Michael Wacht


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Where do you live, and why?

I entered a career in technology so that I could live anywhere. Now I find myself living and working a few miles from my childhood home. It's a nice area, but I'm not sure why I stay. So to better reflect on my own situation, I'm curious to know why you live where you live.

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    Jul 29 2011: Well, let's see... My mind works at the cloud (Internet), my body exercises at home and beatutiful places near home, some friends are physic human beings and other are just images and text that I honestly don't know if they are really human... man I think I'm living in a multi-layer-reality!!!

    Nothing can compare with the beauty of creativity and productivity that I can find on Social Media and Internet in general.
    Nothing can compare with the beauty of nature and experiencing all human senses.
    Nothing can compare with the "real" feeling of true human relationships... for example a kiss from my wife.
    Nothing can compare with all lifestyles that we can see on every different society....

    And It's all true at the same time!!!

    Man I don't know where I live!!! Maybe I am part of everything and everything is a part of me...
  • Jul 27 2011: New York City is where I live. I made the choice to move here from Montana because I wanted to live somewhere with a minimal environmental footprint.
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      Jul 27 2011: nice one - I now live in town because I had to drive to everything (shops, school, work) now I can cycle - leave the countryside to the birds and the bees.

      Hopefully nature lovers moving to the countryside will one day realise their mistake.
      • Jul 30 2011: The movement is still slow and small, but there are a few "suburbs" that are being built these days with being able to walk or ride a bike everywhere as the underlying design.
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    Aug 1 2011: I am from Italy. I am living in a small town near Milan, where I joined the Politecnico applying for a PhD in Engineering.
    I worked in different companies in Italy and abroad, but at last-I'm ritired now-I came back to my small town where life is better. The town is well connected in a network with the city of Milan, where I can go and see any events I want. In my opinion a smart solution for growing of the big cities is creating a network with small towns like a daysy with her petals. We call it at Politecnico "daisy connection"
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    Jul 27 2011: This is a very interesting topic. In general, I am very surprised to see that many people I met at school or who I graduated with are returning to their childhood homes, even though they had been studying or working abroad. On the one hand, this is a good thing, because they have their roots and friends there and because they contribute to the community differently ("home is where the heart is"). But on the other hand, I am wondering whether they might regret it one day to not have explored more parts of the world before finally settling somewhere. Of course, things can still change within the next years, so this is just a provisionary observation.

    I have lived in three different cities in Germany, then I moved to Paris to pursue my Master's degree -- I chose Paris, because I have friends there, because of the university's reputation and because you need to be where things "happen" if you want to do research on media and communication.

    I will be applying for a PhD in the US for 2012 and I feel comfortable in California, where I am currently completing an English course for foreign student. My choice for the PhD is also driven by the fact that technological innovation in my fields of research "happens" here.
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    Jul 27 2011: Hi Michael,
    I live in Paramaribo, Suriname (South America). I have also lived in Europe for a while but am in Suriname now because my parents (who live here) are elderly and I help take care of them. And on another level of choice...city or suburbs..I have lived in both but I prefer the suburbs because I like having a garden (listening to the sound of birds, looking at butterflies) and the tranquility.
    I hope this contributes to your reflection.
    Have a great day
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    Jul 27 2011: Hi Michael...

    I write this based on my parents point of view since i am still studying. I am from Malaysia and I live at an area that are near educational environment surrounded by universities and schools. When I was a kid, I used to live in an industrial area which is full of factories.

    My father told me that the reason we move is to create a new environment so that we could feel more motivated to achieve a higher level of education since we live nearby educational area now.
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      Jul 27 2011: I know some families that moved to be closer to good schools. That is becoming more and more prevalent in the US where states and cities have different standards for education. That is commendable of your parents. I hope you have found that motivation.
  • Joe Dev

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    Jul 27 2011: Good point Danny. Prof. West blames cities for the world's negative environmental impacts when, in fact, city dwellers have a smaller carbon footprint than suburban or rural citizens.
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      Jul 27 2011: Interesting......can you point us to any study done on that topic ?
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      Jul 27 2011: I heard that recently. Originally read about the hypothesis here http://e360.yale.edu/feature/the_greenest_place_in_the_us_may_not_be_where_you_think/2203/

      Recent follow up study: http://www.infrastructurist.com/2011/01/31/new-study-shows-that-suburbs-can-pollute-more-than-cities/

      Heating a small building where I live alone in an area with no practical public transportation says something about my carbon footprint.
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        Jul 27 2011: Michael, possibly, people living in cities have a smaller carbon footprint because of the reasons outlined in the 2 links you provided.
        However, emission is not the only thing that must be looked at, but also what happens to this emission.
        Since a city has much less vegetation per capita than the countryside, it would be reasonable to assume that the carbon binding capacity of a city is inferior to the countryside.
        So although, people on the countryside might produce more carbon emission per capita than a city dweller it might be more than set off by the surrounding vegetation.
        • Jul 30 2011: Harald,

          While that makes sense in a theoretical way, think about the numbers involved. In the US alone, there are close to 320M people. There is 10M k^^2. That is 3K^^2 per person. Take away the land that is not habitable. And the land needed for infrastructure, industry, food production. The rural/urban migration is about a lot of things. One of them is efficiency.
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        Aug 1 2011: Danny, not sure I understand what you mean. The fact is that if you emit pollutants, for example CO2 and there are not enough plants to metabolize it, then you will increase the amount of this pollutant in the environment. This is one of the reasons why big cities constantly suffer of air pollution (beside other things). In other words, what matters is not so much the quantity of pollutants per head, but the amount that cannot be in some way or the other neutralized by the environment.
        What did you mean with efficiency ?
  • Aug 1 2011: I currently live in Valpairaso, Chile. I was living in New York City prior to this and before that in Wisconsin, my home state. I came to South America with the idea of traveling and learning something about the world, and ended up meeting someone here in Chile almost a year ago, and have stayed to be with him.

    Chile is amazing, but it is not the most environmentally aware place. When people use reusable bags it is to put their plastic bags inside of them. When people have a empty soda bottle they just drop on the street. And, this city is right on the ocean! Sometimes I get very angry, especially one time when I saw a man take the trash from his pocket and literally drop it right into the ocean. I sometimes want to say something because it is damaging for the whole world, but I dont see how I can change them, they will just dismiss me as a "crazy gringa."

    When Im in the grocery store and I hand the bagger my reusable bag I have to specifically tell them, "no bolsas de plasticos por favor!" (no plastic bags please) and sometimes they still use them for the fish (because they think the fish will smell bad without a plastic bag). I have to strongly insist.

    Dont even get me started on the ridiculous amount of Styrofoam!

    I spent about 3 months living in Cusco, Peru and there it was better. But, that is mostly since the people are so poor they cannot afford to buy the processed foods/drinks that people can here in Chile.

    But, if I could live anywhere, I would live in San Francisco. That city is so beautiful and environmentally conscience. If you have never been you need to go! I have also heard great things of Portland.
  • Jul 31 2011: I lived in the city while attending the university and pursuing my profession as an attorney. But in retirement, my husband and I did not want to stay in the congestion and anonymity of the city. We moved to a remote, tiny town in the Rockies, which we love. It's gorgeous, provides a wealth of options for outdoor activities, hosts an interesting population of progressives, offers many opportunities for community activism and socializing, and requires that we use much less energy than we did in the city. We can ride our bikes around town and need to go into the larger shopping area 30 miles away only once a week. And no air conditioning needed!