Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The Urban Revolution

I long ago stopped bothering to read anything by Kotkin, as it just boils down to "suburbs are the bestest ever and anyone who says otherwise is an urban elitist who is going to force you to live in a shoebox in Manhattan."

He does give voice to the weird defensiveness of suburbanites against urban hellhole elitists like me despite the fact that our vision of urban hellhole revolution is actually relatively mild and would do little to impact the basic suburban geography in most places. More spending on mass transit, the relaxation of zoning and land use barriers in some places which make dense and mixed use development illegal, a recognition that more parking everywhere is not always the solution, some other minor tweaks to allowable development. None of this would make it more difficult for people to live in a single family home with a yard, it would just create more walkable communities mostly in the model of older suburban communities which were built when the automobile was ascendant but not yet completely dominant. No one's going to take away your cars or make you live in an urban hellhole, we just want to reduce automobile dependence and make it possible to create some more walkable communities which plenty of people say they want but can't afford.