Density Is the New Fertility Bogeyman

Joel Kotkin's muddle-headed theory on babies and urban living is aimed at blocking housing choice for young families, argues Robert Steuteville.

1 minute read

September 12, 2013, 6:00 AM PDT

By newurban


"Insanity has been described as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Anti-smart-growth pundit and New Geography editor Joel Kotkin has been pushing the idea that low US birth rates can be blamed on, in part, urban redevelopment (links here, here, here). Low density suburbs are pro-family places, he argues, and since smart growth and New Urbanism favor compact, mixed-use places, they must be anti-family.

There's one glaring problem with this theory. The birth rate in the United States peaked in 1957. Since that year, the better part of six decades, America suburbanized on a vast scale. We went from a nation that was mostly walkable and mixed-use to one that is characterized by low-density regions accessible by automobile only.

The idea that smart growth and New Urbanism have any effect whatsoever on the birth rate is a humbug."

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 in Better! Cities & Towns

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