Find Yourself a City

[US] Census finds population growth in big cities surpass that of suburbs for first time in century

“Globally, as you know, urban areas are expected to absorb all future population growth,” said Sundaram. “Between 2011 and 2050, the world population is expected to increase by 2.3 billion. Global urban population will increase by 2.6 billion.”

Principle agglomerations of the world:

I’m not a big Phish fan but this is great. Find yourself a city!

Yeah… those Phish kids.

“Lot of rich people in Birmingham

Lot of ghosts in a lot of houses

Look over there! Dry ice factory

Good place to get some thinking done”

Same song. By the Talking Heads. 30 years earlier:


Find yourself a city at elevation to live in.

73 Replies to “Find Yourself a City”

  1. Bif, first off, I think the sign is wrong on the population estimate. Then, the last place you would want to be in a rapid collapse is in a city. Maybe after things settle down and supply lines reopen, but in the chaotic period following a collapse the cities will be killing fields. Rome went from a major city to a ruin with only a few tens of thousands of inhabitants for centuries after the collapse of the Western Empire in the fifth century. Compare its level of complexity to that of any modern western city. No power, no food, water = Dark Ages. Even if food, water and personal security were obtained (doubtful for most), the infrastructure will fail and the buildings will crumble without prior notice. My guess is this article is off by the millions to billions of dead bodies it stumbles over in the dark.

  2. oh, and I like the photo, but again, it fails to account for the near-complete self-destruction of the buildings in the photo. it would be moron like a big pile of concrete, steel and glass rubble surrounded by those waters.

    the great pyramid of Mexico City crumbled on the outside to resemble a giant hill. The Spanish built a cathedral next to it and used the mound as a refuse dump. Several centuries later, as the city grew and the need for a new sanitary sewer developed, they accidentially tunneled through one side of it and then finally realized what it was. Now it is the site of a popular national cultural museum. I recommend visiting it, while you still can.

  3. Yeah I was just pointing out the ongoing trend, not advocating it as the outcome, solution, etc.

    I also don’t believe well make it to 9 or 10 billion, whatever they are saying.

    However, under the present conditions there is nowhere else for the masses to go but in toward the middle and to try and be a part of the machine of economic activity. Eventually, as all this begins to break down, how many will migrate back into the hinterlands and pick up a shovel? And what will they use that shovel for? Probably more for hitting than digging.

    I agree that this flocking of a growing world population into the cities (and the making of big and mega-sized cities) is ultimately disastrous at all levels and categories.

    Check out these historical urban community sizes. Until just a couple centuries ago the bigger cities in the world were just a few hundred thousand souls, with very few exceptions into the millions, i.e. London and Beijing. Or even just 100 years ago for that matter.

    Now we have cities like Tokyo and Guangzhou that each have populations of 35 to 40 million. Each about equal to all California.

    Globalism and growing population fed by resource bonanzas seem to have killed whats left of the village and small city community fabric and economy, as everyone is leaving grandpa and grandma to tend their hut while they head for the big city in search of jobs and a hope for modern life. It’s happening everywhere in the world. Eventually as things seriously break down it will probably attempt to flow back the other way, but only result in bitter disappointment and yelling of course.

    My guess is towns and scaled-down cities will be back, as part of some cascading denouement but with the look and feel of a spaghetti western. The shit never gets completely resolved. People are funny.

  4. nice summary, Bif. i live in a city with about one million other people and their pets. it only works well because the infrastructure works OK and there is plenty of food and supplies arriving daily by boat, with some by airplane. there is plenty of fresh water thanks to some unique geology on oahu and of course, the mighty US military keeps any wannabe intruders at bay, but on the flip side, they make this island a high-value military target.

    there are much less people on the outer islands. yesterday was a watershed moment for our family, because i finally got my wife to agree on a plan of moving to one of them when i retire in about 4 years. i just hope that the knock-on effects of peak oil do not lead to a rapid collapse before that time. it’s worrying watching all the signs.

  5. Doom. So for you it ends like Gilligans Island. Its as good as any I say. For me it probably ends like Bastogne.

  6. dave, i do, but i leave that high-foluting philosophy stuff to you and the other zen masters. i’m just a dumb-ass geologist that tries to keep up with current events. i like to think i’m smarter, even if poorer, than dale.

    besides, unlike here, if i get real, jay smacks my comments down. the guy has little sense of humor, IMHO. even kunstler has a better sense of humor than jay. i do enjoy the commentary there at america2.0.

  7. just this last week, I found out that two of my neighbors checked out to that great oil derek in the sky. the next door neighbor was 86 and went quick with a stroke. he used to walk his little dog around the block every evening, so we thought maybe they were on vacation. the neighbor behind us died about a year ago of a massive heart attack. that musta hurt. he was overweight, in his fifties, little to no exercise unless all done indoors. i would see him “walking” the big family dog. they would putter about, hardly leave the front yard. found out from another neighbor that he was afraid the dog would trip and drag him. after awhile, the conclusion was he was: (1) dead or (2) left the family. either way, it’s not an easy subject to bring up with the wife or son.

    so that’s two guys that won’t be around when the shooting starts, lucky bastards.

