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Top 5 reasons of getting away from big cities

Updated on August 20, 2008

I've lived most of my life in Shanghai, one of the biggest cities in the world. Since I moved to UK 8 years ago, most of the time I have been living in small cities and towns. I found that I prefer towns to big cities. The followings are top 5 reasons why I don't like living in big cities.

1. Environment & health risks

Walking along any street in big cities like New York, London, or Shanghai, the average observer can smell car fumes in the air, and see the filth in the gutters. The potential for catching communicable diseases is severely heightened in concentrated populations. Some of the alleged pollution problems are air pollution, water contamination, excessive noise and the presence of smog. Several diseases have spread throughout the city in recent years including the flu and meningitis.

Having used to drink directly from tap water in UK, I can definitely tell the difference between UK tap water and boiled & cooled Shanghai tap water when going back Shanghai for holiday. Actually, many Shanghainese drink bottle water nowadays, and only use tap water for washing and cleaning.

Besides fresh air and cleaner water, other pros of living in towns and country side include access to greener and fresher vegetables.

These factors increase the likelihood that residents of a city will contract a particular disease, suffer from an environmentally caused illness, die earlier than they should have lived.

2. Living expenses

First and the most important, the house price in big cities is surgingly rising. Just look at the house price in London and other parts of UK will prove this. The price of a basement flat in central London may buy you a castle in Scotland.

Everything's a bit more expensive in big cities. Take car insurance as an example. More cars, the higher the risk of getting in an accident. Thus, car insurance will go up in big cities.

Shanghai night

3. Overcrowding

Overcrowding in big cities can be very annoying, you will find it hard to walk down the Bund or People Square in Shanghai to get to work without having to swim through tourists. At weekend and public holidays, the situation is so worse that you can hardly walk in city centre without bump into others.

4. Population & Community

The closer the physical distance between people, the further their psychological distance is. It is true that small population usually has tight community. In big cities, everybody cares only their own business. You can have lived in the same apartment for 10 years and still don't know the people who live in the building next to yours.

It's common that people greet on the street in small town even they don't know each other, while in big cities if you do that your greeting is more likely to be returned by a poker face.

5. Crime & Terrorism

Big cities can be much more dangerous. I personally have never been attacked but read newspapers you'll find people have been beaten up, mugged, or even killed every now and then in big cities.

Anything from a car accident to an intentional murder or shooting can cause an unnatural death. Additionally, freak occurrences like terrorist attacks can kill or infect populations of people like those in New York City. Terrorism endangers the well being of the citizens of big cities. Places like London tube or New York skyscrapers are more likely to be the targets of terrorist attacks.

However, there are pros of living in big cities. Public transportation is the best thing. You don't have to deal with gas or cars in cities like Shanghai or London. There are lots of diversity, which helps you expand your horizons when it comes to knowledge and culture. In additional, more work opportunities since there are more employers.

I believe that the adage in Chinese Making money in big cites and retirement in the country is a wise choice on the old debate of country life vs. city life.


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