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Urban vs Rural Survival

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posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 01:38 PM
I've been reading a lot of survival books after a recent camping trip renewed my interest. However, one or two of the books have been in reference to Urban survival situations. So far, they have made some compelling arguments in favor of urban survival over rural survival. Living in an urban environment it's nice to not hear about how I'll die immediately for a change.

I thought it would be fun to have a friendly discussion weighing the pros and cons of urban survival versus rural survival. I'll start:

There was once a time when wars were fought in open fields with thousands of soldiers, these battlefields were generally removed from most cities or towns due to technological limitations on the war machines and weaponry. Simply put, seiging a town could take years, smashing an army in a field could take a day.

However, with technological improvements to military machinery and combat theory most wars of the 20th century have been set in urban environments, this holds especially true for insurrections, revolutions and coups. It makes perfect sense really as the majority of modern life has been moved from the rural areas to more populated urban and suburban environments. Urban environments also offer better strategic options to both attackers and defenders and in many cases offer much more resources than rural environments. It seems very likely that if such a "bug out" type scenario would happen it would be located in an urban area, take 9/11 for example.

One of the basics to any survival theory is that of the caching and storing of food and supplies. Common notion would have us think that a rural setting would be more conducive to the creation of a survival location but much has changed in the past century. In some states it is extremely hard to do any type of construction or improvement to your own property with out the proper licensing, inspections, tax audits etc. In many cases, such as here in NY, the government will use satellite imaging to check in on certain larger properties to make sure that "illegal" construction isn't happening.

However, in an urban environment most people will think nothing of an addition to the back of one's house, the placement of water purification systems or the reinforcing of security around one's home. Basically, an urban environment offers one the anonymity needed in a survival situation. A strongly reinforced house will become a local landmark in a rural environment.

This brings us to the idea that perhaps you didn't cache and store supplies, stored inadequate supplies, or were forced to leave your location or are unable to get to your cache. This situation will necessitate scavenging what ever useful materials one can find. If we take into account the idea that most people, a good 90% will not be prepared for a survival situation we can assume that there will be a scavenging rush on most well known sources of survival necessities.

In today's rural environment the majority of one's shopping is done at places such as Wal-Mart, Costco and the Mall. These places have massive amounts of resources yet are also gigantic landmarks that everyone will know about. You can expect these local chains to be all but empty or under the control of military, militia or gang powers within the first week. In essence, rural resources are more centralized than they were in the past.

In an urban environment there are a greater number of smaller stores, nearly every block has some sort of small bodega, hardware shop, clothing store and row upon row of houses filled with resources. If we are to assume some sort of exodus or a state sanctioned rounding up of people such as what happened right before Katrina then we can assume that a majority of these stores and houses will be left vacant save for their supplies. Now, this isn't discounting a fair amount of looting and scavenging but common sense would dictate that most people loot high end items such as televisions and computers and leave smaller things like sweaters behind. A great deal could be scavenged from your own block alone.

The commonly held notion is that the cities will be over run with gangs and criminals, while this may be the case in some areas it will also be the case in a rural environment. However, it is highly likely that an urban environment will also be where the majority of military focus is thus creating a greater military force to oppose lawless gangs. In a rural environment it is very likely that militias will take it upon themselves to fill a power vacuum and might go so far as to claim ownership of large areas of land and the resources contained therein.

One of the most important rules to any survival situation is not to become a refugee as you will lose all control and freedom and not fair very well. This will require anonymity and a good place to hide when the tanks roll by. In a rural environment it is likely that every large house or compound a military force or militia come across will be searched and supplies taken. In an urban environment such combing of the area will be near impossible and most military people will be concerned with merely reaching their destination unharmed. Also, undetected travel could theoretically be easier in an urban environment as most buildings are connected and you can easily find entire blocks of buildings at the same height allowing rooftop travel.

I suppose I'll stop here as this is supposed to be a discussion and not just me preaching. I have more to say but I'll save it for later.

