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Old 04-22-2014, 08:24 PM
 
Location: East coast
613 posts, read 844,470 times
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In the thread What part of England is most distinct from the rest of the country?

Some people claimed London was unlike the rest of England. It almost reminds me of when some small town Americans claim the coasts or the big cities are not "real America".

Quote:
Originally Posted by markovian process View Post
I don't see why London would be any less English than the rest of the nation, any more than Paris is less French than other parts of France, or New York City is less American than the rest of the US, or Tokyo is less Japanese, Toronto less Canadian, or Sydney any less Australian, for being the largest cities in their country.

For some reason, people seem to think that being a big city, perhaps due to its cosmopolitanism, and thus less associated with clinging on to traditions, makes a country less "authentic" in its national character than small, rural towns. But you could argue that being the biggest city in a country also represents the bustling character, with vibrant crowds in public spaces, of that country too.
Do you think there is this trend to criticize people in the big cities or the biggest city in your country as less "real" representatives of your nation than the small town/countryside folks and why?

This may be because big cities have more immigration and more cosmopolitan vibes and thus people think they are likely to be out of touch with those who have been in the country for generations, perhaps? Or perhaps, big city people are just seen as rude, and unfriendly and people don't want to be associated with them? (I don't think anyone would or should dare claim New York City is less American than any other place in the country, seeing how it has been estimated that a third of Americans can trace their ancestry to those who arrived and passed through Ellis Island.)
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Old 04-23-2014, 03:05 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,783 posts, read 15,328,540 times
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Not at all. I bet when a lot of foreigners think of England images of Big Ben and double decker buses are some of the first things to mind. Likewise America conjures up the Hollywood sign, Statue of Liberty just as much as Mount Rushmore or Monument Valley. Australia's outback is usually portrayed but Sydney and it's icons are well known. The Eiffel tower is synonymous with France, Tokyo is often thought of first when thinking of Japan.
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:26 PM
 
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No not at all. Big cities are indeed representative of countries - albeit, only one component - but, with usually the best opportunity to see the largest cross section. The problem is many people only visit for short periods of time and their sample set of who they interact with and what they see is often very limited and most often it is those things associated with tourism. This tends to skew their experiences and impressions.

Some countries are so vast that even a visit to a few cities and the rural areas will not be enough to get a sense of them. I think the tendency to criticize the bigger cities as not being representative of the country as a whole is primarily due to what I mentioned above. People throughout a country and in large countries with distinctly different regional customs, cultures, built environment, language, etc... will resent being thought of as just the 'high points' on a tourist stop.
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,523,609 times
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It depends on who "thought of" them, and their proclivities and prejudices, and with what interest they are making judgments about them. It also depends on whether the country you are taking about is Singapore or Kazakhstan.

Given a list of all the countries in the world, the average reasonably educated person can't even name a city in half of them.
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Old 05-11-2014, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
3,402 posts, read 4,227,537 times
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Most of the population in most countries live in large cities anyways. Often a big city is a microcosm with a balance of different characteristics throughout the given country. People who think small towns are the only way to learn something about a country are these weird nomadic runaway travellers who concentrate on the Lonely Planet forums and scream at new members. And probably take candy from children.
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Old 05-11-2014, 01:31 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
15,664 posts, read 18,206,684 times
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I think this is more of an American thing. There is a widespread sentiment in this country (among older white Americans at least) that the "true, genuine America" is in small towns and rural areas as opposed to the major cities.

This notion has very likely resulted from the fact that immigrants and minorities tend to settle in the major cities and their metro areas more so than in other parts of the nation.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,523,609 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse44 View Post
Most of the population in most countries live in large cities anyways. Often a big city is a microcosm with a balance of different characteristics throughout the given country. People who think small towns are the only way to learn something about a country are these weird nomadic runaway travellers who concentrate on the Lonely Planet forums and scream at new members. And probably take candy from children.
Both statements are completely wrong. First, there are very few countries in the world in which anywhere near half the population in the major metropolitan cities.

Second, urban life in the world has become so homogenized, that almost any big city resembles all other big cities a great deal more than it resembles the cultural attributes of the country that it grew up in. You would find very little difference between, say, Taipei and Zagreb and Montevideo, than the difference between a Taiwanese or Croatian or Uruguayan village.

By the way, the metropolitan region of Zagreb has only a quarter of Croatia's population, Taipei has less than a third of Taiwan's, and even Montevideo's metro area has fewer people than rural Uruguay. And without looking it up, I bet you can't name the second largest city in those countries.

Last edited by jtur88; 05-11-2014 at 06:20 PM..
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:19 PM
 
Location: M I N N E S O T A
14,805 posts, read 16,980,066 times
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Yes, the burbs are more of a representative.

6.8 million people live in the Dallas Ft Worth metroplex, 2 million of them live in Dallas and Fort Worth.
9.7 million people live in Chicagoland, 2.7 million of them live in Chicago.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, QC, Canada
3,402 posts, read 4,227,537 times
Reputation: 4399
Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Both statements are completely wrong. First, there are very few countries in the world in which anywhere near half the population in the major metropolitan cities.

Second, urban life in the world has become so homogenized, that almost any big city resembles all other big cities a great deal more than it resembles the cultural attributes of the country that it grew up in. You would find very little difference between, say, Taipei and Zagreb and Montevideo, than the difference between a Taiwanese or Croatian or Uruguayan village.

By the way, the metropolitan region of Zagreb has only a quarter of Croatia's population, Taipei has less than a third of Taiwan's, and even Montevideo's metro area has fewer people than rural Uruguay. And without looking it up, I bet you can't name the second largest city in those countries.
I don't mean just the single largest city of the nation, but that the majority of the population lives in one of X number of cities throughout the country.

And yes, I agree that large cities are large cities, but if you go looking you will find people representing indepedent regions within these cities. People move to larger cities for work and opportunity from all over, and nationally, they are more diverse than one far-flung village of a few hundred. There's got to be a better representation in a big city, you just might not realize it at a first glance or a superficial visit. I mean, I wouldn't go to some fishing village in West Bengal and then say I understand India over a visit to Delhi.

And you're right, I couldn't guess the second largest city of Taiwan. But I'm pretty sure Salto is in Uruguay having just taken a course on South America, and i would guess Croatia's is Split or Dubrovnik.

Edit: I remember reading something about how rural living is slowly dying, which seems like a reasonable estimate. According to the WHO, that is correct and currently over half of the population of Earth is an urban dweller.

http://www.who.int/gho/urban_health/...rowth_text/en/

And here there is a table showing, by country, percentage of people living in cities.
http://www.theguardian.com/news/data...-living-cities

Last edited by Jesse44; 05-11-2014 at 06:52 PM..
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Brisbane
3,360 posts, read 5,178,606 times
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Internationally its seems almost certain that big cities are seen as less representative than country towns in Australia.

The reality is that metros of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane/Gold Coast account for more 1/2 the countries population, and the majority of people will be quick to point out that in terms of people, the cities are more representative of the population.

Last edited by danielsa1775; 05-11-2014 at 07:14 PM..
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