In the suburbs, neighbors don’t talk to neighbors as often as they used to (I speak from experience on this point). People generally keep to themselves. Consequently, babysitters are harder to find, block parties have become a thing of the past, and kids spend more time playing on their computers than playing kick-the-can or riding bikes with other neighborhood kids.

Like an economy, a community is also sustained by the forging of relationships between people who are willing and able to provide certain services to one another. The only difference is that in a community, those services are sometimes provided for free or at a steep discount. That can make a world of difference for the young couple who just popped out their first kid and are struggling to keep up with the financial burdens that come with parenthood, or the elderly man down the street who had his license taken away and can’t run out for his own groceries anymore. Communities will often rally around those people and give them a helping hand. But in every suburb I’ve lived in as an adult, which has been quite a few, I just don’t see that anymore. I do, however, still see it when I visit relatives in big cities and tiny rural towns. So yeah, I can relate to what you’re saying, and I think your analysis is right on the money.

Outer space enthusiast. Japanese history junkie. I write about politics, culture, and mental illness. Disagreement is a precursor to progress.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store