Suburbs Should Not Be Subsidized

ubsidizing suburbs is like subsidizing junk food, cigarettes, and bad movies. I don’t know why I threw in bad movies. But it works for me.

Some people want houses, yards, and driveways. People want easy access for cars. People don’t want to be friends with their neighbors. These people don’t need community in their neighborhoods, because, bluntly, they have Facebook. There are legitimate reasons for all of this and they are completely free to live how they want.

But these rights should never have imposed on the cities. Detroit is a mess because it’s spliced up by highways. The one highway cutting through Grand Rapids has ruined its surrounding neighborhoods. Who wants to be right next to a highway? Half the buildings in Grand Rapids, now, are parking garages. Boring wastes of space, still better than flat parking lots, mind you, but still boring and generating no revenue. Once a city is built for a car the city dies. Except LA. But LA has some weird mystical gods protecting it.  Cities, in general, are not meant for cars. They are meant for people.

And these rights shouldn’t impose economically on everyone else who chooses to live differently. Complaining about taxes? A lot of our tax money goes to supporting suburban developments, because the infrastructure of them is so spread out and inefficient that it costs more to build and keep homes and establishments in that way.

Before we even think about New Urbanism and bike lanes, we need to face the fact that our set-up here is unfair and silly. You are free to make choices that negatively affect other people, such as smoking in their presence, but it’s taking freedom a little too far when everyone has to pay money out of their pocket so that those choices, the ones that NEGATIVELY effect other people, are still possible. We have got to stop this now. Let’s have true free market here and stop holding up places that would fail otherwise. (Because a Logan’s Roadhouse in the middle of nowhere does not make any sense.) Let’s let them fail. Let’s build a new home for ourselves.

Jane Jacobs Lives On

In many ways. But last weekend there were Jane Walks in over a dozen cities. Story here.

Here are my other posts on Jane Jacobs, if you’re unfamiliar with this urban expert. She died in 2006.

What Jacobs’ Death and Life Is All About

Death and Life Update