117 Comments

This doesn't work because if you get a good college degree you aren't allowed to leave liberal-approved blue cities or you're an apostate.

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Interesting. You can get a good college degree and move to someplace affordable, as a responsible person might, only to find the locals don't like outsiders with fancy degrees ruining the place. And what goes unmentioned so often, is a lot of those liberal-approved cities are full of people who ran off to college and never looked back because their own communities made it clear as they were growing up that they weren't welcome there. Tribalism doesn't just run blue, it runs red too.

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Of course it does and I personally reject and dislike both tribes but there's a reason people are paying $3500 or more for a shithole in NY or SF even when remote work is prevalent and that is because it's a shibboleth to not live in an approved locale.

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Jun 2, 2023·edited Jun 2, 2023

I don't deny status isn't a huge factor, but there are lots of people in both those places that would like options to move elsewhere, but feel pretty certain they wouldn't be welcome in the kind of places they grew up in. Communities still matter, and I think we can agree online tribalism is absolutely brilliant at killing them.

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I think you underestimate the amount of human feces and winked away violent crime at present in those three cities. Those ol' grey mares ain't what they used to be.

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Man, I live in LA. I know.

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And I just left Chicago. *You* might not leave LA but a chunk of folks will same as Freddie is leaving NYC :)

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BITD, I recall Manhattanites throwing a shit fit at being assigned phone numbers that didn't have the coveted (212) area code.

As one interviewee put it, he pays a lot to live in Manhattan and being able to give potential mates a phone number with (212) is just part of the perks you get for living in The City. This was pre-tinder, FWIW.

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FWIW, I think you have the hippie-punching thing backwards. YIMBYs are culturally aligned with the left but need to do the hippie-punching to build their coalition with the types of people who actually hold power in cities.

On the whole, the bigger problem for YIMBY is lots of YIMBYs want to put their effort into alleviating esoteric leftist concerns (public housing, free transit) rather than normie concerns like parking, traffic, and crime.

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Do you need a reason to punch a hippy?

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Idk hippies are mostly pretty chill folks when I've met them. No problem with them personally

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When I encounter people who are dismissive of open spaces having value I immediately start to avoid them because they are sociopaths incapable of perceiving beauty or experiencing happiness. I think this is a pretty normal reaction in the USA.

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By "open spaces" here you of course mean 'land not yet developed'? :]

I get angry at this too. Some people just think the purpose of land is to fill it up with developments, like the world is a giant sardine can. They only see the asset value to it. I hate these people.

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Do they understand that rapid deforestation has contributed to climate change? Like do they understand that at all?

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Alternately, if they don't care about/believe in climate change, do they not recognize that ducks are great to shoot at and taste delicious, and if you pave all the wetlands you can't have any?

The answer of course is no, because they are joyless and nihilistic so they do not fear destruction as the sea levels rise, do not appreciate beauty in the world, and think that no one should eat the ducks. Not because they're bleeding hearts but because they want everyone to suffer.

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They do indeed have value which is why i live close to open space and frequently walk there with my dogs. That lifestyle though requires sprawl.

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What about public parks?

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They can't hold a candle to open space. Parks are typically groomed and manicured. Open space is undeveloped land so it still has wildlife. Since there are no lawns, flower beds, irrigation, etc. open space can be hundreds of acres whereas a park is constrained by the costs associated with maintaining it and the amount of adjacent developed real estate.

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I thought you were extolling suburbia for its open space, so my bad bc clearly you weren’t!

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I am saying that the suburbs are superior because undeveloped open space is superior to parks. At least my dogs seem to think so.

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Exactly. A park requires leashes or provides a small chaotic prison yard of a dog area. Open space means your dogs can sniff and run around and do what they love best.

I live in exactly the type of idyllic, "exurban" (maybe??) suburb that would make YIMBYs vomit, and the number 1 issue that residents bring up at every single planning meeting or vote or request for public comment is all the dog owners insisting we keep the remaining undeveloped areas the way they are bc they basically operate as unofficial very large off leash dog parks. Every so often, a proposal will come up to turn the open space areas into a skate or bike park or build apts or retail, and the dog people all go nuts. And I'd guess almost half of the residents here have dogs, at least judging by my neighborhood.

