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View Diary: Cars Cause Republicanism (338 comments)

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  •  Both may be true (none)
    In fact, it would stand to be likely that if living in close proximity and learning to live in harmony caused a leftward bent, living in isolated exurbs where your neighbor is a stranger is likely to cause a rightward drift. To take one view exclusively is a tip off to ones beliefs about human nature, which in fact is complex and unknowable. Are we naturally compassionate and generous but made selfish and brutal by cars, freeways and suburban sprawl or are we naturally selfish and mean but made kinder and softer by proximity to others and forced sharing.

    Of course it's probably more complicated. There can be little doubt though, that most of us who've had varied living experinces would agree that there is some sort of correlation between housing density and willingness to compromise and work things out. When I have lived in moderately dense neighborhoods, I have found there is a greater tendency to be polite and friendly with neighbors, all pulling together to get along and get things done and voting for better sevices. When I have lived where there are greater spreads, people know each other less and vote for lower taxes.

    One glaring exception seems to occur when density gets too high (often coexisting with poverty nad disenfranchisment) a certain element who perhaps would be inclied to run away if they had resources, instead turns into a predator destroying his neighbors.

    •  Actually... (4.00)
      Once you hit urban densities, as density increases, crime decreases. Check out Christopher Alexander's book "A Pattern Language" for statistics - once you get past the point where there are too few people for crime, the more eyes you put on the street, the less crime you have.

      by Bensch on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 02:08:51 PM PST

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      •  Hmmm (none)
        I would not be shocked by that. In the USA, the densest municipalities (with the exception of Boston) tend to have pretty high crime rates, though the very densest neighborhoods in them do tend to be more moderate-crime neighborhoods, with the highest crime rates in the depopulated, blighted neighborhoods. Once you factor in Europe and Asia, as well as Latin America and Africa, I would not be surprised that dense cities have far less crime than the less dense suburbs and shanty towns. I'll have to take a look at A Pattern Language, it's been recommended to me by people I trust.
        •  A Pattern Language (none)
          Is filled with a lot of good ideas. And many wacky ones.

          Gotta love those new urbanists. For instance, Kunstler says horizontal windows are bad for people (make us think of death). Where do they get this stuff?  Horizontal windows make me absurdly happy.

          "I am Joe's raging bile duct."

          by Floja Roja on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:04:48 PM PST

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          •  I don't see any reason to equate the two. (none)
            Pattern Language is almost entirely backed up by studies of psychology, and is well vetted. There are wacky ideas, but they tend to work - and well - even if not for the reasons presented.


            by Bensch on Thu Jan 05, 2006 at 10:58:37 AM PST

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