One of of the things that always fascinates me about cities is how much personality people attribute to them. I have been told, on good authority, that before transportation got so fast and efficient, there used to be distinctive accents for every major city, not just New York or Boston, but places like St. Louis or Cleveland or Chicago or Pittsburgh. Cities take on so many characteristics of humans that it’s sometimes hard not to think of them as living, breathing organisms.

On the other side of the coin, one of the most interesting challenges urban planners face is getting a diverse age range in the population of a city. So many times I have heard, “boy I love New York City but I sure wouldn’t want to raise a kid there.”

“Now’s the time, the time is now” … to read more.New York City is not unique in that respect; other cities have trouble getting and keeping young (under 18) people. The Pearl District in that green utopia of Portland, Oregon, is having that problem, but the reasons are presumably different than they are in NYC.

The other end of the age spectrum tends to be underrepresented in cities as well, although this is a more longstanding fact.

I really don’t know what can be done to “fix” this, or if it needs to be fixed at all. While it would be nice to say that cities have demographic profiles that match up with the rest of the population, it’s not as if there are zero people under 18 or over 65 in big cities.

I’m intrigued by the idea of micro-communities springing up within mega-cities, with the characteristics of a village, including a wide range of age groups. Goes along with the New Urbanist movement quite well, but more on that soon.