Almost every time our city council asks residents to submit comments on what they want to see and how funds should be spent, the issues end up being 1. More off leash dog trails and areas, 2. Preserving spring and fall clean up day (that's when people can put all their junk and yard debris on the street and the city comes and picks it up and hauls it away, and 3. Various child-related recreation facilities. So basically, the height of privilege to make a YIMBY's head explode. Turns out residents don't just want to keep people out just to maintain existing density levels and views for themselves, they oppose growth bc it would be worse for their *dogs*. And I'm one of them...proximity to off leash open space was a major consideration in choosing my neighborhood.

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I think we have a different definition of suburb. When I think about suburbs I think about the hundreds or thousands of acres in CA going under roads, sidewalks and houses eight to ten feet apart. The housing developments are segregated by size and price, but very similar in style and color. They might put in a few parks in a leftover lot or two. There isn't much in the way of undeveloped open space in the suburbs I'm familiar with. There's a front lawn that nobody uses with grass that requires water in a place that doesn't have any rain four to six months out of a year. The trees and plants usually consist of the ten popular shrubs and trees, put in regardless to location or soil.

But, like I said, we may have very different images of suburbs because of regional differences.

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Ok but there's a difference between a forest reservation in the hills and a golf course downtown. Yes, my city has a golf course in prime urban land. A fucking golf course.

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Freddie, you always reporting on the very thing that’s on my mind! ❤️🙏

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A huge part of my Yimbyism is my desire for aesthetic cities, there’s few things I consider uglier than sprawled out cookie cutter suburban tract homes. I’d much rather live in dense walkable Parisian style beaux-arts revival apartment blocks or eco/neofuturistic towers. The latter are probably more economical since stones very difficult to use in modern times. Every day I walk down the streets of SF I can’t help but scowl at the ugliness of electric wires crisscrossing the sky and ugly rain damaged 1970s modernist facades. SF’s NIMBYs constantly shriek about neighborhood character, but I definitely don’t see it here. In SF Yimbys have had far more success strongarming cities to build dense housing by passing laws at the state level - trying to compromise with city NIMBYs is a fools errand imo. Recently the state forced SF to dramatically revise its housing element and start to approve apartment complexes the board of supervisors had blocked for ludicrous nimby reasons.

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I study urban ecology, and one of the fascinating but poorly understood phenomena in my field is deurbanization. There are dozens of medium-sized cities in the US and hundreds of smaller cities that have declined in population in the last several decades, with previously-thriving downtowns and nearby neighborhoods that are in dire condition. If we could make these places desirable with a diversity of housing types, then it could really change the situation. A win-win is building dense or dense-ish housing but not just in NYC, Seattle, and SF. I read Matt Yglesias' "One Billion Americans" and thought it was weakly argued and flippant about obvious criticisms of its central thesis. However, two ideas stuck out as potentially beneficial: 1) relocating national agencies (USDA, FDA, etc etc) out of the DC area and scattering them around the country in smaller cities, and perhaps regionalizing them much more than is currently done; and 2) granting visas to immigrants that are region specific (i.e. you get a visa to live in Rochester, NY for 10 years and then can apply for citizenship). Trump tried #1 as kind of an anti-government punishment for the USDA, but done well it could work just fine. A version of #2 already exists for overseas physicians that are willing to work in rural hospitals. A new round of land-grant universities in struggling small- to medium-sized cities might also be useful. The regional rural campuses are struggling and will start to close or be combined with others, but might find new life in these forgotten cities. Revitalizing these pre-existing urban areas takes a lot of pressure off less-dense areas. Many people would love to have a nice Victorian single-family home in a cute downtown of a small thriving city rather than an ugly Toll Brothers piece of garbage built on a former farm field or clearcut area with no trees or amenities.

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I recently bought land outside of one of these small towns that is being revamped and starting to thrive. After talking to a lot of residents about what's going on it seems like there are two key factors: Good internet and Amazon prime delivery. The town put in a lot of effort to get fibre installed, and they lucked out by being near an amazon warehouse.

With the internet came airbnb's. This brought young people, which brought cafe's and restaurants and shops. Two day delivery means all the city necessities can soon be on your doorstep, and so these people stay.

Just one data point, but there might be something to it.

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Excellent point. I am an anti-YIMBY (not a NIMBY, since all they do in my back yard is build build build and I can do nothing to stop it) in part because YIMBYs refuse to consider alternatives like you suggest.

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This is a great comment. There are plenty of great places to live in America, but few with open jobs, and even fewer with enough open jobs that someone could move there, take a new job, and have realistic exit options if that job doesn't work. Government has huge ability to create jobs wherever it wants.

