Hey there and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast. My name is Sam.
And today we’re asking what’s the craic about cities versus towns. We’re gonna have cities versus towns, we’re gonna define them for you, we’re gonna say where we are from, whether it’s a city, a town, a country or in other words countryside.
What those places are like in our home countries. What are the advantages and disadvantages of those said places. What the world would be like without cities and towns. We’re gonna pick your brain on that.
And the characteristic of a good city – we’re gonna give you our ideas on that. And what about… Where do you think most of your family and friends prefer to be – so we’re really gonna give our opinion.
Dig into it and give our opinion. And I’m kinda pro-town and you’re kinda pro-city, yes?
Yeah, definitely, I’m a city boy.
That’s what we’re doing. So, I’m gonna argue for towns and so, well, to elaborate on why we’re arguing for that. Did you grow up in a city, a town or a country?
Yeah, of course, that’s why I’m pro-city, I grew up in the city, right in the middle of the city. In another podcast I talked about my city, you can…
Yeah, you can go and look for that.
All about Nigeria – what’s the craic about Nigeria.
So I talked a lot about my city. It’s a city, and it has the population of a million, maybe a little bit more right now, because the last census was in 2016. So yeah, there’s quite some time right now.
It’s a pretty sizable city.
Not like a capital, but a good size.
Yeah yeah, not close to the capital definitely. What about you?
And it’s got much less than a million, it’s got 22 thousand people.
I guess by Northern Irish standards it’s a kind of medium-sized town. Maybe even big by Northern Irish standards. So it’s 11 thousand, I think medium in Europe standards. It doesn’t qualify to be a city, well…
Why? So, we need to clarify, because it’s basically if you look in some languages, and in Russian, it’s город, city, город, town, город. It’s the same word.
We want you to be clear, we want ourselves to be clear. So what in your opinion, based on your home country, what’s the difference in a city and a town?
I think the job opportunities in the cities are clearly distincts from what a city is to a town. So, when we’re talking about job opportunities, we mean, like, you know, a place where a lot of people live, a place where you can find…
Is it more than a million or is it like…?
Yeah, it could be about a million and even more.
Or is it… Even 300 000 could be classed as a city.
It could be classified as a city, if all infrastructure is there.
I mean, there’s an airport, you know, the factories. I mean, there’s tis movement, there’s this kind of dynamic in the city.
100 000 – could that be a city?
Oh well, that is debatable.
I don’t know, I mean, I really don’t know. So much - we need to dig in and to find what a city is.
It’s not just about numbers, it’s about infrastructure. It’s about – do you have an airport?
University, a college, for their education.
So, I’ll tell you Northern Ireland. I live in a town, 22 000 people. But I live near a city, it’s called Armagh, A-r-m-a-g-h. And Armagh it officially a city, but I don’t know the actual population, but it seems smaller and more backwards than Portadown.
It is a nice place, but it doesn’t seem as to have as big a vibrant population, to be as active, and a hub just like my town. But it’s called a city. And it qualifies, because well one of the reasons. First it has a cathedral, and it hasn’t got an airport, but it’s got…
It ticks some boxes. And it’s an advantage for the council, because you get a little bit better benefits for being a city. So that’s why they aim to qualify to a city.
Yeah, even though it doesn’t really qualify to be a city.
So in that case it’s more like a box ticking, you know, but it is one of the categories is that it has a cathedral or two. And it does have that. It’s got some infrastructure, or some public buildings, or some famous buildings.
I mean if they’re so obvious, you know, what a city should be like. I understand what you’re saying.
But I would say, for me personally I would say if it’s 200 000+, I would say that’s a city. So it’s a little bit more population wise. I’d say less than that – you’re thinking town.
I mean, there needs to be a dynamic you talked about, the hustling and bustling, yeah. It should be something like that in a city. Okay, when we talk about towns and smaller towns in most cases you find people, you know, they’re much more… less busy. They have almost nothing to do.
Yeah, there’s no movement, nothing. And everything is calm, every other person knows each other. But in a big city you might not know your neighbor for ages.
You may never speak to them.
You may never do that, so.
It is a lot about population, but it’s not exclusive. It’s about how the population maybe is… How they use their time as well, or how they’re busy with work.
We’re gonna get into that. What is a suburb? We’ve just explained what a city/town is, what’s a suburb?
A suburb to me is those bubbles hanging around the cities.
It’s kind of hanging on to the cities.
It’s not… There’s not really much gap if anything.
Yeah, if people from Akademgorodok go somewhere, where are you from? They’re gonna name the city. Like for example I’m from Novosibirsk. And then when you start talking about the disadvantage of this city, oh really? You know what? I live in the suburb. Around the city, yeah.
