Urban frontiersmen

People who've seen or heard about "urban pioneers" envision people "taking risks" by living in bad neighborhoods. Usually the pioneers are artists who are able to rent cheap, large space to do their art and live more affordably within the same space. Wicker Park in Chicago was such a place, and Williamsburg in Brooklyn was similar. I remember going there in the early 90's and it reminded me of Chicago's West Side, with the graffiti, gangbanger reverberations, garbage, run-down buildings, and elevated trains. Now I've heard it's quite trendy--I didn't see that back then!

Well what I thought about today was not pioneers or even yuppies who live in gentrified areas (former run-down areas that now have huge infusions of cash and luxury cars), but those people who choose to work at home in a quiet neighborhood of the city. They don't necessarily want to interact with the city or have ever taken public transportation, because their SUV is more convenient, and the only walking they do is with their dog. They may not even want to do much socializing or interact with that many people because they've been able to hand-pick their acquaintences. So they stay at home, go out when necessary, and are happy living in their bubble without interacting with their neighbors.

It's like they're "urban frontiersmen", staking out their claim in a decent neighborhood and raising a family and business on their own terms. The isolation they're imposing on themselves is similar to those settlers who lived in the western territories in the 18th and 19th centuries while the U.S. was wanting to expand domestically westward.

So does it matter that the urban frontiersmen live in the city at all? If they chose to live this isolated life in the suburbs, they could work at home, park their nice car in a decent driveway, and drive to the cleanest and most organized shopping areas more easily, and I suspect the lifestyle would be the same as in the city, except without the perceived and actual grit.

Maybe it's because the urban frontiersmen grew up in vapid suburban cul-de-sacs and want to be a part of the city, even though they don't have much to do with it and would be shocked to see anyone "below" their social and economic class cross their path, whether they're walking their dog outside or are walking the aisles at the grocery store.

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