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Of course, a lot of why these areas have become blighted has to do with race and the legacy of urban disinvestment. Indeed, it's hard to find an urban neighborhood in the U.S. more than 25% demolished that isn't historically black, unless something very particular happened like highway construction gone awry or a flood.

There's really no long-term plan for dealing with these areas unfortunately. Even though the crime stops being a big issue as they empty out, the few remaining black residents leave as soon as they get opportunities, or age in place in decaying homes which become condemned when they die. There's no hope for gentrification generally, and a concerted effort to bring in newcomers would be very controversial. Pretty much the "best" thing that happens is they get "reinvested" - which means new lower-density housing is built, creating an enclave of affordable suburban-density housing right in the heart of the city, which is pretty much impervious to future upzoning.

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I, too, have long thought that location-specific visas should be offered to immigrants to settle in cities like Rochester, Buffalo, Detroit, etc., that have lost more than 30% of their population since 1950.

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I'm not a student of the history of places like Detroit, but I thought a big part of the reason for population decline was the gutting of the previously massive industries there.

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True, but at a certain point the downward spiral in which these cities find themselves can only be stopped by identifying people who can be incentivized to move there. For many refugees and other immigrants, even a metropolis in decline is better than where they came from, and such people often display immense creativity in reacting to new circumstances.

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It seems like I've read about communities like that. Where immigrants were welcomed and made significant improvements.

I saw tremendous improvement in the area where I used to teach. The Asian immigrants revitalized that poor, blighted section of town with new businesses.

The anti-immigrant sentiments so popular today miss how much they improve the places they go.

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These Harvard researchers have an interesting take on Detroit. https://www.nber.org/papers/w8942

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St. Louis! We took all the Bosnians in the 90s and we have plenty room for more.

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Great example! My mom was a nurse at Barnes-Jewish for most of her career. I remember her telling me about the influx of Bosnian patients and nurses! Helped with the nursing shortage!

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The US is in the bottom quintile for sovereign nation population density. It's a big place. And plans to electrify transportation face a real challenge with cars parallel parked on streets in cities. Are owners to toss an extension cord out the window of the apartment building across the sidewalk to the charging port of the Tesla? And if you think putting rows of charging stations along city streets is practical, just look at how well we are doing at replacing lead water pipes in older residential areas. So densification certainly jeopardizes the effort to eliminate fossil fuels.

Transformative, well meaning ideas often run up on the rocks of human choices and behavior. Single family houses are popular for a variety of reasons, all favoring quality of individual life. Experiments seeking to build upwards in the 1950s, funded as urban renewal and similar, mostly failed. The remaining Mies-style housing is in affluent neighborhoods where there is a car hiker who brings the car around when it is needed.

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Love this! I wonder why we don’t already see coalitions between rural & suburban nimbies and urban yimbies? Like, suppose I don’t want to see more construction in Park Slope. Right now, I would probably be simply against upzoning everywhere. What would it take for a Park Slope nimby to support upzoning, say, in Manhattan? Seems like people have pretty strong intuitions about local control, that it would be bad for outer neighborhoods to gang up and upzone the core. (Also, what would stop an even more outer coalition from upzoning Manhattan and inner Brooklyn?)

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Jun 2, 2023·edited Jun 2, 2023

When I see that photo of Inland Empire, somewhere in the background, the rap hit "Developer's Paradise" is playing in the background...

More seriously, there's a subtle fallacy about density leading to wilder spaces remaining wild.

Of course it's entirely true, that for the same # of people, if some are diverted into denser places than they would otherwise, the less dense places will see smaller population increases and relatively less development.

The problem however is that for places to remain wild or to regain wilderness, virtually no one can develop there. This is a case where absolutes matter, and 'relative' is mostly irrelevant. We know this through studies that find that biodiversity drops just about everywhere within 10km of a road, even with no dwellings.

The best way to slow down the loss of wild places is not density, but decreasing human population (although both is even better). Absent a fall in population, to preserve biodiversity, among other things, we have to prohibit development across large tracts of land, and even de-populate some low-density rural areas.

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Jun 2, 2023·edited Jun 10, 2023

Excellent points, especially the last one. There's been a lot of anti-depopulation pushes cropping up recently, mostly right-coded but not all. Musk and Peterson have spoken on this a lot for instance. They all seem to make the case that having too many older people in society is bad for all sorts of reasons, especially the economy. Which is partly true, our own Boomer's aging out speaks to that. But almost all of them don't bother to mention anything about civil sprawl or preserving natural wilds in any regard - it's all about preserving a standard living or preventing some dark dystopia where kids just become as rare as a dodo. I mean come on...

