Comment 887

By zanis_vald (registered) - website | Posted September 11, 2006 at 12:11:10

Two autumns ago I had the chance to visit Stockholm (as Hume suggests). I was able to wander about the city for two days. I don't disagree with Hume about Sweden's social or environmental policy. However I wanted to say that of the cities I visited on that trip to Europe, Stockholm was by far the least pleasant. Yes, the transit system was good, yes the city had no beggars or 'vagrants', and yes it was clean. But it was also very dead. There were people on the streets - so it wasn't suburban death (although it has a lot of that too, dead transit suburbs). It was planning death. Everything was in its place. Everything controlled, regulated, and homogenous. I grew up in Hamilton (Dundas), and now live in Toronto. What I have always loved about downtown Hamilton and many parts of Toronto is the un-plannedness, the slap-dash renovations, the amateuristic signs, the heterogeneity, etc. It makes you feel human. In Stockholm I felt like a cog in a safe, cushy machine. Stockholm’s unpleasantness contrasted with the warmth of Riga Latvia that we visited next. That city's crazy post-communist, post-planning vibe was amazing - so much vibrancy, urban texture, and street level humanity. (And yes, there were lots of polluting cars, drunks and vagrants on the streets, a dilapidated transit system etc.) Just be careful what you wish for

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