Why Are Small Towns More Liv­able


Special Focus - - Contents - Ma Xiao­dan 马晓丹

When I was con­duct­ing in­ter­views con­cern­ing the most liv­able cities in the United States, John Smith, a lo­cal res­i­dent from Ar­ling­ton, Vir­ginia, asked, “I hear that half of the Korean pop­u­la­tion lives in the cap­i­tal city and a huge amount of Thai peo­ple live in Bangkok, while the num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in big cities like Tokyo is even more stag­ger­ing. Is it true? ” I replied, “I have not been to these cities, but in China, there are many met­ro­pol­i­tan cities with a pop­u­la­tion of mil­lions, and even tens of mil­lions.”

“Why are most big cities in Asia?” John asked con­tin­u­ally.

His ques­tion is quite typ­i­cal, yet ac­cept­able. New York, with a pop­u­la­tion of more than 7 mil­lion, is an in­ter­na­tional me­trop­o­lis in ev­ery as­pect, but it is by no means a liv­able city in most Amer­i­can peo­ple’s minds. On the list of “the most liv­able cities” in the United States, New York falls at the bot­tom.

Al­most all liv­able cities rank­ing high on the list are small towns. Amer­i­cans to­day are in­creas­ingly in­clined to a life­style dif­fer­ent from that in a me­trop­o­lis. They pre­fer to live in small towns.

Small towns that are es­pe­cially fa­vor­able with Amer­i­cans are mostly hubs of higher ed­u­ca­tion. Char­lottesville, Vir­ginia, is rated as the most liv­able place in the United States, where the fa­mous Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia is lo­cated, neigh­bor­ing the beau­ti­ful Shenan­doah Na­tional Park. Apart from the su­pe­rior nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, the town also pro­vides am­ple em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and boasts a healthy eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment.

Two other uni­ver­sity towns, Ann Ar­bor, Michi­gan and Cor­val­lis, Ore­gon are also listed among the top ten liv­able cities in the United States.

Bain­bridge Is­land, Wash­ing­ton also en­joys a good land­scape. 44-year-old Casey said: “Life here is like on hol­i­day ev­ery day.” She and her hus­band were sight­see­ing in Seat­tle 10 years ago and were im­me­di­ately at­tracted to the beau­ti­ful small town. Its tow­er­ing trees and di­verse sea views at­tracted them to set­tle there.

A city’s liv­abil­ity is largely owed to its hu­man-friendly at­mos­phere, man­i­fested by the lo­cal res­i­dents’ sat­is­fac­tion and loy­alty. ( From


Ur­banS­trat­egy , China Econ­omy Pub­lish­ing House. Trans­la­tion: Lu Qiongyao)

Bain­bridge Is­land, Wash­ing­ton, USA 美国华盛顿州的双桥岛市

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