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July 10, 2008

Richard Florida

Hmmm ...

« Florida, Florida | Main | Density and Politics »

Bill Fulton takes on Joel Kotkin's criticisms of Chris Leinberger's intriguing arguments about sprawl, declining suburbs and walkable urbanism:

Joel Kotkin is at it again. In yesterday’s Los Angeles Times Sunday opinion section, the enfant terrible of L.A. urbanism dissed the “suburbs as slums” thesis of Brookings’ Christopher Leinberger. But in once again coming to the defense of “suburbs”, he has revealed that he can’t tell the difference between Glendale and Palmdale ...

In a similar fashion to last summer’s debacle – when he decried Pasadena-sized densities as “Manhattanization” – Kotkin has now confused Glendale with Palmdale. He argued that Leinberger is wrong because people and jobs are not flowing to Downtown Los Angeles in huge numbers. He claimed that Leinberger and his sympathizers base their research mostly on anecdotes, rather than facts. And he concluded that “rather than cramming more people and families into cities,” high energy prices and similar trends “may instead foster a more dispersed, diversified archipelago of self-sufficient communities.” As examples he lists Burbank, Ontario, and West L.A. – all job-rich “suburbs” where commutes are shorter than they are in inner-city L.A ...

The inescapable conclusion is that Kotkin is about 30 years out of date. His mind lives in a ring of older suburbs that circle downtown L.A. – Burbank, the San Gabriel Valley, the Westside, Irvine, all built between the 1920s and the 1960s as residential suburbs. Kotkin always casts the “urban v. suburban” battle as a battle between Downtown Los Angeles and these “suburbs”.

The rest is here (via Planetizen).


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Whitney Gunderson

L.A. is probably one of the few areas were suburban living and job growth can coincide. This could happen in L.A., but probably not in other smaller urban areas. Development is different for different places. If development happens in L.A. which has the effect of keeping more people off traffic-jammed freeways, it will be good for all of us regardless of urban or suburban bias. Also found this on, of all places, Detroit.


People are painting old houses bright orange with the hope of getting them knocked down. What this says to me is that demolition is more likely to occur in old urban areas, victims of poor urban policy, rather than in suburbs.

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