Top Ten Reasons...

Mike Lydon's picture

Over the past three months, my girlfriend and I have made three trips to the suburbs of Miami. Twice to the Whole Foods we desperately lack on Miami Beach (Yes, Wild Oats is okay, but for us food snobs it just does not compare) and once to the brand new, soul-killing, 283,000 square foot IKEA to partially outfit our 450 square foot South Beach studio apartment.

The latter was our most recent trip and like the former, I nearly had a panic attack when I realized what we had gotten ourselves into -- 25 minute traffic jam to get into the parking deck, a warning sign announcing an alligator had taken up residence in the stormwater detention pond, an ex-drill sargeant directing traffic as if we were all storming Normandy, parents ditching their children at the IKEA daycare, shoulder to shoulder shoppers, and last but not least...three hours spent inside the belly of hell only to find out they did not have several of the items we carefully recorded on the oh so clever IKEA note paper.

The good news from these lengthy and informative sojourns is we survived with a few tasty comestibles, a couple of useful space saving housewares, and the sense that we never want to shop outside of the city ever again. The bad news is our bed still doubles as our couch and dining table. Nonetheless, these recent experiences have inspired me to write a silly, albeit shamelessly dorky personal top ten list.


Top Ten Reasons You Know You Are An Urbanist

10) You Read Planetizen everyday.

9) You love taking transit or bicycling. Better yet, you love taking your bike on transit.

8) You make up ridiculous acryonyms, like WOD (Waterslide Oriented Development) when you pass water theme parks and all of its attendant commercial schlock.

7) You make mix cd's or mp3 playlists with songs about cities.

6) You secretly contemplate dressing up as suburban sprawl for Halloween but are afraid you would only scare yourself.

5) You collect and study maps - old and new.

4) You think Jane Jacobs standing up to Robert Moses was a righteous and heroic deed.

3) You recently received an email from a listserv alerting you to the presence of an American Garden City in Idaho that was planned 3 years before Ebenezer Howard released Garden Cities of To-Morrow and you instantly checked it out on Google Earth.

2) You apply the transect theory to all sorts of topics that have no business being analyzed in transect zones.

1) You have made it all the way through this without thinking me, or my list are completely ridiculous.

Happy Halloween.

Mike Lydon is Principal of the Street Plans Collaborative and co-author of Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Actions for Long-term Change (Island Press, 2015).


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