A big problem is, especially in this country, when you start trying to tell people how many kids they can or can't have, they start seeing red. That's a natural response that almost anyone can empathize with mind you. But we only have this one planet, and finite resources. And I would think zero population controls in that reality is a much more insane stance to have.

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I will add that something I've seen from the left is that any effort to control population is seen as scarcity and that if only we didn't have capitalism there would be enough for everyone.

To say nothing of how the Earth has finite surface area and humans share the planet with billions of non-human life. Encroaching on wild places creates conflict between humans and animals (and people hate predators, like wolves and bears).

But having far fewer humans is a net positive for the planet, and I'd argue for people too.

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Rising economic growth/standards of living is a much, much bigger impact on planetary resources now than having more kids.

I mean, what does it matter if China is now shrinking as long as Chinese consumers continue to become wealthier, demanding everything from expensive new electronics to higher quantities of non-sustainable seafood?

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True. The rate of population decline affects the likelihood of success though. If China can grow economically while shrinking its population gradually, without blowing apart, then we have a chance of preserving more wilderness.

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Population growth, stasis, gradual decline (e.g. Japan) and collapse each lead to radically different outcomes. Right now, most developed and many developing countries are headed for rapid population decline, or collapse. That's a terrible scenario for biodiversity.

So I agree with some of Musk's and Peterson's points on this matter. Population crashes are likely to be social, economic and political disasters, and lead to failed states, possibly global or nuclear war. To depopulate enough wilderness, we need states to function well and grow their wealth. Our best course then is gradual but sustained population decline, and even that will have profound effects on economics.

To achieve gradual population decline, families in most nations must start having more babies. To succeed, we must be far more pro-natalist, and have less tolerance for the fatalist, self-serving claptrap about 'I'm not having children to save the planet/save children from the planet'. Because children have been liabilities since the industrial revolution, turning children into an asset requires large-scale wealth redistribution away from the elderly, and towards supporting young families.

I wish everyone good luck with that political project. I am not optimistic.

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"Some people won’t be happy until Park Slope looks like Hudson Yards"

This is one thing that I find infuriating. Neighborhoods like PS are a magnificent showcase for how appealing density can be. If we made a lot more of them across the country we would be in great shape. And yet YIMBYs want to destroy it.

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Aesthetics 100% matter, are these fools out of their minds? Homes are not just places you sleep and shower in, they are where you LIVE. People need places they can feel comfortable, secure and feel happy in. For many of us, we need green spaces. We need trees, grass, gardens etc. I don't care how cheap it was, you couldn't get me to live n a bare bones, concrete building with nothing to offer. With density there needs to be true neighborhood scaping and care. I lived in Philly for ten years, its remarkably dirty and entire neighborhoods have 0 trees. Its honestly a depressing and stark way to live.

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I dunno. If you go to the average European city, even in upscale areas, there's very little in the way of greenery by U.S. standards (often not even street trees), and they seem to work just fine.

To be clear, I'm not anti greenspace. But there's this attitude in U.S. urban planning right now which sees things like more greenspace and planting street trees as a panacea, even though they really are a bit tangential to the experience of a welcoming, pedestrian-friendly streetscape.

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Each of those European cities has a picturesque neighbourhood or two without trees that Americans like. You'll see a picture on twitter of Les Deux Magots and surrounding area, and people asking why we can't have that in America. And yes, it's wonderful. I've eaten there multiple times and have enjoyed the neighbourhood. But a dinner for two will cost 125 Euro.

When you go a little deeper into Paris, you find really, really ugly and unpleasant neighbourhoods that don't work well at all, and don't compare favourably to much of what we see in America. It seems like most exemplified European neighbourhoods are propped up by old school European money.

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There are streets in my city where people will literally pay $50k-$100k more for a house because the street has beautiful mature trees, while the street a block away doesn't. To say it doesn't matter is insane to me. The quality of the trees and landscaping in the neighborhood has always been a huge consideration for me, when buying a new house. It's what you look at and enjoy (or don't) every single day, it's absolutely important!!

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Jun 2, 2023·edited Jun 2, 2023

I agree with almost everything you say here Freddie, except for one not-so-little thing: the uniquely American dream of having the suburban mini-estate as the ideal way of life.

Partly because of our history as a late-comer to populating their continent (only talking about non-natives here, the indigenous aspect is another matter), a transportation system overwhelmingly favoring cars, as well as massive post-WW2 suburban planning, a lot of Americans tend to have this insatiable desire for that suburban ideal. The 3-4 bedroom house, with attached garage, green grass and trees surrounding, and a nice backyard patio or even pool to top it off.

