Every so often I read the following argument: "We shouldn't upzone popular urban neighborhoods, because if we freeze the status quo in those areas, the people who are priced out willl rebuild our city's devastated neighborhoods." This argument has a conceptual flaw: most middle-class peoples' choices aren't limited to rich urban areas and poor urban areas, because they can always move to suburbia.
Every so often, I walk forty-five minutes to work rather than taking a bus. My walk takes me through Kansas City's Brookside neighborhood, an area full of distinguished-looking old houses on gridded streets with sidewalks. Sounds great, right?
When I visted Fargo, North Dakota, I saw a few things I liked, such as a nicely fixed-up downtown and a beautiful historic district just south of downtown.
I just read numerous discussions about how high-cost cities really are cheaper than you might think, based on a study by New York's Citizens' Budget Commission purporting to show that when housing and transportation costs are combined, New York is actually one of the most affordable cities in the United States. Since I just left New York, this seemed a bit too good to be true.
Joel Kotkin recently wrote in the Washington Post that unspecified urban planners want "to create an ideal locate for hipsters and older, sophisticated urban dwellers" rather than focusing on the needs of "most middle-class residents of the metropolis." He claims that these people want "home ownership, rapid access to employment throughout the metropolitan area, good schools, and 'human scale' neighborhoods" as well as "decent
Recently, Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, has received lots of attention because of a police officer's questionable decision to shoot an unarmed civilian, followed by demonstrations, followed by some even more questionable decisions by police (such as arresting journalists and tear-gassing the citizenry).
I recently read about a blog complaining that New York was "suburbanizing" due to the "disappearance of small stores and restaurants" and their alleged replacement by national chains.
One common argument against new infill development is "my city has already experienced a building boom, and rents keep going up." But in New York City, one of the nation's most expensive cities, this claim is built on false assumptions. A recent study by the Citizens Budget Commission shows that New York has experienced lower growth in housing supply than all but 3 of 22 cities surveyed- and 2 of the 3 (Detroit and Chicago) lost population over the past decade.
One thing that can make suburban roads less intolerable for pedestrians is a large median, so that the pedestrian can cross a huge road two or three lanes at a time, instead of having to cross an entire six- or eight-lane highway in one mad dash.