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.

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  1. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Kephalithos:

    Good architecture, sadly, is a finite resource.

     And beauty is a subjective one.  I personally find concrete inferior to grass in terms of aesthetics. 

    • #31
  2. user_646010 Member
    user_646010
    @Kephalithos

    Frank Soto: It depends on how valuable you find such things. In practical terms, beautiful architecture just doesn’t offer much added value in any measurable sense. That’s why people would rather save money and focus on function over form. I tend prefer this method as well.

    True enough. Most destruction is not wrought by frugality, but by poor taste.

    After spending countless hours studying material likely to disappear within my lifetime, it’s difficult to avoid bitterness.

    • #32
  3. Look Away Inactive
    Look Away
    @LookAway

    Interesting conversation as it further magnifies the generational and regional differences that I see among the Ricochet populace. As a baby boomer southern man I have always had a deep rooted respect for the “land” and those activities that encompass its upkeep. I work in the city to earn a paycheck, I work on the land for my soul. I pity my Friends and  their children so rooted to urban life that their very existence depends on someone else providing services, comfort and entertainment. As a Financial Adviser I constantly hear from Parents how their children cannot travel from point A to point B unless a GPS is telling them where to go. One parent said that without her GPS, his very intelligent  18 year old daughter would get lost in their driveway.  How many times do I hear that if a disaster happens everyone is coming to our house because we are prepared and “know what to do”.  I hate to disillusion them but if it comes to that, our house will be empty. 

    It will be interesting to see how these millennials, conservative or liberal , will feel about this in 20 years.

    • #33
  4. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Kephalithos:

    Frank Soto:

    Kephalithos:

    Good architecture, sadly, is a finite resource.

    And beauty is a subjective one. I personally find concrete inferior to grass in terms of aesthetics.

    We’re in agreement. Beauty is indeed subjective, and concrete is certainly a scourge.

    I’m no “New Urbanist,” but I find myself awkwardly allied with the movement in one sense: we share a hatred of buildings constructed after World War II.

     It depends on how valuable you find such things.  In practical terms, beautiful architecture just doesn’t offer much added value in any measurable sense.  That’s why people would rather save money and focus on function over form.  I tend prefer this method as well.

    • #34
  5. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    I grew up in a CT suburb, have lived in NYC for many years, and now live in NJ in a suburb. I don’t mean to beat up on Nathan; I have the biggest problem with Lewis:

    “Tolls of maintaining the suburban lifestyle”?  The tolls of maintaining an urban lifestyle are just as great, if not greater.

    “Artlessness of most suburban architecture”?  I live in a town with charming architechiture and many beautiful old homes, including mine (built in 1875).

    “Sterile suburbia”?  Cue the theme from American Beauty.  Please.  What a cliche.

    “New Urbanism”?  Fine.  If you build it, and people like it, they will come.  If they don’t, they won’t.

    “Disconnection from a community”?  Huh?  Between sports, scouting, church, school, clubs – if anything, I may be too connected to my community.  When I lived in the city, that was when I felt disconnected and anonymous.

    “What remains for most middle class families is miles and miles of tract house subdivisions…”  Not true; there are other choices.

    “[T]he soulless space between ‘the Chuck E. Cheese and the Target store.’”  Again, “sterile”, “soulless”: I’m not sure what these adjectives are supposed to mean in this context.

    • #35
  6. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Frank Soto:

    In practical terms, beautiful architecture just doesn’t offer much added value in any measurable sense.

    It is difficult to measure or quantify pleasure. You can also live without music or good food but having both makes your life more enjoyable. And most people would not do without.

    • #36
  7. user_18586 Thatcher
    user_18586
    @DanHanson

    This article is full of suppositions and declarations about the ‘right’ way to live, with the assumption that conservatives live the way they do because they just don’t understand what they are missing.  It is riddled with statements like, “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.”

    See, I have a totally different opinion.  My suburban neighborhood is full of green spaces, walking paths, wide streets, and many trees.  The urban area of my city, on the other hand,  is full of concrete and neon.  

    I don’t want to live in a ‘walkable’ neighborhood if that means mixing commercial and residential activity.   I don’t need to walk to a restaurant – I have about two dozen restaurants no more than a 10 minute drive away.  And because they are suburban, they have plenty of parking and lots of space.

    We walk a lot – because we walk our dog every day through the large corridors of safe, clean green belts that wind through the area.

    • #37
  8. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Kephalithos:

    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, I most certainly do care.

