Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

Urban Archipelago

(Looking for Four More Years?)

I just read The Urban Archipelago, a pro-urban, anti-exurban/rural screed. I love it, it's the most positive thing I've read yet in this post 11-02 world.

When I tell someone where I call home, I always say Chicago, I've literally never said Illinois. I moved here because of the city, and I stay here because of the city; to me the rest of the state is just an insignificant appendage. That's not my ideology, it's just the reality of why I'm here.

I read this essay, and the message I feel in it is live in a community that shares your values and improve the place you live. If your community doesn't share your values, then move - there's other places that do. We'll be happy to take you in. You don't have to move to Canada, there's many progressive cities instead. This cultural war is a war of demographics and population, let's make sure we have the most people, the smartest people, the most active people.

That's not to say the city is without problems. But it's not a problem of values, so much as logistic. So we work on the logistics: transportation, affordable housing, an active economy, and an aesthetically pleasing environment. And a friendly disposition. It's not enough to make just our lives better; we have to make space for new people, we have to make it possible for people on the outside to envision themselves on the inside.

And let's call the Republicans' bluff: let's downsize the Federal Government, let's get back to States' Rights. (Well hell, they aren't even bluffing anymore, but maybe we can still call them on it.) We can fund our own programs, and do it right; federal money is only worth it because they've already taken it from us. We'd do much better keeping it for ourselves and solving our own problems.

This isn't a call for smaller government, just accountable and intelligent government. Cities are collective environments; we can't afford to ignore our neighbors, we don't have room for private infrastructure, and that would ruin the whole point of the city anyway. Government can be efficient; we need to look after the government that is closest to us, to make our communities the best they can be. I guess the cliche way to say it: living well is the best revenge.

So go read the article. And if you don't live in the city, start thinking about moving.

Let's restart the American experiment.

Created 14 Nov '04
Modified 25 Jan '05