Conservatives Should Live in the City

 

Matt Lewis has a thoughtful piece in The Week, arguing that conservatives ought to embrace urban living. He wonders whether traditional conservative values, especially family values, are undermined by the tolls of maintaining the suburban lifestyle, and, furthermore, whether the conservative’s instinct to remain anchored in history is undermined by the artlessness of most suburban architecture.

Conservatism has somehow become associated in the popular imagination with sterile suburbia, obnoxiously large McMansions, and gas-guzzling SUVs, while liberalism evokes images of city living in close quarters, with public transportation or bicycle commutes from high-rise lofts to open-floor workspaces.

Further:

Never mind the fact that conservative icon William F. Buckley rode a scooter, or that conservative icon Russell Kirk refused to drive a car, warning that automobiles would increase rootlessness in America. No, these days America seems to assume that conservatives, if they must live near a city, will seek to buy the biggest house with the longest commute they can possibly afford and endure, and buy the biggest, least fuel-efficient car to take them there. And you know what? Based on our choices, it’s pretty clear that we conservatives believe this, too…

Well, there’s a better way for conservatives (and all Americans), and it’s called New Urbanism. Essentially, New Urbanism promotes walkable (a side benefit: exercise!) mixed-use neighborhoods and homes of all shapes and sizes with narrow streets and retail on the sidewalk level, and apartments above. And it’s not just about high-density, high-rise buildings. New Urbanism lets you live within safe walking distance of your church, baker, stores, bars, restaurants, and more…

There’s no telling how many marriages were broken up over the stress of suburb-to-city commutes — or how many hours of the day children were deprived of their parents who, after all, were in the car making a big sacrifice so that little Johnny could have a huge yard, live in suburbia, go to a supposedly nice school, and have “rugged individualists” as parents. It’s also hard to quantify the spiritual and psychic cost associated with endlessly frustrating commutes, disconnection from a community, and ugly buildings. And there is certainly an economic cost of taxpayers maintaining low-density areas and infrastructure that yield relatively little revenue.

Lewis is right to point out the inefficiencies and unjustified costs of suburban life, as well as its lack of beauty. As he puts it, it is not the city or the country that disturb him, but the “ugly in-between.”

There’s one big missing piece to his criticism though: kids. I believe the liberal/conservative divide that we see between cities and suburbs is partly a reflection of the willingness of conservatives to raise more children.

Do you know how difficult it is to find an affordable three bedroom apartment in most leading American cities?

I lived for a short time in New York City. My wife gave birth to our first child at Roosevelt hospital in Midtown. We brought our new girl home in a yellow cab, and rode the elevator up to our 300 sq ft apartment on the 16th floor. Her nursery was a closet just big enough to fit the crib inside.

Since then, we’ve been busy making more kids—one every couple of years. We traded the subway for a Honda Odyssey. We now have four tiny faces running around, and man, did that happen fast. 

We long since moved out of our little New York apartment, where we could walk to the grocery store, to restaurants, to work, to the doctor’s office, to our church, to Central Park. The real estate in our new hometown, Nashville, is a bit easier on the wallet than it is in Manhattan, but walkable, family-friendly housing is scarce here, and getting scarcer all the time as younger well-to-dos move back in to the city core.

What remains for most middle class families is miles and miles of tract house subdivisions—far removed from where most of them work, far removed, even, from many of the public parks, libraries, museums, and restaurants that make up the city’s vibrant culture. Unlike many older, east-coast cities, public transportation here is severely limited.

Cheap land makes for affordable housing, and conservatives with average incomes are only partly to blame for not choosing to embrace new urbanism, even if they do fail, oftentimes, to calculate the emotional cost of a long daily commute, and a life spent trapped somewhere in the soulless space between “the Chuck E. Cheese and the Target store.”

The problem of suburbia may be partly a failure of conservatives themselves, but it also represents an epic and nationally pervasive failure of city planning. Then again, not all cities are equal. And being a “new urbanist” in Detroit is a heck of a lot cheaper than doing it in San Francisco.

Here in a semi-pricey city like Nashville, you don’t have to be a hedge fund manager to afford three bedrooms. If you are part of the upper-middle class, or among the wealthy, it is possible to be a conservative with van full of kids and still participate in the “new-urbanist” movement. For the middle class, it’s much more difficult. And that’s the story almost everywhere. America’s best and most desirable cities—its centers of influence and commerce and culture and power—remain firmly in the hands of millions of childless liberals who flock to these areas, and rent the one-bedroom apartments that they offer in abundance.