    Good architecture, sadly, is a finite resource.

     But that’s not really the issue here, is it Marion?  I want to save beautiful old buildings too.  You might call that a moral question of sorts-preserving history or something.  But most homes in suburbs were built to house some people.  Some are attractive, some aren’t.  People don’t always agree what is and isn’t attractive, but if it matters to you, buy what you think is an attractive house in an attractive suburb.  My point is that those who say people should live in cities for aesthetic reasons are kind of silly.  

    • #38
  9. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Marion Evans:

    Frank Soto:

    In practical terms, beautiful architecture just doesn’t offer much added value in any measurable sense.

    It is difficult to measure or quantify pleasure. You can also live without music or good food but having both makes your life more enjoyable. And most people would not do without.

     people pay for music…that’s how you can quantify it’s value.  If people aren’t paying for what you consider to be non-beautiful architecture, they either consider beautiful buildings to look different than you, or they focus on other beauty, such as the inside of their house (where you spend far more time than standing outside looking at your home’s exterior).

    • #39
  10. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Casey: 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.

    Both inside and outside of cities, people tend to move where they are most comfortable, which often means where their preferred subcultures gather. Ghettos, barrios, wards… self-segregation is common everywhere.

    • #40
  11. user_18586 Thatcher
    user_18586
    @DanHanson

    I’m also a bit tired of the smear against ‘McMansions’,  which the author of the original piece calls ‘obnoxiously large’.   Again, this is an unjustified value judgment that is very much contrary to my worldview.  I personally don’t care how you live,  so long as you are paying for it.  I don’t judge my neighbors by how large or small their homes are.   This kind of sneering at the way other people live strikes me as very un-conservative and more indicative of the liberal mindset that seeks to evaluate and change the personal preferences of others.

    Personally, I like having a two car garage,  because it gives me a nice workspace for working on hobby projects, and because my cars tend to last longer and look better when kept out of the sun and elements.  It also protects them from vandalism and theft.   I like having a big yard my family can relax in and my dog can play in.  I like having a large home office so I can telecommute comfortably, and a workshop for indulging my need to build things.  I worked for a long time to be able to afford these things.

    • #41
  12. user_18586 Thatcher
    user_18586
    @DanHanson

    These kinds of things used to define the American dream.   Now they are objects of scorn and derision from ‘new urbanists’  who think we should all pack sardine-like into concrete boxes and lofts so that we can walk or bicycle everywhere we go.    No thank you.

    However… If YOU like to live that way, I would not disparage your choice.  When I was young and single, that’s the way I lived, and I loved it.  If I were single today,  I might choose to live in the urban core.   For some people, raising families there might be a wonderful experience.   You can make plenty of arguments for city living that work for you.   And that’s great.

    Let’s just stop trying to impose our own choices on other people.

    • #42
  13. user_646010 Member
    user_646010
    @Kephalithos

    Merina Smith: But that’s not really the issue here, is it Marion? I want to save beautiful old buildings too. You might call that a moral question of sorts-preserving history or something. But most homes in suburbs were built to house some people. Some are attractive, some aren’t. People don’t always agree what is and isn’t attractive, but if it matters to you, buy what you think is an attractive house in an attractive suburb. My point is that those who say people should live in cities for aesthetic reasons are kind of silly.

    You’ve mistaken my rambling for Marion’s wit. What flattery!

    You are correct, that my comment is hardly relevant to the post; I skimmed it, saw “architecture” written several times, and readied my soapbox.

    • #43
  14. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Nathan – your NYC-to-Nashville experience mirrors my son’s.  When their 2nd child was born, he and his wife decided it was time to get out of Dodge (Queens, to be exact).  They returned to Nashville.  Once they could afford to buy a house, they chose a settled neighborhood in suburban Brentwood.  It’s close to shopping, schools, the library, and parks.  They got more house for their money than they would have in Nashville with noticeably lower property taxes – and they can send their kids to the best public schools in the state.

    I get a little weary of urbanites knocking suburban living.  It’s quieter, roomier, generally safer and less expensive than living in the city.  Plus, commuting isn’t an issue for an increasing number of self-employed, telecommuter types.  

    As to whether conservatives should mix it up more with city liberals – the road literally goes both directions.  Liberals are welcome to move to the suburbs.  But maybe they don’t because they dig the trendy hipsters they hang with in the city.  Birds of feather, I think.

