Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Rapid urbanization has meant that most of life as we know it has moved to the cities. As industrialization gathered pace and factories started mushrooming on the periphery of major cities, people followed, going where the jobs were. They were soon caught up in the noise, the pollution and the daily hassles of city life. Many still yearn for the old ways and country living. Yet is country living all it is cracked up to be? In underdeveloped or developing countries it is most certainly not while in developed countries it is. In other words, the differences between country living and city living become more marked as the level of development drops. This fact needs to be kept in mind before uprooting one’s family and moving to the country.

In underdeveloped regions of the world, country living and city living are as different as chalk and cheese. On the plus side, the air is cleaner than in the city as there is no industry and people get to enjoy natural organic produce fresh from the garden and the trees. It is also much quieter as the constant traffic in major cities is completely lacking here. Some even find the silence a little eerie as it can be punctuated by the sounds of nocturnal creatures roaming the countryside. This is where the idyllic picture ends however. In the rural parts of Turkmenistan and in northern Nigeria for instance, the toilettes are outside and it sometimes takes a good walk to get to them; they are public and dirty. The roads are dusty and it is impossible to keep the house clean. As for the facilities and amenities taken for granted in the cities, one can just forget about them. In underdeveloped and developing countries, the best schools, the best hospitals, cultural events, cinemas and theaters, restraunts and cafes are all in the cities; in the country, you just have nature.

The picture is very different in developed countries. The line between country living and city living begins to blur as the level of development increases. In developed countries, rural living includes all that nature has to offer plus the mod cons of city living. Schools are round the corner and so are hospitals; cultural activities are present; there is a vibrant community life; any place you can’t walk to, you can drive to because there are modern highways and motorways and everyone drives.  The houses themselves have all that modern technology has to offer plus gardens, fields, woods and parks. One can enjoy the clean air, the fresh produce, the country walks, bird song and the like but then go home, have a hot bath in your own bathroom and watch satellite television. In short, in developed countries, nature has been tamed and molded into a form people are happy to live with. Nobody but Robinson Crusoe would enjoy wild nature.

To sum up, there are differences between country living and city living and the greater the level of development, the fewer the differences and the greater the level of development, the more pleasant the country life. Wild, untamed nature is good for a safari or a camping trip but for modern man, living there continually day in and day out is no longer possible. The ideal is the compromise that exists in developed countries and this is why those picturesque little villages in rural England or France are so popular; you get the best of both worlds.  

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