Tuesday, April 26, 2016


So there's a site called Market Urbanism, against which I am predisposed for two reasons: because they announce chirpily in their header, "Believe it or not, free-markets and urbanism go well together"; and because they like to cite Joel Kotkin, who for years has been harboring a hate-on for the Blue Cities and is always predicting their downfall. But I figured I'd give it a chance. I mean, heaven forbid Vox should call me smug or something.

The first item I looked at, by Carolyn Zelikow, about how Richard Florida and his "creative class" (and not, as you might think, rapacious capitalism) have ruined the cities by flooding them with yuppies -- in fact the title is "Richard Florida Should Replace The Term ‘Creative Class’ With ‘Country Club.'" The thing is rife with the conservative version of virtue-signaling (values-signaling?); Zelikow refers to creatives' penchant for "superficial diversity" and "Florida’s tacit preference for bike lanes over food stamps," she accepts the claim that "members of the Creative Class embrace diversity, except when it comes to blacks, whom they prefer not to live around," etc. But look at how she starts:
Here’s a fun fact about me: I embody the Creative Class.

I live in a big, old witchhatted townhouse between Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan in Washington, DC. I love locally raised produce and my exposed brick yoga studio has a juice bar. I fall in love with every silver bullet remedy for civic malaise I come across: teach kids to code! bike lanes! murals! And guess what? I work at a think tank, where we think… for a living!
I should note that at no point in the essay does Zelikow inform us of any plans to move away from creative-class-ridden D.C. -- though she notes that there are "many American cities that are doing just fine without a preponderance of Creative Class representation: Houston, Atlanta, Oklahoma City all come to mind." Can't she telecommute from Oklahoma City? She thinks for a living!

The other item I examined was by Nolan Gray and called "Reclaiming 'Redneck' Urbanism: What Urban Planners Can Learn From Trailer Parks." Gray likes trailer parks on the expected conservatarian grounds -- "a trailer owner pays rent not only for a slice of land in an apparently desirable location but also for a kind of club good known as 'private governance,'" plus there's no "top-down, paternalistic planning," etc. Alas, neither does Gray walk the walk:
The lesson here is not, of course, that we should all go live in trailer parks. As a Kentuckian, I have spent enough time in and around trailers to think better of that idea. But...
Yeah thanks. Still I find even this much honesty refreshing. I wonder when regular, non-niche conservatives will start picking it up, e.g., "Welfare recipients should take regular piss tests and only be allowed gruel to eat -- though of course if I ever get into economic trouble I expect to maintain the standard of living to which I am accustomed, because I think for a living."

UPDATE. Comments, always excellent, outdo themselves on this one. For example, weedcard:
This dipshit has obviously never lived in a trailer park. WTF does he mean by "private governance?" That a man can discipline his woman when she "sasses" him and not have to worry about the statist police force enforcing the radical, left-wing Violence Against Women Act? That since most trailer parks do not require a lease the landlord can kick you out anytime he wants for any reason?
No, weedcard, he means freemarket ReaganHayek doubleplusgood. I mean, it doesn't matter what it means so long as he doesn't have to live in it.

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