    And lastly – maybe it’s time for another Nashville Meet-Up!

    • #44
  15. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Songwriter:

    And lastly – maybe it’s time for another Nashville Meet-Up!

    That’s in the works I believe.

    • #45
  16. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Casey:

    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?

    Obviously, there is much more involved than comfort. A low-crime area is not just more comfortable but much more conducive to raising virtuous children. It is no less important for people to learn appreciation of wildlife and geology than to appreciate architecture and fine art. The city and the country both have a wealth of benefits beyond mere pleasures. And there are many options in between those extremes, such as a mid-sized city like Mobile or Beaumont.

    But your point about comfort strikes at the heart of the matter (contrary to the terrible article by Matt Lewis). So much involved in lifestyle and location is subjective, but this much is not. What is the purpose of life? Should we prioritize comfort, challenging goals, or even challenge itself? 

    And might those goals change from generation to generation? The biggest cities will always lean Left culturally and politically. But can conservatives/Republicans now save America without controlling these pivotal organs of society? Are suburbs doomed to be slaves of nearby cities?

    Also, is urban planning ever a conservative effort? Can it be achieved without refusing the freedom of many residents to live as they please? It seems that people rarely know which small town will become a small city, or which small city will grow to become a metropolis. So city planning usually involves a measure of coercion, forcing revisions on old arrangements.

    • #46
  17. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Nathan Harden: . . . 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.

     If you want to live in a new urbanist dream district in the city and find one, knock yourself out.  I don’t and can find a suburban environment with all the amenities you describe.  I don’t plan on abandoning my dream to live someone else’s.

    I am not culturally isolated. The insistence of the new urbanists that theirs is the One True Way indicates they may well be. Leaving big cities to libs may have consequences, but so does living a lifestyle I do not desire.  A more direct consequence to me.

    Seawriter

    • #47
  18. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Dan Hanson: I’m also a bit tired of the smear against ‘McMansions’,  which the author of the original piece calls ‘obnoxiously large’.   Again, this is an unjustified value judgment that is very much contrary to my worldview.  I personally don’t care how you live,  so long as you are paying for it.  I don’t judge my neighbors by how large or small their homes are.   This kind of sneering at the way other people live strikes me as very un-conservative and more indicative of the liberal mindset that seeks to evaluate and change the personal preferences of others.

    I think Lewis would vehemently object to many of the unincorporated areas here on the north side of Houston. I drove through an area just today that had a trailer home immediately nextdoor to a 3000+sq-ft house. 

    A street a few blocks from my house includes a landscaping business whose owner also owns the house nextdoor, then a house with a half-acre of land and horses, an AC repair business, and a small mansion whose owner used to raise emus on the property. 

    “The horror!” I can hear city planners cry. But I love it.

    Also, my subdivision and others nearby are full of individually designed homes. Newer subdivisions are all cookie-cutter homes, reminiscent of city apartments. But ours vary from German designs to Spanish to Victorian to Georgian to Craftsman… and on and on. 

    Then there’s the variety of trees, plants, and flowers. The royal families of Europe didn’t have as much variety in their gardens as can be found in many suburban backyards.

    • #48
  19. user_18586 Thatcher
    user_18586
    @DanHanson

    I also don’t understand the love for small shops over large commercial stores.   You may love their ‘charm’ or whatever value you see in them,   but personally I equate small shops with higher prices and fewer choices.    My old neighborhood hardware store was dirty,  had a small selection of only the most common wares the neighborhood might need,  and was run by a surly old guy  who had no time for answering questions. 

    On the other hand, the ‘ugly’ Home Depot about 5 minutes from my house is bright,  well-stocked, and full of knowledgeable salespeople who will actually give you reasonable advice.  For a hobbyist or home craftsman,  going there is a joy.

    Having a restaurant down the street is lovely, unless it serves food you don’t like.

    Also, every lousy job I ever had was in a small local business.   Those big heartless corporations with their soul-deadening stores are the ones that tend to have insurance plans, retirement programs,   promotion-from-within programs, and you never have to worry about whether the boss is going to make you work overtime hours for no pay or be unable to meet the payroll this month.

    • #49
  20. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Aaron Miller:

    And might those goals change from generation to generation? The biggest cities will always lean Left culturally and politically. But can conservatives/Republicans now save America without controlling these pivotal organs of society? Are suburbs doomed to be slaves of nearby cities?