I want to correct. I kinda classify that as a suburb, cause there’s a bit of space. But technically, if I’m right in saying, I think technically it’s part of Novosibirsk. So if you live there, you can say ‘I live in Novosibirsk’.
But for me I’d classify that as a suburb. There’s a little bit of gap between the two, and it’s not so far away. It’s big enough, that the same infrastructure, works for everyone.
I mean, in the case of Akademgorodok I think it has a status of what it is right now, because of the scientific elements of the suburb. There are a whole lot of other stops around Novosibirsk is not as well developed economically as, you know…
Akademgorodok is special, you know, special case.
What is the country… Sorry, this is a strange question. What is the country like in your home country?
This can be confusing. Country means countryside.
Yeah, definitely. I’m faced with explaining this to the little kids in the class sometimes, and it could be challenging. Well, country in my own home country, in Nigeria, has elements of what we’ve been talking about, you know, less infrastructure.
Nigeria as a country has challenges with infrastructure, and then if you’re talking about the country in Nigeria, it has, I mean, more challenges when it comes to infrastructure. You know that.
Do you have farm animals? A lot of farm animals?
Yeah yeah yeah. I was gonna come to that actually. It’s okay, yeah, sure. Probably went too much into that. Yeah, well, people in the country in Nigeria actually live on agriculture resources, yeah, definitely. They have lots of challenges from…
From clean water to whatever, to medical service and all that. But they need agriculture, you know, agriculture size and everything.
So most people live on that, it’s not just like an industry or an option, people survive on agriculture?
Yeah, people need agriculture to survive, they grow food for themselves and they sell some of them to survive.
Whereas I think the country in Northern Ireland, well, first of all I would explain as being very green. No shortage of water, which is maybe don’t want at all with so much rain. And there is a lot of farming, a lot of agriculture.
Mainly cows, some sheep, and other things too, but it’s not, it’s an option, you know. If you live in a countryside, you don’t have to be a farmer you know. It’s not a survival, it’s just an option, and some people choose not to, because it ties you down.
You have to be there, if you’re not at the farm you have to make sure someone is there to look after them. Okay. So let’s get into the nitty gritty. Are you ready?
Of course, sure. Let’s get it out!
Fight time. No punches below the limit. No black eyes, please, my wife will be cross. And your wife will be cross.
So, what are the advantages, and this is more for you, cause you’re arguing city, right? What are the advantages of living in a city?
Yeah, well, as someone born in the city, I’ll just say the advantages of being born in the city… Actually, there are a lot of advantages… I mean, in line we have to continue to develop ourselves, you know, move from one land to another, and the only place where you can see that happening, for me, it’s a city.
So if you’re gonna live in the country, or the towns, then you might be stagnant. I’m not saying you’re gonna be stagnant and… yeah… I don’t wanna see that for myself or for any other person, so…
Yeah, it’s one of the greatest advantages for me.
Self-development. And you’ve got a developed area around you. People around you develop themselves.
That’s what I’m saying. There’re gonna be people…
They should be helping you.
There are gonna be people throwing talents at you, so you’re gonna have your neighbors, your friends, people who are, I mean, you do things together with them.
Well, probably it’s not the best idea to compare yourself, but you can look at them and, you know, you can try to change or develop something in yourself. Yeah, so…
They give you motivation.
That is why I think being in the cities it’s more better. Then another element I don’t like is that everybody knows everything about you, and like gossiping about you, you know.
In a town, yeah, sure, everybody knows everybody. They know everything happening to you. I mean, you can’t hide all that, you’re like living as a celebrity or something. And you don’t wanna be a celebrity. If you don’t want it like me…
Okay. I’m gonna argue against that. But later.
There’s more, but probably you’re gonna give your point, right? Then I’m gonna tell you more points that I have.
We’re gonna get a heated debate.
No fighting, no fighting.
What about you? What do you think? Towns better?
Okay, so, a town… You’ve got infrastructure, you’ve got people around you.
Basic infrastructure, basic.
Well, okay. Of course, this depends on which town, but I’m thinking of the town I live in, and there’s good infrastructure, it’s got… I mean, I suppose I’m gonna talk about my town, but I don’t really know towns in Russia or in Nigeria, I haven’t been to Nigeria, so…
So we have a transport system that brings us to the city by train or you go by bus, or you can take your own personal car.
And there are enough good roads.
Good roads, good railway line, so we have a connection. So it’s not like the countryside where you have to travel a bit to get to, like, civilization. So it’s got a little bit of distance, for me, it’s got a little bit of distance from a city, like 50 kilometers, 30 miles, something like that.
