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Conformed or Transformed: The Subtle Impact of City Living

Science and the history of early cities concur: the city lifestyle impacts us more than we realize.

By Sabrina Petersen

I’ll never forget the time I had to find my way to the airport in Bangkok, Thailand. The city felt like an ant hill with its constant hubbub. Vehicles veered everywhere on the streets, honking in the chaotic traffic jams. At the metro station, I pulled my bags tighter to myself as I squeezed my way shoulder to shoulder through the crowd. Everyone seemed focused on their agendas. The pace was suffocating for someone like me who had just come from the mountains of northern Thailand: Get me out—and fast!

I felt the same oppressiveness when I visited New York City. My mind couldn’t rest when surrounded by the sounds of motors and honking horns. Roads, buildings, skyscrapers—concrete was everywhere. Oh, to rest my eyes on open fields and lofty mountains! 

I think my reaction to these cities was innate. When God created humans

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  1. Byron Smith, “Why Are We Doing This?” AdAgrA 2014 Conference presentation, Nov. 12, 2014.

  2. Read Genesis 19 for the whole story.

  3. K. Srivastava, “Urbanization and Mental Health,” Ind Psychiatry J, 18(2), 2009, p. 75.

  4. J. Fraga, “Here’s How Living in a City Can Mess with Your Mental Health,” Healthline,, Feb. 25, 2019.

  5. A Jha, “City Living Affects Your Brain,The Guardian,, June 22, 2011.

  6. See Prov. 23:7 and 2 Cor. 10:3–5.

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About the author

Sabrina Petersen is the associate editor for Last Generation magazine. When she’s not writing or editing, she loves finding mountains to hike.