Urban; but what lays the other side of the fence?

Urban is a classification for the metropolitan lifestyle. High rises, low fences, power careers and jobs that keep the world rotating, or grounding to a halt depending on how deep you dare to divulge into the consequences of our municipal living. High heels and halter-tops, lady suits and metro-sexual men, today’s world is an upside down version of what came before, and the ware of such activity is starting to take its toll on our planet.

Urbanization is the conversion of once rural land to a modern industrialized landscape. The rate at which this is happening differs throughout the globe but the over all result is the same. The process of urbanization which began in the early twentieth century for Britain is a gradual slope towards a capitalist society. This is having compelling effects not only on the visual panorama of the world, but within the communities of each individual country. The technological age and new means of geographical mobility also come into play, with the world blending and rumors sprouting that soon everything will be a universal color of brown; whether this is due to the super-size land fills, trash flowing around Caribbean currents or mixed race marriages… its going to happen.

The never-ending cities that have been born during this cultural shift have brought with them super size living in every context. Twenty-four hour outlets are now the selling point of a city, with take-a-way’s, off-licences and bars all offering their services around the clock, encouraging you to double up for a pound, spurring on the health issues that have dominated the press pages in the US for some time before the problems have become as prominent in Britain. The higher standard of living that the urban lifestyle brings with it is seriously straining the global resources and increasing the demand for green living, bring on the hippies. That is unless that is the land that people give as gifts on the moon has suddenly become a hot bed for real estate and oil, then all of the world’s problems will be solved!

To digress, it is interesting to consider how in the western world you are considered a member of the upper class if you are the owner of a country abode complete with land and swimming pool. Every city worker dreams of having that country estate in which to escape the gritty realities of the city. This is quite a western phenomenon as in the East the wealth is concentrated in the city sky-scrapers and the more rural areas are littered with extreme poverty.

It is not just the environment that is suffering due to this cultural shift. It is the next generation, the children of the world. Along with urbanization, comes a need for advanced maturation of the globe’s youngsters. Youths are being awoken to the glum and frightening realities of the world at earlier and earlier stages in their development. This could be seen as a natural progression, but when children as young as 10 are committing vulgar violent atrocities, such as the infamous Jamie Bulger case and other examples that have followed, and girls are getting pregnant as young as 12, it is obvious that innocence has been lost in an intensely capitalistic system which is saturated with media, and regulations are not working.

Children now get lost in a parallel universe of gaming and social networking, and natural play is left out in the cold… literally. It has been widely acknowledged that outdoor play is the most beneficial way for children to spend their time. Interaction with others, appreciation for nature, and re-discovering the natural human instincts of foraging, building, and other scout like talents, are how children learn the skills needed to carry on into adulthood, this has been lost. The premature sexualisation and criminalisation of the planets children has encouraged over-protective parenting. Figures for incidents including children in sexual assaults or kid-napping are astonishingly similar to those 40 or even 50 years ago, the only difference is that with the wonders of technology and the media, everyone knows about what is going on on the other side of the world, whereas at one point in history you only had knowledge of incidences in your village or maybe the one next door. This has created scare mongering in the media and left children stuck indoors, reliant on television, games consoles and the internet as sources from which to draw their information on what goes on behind the six foot fence surrounding their garden.

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