So you’ve got a little bit of distance from hustle and bustle, you got a more calm… I mean, a big part of it I suppose is to that – I’ve got family there, I’ve got friends there. I think that it’s a little bit easier to get to know people.
Not that it’s impossible in a city, but I think it’s a little bit easier to get to know people. They’re a little bit friendlier. I would say that arguing for the countryside, I would say that people are even more friendly in the countryside.
I think that the more the population, the less people intention, the less friendly they are. So I think in a town they’re a little bit friendly – not super friendly, but they’re a little bit friendly.
People cross each other quite easily.
And hopefully people will be friendly enough, so…
If I clearly remember from our discussion – you can have an argument that your town is qualified to be a city.
Now you’re using your town as a case, or example… I think it’s not fair.
I have to correct you – I was talking about Armagh, but my town is a town. It doesn’t qualify as a city, and I’m happy that it stays as a town. You’ve got enough… I mean, we’ve got enough shops, we’ve got one cinema. It’s not a lot, but we’ve got one cinema.
So we’ve got something to do, we’ve got friends and family, we’ve got infrastructure. We haven’t got an airport. But so, you have to travel that wee bit. But I think it’s got a little bit more homely feel. And I know I’m biased cause I was born there. It’s a little bit homely feel.
No, I understand what you mean, definitely. A town of such capacity of all the things you’ve listed – I think it does make a sense if you choose that way of life to have a calmer life.
But in the case of Nigeria, such a town, even with the population you’ve got will definitely not have all these facilities, like train and good roads. Cities, in most cases in Nigeria, like good roads. Not to talk of towns.
Maybe spoiler alert for the end of the podcast, it depends where you live – which country you live in.
I mean, yeah, it depends, it does depend. One advantage about living in a town in Nigeria is that you’re gonna have 100% natural food, you know.
Organic, grown in your own.
You grow it or your neighbor grows it.
Yeah, sure, everybody does around you, so. I mean, you know…
Is there a lot of comradery, like they help each other, they share food?
Yeah, a lot of things, you know, a lot of societal realizations, you know, like they gather their harvest and sell it together and stuff. You know, we’re trying to beat the bigger corporation, you know…
So you’re helping me here, thank you. There’s more comradery, more of a kind of community.
The fact is a fact. We in the city are used to spend a lot of money to take care of our health and all that, most of all… Most of human efficiency I think, when it comes to health, I think is from what we eat, yeah, sure. We are what we eat. There’s a phrase like that.
Sorry if you don’t eat chicken.
Right, so we’ve talked about the advantages. Let’s get down to disadvantages, let’s throw in dirt now. So maybe I should do about cities, I’m gonna be negative about cities.
So, don’t mind, don’t fall out with me please.
Disadvantages of the cities, I would say, I mean, listen, I live in a city, right? And I have lived in a city in Northern Ireland, so I’m not trying to…
I’m not trying to put down a city. I’m not making them a negative thing too much, but I’m gonna be…
It seems you’re gonna go back to a town. I understand.
I mean, they has their advantages as a place for finding work and stuff, and a place, as a hub. I mean, somewhere there needs to be an airport. Somewhere needs to be a lot of organizations, a government, so you have to have cities for that of course.
But I think that on a negative point of view, inevitably there’s a lot of fumes from transport. You got all kinds of different transport, which creates fumes, which creates noise. And that’s negative on people’s health.
You breathe it in, you’re listening to the noise. Night and day, maybe. Nd you may not be conscious, I mean, it doesn’t annoy me too much. Maybe when I’m walking beside the street, but it does have affect, an effect on our health.
And even… I mean, some people are strong negative, so it’s got that bad side to it. I think as well that…
The human factor, the human factor.
I think you can feel alone in a big city.
Depending on the type of personality you have, you can find it quite difficult to make friends. You can be surrounded by, you know, millions of people, and at the same time be alone.
You need to get the… For me personally that’s what I enjoy, those challenges, you know – trying to mingle, trying to find people for yourself, you know. I really enjoy that.
I mean it isn’t impossible to make friends in a city, but I think it’s a little bit harder. You have to push yourself a little bit more. You have to maybe do something, maybe get involved in some course or maybe some activity.
Be a member of some clubs and stuff.
Yeah, hobby, whatever. And you have to kinda do that to get to know people and become… And I think in a town – yeah you probably have to do something like that too, but I think it’s maybe a little bit easier.
I agree with you on that point.
It’s gonna be an easy debate.
Wait till I get down with you.
What do you think is bad about towns?
Yeah, the bad thing about towns…
You mentioned a couple of things.
