Author: Daniel Kleypas
In “Urban or Rural: Where Do YOU Recharge?” Kleypas enlightens us through personal nostalgia and his connection to the big city life of Berkeley. He points out the, “hustle and bustle of the city,” that Jane Jacobs shares in, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” Furthermore, Kleypas delves into the ease as well as the difficulty of passageways Jacobs discusses in her book by painting a vivid image of his experiences. – Editor: Sammy Andrews
Having grown up in the country on the outskirts of a town of approximately 1,200 people, I tend to have a difficult time adjusting when spending time in large, busy cities. The ability to have a quiet, uninterrupted time to yourself is few and far between with the noise, distraction, and flurry of activity in cities. Though stubborn, I do tend to come around to the idea of living and interacting with the city. The way the city allows for interaction through city planning, placement of parks, and walkability, is crucial to the ability to enjoy living there. Jane Jacobs, in the second chapter of her notable book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” is surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city, and relishes the fact that she can observe the goings-on around her, for the sidewalks of cities should be the active and social places that keep the city thriving.
I recently visited the Bay Area and spent time in Berkeley, San Francisco, as well as ventured out east to Yosemite National Park. The time spent in each of these places was markedly different, even though two of the locations were a part of the same larger metropolitan area. While in Berkeley, things seemed to be a little slower, especially through downtown and around the campus of the University of California. Engaging the city through the sidewalks and crosswalks was easy. The one day I spent in San Francisco was great, but the crowded and cramped sidewalks of downtown were anxiety producing. Though the areas in which we were sightseeing seemed to be developed and designed especially for that reason, allowing for ease of access and greater walkability.
Before heading home, I drove three and half hours east to Yosemite National Park. Here, I felt the openness and familiarity of the country. Although dramatically opposite in appearance from my home, the peace and quiet that I experienced from my time in the country was present here. I can and always will appreciate our “Great American Cities” and the cultural and social role that they represent for humanity; however, the pastoral setting of rural America will always be a part of me.
Lange, Alexandra. Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities. New York: Princeton Architectural, 2012. Print. pp. 147-152.
All photos taken by Daniel Kleypas.