But Lewis is right: the city needs more conservatives, and conservatives need the city.

There are 171 comments.

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  1. Casey Inactive

    Nathan Harden: There’s no telling how many marriages were broken up over the stress of suburb-to-city commutes — or how many hours of the day children were deprived of their parents who, after all, were in the car making a big sacrifice so that little Johnny could have a huge yard, live in suburbia, go to a supposedly nice school, and have “rugged individualists” as parents. It’s also hard to quantify the spiritual and psychic cost associated with endlessly frustrating commutes, disconnection from a community, and ugly buildings. And there is certainly an economic cost of taxpayers maintaining low-density areas and infrastructure that yield relatively little revenue.

     I live in the city precisely to avoid a commute. The 2 hours a day I would have to spend wasting time in a suburban commute are instead spent with my children. I see them in the morning and help them get ready for school and we’re off to the park immediately after I leave the office. That people trade that for a pre-fab house in a pre-fab community in anywhere USA confounds me.

    • #1
    • July 11, 2014, at 8:43 AM PDT
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  2. Doug Kimball Member

    It’s simple really. For conservatives it is about our children. The suburbs provide a better place for them – schools, parks, activities, space, sports – that is consistently safe and free of crime. Sure, there are urban areas that can provide some of these things, but not all and never all at the same time. And the closer you get to “all” the more expensive it becomes. In general, to get “all” of the things a suburban life provides, you need to be able to pay for it – private schools, or better, boarding schools (why let the rug rats get in the way of your urban lifestyle), an au pair (for the little ones so you can dine and attend social events at your leisure), a place with a doorman, sufficient space between your neighborhood and the “hood,” a nearby park replete of used needles and crack vials (to exercise the progeny), sufficient police presence (to repel the criminal element) and on and on. Let’s face it; urban living is not family friendly.

    • #2
    • July 11, 2014, at 8:53 AM PDT
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  3. Pelayo Member

    I was one of those Conservative Dads who spent around 2 hours a day commuting to work instead of spending time with my family. Then a wonderful thing happened. It is called telecommuting. For the last couple of years I have worked from home on most days. I have been able to attend most of the kids afterschool activities (ex: soccer or basketball games) because my home is very close to their school. I am also able to have dinner with the family every night at a normal hour. Telecommuting allows me to live in an affordable suburban home and not spend valuable time sitting in my car.

    • #3
    • July 11, 2014, at 8:59 AM PDT
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  4. jmelvin Member

    If there are conservatives who are content to live in the urban areas, perhaps this is something that they should consider. However, not everyone comes from families that were once long time city dwellers for there to be any sort of attachment to the idea of moving back to a lifestyle that never was. Although my own father and mother eventually met in a larger urban area, both of their families had only known rural life for a couple hundred years. My parents now enjoy rural life (back to it for my dad, but not my mom), which suits them just fine as they only go into cities for anything on an as needed basis, and not even for work.

    Although both my brother and I have grown up knowing mostly suburban life, he is more inclined to the thought of urban life while I am more inclined to rural life. Although my brother spends about 45 minutes each way going to and from work, his wife spends a whopping 10 minutes combined for her work commute. Neither, however, would be better served by more urban living as both would then commute the same amount of time that only my brother does now.

    My wife and I both live in a rural / suburban area of central Virginia, but her commute to work is about 5 or 10 minutes depending on traffic and mine is about 15 or 20 minutes. If we were in a more urban area of town my commute time to work or most anything I care about would increase and hers would as well due to dealing with traffic and the hassles of stop and go traffic.

    Neither of us would reap any particular benefit of more urban living as we live with the modern conveniences of things like stoves and ovens for cooking or own food, refrigerators for keeping food and perishables, computers, internet and telephones for talking to the folks who don’t live immediately nearby and for taking care of many of our financial obligations. I even have a little bit of land that I can keep an old thing known as a garden if I were inclined to. Thankfully I do not live in a large urban area, nor do I want to or intend to unless I’m forced to by situations that I cannot control.

    • #4
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:04 AM PDT
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  5. Shane McGuire Member

    The portion of the Lewis piece quoted above contains an urban conceit. The options are not: (1) live in the Big City or (2) Live 30 minutes outside the Big City. Don’t live in the city or within the city’s penumbra. Get the heck away from the city and live and work in the same town, a town where you can know the mayor by name and don’t need a lot of money to take part in civic activities. Live in a town where you can make a real difference, be part of a community, and raise your children in a traditional way.