Please feel free to join in on the discussion from either side, agree with me or tell me I'll die the minute the bombs blast, thats why it's a FRIENDLY discussion. I also haven't mentioned the feasibility of guerrilla type opposition to an occupying force and whether such an idea would be more viable in an urban or rural situation so fee free to mention that as well. I look forward to hearing other's opinions.

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 03:21 PM
Come on guys. A lot of us are in this same boat.

I live in a small city and don't own any property out in the country. I have three kids that aren't even teenagers yet.

I worry about being able to defend my home against someone trying to get at the meager supplies we have.

We've been accumulating camping gear, and have told the children that we need to be prepared for a flood, or whatever might happen...just in case.

I also really worry about being out in the middle of nowhere with my family....refugees.

Let's hear some good ideas folks.

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 03:31 PM
There will be no urban survival. If you cant grow or hunt new food where you are you will die.

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 03:36 PM
reply to post by KSPigpen

I understand your fear since I was born and raised in the City and until recently had resigned myself to the fact that I'd be a blast shadow as soon as it hit.

However, if we were to look back at history and some situations that required survival in Urban areas, such as European towns and cities during WWII I believe you will find that your odds for survival are much higher and the comfort with which one can survive is better when surviving in an urban situation.

I've talked to people who were in Germany and Erupoe during WWII, they've said that life in the country was hard and many were starving yet those in the city had a much easier time.

Not becoming a refugee is easy, just don't let them find you when they come to take everyone to the Superdome. You will surely rot in a refugee camp.

If no one really wants to discuss this then I'll just compile all my info into an e-book and you'll be the first to get a free copy

Thanks for the reply btw

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 03:42 PM
reply to post by Mainer

This is a common misconception in the survivalist community. There are plenty of places and opportunities for growing produce and such in an urban environment. Many houses have back yards, though they may be small, there is room to grow stuff. Also, if the entire block is empty save for you and your team then you have all the backyards at your disposal. In addition, many people have rooftop and community gardens.

Also, just because you're in a rural environment doesn't mean your land is suitable for farming nor does it mean one already has the skills and experience needed for successful farming.

The idea of hunting and trapping large game in any survival situation is a pipe dream unless you are lucky enough to stumble upon something. Experience has shown that you will be catching mainly smaller animals, squirrels , small birds, rats, rabbits, raccoons etc. All of those animals are found in urban environments and are trapped in the same way.

Attempting to hunt large game goes against the survival rule of conservation of energy.

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 03:43 PM
In favour of urban survival is the fact that most people living in urban areas don't know how to survive rurally. They would walk past most edible plants, drink straight from streams/rivers assuming because it was in the country it would be safe (your average city dweller will only think of the pollution in cities). Also familiarity in an area is always a bonus, you may be nearer friends and other family. It's going to take a while before people start going through houses in the average area as they will concentrate on the shops/factories then the rich areas.

Rurally you are more likely to have stronger communities and spirit in the first place, you have acces to fresh food grown locally, more likely to have water tanks etc. By the time those escaping the cities reach you, you and possibly others locally can prepare in whichever ways seem appropriate. More likely to be capable of hunting effectively.

So I think stick to what you know and prepare your current place of abode as best you can. Plan escape routes, prepare secret hiding spots for yourself and or supplies, stock up as best you can.

Ulitmately though rural is what we ALL lived in for 1000's of years in small groups, so i would say its best IF you know how to survive and live off the land. The only reason we live in cities is due to farming - quite ironic really.

If I can make it to the rural spots I know family /friends then I'll go but currently living 400 miles from my second home (a farm in the Borders of Scotland) other wise I'll 'hunker down' here, got enough to get past the initial madness then start hiking north during the night.

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 03:45 PM
A lot of "urban" areas will be in hit in "first-strike" scenarios. I would say that is the worst thing about them. The second worst thing is the density of people. In an urban environment, I would sit out the first few days to a week, without leaving my home at all!

After that, there are some benefits. You have a lot of cover, a lot of easy resources! If some foreign or domestic entity is searching for you, there are a vast number of ways to hide, and launch guerrilla style warfare. Look how well the insurgents are doing in Iraq!

