Large cities tend to have the most unique communities. Cities such as New York City and Chicago have large populations of people. This creates a melting pot in the community that makes up different race, ethnic background, class, religion, political status, and much more. This formula creates a large community within the boundaries of these cities. Many people even have expectations for how people within these communities respond to everyday life. You might hear something like only in New York City people bump into you and keep walking like nothing happened. This shapes the characteristics and culture of certain communities. With the origins of communities coming from hunter-gatherers of a max population of 200 people (Schneider et al. 2012) why do so many people enjoy living in large populations. Has the thought process of people shifted overtime away from the hunter-gatherer mentality. Is the technology and communication era the reason for the change in mind set?
As noted in (Scheider et al. 2005) communities originate back to hunter-gatherers. These communities with a maximum capacity of around 200 people provided the members with the many qualities people seek in communities. Qualities like sense of community, and citizen participation (Schneider et al. 2005). Research shows that these values are essential in communities for its people to have a quality life.Having that sense of belonging in a community promotes involvement inside your community. Inside a small community it is easier to meet the four elements of a positive sense of community. (Schneider et al. 2005) notes the four elements are membership, influence, integration and fulfillment needs, and shared emotion connection provide of a sense of community. As mentioned before with the sense of belonging you develop emotional connections with other people in your community. Why is it then that many people love to live in large cities when cities do not have these characteristics of smaller communities.
Living in a large city creates stimulus overload to our bodies. Stimulus overload is when to much is going on around us that it is impossible to decode all the information around us. This occurs because our nervous system is overwhelmed by the environment that we block out and select what we choose to respond to (Scheider it al. 2005). This challenges a sense of community because it does not provide the necessities to have a sense of belonging in the community. This is why when you travel to New York City people walk by you like you are not even there. Yet, people love to live in New York City because they like the be a part of something big.
People will sacrifice influence and a sense of belonging to be a part of something bigger. Maybe this is because over time people have developed a different mindset. With the huge number of people living on the planet and the wide available technology to communicate with others it seems that people are more disconnected than ever. These small communities were more traditional in the past because they did not know anything else. In today’s world the information overload that people have has changed the mindset of small communities. Millenials have flocked to large cities. Their sense of community has diminished. Millenials seem to be perfectly fine with living in large cities to give up the positives of being living in small communities.
Although living in the city there is exposure to more crime, and disregard for others (Schneider et al. 2005). It seems more people are flocking to large cities to work and live. People as mentioned before like to be a part of something big. Cities have a certain culture and lifestyle which intrigues people. The amount of diversity creates a unique culture that cannot be found elsewhere. As technology improves will more people continue to move to cities to live and find opportunities or will we see a growth in small communities.
Schneider, Frank W. Applied social psychology: understanding and addressing social and practical problems. SAGE Pub., 2012.