    Quite the opposite.  Atlanta is a good example. Suburbs are increasingly incorporating as cities to break away from the insanity of Atlanta.  It has been very effective and leaves the city hung out to dry for terrible policies, as they can’t shift the burden anywhere.

    • #50
  21. user_18586 Thatcher
    user_18586
    @DanHanson

    Aaron Miller: I think Lewis would vehemently object to many of the unincorporated areas here on the north side of Houston. I drove through an area just today that had a trailer home immediately nextdoor to a 3000+sq-ft house. A street a few blocks from my house includes a landscaping business whose owner also owns the house nextdoor, then a house with a half-acre of land and horses, an AC repair business, and a small mansion whose owner used to raise emus on the property.

     Ours isn’t quite that unrestricted, but close.   There are a few architectural guidelines in the neighborhood, but our house is a 2500 sq ft California modern,   while our neighbors is a 3500 sq ft spanish villa style with a red tile roof.  Plenty of room here for individual expression.

    When I lived downtown,  I lived in a 25 story high-rise full of identical apartments, on a block full of similar high-rises.  Later, I lived in a 20 unit walk-up,  on a street full of nearly identical walk-up apartments.   There is far more diversity of lifestyle and architecture in the suburbs than in the core of my city.

    • #51
  22. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Aaron Miller:

    Casey

    Both inside and outside of cities, people tend to move where they are most comfortable, which often means where their preferred subcultures gather. Ghettos, barrios, wards… self-segregation is common everywhere.

     But the density of cities means that Upper, Middle, and Lower class neighborhoods are only a few blocks from each other.

    Go into the Target in suburban Monroeville, PA and you’ll find a pretty homogenous group.  Go into the Target in the urban East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh and you’ll find a very diverse group.  The wealthy old white couple doesn’t live near the poor young black men or the Asian college students but this Target sits in the middle of each of their neighborhoods and here they encounter each other.  This is typical of cities and suburbs across the country.

    The result is that city dwellers tend to have more experience with the “other” than suburbanites.

    Politically speaking, if one is crafting an argument to persuade people different than oneself then it is helpful to have at least some understanding of that audience.

    • #52
  23. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Nathan Harden: [….] Suburbs have their merits, but leaving our leading cities to the libs isn’t without consequence.

    The problem is not that liberals prefer big cities and conservatives don’t. There might be some of this due to the liberal emphasis of community over individual freedom, and their love of organizing other people’s lives. But I think the main problem is that big cities turn residents into liberals.

    There are many reasons for this.

    An obvious one is that being forced into constant interaction with a variety of conflicting cultures, ideas, and organizations — many of which don’t even share common roots — is exhausting. All kinds of people are tempted to respond to this exhausting challenge by surrendering their commitments to hard beliefs and just going with the flow, pretending one way is as good as another. In other words, any big city that is diverse because of international trade and whatnot inevitably becomes a breeding ground for multiculturalism.

    Another reason is that high population density requires more government and management to settle disputes, provide resources, and maintain infrastructure. 

    Whether or not conservatives would be more politically and culturally influential by inhabiting cities, conservatism is more difficult to maintain in a city. It’s much harder to raise kids to be conservative in a city… and most kids are eager to rebel as teenagers.

    • #53
  24. user_18586 Thatcher
    user_18586
    @DanHanson

    One of the arguments of the ‘new urbanists’ is that the suburbs are taking advantage of all the services of the city, without paying the taxes.   They argue that the suburbanites drive into the city to attend the concerts, go to the libraries,  eat in the restaurants, and then they go home to the suburbs, taking their property tax revenue with them – property taxes needed to pay for those services they use.

    Even if this were true, there’s nothing stopping a city from solving this by issuing residency cards for people who pay city taxes and charging more to suburbanites.   But the opposite argument can be made as well – the suburbanites work in the cities providing the services to city dwellers, and they shop in the cities providing incomes to city shopkeepers, but live outside of it so the city doesn’t have to pay for their roadwork,  fire and police protection, etc. 

    Many smaller cities in the midwest and here in Canada are really just service hubs for farmers and other large industries like energy production and manufacturing far outside the city itself.   I don’t hear them doing a lot of complaining about this.

    • #54
  25. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

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

     This may be the stupidest thing I’ve read in a long time.

    Will read the comments before adding more of my own, except to say thanks, yet again, to an East Coaster (reminiscent of out own Marion Evans’ New York delusions) for reminding us all why centralized government is a bad idea, and why most of us western country-folk wish we could build walls around your big cities to keep the lunatics from escaping into our beautiful country.

