Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Families move to the suburbs because that's where most of t
> > When the subsidies for suburbanites are removed,Turpin:
> > the city will become cheaper.
>Exactly!Talking economics shouldn't be anathema. And while removing subsidies for
>But remove the subsidies, and the choices
>available will change, and businesses and
>builders will respond to that. But we're
>talking economics, again, and to some, that
suburbanites will make suburbs more expensive, it won't make the city
cheaper---especially in the minds of that young couple with two kids who
want three bedrooms and a semi-private patch of grass nearby, whose primary
consideration is home price.
>(The city is) intrinsically more efficient itGreat reasons to live in cities---perhaps even to subsidize their
>its use of land, energy, and utility construction.
construction and maintenance.
>Without the $10/gallon (yes, you heard right) subsidy of gasoline,As gas prices approach $10 a gallon, demand for housing near job centers
>it would be much cheaper to live in the city.
(and transit lines), will skyrocket. The price of existing homes in
cities, and the price of undeveloped and underdeveloped land nearby will
increase accordingly. The conversion of all these inefficiently built,
semi-urban areas into compact, sustainable cities will require enormous
amounts energy, capital, and no small amount of very inefficient utility
reconstruction and expansion.
A hundred-and-fifty years ago, the costs of horse-and-buggy travel insured
that only the very wealthy could afford to live in suburbia. Yet then as
now, a comparably-sized home cost even more in the city.
As anyone who has given up their car knows, its much cheaper to GET AROUND
in the city. But LIVING in the city, has never been, nor will it ever be,
cheap. To suggest otherwise, is to play into the hands of the cityphobes,
as the smart-growth-ers do when they claim that densification and rail
transit will "decrease congestion" or improve air quality.
> Or if generations of Americans had not been hypnotized into=v= The latest U.S. Census showed a trend of minority races
> seeing the suburb as the very essence of the American Dream
> by an endless barrage of televised nonsense underwritten by
> auto makers and others who stood to gain most from a flight
> from the cities...
increasingly moving into the suburbs. This was played up in
the American media with the same barrage of nonsense: blacks
are now living the American Dream and everything's wonderful,
so let's just ignore all those other statistics that prove
that we live in a deeply racist society.
=v= Census data, or at least what's been reported so far,
doesn't break this out, but I suspect there are two other trends
underlying this one:
o white gentrification destroying affordable housing in
o old suburbs reliant on now-heavily-congested roads,
anchored on now-dead malls, with crumbling infrastructure
(e.g. 50-year-old sewage systems that must be overhauled).
Are racial minorities once more getting the shaft, now under
the guise of the American Dream?
> Big bills are coming due, and can't be avoided for long.=v= That's right. While it's pretty easy to build brand new
infrastructure on what was once open land, especially when it's
being subsidized in the name of progress, the maintenance of
sprawling roads, water and sewage systems is staggeringly
expensive. Bills coming? Time for the white folks to leave!
- In a message sent Today, Elena Williams wrote:
-> I am youngish (30), have a new baby, and although my husband and I
-> didn't organize with our friends, per se, we have lots of pals on
-> every block of our section of town. [Snip]
Way to go, Elena. You and your friends and family are writing the next
chapters in the history of our cities -- and helping to show that what
should be done can be done, and can be rewarding and satisfying.
-> From what I've seen in towns in other states, there are always those
-> houses, circa 1930s, that are close to downtown and have a few, if
-> not quite a few, brave, innovative people moving in, fixing things
Yep. I began learning about cities and the ways they work (and don't)
when I stumbled into the rebirth of a Philadelphia neighborhood 30 years
ago. North America is full of city centers and close-in, older suburbs
like yours that can again become rich, thriving (and
It's especially nice to hear from people who are participating in
neighborhood improvement while honoring and supporting the current
residents and workers who "were there first." It's important to find ways
to prevent renewal from becoming gentrification -- with the resulting
displacement of earlier residents and Balkanization of neighborhoods by
> -> When the subsidies for suburbanites are removed, the citiyDoug:
> -> will become cheaper. It's intrinsically more efficient it
> -> its use of land, energy, and utility construction. Without
> -> the $10/gallon (yes, you heard right) subsidy of gasoline,
> -> it would be much cheaper to live in the city.
>Also, if the entire nation's money had not been used to build the highways...then the fleeing suburbanites would have had to pay for a bigger share
>leading from the cities to the suburbs, while the cities struggled to fill
>potholes with a declining tax base...
of the cost of those roads. This would have slowed the flight somewhat.
>Or if generations of Americans had not been hypnotized into seeing the...then a small percentage of those who fled, might have stayed (in the city)
>suburb as the very essence of the American Dream by an endless barrage
>of televised nonsense underwritten by auto makers and others who stood
>to gain most from a flight from the cities...
>And then there's the fact that postwar federal mortgage programs wereThis was a crime. But for influence on the growth of the suburbs, it still
>deliberately used to promote the growth of the 'burbs and the
>decimation of the cities...
pales in comparison to larger reality of increasing incomes coupled with
the widespread (unfortunate, misguided, even tragic) desire for private
space (a bigger house, with a bigger yard), and peace and quiet.
The American bias against cities goes all the way back to the founding of
the republic (see Daniel Lazare: "America's Undeclared War - What's Killing
Our Cities and How We Can Stop It", for an excellent review of the early
history). But seemingly everywhere in the world, including places with
very different histories, whenever poorer families acquire sufficient
means, they look for a bigger home, on a quieter street. Even in (around)
the great cities of Europe, the dominant growth pattern is SUBurban, and
car ownership rates and vehicle miles traveled increase every year.
When we look at the larger picture, the task at hand becomes clear:
demonstrate to home buyers that their needs and desires can be met with a
different type of neighborhood.