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Why Urbanism Is Considered to be ‘Liberal’

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Development Why Urbanism Is Considered to be ‘Liberal’

Viewing 7 posts - 61 through 67 (of 67 total)
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  • #1102890

    Matt Boyd
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Matt Boyd wrote:</div>
    It’s not like wage stagnation suddenly went away.

    Locally, it has:

    https://www.columbusunderground.com/columbus-ranks-1-in-wage-growth-in-the-us

    Awesome for Columbus that it’s year-over-year average hour wage has increased more than in other parts of the country, but that does not balance out 40 years of wage stagnation. The only reason that 6.2% wage growth does anything meaningful for anyone is because the Fed is artificially holding down inflation.

    #1102894
    Chris Sunami
    Chris Sunami
    Participant

    If you grew up in columbus and wanted an ”urban experience” you leave and go to nyc. Only those from the country consider columbus a great urban experience. Those from the city looking for that leave for larger cities as columbus is boring to them.

    This may have been true back in the Goodbye, Columbus years, but times have changed. I personally grew up in inner-city Columbus, lived in NYC for a year, hated it, and moved back to urban Columbus. I know quite a number of others who returned to Columbus after living in larger cities, as well as any number of urban Columbusites who chose to move here from larger cities, even without a prior connection. For people who aren’t interested in the endless treadmill and sky high cost of living of NYC, Columbus can be a perfect blend of the small and large.

    #1102903
    Josh Lapp
    Josh Lapp
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Walker Evans wrote:</div>

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>drew wrote:</div><br>
    …an instinctual desire for density through shiny spendy new things we’ve seen somewhere else…

    I don’t think that oversimplification is a fair generalization to make.

    Maybe not, but our city limits sprawl much more than just about any other city of our size, and our development patterns are almost all focused on an area within a mile or so of downtown. This development pattern, which is not solely motivated by private interests, is an ‘every city’ approach to a city that’s not like every city.

    Honestly, I see our development over the last 5-10 years as a matter of trying to play catch up with others, rather than playing our own game.

    Maybe the ‘urban’ development pattern but Columbus and our suburbs are not limiting sprawl in any meaningful way.

    #1102916
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Honestly, I see our development over the last 5-10 years as a matter of trying to play catch up with others, rather than playing our own game.

    I agree with that. Though I’d argue that the catch up is/was necessary before “playing our own game” could even begin. We’re not going to have cool unique local things to do if we don’t have the concentrated population density to support it. I’d be skeptical that something like 16-Bit or Wolf’s Ridge Brewing would be as successful (if at all) if the amount of “shiny spendy new things” that have been focused in/around Downtown did not exist. It’s great that many businesses can be currently be supported by suburbanites who treat them as fun destination spots, but eventually we need our urban neighborhoods to be filled with more people to create a more healthy and sustainable 24/7 economy.

    #1102924

    gramarye
    Participant

    As one of the board’s few resident (if dormant) urban conservatives, let me take a stab at this.

    First, I’m speaking for others, not myself. Smart urbanism ought to be a cornerstone of the conservative movement even if Republicans will not control the majority of American city councils or mayor’s offices anytime soon.

    But I can at least identify where most conservative skepticism towards urbanism originates:

    (1) Decentralization vs. central planning. Urban design inherently involves some level of central planning, to which most conservatives (especially the most conservative ones) are reflexively hostile. When speaking as the contrarian among my conservative acquaintances, I counter that it is precisely the need for less central planning that would be a welcome part of a conservative urban agenda. Likewise the need for less NIMBYist levels of review in urban development. You would think conservatives would be even happier than liberals to see Nationwide putting a tower of $600,000+ condos where there had previously been blight, because the concern that we’re “pricing out the poor” is a much weaker counterargument to us than it is to liberals. But nevertheless, urban planning does require some central planning (which could be smart and simple, e.g., a form-based zoning code) that can really only be effectively done with at least some government involvement.

    (2) Agrarian roots. The modern American conservative movement owes much to America’s agrarian past, even though that past is now long past. The “center of gravity” of the conservative movement is therefore just a long way from having an interest in urban issues, and “density” is something of a toxic concept in the harder conservative circles. I view this as a correctable or at least manageable problem, but the fact is that anyone who decides to be the conservative pioneer of urbanist thought is confining themselves to a support or auxiliary role within the movement. The leading conservative urbanist think tank is the Manhattan Institute, and let’s just say that it isn’t considered a polestar for conservatism the way Heritage, Cato, or ATR are.

    (3) Zero-sum views. This is a mistake that both conservatives and liberals make, but of course it manifests differently. But the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of American cities are one-party Democratic strongholds. Conservatives will look at that and ask why we should want to send development to downtown Columbus, where Democrats will impose huge taxes on it to fuel other Democratic programs, when that same development could potentially be brought to Dublin or Upper Arlington or Gahanna (and, of course, many such suburbs are indeed trying to hybridize urban and suburban development, sometimes successfully).

    Like I said, I personally am quite comfortable as the Manhattan Institute type, the urban contrarian who really does think that urban policy matters greatly and the lack of a conservative voice there is both a national liability for the conservative movement and a disservice to the country as a whole. (Witness the reflexive hostility of urban regulatory apparatuses to new, or newly prominent, business models such as ridesharing and food trucks. That was a fantastic opening for a positive small-government urbanist message–just get out of the way and let people work! Good things are happening without you having to lift a finger, stop trying to prevent it just because you can’t take credit for it!–but it was largely just pooh-poohed from a distance and never turned into the real teachable moment it could have been.) But by and large, urbanism is considered liberal largely by default, because it is associated with cities (the overwhelming majority of which are Democratic), density (which conservatism’s agrarian spirit is not as comfortable with as I’d like it to become), central planning, and reallocating resources away from conservative areas.

    #1102933
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    As one of the board’s few resident (if dormant) urban conservatives, let me take a stab at this.

    As always, thanks for taking the time to type out a very thoughtful response on the topic. ;)

    #1102954

    jimbach
    Participant

    One cause of the rise of cities, historically, was the Industrial Revolution and the need for workers in all the factories that were springing up in places like Manchester, England. This in turn led to the development of the labor movement, which is inherently a left (or center-left) movement. This was replicated a century or so later in places like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland.

    Conversely, agrarianism, which is obviously rural and landowner-centric, is by nature a conservative line of thinking or way of life, however you want to think of it.

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