Urban Agenda -- 21st Century Political Renewal


Reprinted w/permission-Washington Post Writers Group & the artist

Building a pro-city platform and Urban Agenda for the next Presidential campaign & locally.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Conservatives' Vision of an America without Cities

is an article from Public Eye, based on a review of the book Welcome to the Homeland: A Journey to the Heart of America's Conservative Rural Rebellion by Brian Mann.

Ironically, this is the same argument that fueled the Garden Cities and other suburban development movements--the view of the city (somewhat justifiably) as a cesspool, teeming with immigrants (read: people different from me), loose morals, crime, dirty, noisy, and dangerous.

It's a bit more complicated than that. And the story captures the nuances.

The story references a story from the Stranger, which I reprinted in the Urban Agenda blog, "THE URBAN ARCHIPELAGO by The Editors of The Stranger."
It is a screed written after the November 2004 election. But look what happened in November 2006. I wouldn't claim that a Democratic or more humane mandate was set--after all, if George Allen wasn't a doofus during the campaign, there's a good chance he would have won and the Senate wouldn't have a Democratic majority (maybe Lieberman would have jumped to the Republicans besides).

But despite this blog entry that discusses the suburban majority in Congress, "The suburbs are now the majority in the House of Representatives" also from Urban Agenda, the November election results have demonstrated to urban dwellers that we can't be so smug and dismissive of the suburbs, that in many respects, we are comrades in arms.

Like trying to make the connection between historic preservation and the demonstrated interest in the home (even though many people, particularly those of the property rights persuasion, see preservation rules as a hindrance), we cityfolk need to make better links with our rediscovered friends in the suburb.

(As I mentioned in a long meeting on Sunday, the suburbs are populated with many people that still have strong ties to the city, maybe one or two generations back, but they are still around--though dying off--and reachable. See this blog entry from 2005, "Interesting City attitude-Suburban attitude survey in Metro Detroit," which discusses a Detroit News survey with the same finding.)

I mean, who would have guessed Charles County Maryland would have gone Democrat? (See "Elections Sharpen Region's Profile," subtitled "Democrats Look to Annapolis, Washington," and "Breaking Away from Neighbors," both from the Washington Post.)

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