The Antiurban Bias
Ever since their earliest appearance, cities have been viewed with suspicion by rural peoples, The Old Testament prophets were. rural men, denouncing the sins and vices of the wicked cities. Jefferson despised cities and felt that only a nation of freeholdmg farmers could possibly r!main a democracy.
Even city people share the antiurban bias, which sees the c-ry as a center o sin and of trickery ana nypocnsy, of political corruption, of frivolity and superficiality, and of vexing problems of all sorts.The ountry, however, is assumed to be a haven of simple honesty and rugged integrity,
where good things grow and God’s own people dwell. The antiurban bias is revealed in the widespread assurnpt on that the countryor small town i a better place to raise children, that farming anJ …•bing food is more nobie than other work, that “grassroots democracy” is more genuine and rural
voters more trustworthy, and that rural life and rural people are simply ‘better” in nearly every W1. Even soda’ research follows theantiurban bias. Most urban research shows what a mess the city is in, while funded research on rural life is generally screened to avoid any data which would challenge the assumption that “the rural community is a good place to live” [Olson, 1965] . All these assumptions are dubious, and many of them are demonstrably false. Urban and rural life are different in some respects, but whether one is better than the other is a question of values. The “goodness of life” in a community cannot be measured until we
agree on what measures to use. If high health levels, high average incomes, higher educational levels, and many social amenities are the values chosen, then city or suburban life is better. If a quiet, uncrowded life is preferred,
then the country has the edge. Obviously,this is a philosophical question not a scientific question, and it should be .