    • #5
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:05 AM PDT
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  6. Sabrdance Member

    Long ago, Frank Soto made a crack that you could use “Net Neutrality” as a test for knaves. We argued the point. My equivalent test is “New Urbanism.” Assuming the meaning we have in mind is the Duaney Suburban Nation variant (which is more reasonable than Richard Florida’s Creative Class version), the problem with it has always been thus: “we’re going to create livable urban environments that are affordable to the common man, and because they are so popular we’re going to sell them at luxury prices! Oh, and we’re going to displace poor people because hipsters want to live in a bohemian world -just without actual bohemians.”

    In fact, all the movement in the past 50 years has been to the suburbs, as has been the trend for the last 5000 years. There are a few -a very few -moving into the cities, but they are vastly outnumbered by the people moving out now that they can afford to (Ehrenhalt‘s estimate was about 1 to 10 iirc).

    Also, that image of suburbia or the mid-range cities may be popular, but it isn’t right, as has been recorded since Garreau’s Edge City.

    • #6
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:08 AM PDT
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  7. Casey Inactive

    But in regards to conservatives and the burbs –

    Matt Ridley, “The Rational Optimist”, uses the phrase “ideas having sex” to describe how the ideas we encounter come together, mate, and form new ideas. There are many ways we encounter ideas – books, TV, internet – but humans are social animals and ideas mate best during our interactions with one another.

    While cities tend to throw us all together and force us to interact with one another, Suburbs tend to comfortably isolate us in a nest of familiarity. The people who buy a home in a particular suburban community tend to be people whose preference is for that sort of community and who hold the sort of jobs that earn the sort of income to afford the sort of house in that community.

    My concern is that suburban conservatives tend to isolate themselves in ways that reinforce their own views. A life spent in a job with people like you and in a community of people like you makes it difficult to generate conservative arguments that will convince people who aren’t like you.

    City life does come with a bit of discomfort but I think some discomfort may be a good thing.

    • #7
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:10 AM PDT
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  8. Seawriter Member

    Nathan Harden: Conservatism has somehow become associated in the popular imagination with sterile suburbia, obnoxiously large McMansions, and gas-guzzling SUVs, while liberalism evokes images of city living in close quarters, with public transportation or bicycle commutes from high-rise lofts to open-floor workspaces.

     Sterile? I live in a Houston suburb. Within five miles of my house is a marina and a major museum. There is a four-year university within seven miles of my front door. The public library is less than three miles, as are several nice parks. If I want to I could walk to the nearest supermarket or restaurant. I could take a bicycle to the library. There are plenty of venues for entertainment and the arts within a five minute drive (ten minutes when traffic is bad). 

    I don’t like public transportation. You can get bedbugs riding a bus in Detroit. You cannot carry concealed on a NYC subway. (I can in my neighborhood, where I do not need to, but not where I need to in a big city.) I don’t really wish to breath my neighbor’s halitosis, and I can telecommute when I need to.

    Seawriter

    • #8
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:15 AM PDT
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  9. Shane McGuire Member

    Seawriter:

     

    Sterile? I live in a Houston suburb. Within five miles of my house is a marina and a major museum. There is a four-year university within seven miles of my front door. The public library is less than three miles, as are several nice parks. If I want to I could walk to the nearest supermarket or restaurant. I could take a bicycle to the library. There are plenty of venues for entertainment and the arts within a five minute drive (ten minutes when traffic is bad).

    I don’t like public transportation. You can get bedbugs riding a bus in Detroit. You cannot carry concealed on a NYC subway. (I can in my neighborhood, where I do not need to, but not where I need to in a big city.) I don’t really wish to breath my neighbor’s halitosis, and I can telecommute when I need to.

    Seawriter

     Hey, I’m in Tyler, and within 8 miles of my house is one of the larges Junior Colleges in the State, as well as UT Tyler, an art museum, a country club, and no strip clubs. 

    • #9
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:17 AM PDT
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  10. Done Contributor

    If the suburbs are so awful why do so many people choose to live there? Maybe…just maybe people have weighed the costs and benefits and have decided everything that is great about cities can be had if you live in a nearby suburb.

    • #10
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:19 AM PDT
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  11. Seawriter Member

    Continuing #6.

    The main reason I prefer the suburbs is I prefer not to live in an intolerant environment. Those “sterile” suburbs are a lot more likely allow a live and let live attitude than the big city. (Anyone see yesterday’s video of the Burger King worker demonstrating her “tolerance” towards pro-life protesters? That happened in a city.)

