This blog will include my unkempt thoughts on science, politics, music, wombats and cats. Breaks will be allowed for attending to your real job, naps, thirst and fatigue. Greetings.

Friday, June 23, 2006

To hell with poverty

I live in a region with a shocking and obvious problem. The wealthy parts of my city, and the suburbs, are lily-white and car-based, and the slums are completely filled with minorities. White flight continues and most suburbanites won’t come downtown more than once a year, much less frequent any businesses in the ghetto.

So with some interest I’ve been following the ideas of the New Urbanists and until yesterday I found some comfort in their ideas. Simply put, they predict that when the real world catches up to American energy prices, suburbs will become unlivable. The crucial manifestation of this will be, after pleasure travel is curtailed, when commuters can no longer afford to commute. The daily ride from White Plains to Wall Street, or from anywhere to anywhere in a city like LA will become prohibitive. The return of the city-center will begin.

I still think this will happen in large cities but I’ve realized things will play out differently in places like Buffalo. Here’s my theory: People here will never move inwards, when they can no longer afford to commute they will move their offices and businesses out-into the suburbs. It’s already happening and it’s insane. We have this beautiful city on the lake and they choose to live in the snowbelt in the south or the swamps north of the city.

The energy crises seems set to undo years of desegregation and bring us back to the period of separate and very unequal.

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