Over the last couple years I’ve critiqued the ways urbanists have promoted unaffordable hi-rise condos as being somehow sustainable, how they’ve perverted notions of density and equity for PR purposes with the ultimate goal of making money in real estate. It’s true, making cities so unaffordable that workers can no longer live there is a mistake. Because the place they’ll be forced to move to is far, far worse.
There’s a perception that the housing crash of 2008 halted suburban sprawl. In some places, it did just that. But we’re almost ten years past that epoch, and the home builders associations have been lobbying like they always do for more construction in placeless environs where silly things like public transit or public squares remain unthinkable.
Still too are marketing shills paid to intertwine the idea of upward mobility with urban flight as somehow still being a positive thing. Take this cringe-worthy quote from Ford Motor Company chief sales analyst Erich Merkle on CNN: “[Millennials] might be able to hold off for a period of time, but at some point they will have families, move to the suburbs, and they are going to purchase many, many new cars.”