    Seawriter

    • #11
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:20 AM PDT
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  12. Casey Inactive

    Seawriter:

    Nathan Harden

    Sterile? I live in a Houston suburb. Within five miles of my house is a marina and a major museum. There is a four-year university within seven miles of my front door. The public library is less than three miles, as are several nice parks. If I want to I could walk to the nearest supermarket or restaurant. I could take a bicycle to the library. There are plenty of venues for entertainment and the arts within a five minute drive (ten minutes when traffic is bad).

    But you would acknowledge that your community is not the norm, no?

    I was in San Ramon last year. Driving along I saw a community with a bunch of tan homes. Then another with some brown homes. Then some homes with some white in them. Within the community you have beautiful tree lined sidewalks that lead nowhere and people don’t use. Nothing to walk to.

    And later I discover that one community is mostly inhabited by Indians and Pakistanis, and one community mostly by whites, and one mostly Chinese. Near these communities there were shopping areas that catered to that community.

    Similarly in Plano, TX and other places.

    • #12
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:28 AM PDT
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  13. Marion Evans Inactive

    No disrespect to Lewis, but I was ahead of him by a year (links below) and got crucified for it here by people who seem to believe that a true American must live in a single family home. I grant my tone was not the most diplomatic :)

    https://ricochet.com/archives/the-single-family-home-is-americas-biggest-problem/
    https://ricochet.com/archives/single-family-home-follow-up/

    • #13
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:28 AM PDT
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  14. Casey Inactive

    Frank Soto:

    If the suburbs are so awful why do so many people choose to live there? Maybe…just maybe people have weighed the costs and benefits and have decided everything that is great about cities can be had if you live in a nearby suburb.

     A similar thing can be said about sitting in front of the TV. Doesn’t mean sitting in front of the TV is good for you.

    • #14
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:30 AM PDT
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  15. Done Contributor

    I also think this argument stems partially from people not understanding that humans really do have a wide variety preferences.

    I have friends who will only live in cities because they love the lifestyle. They love being in walking distance of restaurants and shops. I hate shops and always feel ripped off when I get the check at restaurants, so neither of these things seem like perks to me. Furthermore, walking in Georgia heat seems semi-psychotic.

    They love the view of buildings outside of their windows. I love the view of mountains and trees outside of mine. I love cheaper prices and rarely having to contend with backed up roads.

    Maybe Matt Lewis just really likes cities, and doesn’t realize that he does so for subjective reasons.

    • #15
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:32 AM PDT
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  16. Casey Inactive

    Marion Evans:

    No disrespect to Lewis, but I was ahead of him by a year (links below) and got crucified for it here by people who seem to believe that a true American must live in a single family home.I grant my tone was not the most diplomatic :)

    https://ricochet.com/archives/the-single-family-home-is-americas-biggest-problem/https://ricochet.com/archives/single-family-home-follow-up/

     I was actually in San Ramon when this post popped up. Didn’t have the chance to reply then but the Rico-response depressed me. This may prompt me to post my thoughts.

    • #16
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:33 AM PDT
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  17. Done Contributor

    Casey:

    Frank Soto:

    If the suburbs are so awful why do so many people choose to live there? Maybe…just maybe people have weighed the costs and benefits and have decided everything that is great about cities can be had if you live in a nearby suburb.

    A similar thing can be said about sitting in front of the TV. Doesn’t mean sitting in front of the TV is good for you.

     Can you make a non-subjective case for why cities are superior to suburbs? Tread lightly when going against the incentives of the real world, which seem to lead many people away from cities.

    • #17
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:33 AM PDT
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  18. Seawriter Member

    Casey: But you would acknowledge that your community is not the norm, no?

    It is actually pretty typical of most of the Houston suburbs. Might not be a marina, but there would be some type of outdoor recreational activity close by. My son and I are writing a book on the museums of Harris County, and I can pretty well guarantee there is some type of museum within ten miles of most suburban addresses, definitely a nice public library, some type of University or Junior College.

    Seawriter

    • #18
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:36 AM PDT
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  19. Done Contributor

    Marion Evans:

    No disrespect to Lewis, but I was ahead of him by a year (links below) and got crucified for it here by people who seem to believe that a true American must live in a single family home. I grant my tone was not the most diplomatic :)

    https://ricochet.com/archives/the-single-family-home-is-americas-biggest-problem/https://ricochet.com/archives/single-family-home-follow-up/

     No, we criticized your desire to trample the free choices of your fellow Americans. Central planning such things is foolish, and the market hasn’t led to a revolution in walkable cities. So clearly people don’t want or need them enough to justify this revolution of where we live.

