The 20th century French architect Le Corbusier, famous for his huge, inhuman structures, dedicated his first book To Authority. Too many of his successors seem to feel the same way. Now, in his new book The Human City: Urbanism For The Rest Of Us, Joel Kotkin says there’s a better way.
Today’s urban planners seem to favor high density. Like Le Corbusier, they’d like people to live in tall, densely packed buildings, take mass transit to work, and scorn the “fatter and slower and dumber” residents of the suburb, to use a description from Seattle’s The Stranger that Kotkin quotes.
The problem is that most people, especially people who have or want to have children, don’t like living that way, and that as American cities have become taller and denser, they have essentially become playgrounds for the rich and childless. “For all their impressive achievements, and sometimes inspiring architecture, high-density cores such as those in Manhattan, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., have the lowest percentages of children,” Kotkin says in his new book.
And it’s not just in America. Kotkin says big Asian cities have the lowest fertility rates on the planet, and in Hong Kong, 45% of couples say they’ve given up on having children. Yet politicians love these cities.
I put this here only to show the relevance of this article…. you keep moving the poor and those that don’t want children into urban society and eventually you get this….
As Kotkin writes, “Around the world, planners, politicians and pundits often wax poetic about these massive new building projects and soaring residences made up of hundreds of tiny stacked units, but there’s just one problem with this brave new condensed world: Most people, including many inner-city residents, aren’t crazy about it. People care deeply about where they live, and they often aren’t thrilled with the kind of urban vision held by many city leaders.”
So if people are lukewarm, why are politicians so enthusiastic about big urban development? I think there are three reasons: Snobbery, graft and politics.
Read the rest here...