, 4). Sometimes in the rural areas, due to lack of employment, poverty becomes high. With that, crime rates increase as well. Jacob Kang-Brown, a senior research associate with the Vera Institute of Justice, said: “Rural areas, which traditionally have had lower crime rates, have seen dramatic increases in incarceration rates, we see them now having the highest incarceration rates in the country”. Contributing factors to this could be the lack of law enforcement. Small towns and small populations usually mean there will not be a lot of tax money. Because of this, it leads to underfunding in the police department and not many people available to do the job. All of this combined is a recipe for higher crime rates.

My hometown has qualities of both urban and rural, which is why I would consider it more of a suburban area. We have a decent population, and are steadily gaining more businesses, yet we are still a slow-paced town that doesn't have much to do. We still have the luxury of owning decent amounts of land that don't cost an arm and a leg, and it is very peaceful, yet we still have some disadvantages. Activities are hard to find in my area. Helen, which was one a city that was full of life and fun things to do, is now where locals go to drink beer and eat wings every Wednesday. The closest mall is forty-five minutes away, and it is the saddest excuse of a mall to literally anyone. The only rush hour is when the Sunday service lets out, and on Friday night lights at the one high school in the area. The diversity in my area is slim to none and life just moves slower in my town. However, progression is still there and is happening, just at a leisurely pace. I personally like where I was born and raised. The views here are beautiful and the community I am surrounded by are amazing. As an introverted person, the calm slower-paced lifestyle is what suits me best and is what I would prefer to call home.

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Reflections on My City. (2023, September 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/reflections-on-my-city/
“Reflections on My City.” Edubirdie, 08 Sept. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/reflections-on-my-city/
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Reflections on My City [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Sept 08 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/reflections-on-my-city/
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