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The City Shapes the Individual

The built environment shapes me and supports me through my everyday life in several ways. The fast paced city life allows me to get many things done within a twenty-four hour day. The noises of everyday life allow me to ignore things that are unnecessary to live my life. The opportunities for recreational activities are both a positive and a negative to my life.

A fast paced life is what America is known worldwide for. When you travel into the urban areas of America, things just happen at a different pace than they would in a rural environment. This allows Americans to work some of the longest hours at their jobs in the world, and leads to little to no vacations, and overall an overwhelming at times, but ultimately really rewarding life. Moving at such a fast pace allows us to complete many things in a single day that some people from other countries would not try to fit into two days. Our fast pace makes us more efficient at completing tasks than other places globally. The only issue with the long hours is compensating employees for the time they put in. The American workforce expects higher wages than many other countries. It becomes fiscally responsible therefore for companies to move production offshore. I know I for one have the American mindset that I need to be “fairly� compensated for the time I put into my job. I work construction in the summers, and I would not accept a job for less than thirteen dollars an hour doing those physically demanding jobs. At that point I feel they are taking advantage of my time that I am giving to them. With every second in the American life being so valuable, most would not wish to waste time doing something that ultimately was a waste of time.

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Living in the city allows you to experience many unique things that are unavailable in many other areas of the country. The noises of a big city are unlike that of any other place. When you travel to NYC you know instantly where you are. It is almost exactly like it is depicted in movies. The taxi cabs are laying on their horns, the garbage trucks are rumbling through neighborhoods picking up trash bags that have been sitting on curbs for up to a week, the subways are screeching and rattling beneath you, there is a roar of people talking that never stops or gets louder rather it is a constant and stable roar, and the diesel engines of the tour buses can be heard over car traffic. Although the city of Minneapolis and the surrounding area are not as bad as NYC, many parallels can be drawn. You do not have subway noise here, but it is replaced with semi-constant bus traffic passing by your home. When walking downtown you hear the roar of people just the same as in NYC, just not as prominent. The garbage trucks are more in the suburbs so in the middle of the city you are not exposed to them too much, but the dumpster pick up trucks do pass from time to time. Living in this environment it is very easy to become unaware of all the sounds that surround you. You learn to tune out certain sounds to that you can go about your everyday business, and at times sleep. I suppose this could be seen as both a positive aspect and a negative one. It is positive because people or things that usually would bother you maybe don’t anymore because you have learned to tune them out and ignore them. It could be bad for the same reasons, you end up ignoring something that was important for your schooling, job, or life in general.


The most controversial part of the built environment for me would have to be the opportunities for recreational activities it places around us. You cannot go through life constantly working and never having fun, so all around us there are opportunities for us to escape the grind of everyday life and have fun. These can come in the shape of parks, bowling alleys, bars, restaurants, and clubs. They allow a person to do something they would not ordinarily do in a “normal� day. This is a nice temporary escape from the fast pace life that Americans live. I like to go to the rec center here on campus to play handball both to relieve stress and to forget about everything that there is going on all around us. It can be a bad thing in the same boat though, because we can get sucked into something when we should be doing something else. For example one time I went out to a bar when I knew I had an exam the next morning and that I should have been studying for it. So when I took the quiz the next morning not only did I not know the material that was on it, but I was also hung over. Needless to say I did not do well on it. Although the opportunities that a city and that built environment presents to us. They are mostly seemingly good from the outside, but it is very easy to abuse any of them and make them a negative influence in your life.

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Yes...I posted this a little late...Sorry!