Comments on "Could Cities Be Safer Than Suburbs?"

My comments on "Could Cities Be Safer Than Suburbs?"

It looks to me like Charles Hugh-Smith (CHS) is there talking mostly sense, with one or two bits of fallacy. But is talking about different sorts of events in different sorts of neighbourhood from those I am thinking of in my notion that we have to relocate from cities to rural. Indeed I would class "suburbs" as another form of urban. What I have in mind with the word "rural" is an area where the local supply of food, water, etc, is equal or greater than the requirements of the local population. The crucial problem with cities, or even suburbs, is that millions of people in such an area would find themselves with far too little food between them if the grand industrialised corporatised supply-system ever became seized up for more than a few days. And in the slightly-less short-term, the grand system is almost certain to grind to a halt in a scenario of enforced energy-descent, before adequate substitute arrangements can be set up (in a vast project).

And it is such a critical crisis of the life-support system that I am weighing the relative prospects for, rather than some mere gradual impoverishment/abandonment scenario that CHS is thinking of.

If a city is as dense as CHS envisages such as to have "eyes on the street", then it could be far too dense from the local supply perspective (depending on size and location).

Meanwhile, I am far from persuaded by the concepts about restraints on crime. In the UK, insurance premiums are much higher in urban areas than in rural ones, reflecting the well-known much higher crime and risk of being attacked that exists in urban areas. As for the "eyes on the street" factor, there has been quite a lot of research on the phenomenon of "bystander apathy". This was inspired by one observation of a brutal murder carried out with hundreds of onlookers who did nothing to intervene, did not even call police. My own experience is of being repeatedly attacked in busy urban settings and never in rural, even though I have lived equally long in both. I even witnessed a horrendous attack right in the very most central part of this city, with a crowd of onlookers doing nothing to intervene. As for police response times, quite what are you smoking?, the police famously always come too late and are well-known to have negligible impact on street crime, burglaries etc.

In conclusion, there are two key problems with urban areas. Firstly they contain far more people than the locality can keep locally supplied in the event that the industrialised supply-system ever fails (which it almost certainly will within a decade or two if not year or two). And secondly they put a citizen within reach of far too many strangers with easy access to commit crimes and rapidly escape to who-knows-where immediately afterwards. As further elaborated in my 1995-1998 paper .


  1. Robin, just to mention I think a lot of people are waiting with interest to absorb more of your ideas, whenever you are ready to share them.

    Now you'll probably tell me that you have the hits figures for your blog and I'm wrong... :) but you take the point.

  2. Thanks for your interesting comment Nnonnth (did I spell that right?)....The thing is that I am since childhood chronically too unwell to earn money and too poor to pay for the treatment for the dental mercury poisoning which the NHS persistently pretends does not exist anyway. Till that is sorted out my time/energy is very limited. At the moment I am trying to sort out either ways of forcing the NHS to do something or alternatively ways of earning/getting/borrowing ~£10k to pay for it.
    Meanwhile you could perhaps read parts of my book , though I would change some bits (particularly the biography bit) if I had time, and obviously much of it is only relevant to the RDP project which I have now shelved (due to firstly harassment campaign and eviction by liar judges, then as I mentioned on page 17: "resource depletion", just I was not then aware of the particularly critical state of energy resources). But there are other parts which present some of my fundamental ideologies which remain unchanged (and obviously differing from some of the ideas of others involved in transitionish projects).
    Another thing that will absorb as much time as anyone can spare is probably studying /researching / learning of useful skills, use of hand tools, learning about natural resources such as the natural vegetation and how it can help/hinder you. Elderberries and fungi and so on are about to appear, etc. How to catch a goose for dinner.
    And I hope to be able to add more here fairly soon too. I will add a thing about speaking to people just now next; that should generate plenty time-consumption too.

  3. PS to the preceding (and not meaningful except as a PS to the preceding): I also have to urgently try to evacuate my secret vegetable garden as the council is demolishing the old persons home in question in 2wks time; and so I will try to transfer as many plants as possible to a railway viaduct. All other sites are either too accessible or inaccessible. Yesterday I journeyed to fetch my spade from parent's house (where it ended up from the eviction). Still tired from the journey. Such is the ridiculousness on which is wasted one's time due to inescapable poverty.