Urban living

You might ask yourself what developments America (or the world) has seen in city life since Siri Hustvedt wrote "Living With Strangers" in 2002. We will focus on two elements here: The increase in urban population and the increase in mental illness within this population.

According to a 2014 rapport by the United Nations, the world’s urban population has grown rapidly since 1950. By 2014, North America was among the most urbanized regions in the world with 82% living in urban areas, and this development is expected to go on. As mentioned in the our section on the attitude to urban living , it requires a good infrastructure when millions of people want to live and work in the same place.

Even with a functional infrastructure, city life may still be stressful to the human psyche, which is why city dwellers have come up with the “Pretend Law”, as Hustvedt phrases it, where we ignore our fellow city dwellers because it would be too overwhelming to relate to all of them. So, the sheer number of people we have to share our daily environment with may affect how we feel and act in general, and this will probably continue along with the increasing urbanization in the US.

One very extreme example may be found in Hong Ko...

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