'Triumph of Suburbia' is a Far-Fetched Story

Joel Kotkin is on a roll in the past few weeks, making the case that the revival of cities and decline of suburbs is a fraud — but his argument ignores the facts, argues Robert Steuteville.
April 30, 2013, 1pm PDT | newurban
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"Joel Kotkin is on a roll in the past few weeks, now making the case that the revival of cities and decline of suburbs is a fraud perpetrated by a long list of elites and urbanists including Edward Glaeser, Richard Florida, Alan Ehrenhalt, Christopher Leinberger, James Howard Kunstler, Peter Katz, and many others. Those he names should feel honored, because he traces what he calls 'a hate affair with suburbia' back to Jane Jacobs and William H. Whyte."

"Mostly Kotkin ignores, or doesn't understand, that the issue is not single-family versus multifamily, or suburb versus city. It's not even higher density versus lower density," says Steuteville. "The issue is really walkable places versus auto-oriented places."

At Slate, Matthew Yglesias doesn't mince words in his response to an argument that Kotkin seems to make "every six months."

"Since he's written this article so many times and so many people have written the rebuttal to it, I'm sure he already knows what the rebuttal is and for some reasons doesn't care. But here goes. If people hate dense urban areas so much, why isn't Manhattan one of the cheapest places in America to buy a house? Why isn't San Francisco cheap? If people are voting with their feet for spraw, why is land in Georgetown so much more expensive than land in Georgia?"

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Published on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 in Better! Cities & Towns
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