    • #19
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:36 AM PDT
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  20. Marion Evans Inactive

    Frank Soto:

    Marion Evans:

    No disrespect to Lewis, but I was ahead of him by a year (links below) and got crucified for it here by people who seem to believe that a true American must live in a single family home. I grant my tone was not the most diplomatic :)

    https://ricochet.com/archives/the-single-family-home-is-americas-biggest-problem/https://ricochet.com/archives/single-family-home-follow-up/

    No, we criticized your desire to trample the free choices of your fellow Americans. Central planning such things is foolish, and the market hasn’t led to a revolution in walkable cities. So clearly people don’t want or need them enough to justify this revolution of where we live.

     No nooooo, don’t restart. No such desire.

    • #20
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:39 AM PDT
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  21. Done Contributor

    Marion Evans:

    Frank Soto:

    Marion Evans:

    No disrespect to Lewis, but I was ahead of him by a year (links below) and got crucified for it here by people who seem to believe that a true American must live in a single family home. I grant my tone was not the most diplomatic :)

    https://ricochet.com/archives/the-single-family-home-is-americas-biggest-problem/https://ricochet.com/archives/single-family-home-follow-up/

    No, we criticized your desire to trample the free choices of your fellow Americans. Central planning such things is foolish, and the market hasn’t led to a revolution in walkable cities. So clearly people don’t want or need them enough to justify this revolution of where we live.

    No nooooo, don’t restart. No such desire.

     You threw a jab and I responded. That’s how debate works.

    • #21
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:42 AM PDT
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  22. Merina Smith Inactive

    This reminds me of Rod Dreher’s book Crunchy Cons. Basically he’s conservative but still wants to be regarded as hip and cutting-edge. My take–he was droning on about things that really don’t matter. Who cares if someone likes to eat at Burger King instead of the latest sushi bar? Who cares if you think someone else’s house is ugly? It just matters that they like it. Dreher seemed to have the idea that there is a moral dimension to these questions. I actually do care a lot about having an attractive house, but it’s not a moral  question. I would also prefer to live within walking distance of shopping and the like, but all that is secondary. More importantly, we’ve always looked for affordable, kid-friendly neighborhoods with good schools, some space for a garden and a reasonable commute. I get a little tired of navel-gazing, hand-wringing moralizing about this sort of thing.

    • #22
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:48 AM PDT
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  23. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    I think, to some extent, it is beneficial for conservatives to experience living in a city. Maybe not as a “forever home” scenario, but certainly in their twenties. For those who wish to get as close as possible to the soft tyranny of Leftwing politics–since most cities in the US are dominated on some level by Leftists–it is beneficial to see it firsthand. I spent my late twenties in DC and experienced the inefficiencies of the metro system, the added costs to housing due to public policy, and the complete hardships placed upon those who own a car for the purposes of wishing to take a trip outside the city. It really hardened my resolve to be even more conservative than I was in my idealistic youth.

    It seems that the entire premise behind Leftist policy in the West (and here I am making a huge assertion about Europe based on very limited experience) is to provide enough entertainment that can be deemed as “hip” as possible to overcome the tremendous burden placed upon those who live under these policies. If you are “living la vida loca,” then you won’t notice the difficulty of Leftist societal arrangements.

    • #23
    • July 11, 2014, at 9:59 AM PDT
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  24. Casey Inactive

    Frank Soto:

    Casey:

    Frank Soto:

    If the suburbs are so awful why do so many people choose to live there? Maybe…just maybe people have weighed the costs and benefits and have decided everything that is great about cities can be had if you live in a nearby suburb.

    A similar thing can be said about sitting in front of the TV. Doesn’t mean sitting in front of the TV is good for you.

    Can you make a non-subjective case for why cities are superior to suburbs? Tread lightly when going against the incentives of the real world, which seem to lead many people away from cities.

     The argument isn’t so much that cities are inherently better. Or that country life or mountain life or beach life are inherently better. It’s that all choices have trade-offs and we ought to acknowledge what those are.

    There are real benefits to living in the suburbs. Those benefits are similar to the benefits of television and good food. They’re comfortable. They make us feel good.

    But might it be possible that we can have too much comfort? Mightn’t it be good to jostle ourselves a bit?

