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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 2:08 AM
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Why is Joel Kotkin Extolling the Virtues of Suburbia?

Why is Joel Kotkin Extolling the Virtues of Suburbia?


Mar 2nd, 2010

Yonah Freemark



Read More: http://americancity.org/columns/entry/2092/

Quote:
The increasingly mainstream frame of thinking about the American suburbs, at least according to most planners and academics, is that they are inextricably linked to the center city and that metropolitan regions as a whole will be the building blocks of the nation’s economic and social future. This perspective, however, has been vigorously rejected by prolific and omnipresent Chapman University fellow Joel Kotkin.

According to the professor, who is celebrating the release of his most recent book, The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050, and who writes for New Geography and Forbes, the suburbs and the large cities are locked in an intractable battle for supremacy. The elites are fighting to ensure the dominance of their preferred built form and the Obama administration, he claims, is in an all-out “war on the suburbs”—but low-density sprawl will eventually win out.

Kotkin envisions a future in which major American cities will be reduced to impotence and auto-centric suburbs will assure the future economic health of the country. It’s a counter-conventional approach that rejects many of the mores of modern planning, including a call for denser, environmentally sensitive, and walkable communities. Kotkin’s arguments are premised on the idea that the middle class prefers the suburbs and that patronizing urbanists and city politicians want to force people into dense urban neighborhoods.

What makes Kotkin’s hyperventilating about the evil elites and their underlying aims so bizarre is that on the face of it, he appears to share many if their goals. He wants to transform suburbs into livable, walkable places with town centers and a village mentality. He argues that even if only one-fifth of the one hundred million more Americans expected to join the population by 2050 choose to inhabit the big cities, those old centers would still see significant expansion and improvement. Kotkin’s suggestions about how to improve urban environments are reasonable: He thinks they need to address “public safety, business climate and political reform.” On these matters, it’s hard to argue with the professor.

But it is when Kotkin extrapolates a “war on the suburbs” from the Obama administration’s support for improved public transportation and “livable” communities that one begins questioning whether to believe his claim that his interest is simply to work objectively in the interests of the country’s middle class, which he sees as the basis of the country’s wealth. Kotkin’s writings are filled with the much-repeated myth that the middle class has “chosen” to live in the suburbs and that to design communities in a way that isn’t driven by auto-centric single family houses would be to ignore the desires of all those who have moved into them.



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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 2:09 AM
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How about this:

Kotkin and the urbanists are wrong..
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 2:32 AM
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Ha. The author is a former classmate of mine.
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 3:01 AM
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Wow that picture looks like it could be North Houston.
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 3:05 AM
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Thanks to Kotkin, I'm embarrassed to be a Chapman alumnus.
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 3:08 AM
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He's a utopian just like Kunstler. "Oh, lets all live in quaint villages like Jefferson wanted!"
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 3:17 AM
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Well there is an appeal for many in the Middle Class to want to live in a more spread out environment especially if the conveniences are still near by. But urbanization being forced onto suburbanities?...
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 3:18 AM
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He makes a good living being an apologist for sprawl -- book sales, speaking fees, etc. I'm guessing he believes what he says, but it's also presumably very lucrative.

Based on short articles, he seems to omit the effects of expensive oil on middle class preferences, which is making inner areas more prosperous in many cities, and making fringe areas less prosperous.

On his statements on "preferences"...where to start. For one, many inner cities have DRAMATICALLY more expensive housing on a square foot basis compared to even fairly prosperous suburbs, meaning people are paying a premium to live in town.
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 3:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post

Based on short articles, he seems to omit the effects of expensive oil on middle class preferences, which is making inner areas more prosperous in many cities, and making fringe areas less prosperous.
Ah yes that transportation vs. affordable housing equation.
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 4:11 AM
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Call it a hunch, but that looks like Atlanta. South part beyond the airport. The wooded areas behind the lots, not all houses have fences, and huge size of the front yard all say Eastern US. In Texas, all yards would be fenced, the backyards would come together and the houses would be closer to the street.

Maybe it could be somewhere out by Magnolia or between 45 and 59 though. Bender's Landing maybe, lolz made me laugh as a huge Futurama fan. I have to be suspicious of anything named Bender...