Yeah, it’s the psychological point, yeah, definitely. You know, there’s this saying of a big fish in a small pond, or small pond with a big fish, something like that. So, yeah, I mean, I’m just really really concerned about being that living in a town.
Probably it’s just a stereotype, or I’m speaking out of being a novice of living in a town…
You’ve not lived in a town?
Yeah, I’ve not really. But I visited a lot of time. For example, in Russia every year in summer I do live in a town, in a village probably to say for two months. So I know the village life very well in Russia, yeah, so… I mean I’ve been doing that for more than 10 years, so I’ve got a lot of experience.
Yeah, yeah. So if you put two months and two months times ten, then yeah.
Yeah for quite some time, you know.
How many years? So 1 and ¾ years.
Yeah, you see, I can say so.
It’s a little bit of experience.
So yeah, definitely, I know a little bit about towns, so that being awkward a little bit, cause… That is…
I like what Sting said, he says ‘It takes a man to be ignorant, and it…’ I’ve forgotten that line! Do you remember that line from Sting?
I takes a man… I’m an Englishman in New York or something like that.
I know the song, but, I don’t remember the words.
It takes a man to be ignorant and smile, something like that. So I mean, it’s not funny for me to leave the world behind, you know, just want to enjoy my country and my greenies and my fresh air.
The calmness! That’s an advantage! Leaving the world behind – for some people that’s good!
Yeah, but ignorant – I don’t know what it is like, I don’t know what… I mean, you probably have seen nothing before – and that is a pain for me, I don’t wanna live like that. When I was a child, we actually had a family tradition.
We would go to the villages in Nigeria with the family form time to time. I don’t really know the history very well, but my grandfather was somehow somehow living in a village a long long time ago, he was the first person to build a story of buildings there.
He built one story building – two floors you’re gonna say in Russia. He was the first person in that village.
Yeah, so any time we go to the village.
People have opposition – why did you do that?
No, really, we got fame. Every time we go to the village, every time we go see the village, people are like ‘oh these are the kids of the man who built the first one story building’. So, what I wanna say – every time we went there, not very often, probably once or twice in the year,
we went there to visit this village, even as a child, when we were leaving, I looked back and went ‘nice people, they gave us everything – food, animals’. I got my first pet from there. Guinea pigs, rabbits – they can give you anything.
Yeah, they can give you anything, they are very very nice.
Oh my god, yeah. Probably, I don’t know, probably if they’ve seen a plane in the sky, probably…
You think it would shock them?
They’ve never seen a plane face to face, didn’t have electricity back then. So they didn’t know a switch…
So even as a child, that was really kinda like, you know, hard to take for me. It goes on, even if we’re talking about 21st century. Leaving in a town – it depends. Hopefully not your town, but some towns you are backward, and you really don’t know what’s happening. It’s not funny.
We’ve never not had electricity in my town. I mean, I’ve always had a television. My first mobile phone was 1999.
I was the first in my class.
Oh really? I can imagine you have those…
I was cool! For a short moment. I think it is very different what a town or a city is depending on what place of the world you’re from. So I think we’ve… Do you think we’ve debated enough?
I think it’s enough, yeah, sure. All other things are obvious, all other things are very obvious – a lot of roads, a lot of cafes, boutiques or whatever.
You got a lot more to do in a city. I will admit that. But, I mean, depending on a town you have, you can travel and enjoy going to another place. Going to a city and doing other stuff, so…
I mean in a town you can have just kind of a stabile life, and in the city you can hit it off. I mean…
I mean, the city is the best place for a good job, whereas the town, you can‘t always get the best job. I’ll be honest.
Simple life, you know. Same thing – what your uncles did, and everybody did, and you continue do stuff like that.
But somebody has to live in towns. As much as somebody has to live in a city.
That is why in Russia there is this tradition of dacha. You know, because everybody wants to get out of the city at the weekend.
And it’s maybe healthier for them.
What cities have you been to? In the world.
In the world I’ve not been travelling a lot, sure, when we talk about big cities I’ve been to then it’s gonna be like… Cairo, Istanbul, been there. Doha, I’ve been to Doha. I mean, not so…
So not so big, but yeah, you know, it’s quite a big one. They’re gonna host the next world football cup.
I should know. Doha, okay. I need to remember that. I have been to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem – I went to Israel.
Lots of cities in the UK.
Yeah yeah yeah. A lot of cities in my country.
I mean, most people have travelled who live in the UK have traveled to those.
Yeah just like me in Nigeria, I’ve been to all cities in Nigeria.
I’ve been to Paris and Adelaide in Australia.
Lots of cities in Russia too. I mean….
You’ve been to the capital before? Yeah, I see.