  8. high-falutin’ philosophy? nah, just a bunch of fucking jibber jabber. yeah, hanson runs a tight ship. he takes that stuff seriously. i’m never sure why anyone takes anything seriously.

  9. Bif, i figure no matter what comes in the future, there will be a brief “Argentina Period” in the USA. people will be using the guns and ammo they have to protect what they have (food, water, metals, cash) and eventually, when whatever they have gets stolen or sumply runs out, they’ll go on the offsensive. so i get your point on being in Bastogne.

    one way to increase the odds in such situations is to have few neighbors. most cities are automatically disqualified. the few neighbors you do have are potential threats, so best to know them and try for an understanding beforehand.

    in Guatemala back in the 90s, there was this nice ranchito located on a small pennisula in the big lake near the city. we sampled the lake in various places. while we were there, we could hear the ranchito occupants target practicing. it sent a message to us and to all the poor folks living on the edge of that lake.

  10. Hi guys. Don’t know if I will get through. Checked out the clusterfuck nation and boy it is. Wow. Not liking that. Glad to see this is up and running still. Who all checks in?

  11. Wow, MOU, a flash from the not-too-distant past! You got through. Now, tell us what you have been up to for the past 2 or 3 years.

    Please, we are interested and I promise to keep dave under control. Well, sorta.

  12. A skinny woodchuck munching dry weeds on the roadside…you don’t see that sight very often They should be fat by now. Maybe a sign of the apocalypse? Or should that be a pale horse? Maybe babystepper knows…

  13. Ack! GB said the magic word: “babystepper”. GB your winning prize is a 20-pound sack of weed-free cow manure, lightly composted to rid of that strong barnyard odor. Please email your shipping address.

  14. That car link Dave was an interesting read. As long as there are on storms I try to ride to work.

    Here in Denver though there are people who think bikes are anti american. They threaten bikers on the internet and lauph at bikers killed by cars. And through things at them from there car. I wish I was kidding. But alas these jokers will not survive the downfall since they are to fucking fat to walk more then the ten feet to there cars

  15. ***NEWS FLASH***

    i don’t know why, but for some reason zk gets the breaking world scoop on our latest discoveries in the field. we’ve been on the big island for a few days now, and i can confirm we have evidence for another megatsunami event, the youngest one in Hawaii by far at only 12-14,000 years before present. there were about 3 to 4 waves. wave runup elevations were greater than 150 m above present sea level. it occured just as the climate was changing from very cold deep glacial to warmer interglacial conditions. perhaps the trigger was onset of more rainfall and intense storms at that time. later, volcanic ash fell on the site, including a dark band in it that likely contains (dateable) carbon soot from wildfires. the fires may have resulted from the hot ash hitting dry grasses, such as exist there today and are also suggested by fine roots and root casts in the underlying ash layers.

  16. Antiavellian history is fun stuff. There are many flood myths or stories if you believe. The Pyramids being built by people incablable of understanding Pie? Only a self center idiot would think the people who make up the current human history stream are the only smart humans would think something so daft.

  17. 3:4:5 ration forms a right triangle. that, and a way to level a foundation, not hard, are about all you need to know to build a pyramid.

  18. I have always been impressed with the knowledge, understanding and skills that went into building and operating big full-rigged sailing ships. Not a lot of that know-how still around.

    I used to be good at splicing rope. Now I’m not sure I even remember how to get a back- or eye-splice started.

  19. “wave runup elevations were greater than 150 m above present sea level.”

    correction: wave runup elevations were greater than 150 m above sea level at that time.

  20. Buddy Holly Syndrome: Rushing about trying to get as much accomplished as possible before the paradygm shift. See “game of musical chairs”. Many say Buddy Holly knew his life would be short, and therefore was a highly prolific songwriter and performance artist. Carp diem must have been his byword phrase. See also: lives of The Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens (Valenzuela).

  21. The fastest way to eat small berries is to do like the bears and put whole bunches into your mouth. You won’t eat any more bugs than normal.

  22. It is impossible for a man to live without hope. As a young student maybe your hope was to get into the pants of a certain female classmate Nearer the end, maybe your hope is to make it to a bathroom before crapping your pants. Its still hope that keeps us going.

  23. which reminds me of this time I wuz out surfing at ala moana, fell off my board and cut my foot on some live coral. the darn wound would not heal, so i finally went to the doctor. he was cleaning the wound and found some coral polyps living inside, gaining nourishment off my blood like a bunch of vampires. hard to feel too sorry for the blood-thristy critters.

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