I think it is unfair to judge a place I don't know about so I am not targeting any negativity towards whatever suburb is in that photo, just the concept or idea the picture is supposed to represent according to the article.

It is the absolute worst of what I don't like about SPRAWL. As opposed to a suburb which are really independent towns with schools, parks, and commercial and industrial areas vs. these randomly located home developments. Being able to drive around isn't as much a part of it, so much as a kind of social and economic inter-dependence that is the difference between a community and just a geographic location where people live.

Last edited by llamaorama; Apr 29, 2010 at 4:33 AM.
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 4:27 AM
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Yea it's Atlanta.
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 7:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llamaorama View Post
Call it a hunch, but that looks like Atlanta. South part beyond the airport. The wooded areas behind the lots, not all houses have fences, and huge size of the front yard all say Eastern US. In Texas, all yards would be fenced, the backyards would come together and the houses would be closer to the street.

Maybe it could be somewhere out by Magnolia or between 45 and 59 though. Bender's Landing maybe, lolz made me laugh as a huge Futurama fan. I have to be suspicious of anything named Bender...

I think it is unfair to judge a place I don't know about so I am not targeting any negativity towards whatever suburb is in that photo, just the concept or idea the picture is supposed to represent according to the article.

It is the absolute worst of what I don't like about SPRAWL. As opposed to a suburb which are really independent towns with schools, parks, and commercial and industrial areas vs. these randomly located home developments. Being able to drive around isn't as much a part of it, so much as a kind of social and economic inter-dependence that is the difference between a community and just a geographic location where people live.
Texas lot sizes are a quarter to half the size of those pictured. That is definitely Atlanta. The 675/285 junction to be exact, a few miles east of the airport. What's funny is that the typical suburban lot built in Atlanta today is smaller than those pictured.

Here's a streetview of the neighborhood pictured.
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 7:46 AM
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Discussing the actual topic would be nice, instead of treating this thread like a 'guess the city' contest.

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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 7:54 AM
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i think it looks like charlotte
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 1:30 PM
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You know I never actually clicked on the article where it has the caption, so that was just a guess
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 3:05 PM
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Why is Joel Kotkin extolling the virtues of suburbia?

Because he is a douchebag.
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 3:09 PM
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^cause joel kotkin is paid by the sprawl industry, and thus will praise the beauty and convenience of sprawl, while downplaying the externalized, hidden and deferred costs. joel kotkin won't talk about the fat profits generated by his patrons from sprawl.

kinda sad to see a shill get so much exposure. kinda sad to see how some people honestly see him as an objective voice.
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 8:15 PM
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Maybe this Joel Kotkin is thinking ahead to ensure the suburb's survival.

----------------------------------------------


A Mission to Make Suburbs, Well, More Like the City


June 9, 2008

By PAUL VITELLO



Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/09/ny...in&oref=slogin

Quote:
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. — The “Downtown” that Petula Clark evoked in her 1964 pop song of that name (where “you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares”) never made much sense to anyone who worked or lived in an actual downtown. It was a song for people who did not. So, blaring from the public address speakers to open a recent meeting here, Ms. Clark’s hit was probably the perfect score for a conference of suburban officials and planners promoting the idea that Creating Cool Downtowns, the conference title, was the future of the suburbs of New York. “Young people are moving to Manhattan. They are moving to Brooklyn,” said Thomas R. Suozzi, the Nassau County executive and organizer of the conference, which was held on Friday in the parish center of St. Agnes Cathedral.

“Why aren’t they moving here?” he asked.

Why young people flee the suburbs was the underlying question of the day. But there has never been much mystery about it: There is nowhere to live; not enough to do; and not enough young adults around to improvise the kind of neighborhood scene born every few years in the big city.

Planners have been promoting the idea of suburban downtown life for decades, not just for the young, but also for retirees and workers of all ages. Corporate employers in the suburbs have long lamented the scarcity of affordable rental housing for workers. The environmental advantages of living and working in the same zip code are obvious.

But recent shocks over gas prices, global warming and the tenuous hold many people have on their mortgaged homes seem to have brought new urgency to the idea — at least among professional worriers about the suburbs.
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Old Posted Apr 29, 2010, 10:30 PM
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Crotchkin is living in a fantasy.
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  #20  
Old Posted Apr 30, 2010, 12:16 AM
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Who provides funding for him?
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