I didn’t spent too long, but I’ve been there, yeah. I’ve been to Buenos Aires once.
Oh wow. That’s wonderful.
I mean, to visit it’s a nice thing to visit. My favorite of all is Dublin. I like Dublin, I like shops, bookstores, little bit of shops for modeling, for building soldiers, so I really like Dublin.
Now I remember, I’ve been to some west African other countries, like Accra, Togo – what does it have as a city? I mean… Very very small, the country itself is small, you can drive across the country for 5 minutes. Yeah, 60 minutes if you’re not driving, it’s small cities. Sure.
So what would the world be like without cities?
Yeah. It’s gonna be probably like stone age.
Stone Age, yeah, not the Stonehenge, but Stone Age.
The airports would all be out in the desert. Wilderness.
No, probably, we would be flying on, you know, dinosaurs or…
Flying dinosaurs? Pterodactyls!
Sure, sure. The world without cities is gonna be very flat, very green, very natural.
People are gonna be original.
Healthier, more original.
There’d be less big big brands.
We’re gonna live calmer life, we’re gonna pay more attention to people around us, and the nature.
It all sounds good to me.
I think the city is winning this debate.
It is.. I mean, it is a fact, yeah, sure. I think from the psychological point of view or the philosophical point of view humanity is a common life, and you know, more realistic and reasonable life than these probably rat race we are in. I think…
You’re living in a city, you’re kinda rushing to work, do your job, rush back home, eat your dinner, go to bed.
I mean, I just came back from my summer holiday and for two months I have slowed down my life, you know. You could see world, trees, the sky for two months. And I definitely know I need to slow down the life.
Very very well, sure. When I came back to the city I remember I was a little bit, you know…
A little bit depressed about my life in a city. After some time I got my group, I got my friends, and party…
You would wanna stay in a town?
No, no. I’m gonna visit a town as much as I can, but I mean, I’m not gonna live in a town.
Yeah, well, a good city I think should have a good culture I think. I’ve seen some cities in the world, I heard about Minsk, Belarus – it’s one of the cleanest cities in the world. Japan, too – they’re really very very clean. These characteristics are something cultural. So I think a good city should have culture.
Yeah yeah yeah, of course. Those are days that… I’m trying to look at some core things you know. Low crimes of course, you can have scary news from everywhere in the world right now, and it makes you feel like oh my god, you know. So a good city should have good culture, infrastructure, transport.
Good transport! Cheap, efficient.
Something like in Novosibirsk, you know, you can go from one side of the city to the other side of the city for almost nothing.
A few more metro stations would be nice.
I’d like a few more. But I like using the metro, it’s quick, you get there and back, and it’s much quicker.
We need more, we deserve more.
We want a few more stations.
Please! If anyone is listening.
Sure, definitely. I’m gonna vote you out. Sorry, a slip of the tongue.
I didn’t hear, what did you say?
I said we’re gonna vote you out.
Where do you think, no comment, where do you think most of your friends and family prefer to be? The ultimate question, the decider.
Yeah, most of my friends prefer to live in a city or virtually are living in a city right now. I’ve got friends living not only in Nigeria, I have friends living in other countries. In Finland my friends lives in Helsinki, and he’s my very very close friend, he lives there, that’s a capital city.
Then two of them actually, two of them live in Helsinki. Then, in England a friend of mine, is only one, living in Swansea. Swansea, right?
Swansea, yeah. It’s not a capital, it’s a city though. If I’m right.
Yeah I think so. In Wales.
In Wales. I’m not sure if I visited Swansea, I visited Cardiff, which is the capital.
I forget where exactly that is. I don’t think we’re gonna win this argument with each other, but…
He was living in Cardiff, then he got a job in Swansea, then he…
Most of my family and friends prefer to live in a town, so we’ve got a clear divide. And I guess we could argue there are certain benefits to a city, certain benefits of a town.
Actually, maybe more benefits in a town in the UK than in Nigeria – there are difficulties there, with infrastructure and development. So, I think we’re gonna call it a draw. Should we do that?
I mean, yeah, why not? It’s a Russian culture, talking about cultures, it’s a Russian culture.
In my mind I know that cities have won.
I mean, we both have spoken on the both sides, yeah. We were talking about health and calmer life and whatever, yeah, but I wanna be in a big city.
It depends what you want.
It depends what you want.
What do you want out of life. So guys, that was the craic, thanks to Michael, about cities and towns.
Cities versus towns. So we talked about the definition of them, where we came from. We talked a little bit about the advantages and disadvantages of each. Where we visited. The characteristics of a good city and where our friends and family would prefer to be. So that was the craic about cities versus towns.