I think THAT is a major part of the problem, everyone wants their own mini-estate...even a lot of people living in cities, I would bet, would choose that if they could afford it. I mean, when everyone talks about the good ole' times of America's greatness (not Donald's version here!) it almost always involves images of those zero-crime picturesque suburbs for miles and miles. Granted they were mostly white, but that's a whole 'nother matter I'm not going to get into here.

I think America's infatuation with the suburban ideal is not something that can easily be excised from our own expectations of what it means to live the 'good life' in this country. I mean, we can't even get quality interstate rail in this country (or even poor quality in some cases). And since suburban sprawl goes hand in hand with automobile primacy, what makes us think we can ever fix our housing issues without a massive rethinking on what a good life is here in America?

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I mean, if you look at the market, it's clear that dense, walkable areas actually do command a price premium. Basically anywhere in the country where there's a walkable area that is low-crime and has what's perceived as "good schools" is significantly more expensive than areas with similar crime/"school quality" that are set up in a typical suburban format. This pretty strongly suggests that demand for urban or quasi-urban environments outstrips the current supply. Though of course that does not mean that it would be a universally desired ideal setup.

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Exactly. And when did this market start to get turbocharged? Within the past 10 to 15 years—i.e., when Gen Xers and Millennials spearheaded a rush back to these kinds of places. They decided with their feet, as the saying goes, that that more urban settings were desirable to the boring, sterile subdivisions so many of them grew up in (myself included in this cohort). It was a generational shift in values, and one that continues today. Yes, many of these people are heading back to the suburbs after they have kids, but I'm not sure the majority necessarily would if they didn't feel forced to, because trading up is too expensive.

Culture changes. A hundred years ago, almost half of Americans lived on farms. The cookie-cutter ideal isn't destiny, as much as those living it may insist.

Not to mention, this change that Freddie (and I, and other density supporters) long for needn't be radical. Imagine that you could wave a wand and magically convert half of the country's single-family homes into duplexes. You'd instantly flood the market with millions of more homes, and do so a) without putting a dent in the current physical landscape and b) while only negligbly affecting neighborhood aesthetics ("character," if you will).

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Jun 2, 2023·edited Jun 2, 2023

Seems a more fundamental question is why people want this. I may be misreading your comment, so please correct me if I am, but it somewhat comes off as though people only want that because they were brainwashed by too many episodes of Leave It to Beaver to think this is the American Dream and they must go after it. I don't think that's the case at all. As an example, I'll use myself. My house is in what would be considered a suburb and I didn't want it because of any patriotic indoctrination. I wanted it because after my wife and I got married, we wanted a house with a yard and streets our kids could ride their bikes on. This also seems to slightly be the path Freddie himself is on and you would be hard pressed to argue he fell for American propaganda about what the "good life" entails.

Millions and millions of people haven't adopted this lifestyle randomly or because they were somehow coerced into thinking this is the way they should live. They are there because it affords them a better quality of life, at least in their mind. You're not going to convince a family of 5 to live in a high density unit by suggesting they've just been bamboozled into thinking they like having a yard, 3 bedrooms and a garage.

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I agree. My daughter is a college senior and she lives in a high density apartment complex and she loathes it. Loud arguments all the time, drunk people and their annoying behavior, constant pot smoke everywhere, people playing their music super loud and stomping around on the floor above her, etc. Sure it's near the campus of a notorious party school so that's part of the problem but the yay-density people often don't account for the fact that society has coarsened considerably in recent times and what is normal and acceptable behavior in many quarters is horrible to others and interferes with their ability to quietly enjoy their homes. My girl can't wait to get to the point in her life where she can buy a little land and build a small house in the middle of it where she does not have to listen to all this hullabaloo.

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The interesting thing is most people don't want to garden and maintain those mini-estates.

I do think people want a sense of privacy. They don't want to hear their neighbor stomping around upstairs or hear their toilet flush. Doing a better job of sound proofing would make multiple family housing more appealing as would designing them so it doesn't appear as if you're crammed together.

People want green areas. That could be accomplished by easily accessible parks.

I'm very interested in the idea of greening urban areas...living walls/roofs and such. Of course, water and roots decompose things and who wants their roof leaking.

I think walkability is becoming more important. Young people don't want to drive as much as older people.

