New research suggests this is not the case:
“Every 20 or 30 years, we have a lament about the decline of community, and it’s usually due to cities and urbanization,” says Robert Sampson, the criminologist who chairs Harvard’s sociology department, when I visit him one sunny morning this fall. He mentions one of the classics of the genre, Louis Wirth’s Urbanism As a Way of Life. “It’s all about the impersonal way of life in the city—how it almost deranged people, led to this sort of schizoid personality, to psychosis and loneliness.” He smiles. “It’s a fun piece, actually. There’s some great quotes in it.” He leans back in his chair. “But this idea that cities are bastions of lonely, despairing people is a myth,” he says.