There is a large cache of foods and supplies in all the community stores, restaurants, etc. Given, these will be heavily looted by the time you get to them, but most of the looters will have no rhyme or reason to their actions. You will be able to go in after the fact, and still land some important resources!

As in all survival situations, weapons are key. You will need small arms, and a hunting rifle. You will need a way to purify water, and a way to cook food. A lot of the rural survival skills will work just fine in the urban environment, even to the point of "rooftop" gardens!

Watch Wall-E! J/K, but it is kind of inciteful!

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 03:55 PM
johnb and getreadyalready have made some good points.

Stick to what you know!

Have you ever been camping and seen some first timers screw themselves over every chance they get, from where they set up camp to the equipment they use? I've heard many stories of people who knew little of the terrain and were heading to a destination only to find a giant gorge or chasm between them and their goal.

I know the city like the back of my hand, I know ten different ways to get anywhere I need, I know where everything is, how the streets work, what are likely strategically important areas etc. I know nothing about the terrain of a rural area I might run to.

Also, the ignorance of many urban dwellers as to even the basics of survival will work to your benefit as getreadyalready has said. Looters may not take socks, batteries, underwear or canned food but these are more valuable than a million televisions.

Cities are also sometimes major distribution hubs for many companies and contain thousands of warehouses stocked with stuff

Survival is a mindset, tell yourself "I will survive, I know this place and I know what I'm doing."

As for the "first-strike" targets remember that "Urban" doesn't always mean the very heart of a city either. Take New York for example, we all think of Manhattan when we think if NYC yet it's actually one of the smallest parts of the city with Brooklyn and Queens covering huge areas. It is likely that, dependent on the type of attack, areas in Brooklyn and Queens will be fine.

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 10:53 PM
Maybe some thing in this thread can help you. Trust me nobody on here or any other preparedness web with the exception of my own even want to think about the fact that living in a Sit-x city is possible. Hope you find some good discussion but don't be to disapointed if you don't.

I personally have given up on trying to change the mind of the average modern survivalist on this subject even tho its close to my heart.

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 11:01 PM
reply to post by angryamerican

I suppose I'm not really trying to change anyone's mind, just offering an informed discussion on a very possible topic. Personally, I'd almost prefer to stay in the city, where I'm comfortable, than out in the unknown wilderness.

Anyway, most modern "survivalists" are simply "recreational survivalists", not that there's anything wrong with recreational survival but it certainly doesn't take into account the factual basis for a "Situation X" in an urban environment and in many ways completely discounts the recorded facts of urban areas being the site of most modern conflicts.

I can think of two times in my life that counted as a "Situation X" here in NYC. 9/11 and the Blackout of a few years ago. Luckily they didn't last terribly long.

I felt it was important to make a good argument that urban survival is equally as plausible, if not more so, than rural survival and that those who live in an urban setting shouldn't resign themselves to death simply because some out door sportsmen types think they'll be the only ones left.

I think I am still going to write that e-book and if I can I'll find the information about the other urban survival books I've been reading.

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 11:09 PM
There is one inescapable fact...........

You are going to die eventually, we ALL are.

The best strategy is to live life to the full, live a clean life, and be at peace with yourself and with God.

If the idea of being the very last survivor in a hostile world polluted with disease and radiation appeals to you, It certainly does not appeal to me.

The human race may survive, or it may not.
The lucky ones will be vaporised in their sleep.
The unlucky will be slowly tortured to death by patriots and zealots.

Myself. I hope to make it to a better world some place else, rather than kill and plunder other people here, in order to just survive, and face an eventual miserable unhappy guilt ridden death anyway...

[edit on 19/6/2009 by Silver Shadow]

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 11:20 PM
reply to post by Silver Shadow

You raise a good point that perhaps I haven't addressed.

"Survival" as we here on ATS like to think of it, usually refers to "The End of the World", or a situation which does not allow for the recreation of a stable society.

However, when I am speaking of "Urban Survival" I don't only mean an end times scenario, I mean anything that would require one to survive for a certain period of time. Take WWII for example, there was a lot of fighting in those towns and cities and the previous residents were now thrust into an urban survival situation.