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A lot of people like more privacy than just not hearing their neighbors. Many people like to be able to go outside and grill with the family and not be visible to hundreds of others. Also, urban parks are not a substitution for actual wilderness.

What about light pollution and wanting to see stars? I'm lucky enough that I live half an hour from one of the darkest places you'll find within reasonable driving distance from Chicago, which is still almost two hours away.

Also, being so reliant on automobiles is obviously bad, but driving is not inherently an unpleasant thing to do depending on the circumstances. If I had to fight traffic every day, then yes, I'd probably hate driving. But I live in a town of 17k people so traffic isn't a concern. I live within 20 minutes from my job and any store that sells essential goods.

I do wish there was better public transportation of course, because I'm a therapist at a rural community health agency and it seems like transportation is one of the biggest barriers for my clients, so obviously a city is superior in that respect. But I'd guarantee you a lot of those clients with transportation problems probably wouldn't want to live in a big city.

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I'm talking about what I see as the majority of the public. Of course there are many people who want to live out in the country and small towns. I'm one of them. I live on a hundred acres and can't see any of my neighbors from my house.

I like doing forest restoration, riding and hiking and gardening. I spend hours every day outside.

However, I don't think it's what the majority want. If cities were denser but designed to give people a sense of privacy, quietness and green spaces close by, more people would want to live there. Cities are better for the environment than sprawl.

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Another breath of fresh air. You informed me on a subject I care about but hadn’t found time to think about. Your breakdown made logical sense and your experience in this area added credibility. I hope you enjoy your new home.

Ps I think aesthetics and functional quality are not just important, they are essential. High density design must consider human nature.

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People bitch about this lobby and the lobby. But you know who ALWAYS wins? Real estate developers. Profit is way higher on single family than high density.

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From what I know about the RE industry, this is 100% wrong. multifamily profit margins tend to be much higher, particularly because construction costs per unit are lower.

If you're talking about a steel/concrete midrise or highrise, prices do get much, much more expensive though, to the point they only make sense to build in high-cost metros these days. That said, developers make boku bucks building those five frame stories over a garage, which is why they're everywhere.

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It took me a second. 'boku' = 'beaucoup'. Translation: lots.

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Yup, 5-over-1 wood-frame buildings that are popping up all over cities are very cheap and fast to build, and can generate much more profit than SFH on the same footprint in urban areas (assuming there aren't onerous building codes, parking requirements, and other regulations). McMansions still also very profitable if they're built on cheap land, but that party might be winding down given interest rates and overall housing market dynamics.

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Didn't Mr. DeBoer write an article just this week about waking onto his back deck and luxuriating in the silence and quiet of his new neighborhood? How is high density housing going to be compatible with that?

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author

As I very explicitly and deliberately say in the piece, my new town is actually very high-density compared to the American norm.

I mean, there's a whole section on higher-density, not just super-high-density.

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I'm very curious where you picked now, given I know the NYC area fairly well, but I 100% understand why you don't want to disclose it.

I'm imagining something like a cheaper Hastings-on-Hudson or Montclair.

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Jun 2, 2023·edited Jun 2, 2023

People are often surprised when I point out that some parts of Westchester County (a suburban area adjacent to NYC) have higher population density than Midwestern cities like Minneapolis or Milwaukee.

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it blows people's minds when i point out how there are multiple suburbs on long island, a place that is for many synonymous with suburban sprawl, that have a higher population density than every big city in america other than nyc and sf.

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Yeah but there’s no where you can live on Long Island that doesn’t require a car.

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I think a narrative of 'NIMBYism vs YIMBYism' as two concrete and polarized political identities is a little misleading. NIMBYism is simply a base instinct in America across the political spectrum - people generally like the characteristics of the place that they've decided to live in and there's always a status quo bias in politics. YIMBYism is counterintuitive to the average person in the same way that 'you should want to pay more taxes' is counterintuitive. Even the higher taxes party doesn't campaign on raising *your* taxes, it's always the other guy's taxes. And even a lot of people who subscribe to the broad YIMBY philosophy might not personally think that their neighborhood would be more pleasant with more skyscrapers. That's not some gotcha anymore than 'you're a leftist and yet you do not enjoy it when your taxes go up?' is a gotcha. In some cases you might need to get them to accept something that will make them slightly worse off personally.

I think growing success of YIMBYism has less to do with weirdos on the internet making convincing arguments (the arguments were just as true in 1990 as they are today, but nobody cared) and more to do with the state of the world, where even fairly high income people can't afford to live in the places that they want to live in.

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