8 Desirable Post-Apocalyptic Cities3
By Annie Cooper
According to a select few, the world was supposed to end back in May, 2011. But then those same people were like, “Um, sorry. We forgot to carry the 3… see you in October!” Those select few… they’re nutjobs.
But here’s where that old joke – just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you – holds true. Just because all your neighbors didn’t get spirited away to the heavens on October 21st, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for the imminent dissolution and eventual destruction of everything you know.
Let’s get one thing straight: when the end of the world comes – be it via pandemic, the undead, or the wrathful hand of God Almighty – you do not want to be in a city. Cities, even small ones, will be hotbeds of utter chaos. Even if you’re lucky enough to avoid ravenous, infected victims and renegade militias trying to wipe you out – unlike the survivors in the apocalyptic series The Last Stand – you’ll have other problems: mobs of hungry, terrified people, failing electrical grids, fires, breeched levies, escaped zoo animals, biohazards caused by decaying corpses, sewage malfunctions, and garbage pileups. If zombies don’t get ya, the stench will.
The Last Stand – Our Heroes
No, do not linger in your city, town, or charming hamlet. Don’t try to swim the waters of survivor politics like the cast of The Walking Dead. Take your family and your newly-sharpened survival skills, head for the hills, and wait it out. If you can survive out there long enough, eventually/hopefully, things will calm down. Radiation levels will decrease, fires will burn out, the zoo animals will eat each other, and the zombies will eat the remaining zoo animals. Little by little, you can venture from your cozy forest shelter and join what’s left of the human race.
When that blessed time comes, you’re gonna need some new digs. Your resources will be limited, so it’ll help to seek out places where at least some of the initial groundwork has already been laid.
Search thoughtfully, since not every “gently-used” (read: zombie-ravaged) city is going to have everything you need. The idea is to find the places that will have most bases covered and enough leeway so that your intrepid little crew can fill in the gaps. Grab that knapsack, and let’s get to homesteading.
1. San Antonio, TX, USA
You’re going to be too busy figuring out how to grow beets and get your electrical grid back up to be worried about sudden gale-force winds and twisters. Luckily, Texas’ second-largest city (pre-apocalypse) is too far south for big tornadoes and too far inland for hurricanes. Unlike most southern cities, San Antonio is virtually immune to natural disasters. It does experience occasional flooding, but it’s infrequent enough not to be a major concern.
Bonus: Armadillos are adorable.
2. Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
Consider making your way to the northwestern Yucatan peninsula. Merida is close enough to the coast that you will be able to fish, but it sits far away enough so hurricanes don’t affect the city much. It has decent pre-apocalypse infrastructure, and the cenotes (underwater springs) that currently supply fresh water are unlikely to have been affected by outside contamination.
Bonus: The notorious party city, Cancun, is only a few hours away. So when you feel like blowing off some steam with tequila shooters and a wet t-shirt contest… oh, wait, never mind. Everyone’s dead.
3. San Diego, CA, USA
The main thing San Diego has going is the weather. It’s consistently named a “Top Ten Climate” city by the Farmers’ Almanac for its predictably-warm summers and moderate winters. High biodiversity means there will be lots of beautiful birdies to eat. Fresh surface water can be found in the hills and valleys, which is good, because precipitation is low and the reservoirs and aqueducts are likely to have malfunctioned. If the native Kumeyaay people could manage to live there for thousands of years, you can too – as long as bunch of Spaniards don’t come along and give you small pox.
Bonus: Once you’ve set up shop, surf’s up!
4. Anywhere in Iceland
It might be hard to get to Iceland. And once there, you’ll likely have to contend with reindeer and some sort of snow beast. Lucky for you, reindeer are tasty, and snow beasts make great rugs.
Once you’re there, the world’s largest freshwater supply will be yours for the taking. Iceland suffers from the misconception that it’s a frozen wasteland. Not true! That’s Greenland. Iceland is home to lush forests, pastoral country sides, and delightful, frolicking faeries. True story.
Bonus: Bjork will likely be long gone. So if that’s important you, you’re in luck.
5. Pie Town, NM, USA
Listen, if you’re going to be struggling, day in and day out, for your very survival, don’t you want to do it in a place called “Pie Town?” How could anything bad ever happen to you in “Pie Town???” At the very least, the memory of pie will make life bearable.
Bonus: IT’S CALLED “PIE TOWN!”
6. Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Forbes Magazine consistently votes Vancouver one of the best cities in which to live, and I see no reason that a zombie apocalypse would change that. Wait, yes, I do. Most of the standards that brought the city that honor (political stability, job security, community life) are basically useless after a thorough zombie a**-whooping, but never mind all that. I maintain that Vancouver, and its surrounding areas, have got it all: fairly temperate weather, access to fresh water, fertile soil, abundant sea life, and big game to hunt.
Bonus: All the hipsters will surely be dead, because everyone knows that zombies love to eat brains wrapped in ironic trucker hats.
7. Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Before the End Times hit, this Utah gem (aka “Disneyland for Mormons”) had some of the best infrastructure that North America had to offer. Why is that important? Because eventually you’ll want roads, and roads are a pain in the a** to build. This ultra-organized utopian city layout, which once gave the creeps to millions of visitors a year, is perfect for starting anew in a post-apocalyptic void.
Bonus: You can finally investigate what kind of secret shenanigans are hiding behind the closed doors of the imposing Salt Lake Temple, and then hold an End-of-End-of-Days house party in the outlandishly huge LDS Conference Center.
8. Portland, Oregon, USA
“A River Runs Through It”: that’s not just a sweeping epic directed by Robert Redford.
A town with a river that runs through it will make things a lot easier for anyone needing to establish a working society. While I wouldn’t recommend drinking straight from the shore of the mighty Willamette right this second, it’s probable that given many years without human tampering, her waters will run clear once more, and you’ll be up to your nipples in tasty salmon and trout. Portland is also surrounded by easily accessible woodland (good hunting and trapping) and has a fertile valley to the immediate south (ample farming).
Bonus: If looters haven’t beaten you to it, there might be thousands of barrels of untouched wine in that very valley. You could dig a swimming hole and fill it with fine pinot noir. Sure, that’s kind of weird and certainly wasteful; but this is my fantasy, not yours.
The Last Stand – Dearly Departed
The Last Stand – Between Two Tides
Annie Cooper is a writer, armchair public transportation advocate, and aspiring taco critic. She has written columns and specialized training materials related to children with special needs, parenting issues, and early childhood development. Her writings are geared toward therapists, social workers, and teachers of young children with complex medical and developmental issues. She recently left her job in social services in an effort to become part of the problem, rather than the solution. Annie lives in Los Angeles, but she’s not from there – nobody’s from there.