Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

Oliver: Green acres is the place for me.
Lisa: New York is where I’d rather be.
- lyrics from Green Acres opening credits

Young soldiers coming back from WWII were promised a better life. They wouldn’t need to raise their families in noisy, dirty and smoked-filled cities, but instead would be offered a new lifestyle in the clean, expansive countryside.

Then came the advent of cul-de-sac suburbs with ribbons of streets and highways connecting big box malls and new employment centers surrounded by acres of free parking lots. The middle and upper classes vacated vital cities in droves; thus, shopping in the city was moved out to the suburbs and big malls, leading to the death of our mom and pop stores. This new suburban lifestyle wasn’t exactly the country life envisioned beforehand.

I recently viewed a documentary film entitled, “The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream” at our Central Library.

The film, made in 2004, forewarns us that the world oil and gas extraction will soon peak and in the very near future we will see the price of gas going up and the way of life as we know it severely changed.

Fossil fuels not only power transportation of goods on freighter ships, trains, trucks, airplanes, and cars, but are also the actual matter we use to make roads.

The fuel is used to generate electricity for heat, light, telephones, computers, and appliances in our homes.

But wait, it doesn’t stop there! Fuel is also used to plant, irrigate, harvest, process, and package the food we eat, and petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides are used to increase productivity.

The film cites far-reaching and devastating implications of this fossil fuel peaking.

With recent events and gas prices over $3, many sci-fi moves come to mind!

Whether you buy into the concept or not, a vibrant Downtown with compact, self-contained neighborhoods is in our future.

Wouldn’t you prefer the best of both worlds? Instead of getting into your solitary car, wouldn't you prefer peacefully strolling past a neighboring park filled with the aroma of fragrant flowers and fresh cut grass, singing birds, and benches holding people of all ages mingling? Wouldn’t this be an enjoyable path to your neighborhood center just a few blocks away offering high-quality goods and service shops with a village ambiance? Would this be country living in an urban environment?

I contemplate…What will it be like to live in a green space in an urban place?

Len Filomeo
(doma) takes advantage of Downtown’s bayside surroundings by biking for pleasure and exercise, an activity that is less enjoyable in the suburbs.

Downtown provides Lara Ulrich (Avalon) with everything she needs and wants, including the open space for a run in Balboa Park or along the water’s edge.

The ocean is my front yard and the city lights are my back yard. What could be better?! - Donna Zizian (The Grande North)

Downtown is where I’d rather be! - October 2005

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