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'Suburban Refugees' Could Mean Trouble For Cities

The economic decline of the suburbs could flood cities like New York with "suburban economic refugees". This commentary from the New York Post warns that this is bad news for cities.

"The tenets of suburban life are the oxygen in the economic bloodstream, and the nation is suffering hypoxia. The reason a lot of folks think we're just getting warmed up on an economic swoon is that the global economy has neatly garroted all the drivers that make suburbs flourish."

"New York City, already projected to expand to 10 million people over the next 15 years, will grow even more rapidly if these trends continue. After a half century of suburban flight, demographers from John Fregonese to Richard Florida are predicting the return of urban sprawl."

Thanks to Creative Class Exchange




The 'send them back where

The 'send them back where they came from' message of this editorial is not only offensive, but in no way a proactive means of combating sprawl. Of course people who scooped up those cul-de-sac homes in the 90s are stupid, why else would they drive their stupid SUVs to the stupid Applebees to get stupidly fat?

Instead of looking at this housing/gas problem as a glorious opportunity to advance urban land-use issues, let's all take the low road, point our noses to the air and sniff the wonderful smell of urbanist self gratification.

There is absolutely no benefit to regard those in suburbia - finally people with the means to see that sustainable community is attainable and desirable - as lesser in lifestyle than those in the city. So long as they find a way to stop emitting CO2, let them wallow in the misery that is suburban life, this editorial seems to be saying.

What it should be saying, imo, is one of two things:
1. How can we find a sustainable way to incorporate these migrants into our already livable communities, or
2. How can we transform the suburbs into walkable, livable communities from here on

CO2 isn't the only or arguable the biggest problem with suburban life, denying suburbanites a means out of any of these problems (Because they are too fat and lazy to care?) does no urbanist justice.

Illiterate Editorial In NY Post

The writer was trying to be very literary, but he is too ignorant to succeed.

He doesn't know the meaning of some words he uses, such as "tenets" and even "urban sprawl."

He uses mixed metaphors, such as: "we're just getting warmed up on an economic swoon."

He makes also makes this obvious factual error: "the plague is closing in on New York's toniest 'burbs. In the Far Rockaways, empty lots sit next to empty apartment buildings; for cash-strapped commuters, it's a home too Far." Far Rockaway is not a tony suburb, it has had vacant lots galore since the 1970s, and it has its own subway stop so the commute is long but not expensive.

Of course, his conclusion that the only hope is to send suburbanites back to the suburbs is idiotic. The solution is to build more transit and more transit-oriented housing.

Charles Siegel

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