    • #24
    • July 11, 2014, at 10:01 AM PDT
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  25. Guruforhire Member

    I like my suburban cul de sac.

    I like the following:
    1.) I can walk to the grocery store and do routine shopping if I have the time.
    2.) I can walk to get fro-yo with the missus if I want.
    3.) I can walk around my wooded neighborhood and enjoy fresh air and low traffic.
    4.) The level of hooliganism is nonexistent, or just teenagers making PDA spectecals of themselves.
    5.) As soon as I can afford it, I intend to move into one of hte big houses on the lake, and hopefully raise children there (I will have my revenge breeders).

    If want the new trendy stuff, I will just drive into carytown and get my trendy stuff, like when I get my haircut every other week, my butcher once a week, and a fancy pair of shoes for the missus quarterly. There is no amount of money you could pay me to move into an urban neighborhood, they are fun to visit but living there would be murder. I work from home unless I am headed to the airport to do work for customers in meat-space.

    Different people can like different lifestyles. This isnt bad.

    • #25
    • July 11, 2014, at 10:05 AM PDT
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  26. Nathan Harden Contributor
    Nathan Harden Post author

    Thanks for your comment, Seawriter. Just to clarify the definition a bit, I think the new urbanists would be looking at what is within ten blocks of your home, rather than ten miles. It’s really about walkable, dense neighborhoods, with a blend of commercial and residential. It’s a step away from big block stores to smaller merchants, whom perhaps you know by name. So it’s not only about proximity, or commute time, but about a very different brand of community and infrastructure. To some degree, it’s also about cultural isolation vs. integration/influence. Suburbs have their merits, but leaving our leading cities to the libs isn’t without consequence.


    Seawriter
    :

    Casey: But you would acknowledge that your community is not the norm, no?

    It is actually pretty typical of most of the Houston suburbs. Might not be a marina, but there would be some type of outdoor recreational activity close by. My son and I are writing a book on the museums of Harris County, and I can pretty well guarantee there is some type of museum within ten miles of most suburban addresses, definitely a nice public library, some type of University or Junior College.

    Seawriter

    • #26
    • July 11, 2014, at 10:05 AM PDT
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  27. Done Contributor

    Casey:

    Frank Soto:

    Casey:

    Frank Soto:

    If the suburbs are so awful why do so many people choose to live there? Maybe…just maybe people have weighed the costs and benefits and have decided everything that is great about cities can be had if you live in a nearby suburb.

    A similar thing can be said about sitting in front of the TV. Doesn’t mean sitting in front of the TV is good for you.

    Can you make a non-subjective case for why cities are superior to suburbs? Tread lightly when going against the incentives of the real world, which seem to lead many people away from cities.

    The argument isn’t so much that cities are inherently better. Or that country life or mountain life or beach life are inherently better. It’s that all choices have trade-offs and we ought to acknowledge what those are.

    There are real benefits to living in the suburbs. Those benefits are similar to the benefits of television and good food. They’re comfortable. They make us feel good.

    But might it be possible that we can have too much comfort? Mightn’t it be good to jostle ourselves a bit?

    Have you priced a three bedroom apartment in a major city. Some trade offs aren’t about comfort, they are about pure practicality.

    • #27
    • July 11, 2014, at 10:05 AM PDT
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  28. Guruforhire Member

    Urban life is great in small doses. I have a Manhattan tolerance of 4 days.

    The ultimate goal is to move into a 19th century farm house as far as out as I can get FIOS and 1 hour from an airport.

    • #28
    • July 11, 2014, at 10:12 AM PDT
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  29. Kephalithos Member

    Merina Smith: Who cares if you think someone else’s house is ugly? It just matters that they like it.

    The government ought never care, but, if that ugly home is constructed on the wreckage of a much older dwelling, or was itself once something of value (like this house), I most certainly do care.

    Good architecture, sadly, is a finite resource.

    • #29
    • July 11, 2014, at 10:21 AM PDT
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  30. MBF Member
    MBF

    I live in the definition of a walkable new urban community. I can walk less than 5 minutes to restaurants, shops, grocery store, movie theater, church, bowling, multiple parks, etc. I pay insane property taxes for a small house with 1 shower on a postage stamp lot.

    I commute 30-40 minutes daily to my job at a generic office park in a sterile outer suburb in my 16-18 mpg 4-door Jeep Wrangler. My wife does the same, but her Honda gets better fuel economy.

    I’m not sure what this says about me as a conservative, but it works for me.

    • #30
    • July 11, 2014, at 10:25 AM PDT
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