The reason behind the survival was to live until the war was over.

Or take a natural disaster such as Katrina, that necessitated the type of survival we're talking about.

Another possibility could be a total failure of technological infrastructure such as a power grid which may take months to fix.

(I agree, a bombed out wasteland might not be the place most of us would want to live in but Fallout 3 doesn't make it seem so bad lol)

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 11:32 PM
i live in rural england but being such a small country i,m close to 2 largeish towns and many villages. personally i'll be skipping between the urban and rural but i decided along time ago if i'm gonna die i want to die here where i've lived all my life. the key to survival will your ability to adapt to situations at some point your probably gonna have to re-write your survival books and come up with things never done before.

my advice is to stay calm let everyone else lose there head around you whilst you go about your new busieness. prepare as much as you can and prepare for the worst, but aslo be prepared that all your preparations my have to be chucked in the bin.

i hope the people will use there heads in dark times but i fear they wont and everyone will go crazy.

i am not afraid to die, death is someyhing i look forward to because hope there are some answers after you die. but i'm not someone who want to go quietly in the night. (see my sig)

i want to get a team together but i'm stuck between weather that would make harder for me to survive but then i dont want to be selfish and i want to help my fellow man if they can help me.

good luck everyone
ja bless
peace to all

posted on Jun, 19 2009 @ 11:44 PM
reply to post by Shadowflux

Yes, survival can mean many different things, such as keeping your job, staying out of debt, investing in precious metals, preps for natural and man made dissasters, and keeping a firearm handy.

But ultimately it means YOU which is your soul.

Not trying to be a religious freak ramming stuff down your throat, but you need to look ahead, maybe further ahead than this life.

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 12:09 AM
reply to post by iwannaseethisshipgodown

Good advice, in any survival situation your brain, operating rationally and with fore thought, is your most important tool.

As for assembling a team I would suggest against it. I would say that you should keep together with family members and loved ones but think twice about taking in neighbors, friends from church etc. Supplies are limited and it's hard to hide a large group of people.

It's even harder to control a large group of people and you don't want to have to worry about a power struggle ensuing when one of your team decides to go crazy.

Also, you will have to trust these people with your life, if you can't trust them you're better off without them. (harsh I know)

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 12:11 AM
i agree silver shadow

a man who died 10 years before i was and has influenced my life so much said.

"like everyone else you want to learn the way to win,
but never to accept the way to lose,
to accept defeat,
to learn to die is to be liberated from it,
so when tomorrow comes you must free your ambitious mind
and learn the art of dying.

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 12:12 AM
reply to post by Silver Shadow

I hear what you're saying and I'm not afraid of death, it's perfectly natural and it happens to us all, it's rather pointless to be afraid of it really.

I do look past this corporeal life, it's just that giving up and dying right away isn't exactly my modus operandi

But you do raise another good point. You should include survival supplies for your soul, mind and sanity. This could include a bible or other books, playing cards, art supplies, writing instruments, anything that can keep you sane and give you some semblance of normalcy.

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 12:47 AM
Yes, do the best you possibly can, think, be smart, plan ahead.

But in the end "something" will finally defeat you.

Let the people that knew you admire your character, and think kindly, and say you sure fought bravely to the very end, helped others, and you never took advantage of anybody ;lesser than yourself...

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 12:54 AM
reply to post by Silver Shadow

I really do appreciate your contributions but I have to admit that saying

"We're all gonna die anyway"

Is hardly sound survival advice

You sound as if you have nothing to live for, buck up friend, it's not all bad, there will always be sunsets at least.

posted on Jun, 20 2009 @ 01:26 AM
Ha-ha, fair enough.........

But I can tell you one thing, stocking up on beans, rice and ammo is NOT going to make you immortal.

My own take on all of this is that it is a test.

If you think killing and plundering a whole bunch of people to ensure your own wealth, comfort and survival will make you the ultimate winner, then you may be very wrong in that approach.

I suppose age has a lot to do with it too. I am no longer young, so my views on life, death, and eternity may be quite different to your own.

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