City Journal Autumn 2014

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Aaron M. Renn
Is the City Where You Should Be? « Back to Story

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Cities are key to economic development. They are also less vulnerable than suburbs, whuich have shorter life cycles and need pnzi scheme development finnancing to continue suburban development.
As regional plans proliferate, I fully expect people to move further afield, a sort of re-ruralfication. Once moribund small towns will begin to take on new life and attract new business. The Bureaucrats will be powerless to control this. In fact, contemporary efforts to cram people into urban and suburban high rises will only accelerate the trend.
Ken, do you have any data for your "irrefutable" assertions?

Violent crime in cities is actually down, and has been decreasing for many years - check out this article published here in City Journal http://www.city-journal.org/2011/21_3_crime-decline.html

As for your effects, how is gentrification compatible with the cities being emptied of anyone but the poorest and least-educated?

If you did venture into downtown New York at night, you'd be surprised at the vibrancy you'd find, and you'd survive the experience safely. Your fears are simply out of synch with reality.
The likely answer to Mr. Puck's stated problem is gated communities. The urban version might look more like an enclosed walkway network, like many cold-weather cities now have. But stories about increasing behavioral blight like the knock-out game, is going to increase demand for exclusionary spaces.
Whatever may be said or asserted about life in the cities, three facts are irrefutable:

1. More and more of the U.S. and foreign-born population is streaming into the cities (above), and strained city budgets are not prepared to cope with influx.

2. The vast majority of the new arrivals consists of people below the poverty line.

3. Violent street crime is on the upswing in all major cities as the poor assault those they see as better off.

These data points will have the following effects:

1. Slow "gentrification" of inner-city areas;

2. Diminish the amount of business transacted in the city, followed by an exit by businesses to the suburbs;

3. Eventually empty the cities of everyone except the poorest, least-educated among us.

Detroit is merely the harbinger of this sobering trend; New York seems keen to follow in Detroit's footsteps as the mayor-elect becomes the catalyst for urban decay.

I no longer venture into any downtown area at night and am always aware of my surroundings if I must travel there by day. I counsel a similar policy for others.