    • #55
  26. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Frank Soto:

    Aaron Miller:

    And might those goals change from generation to generation? The biggest cities will always lean Left culturally and politically. But can conservatives/Republicans now save America without controlling these pivotal organs of society? Are suburbs doomed to be slaves of nearby cities?

    Quite the opposite. Atlanta is a good example. Suburbs are increasingly incorporating as cities to break away from the insanity of Atlanta. It has been very effective and leaves the city hung out to dry for terrible policies, as they can’t shift the burden anywhere.

     Houston has managed to gobble up many areas which, for a variety of reasons, failed to incorporate. Some of those expansions were underhanded. Many residents of Kingwood did not want to be annexed, but their votes to remain separate were negated by residents of poorer areas which were lumped into the same referendum. Within the Houston city limits are a few towns that managed to remain indendent, but they are in the middle of the city muck.

    • #56
  27. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Casey:

    Aaron Miller:

    Casey:

    Both inside and outside of cities, people tend to move where they are most comfortable, which often means where their preferred subcultures gather. Ghettos, barrios, wards… self-segregation is common everywhere.

    Go into the Target in suburban Monroeville, PA and you’ll find a pretty homogenous group. Go into the Target in the urban East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh and you’ll find a very diverse group. The wealthy old white couple doesn’t live near the poor young black men or the Asian college students but this Target sits in the middle of each of their neighborhoods and here they encounter each other. This is typical of cities and suburbs across the country.

    The result is that city dwellers tend to have more experience with the “other” than suburbanites.

    I don’t think this is accurate.  My friends who live in the city confine themselves to specific blocks where the high cost of living keeps the poor and minorities away.  The fact that they live in closer proximity doesn’t mean they mingle in day to day activities.  They just know what streets not to go down, and pretend nothing is wrong.

    • #57
  28. user_18586 Thatcher
    user_18586
    @DanHanson

    The result is that city dwellers tend to have more experience with the “other” than suburbanites.

     Unless of course the ‘other’ is political conservatives,  farmers, fishermen, oil patch workers, truck drivers, soldiers, or people who live in ‘ugly McMansions’.  Then they have no freaking clue. 

    It sounds a bit like colleges celebrating the ‘diversity’ of having students from many races and socioeconomic backgrounds, all of whom are expected to think exactly alike.

    In my apparently uniform suburban neighborhood,  I have an Asian immigrant family on one side of me, a pair of retired liberal schoolteachers on the other.   My family is non-religious and libertarian,  and our friends across the street have a large conservative Christian family.   Next to them is a disabled ex hockey player,   and two doors down lives a hindu family.   

    When I was a director of my child’s daycare I had to deal with the families of the other kids, and they came from every ethnic and socioeconomic background you can think of.  The only thing ‘uniform’ about us was our desire to live away from the city.

    • #58
  29. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Aaron Miller:

    Frank Soto:

    Aaron Miller:

    And might those goals change from generation to generation? The biggest cities will always lean Left culturally and politically. But can conservatives/Republicans now save America without controlling these pivotal organs of society? Are suburbs doomed to be slaves of nearby cities?

    Quite the opposite. Atlanta is a good example. Suburbs are increasingly incorporating as cities to break away from the insanity of Atlanta. It has been very effective and leaves the city hung out to dry for terrible policies, as they can’t shift the burden anywhere.

    Houston has managed to gobble up many areas which, for a variety of reasons, failed to incorporate. Some of those expansions were underhanded. Many residents of Kingwood did not want to be annexed, but their votes to remain separate were negated by residents of poorer areas which were lumped into the same referendum. Within the Houston city limits are a few towns that managed to remain indendent, but they are in the middle of the city muck.

     And if they govern poorly, capital will flee for areas they don’t control.  These things work themselves out where state governments aren’t run by liberals and don’t exercise a heavy hand.

    • #59
  30. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Dan Hanson:

    The result is that city dwellers tend to have more experience with the “other” than suburbanites.

    Unless of course the ‘other’ is political conservatives, farmers, fishermen, oil patch workers, truck drivers, soldiers, or people who live in ‘ugly McMansions’. Then they have no freaking clue.

    I guess winning the 48% of people who are political conservatives, farmers, fishermen, oil patch workers, truck drivers, soldiers, or people who live in ‘ugly McMansions’ is good enough then.

    • #60
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