There are at least two groups of babbling fools that have been mercifully silent during this emerging pandemic: anti-vaxxers and the so-called New Urbanists.
No one wants to hear from the nuts who refuse to vaccinate their kids right now. The world is praying for a COVID-19 vaccine and these crazies don’t even get flu shots.
The New Urbanists have also slunk away somewhere. To their high-rise co-ops, I suppose, where they’re trying to figure out how to ride the elevator while staying six feet away from their neighbors.
You remember the New Urbanists, don’t you? They were the urban planners who polluted Virginia Beach’s strategic growth office and tried to foist a billion-dollar light-rail system on us, insisting that the only way millennials could be persuaded to stay in our fair city was if we provided them with ant colony living.
The rail stops would become dense hubs of “mixed use” activity where people could live in tiny boxes above high-end stores and markets. While these visionaries praised sardine life, they also scoffed at the suburbs.
In 2016 I noted the foolishness in all this:
I hesitate to point this out, but millennials sound exactly like we baby boomers did when we were in our 20s. We got out of college, headed to big cities and sneered at our parochial parents driving the family station wagon to the supermarket.
‘“I love walking to things,” we crowed.
Then we got married, had kids, bought minivans and moved to the suburbs where the schools were good.
Has it ever occurred to these researchers that millennials are just ordinary 20- and 30-somethings who will eventually grow up and buy lawn mowers like the rest of us?
I can’t be the only one thankful that I live in suburbia as The Great American Lockdown gets underway.
Unlike city dwellers, suburbanites can walk out of their homes, wander the yard or their leafy neighborhoods without violating any of the 6-foot perimeter guidelines. We can safely get in our cars and drive. Meanwhile, those who live in cramped high rises use shared elevators, common entrances and communal hallways. They don’t dare ride public transit at a time like this.
There’s one reason epidemics tend to spread fastest in cities: density. In remarks this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York was adamant about the need to reduce density to curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
Yes, yes, we know the virus will likely reach all corners of the country eventually. But a map of the earliest outbreaks shows clusters mainly in large cities, where people live cheek to cheek and use buses and subways that are crawling with pathogens.
That great Virginian, Thomas Jefferson, railed repeatedly against urban life, claiming it led to ignorance and bad health. “I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man,” he once wrote in a letter to a friend.
And StrongTowns.org, a non-profit concerned with urban planning, conceded this in a recent piece:
A pathogen seems to turn everything good in cities into a problem. We want international business and tourism travelers. We want streets, public spaces, festivals, theaters, bars, and restaurants full of people. We want packed public transit. We want tight, socially-connected communities, in which people see friends and family all the time. The things that make cities vibrant and prosperous all involve human connections, and that’s also precisely how the virus spreads.
Yep, for decades dreamy social engineers have ridiculed suburbia as places where only the unimaginative and uncultured live. Smart people live in cities.
But I’ve seen the photos of desperate Wuhan residents trapped on their tiny balconies and Italians singing and shaking tambourines on theirs.
If we must stay home, let it be far from the urban centers.
While city dwellers are stuck in their high-rises, let us shout it from our pressure-treated lumber decks: We love the ‘burbs!44There are currently no comments highlighted.