betacity


structural change
January 27, 2011, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,
My letter to the editor as a response to the article The Bright Side of Blight.
re: The Bright Side of Blight
The editor:
In this time of economic and environmental crisis it makes sense to propose both superficial and structural solutions to the complex issues facing the American city.  Kudos to the organizations that are addressing joblessness and development in the blighted inner cities.  However, to not mention structural issues is to acquiesce to a failed status quo.
To break structural blockages, living urbanly and densely should be tied to sustainable energy consumption and to being ‘American,’ and should be incentivized.  Hidden and externalized living and development costs should be made transparent, including the enormous public cost of the American suburban lifestyle, particularly in relation to the relatively radically more efficient inner city life.  The myth is that we have free market development; the reality is that sprawl is expensive and is heavily subsidized with public money.  Merely equalizing per capita public expenditures between city and suburb would make enormous change.  And this way we’re not asking the disenfranchised to change themselves.  Policy that disincentivizes wasteful exurban development is policy that reinvests in our cities.  Few are talking about it, and talking about it is the necessary first step up an admittedly long road.
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