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Was Corbusier's Anti-Density Modernism a Reaction to Disease?
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Down through history, cities were usually “demographic sinks,” meaning that the population generally didn’t reproduce itself, dying off faster than it breeded, requiring replacement from the healthier countryside. For example, Rome today is populated less by the descendants of the residents of Rome in 1 AD than by the descendants of country folk from adjoining rural areas.

At the moment, low density living and private vehicles seem to be healthier than high density living and mass transit.

Here’s an interesting argument from the NYT opinion page that changes in 20th Century architectural and urban planning taste were driven by the waxing and waning of fears of infection:

Will You Want to Go Straight Back Into the Crowd?
Planners once dreamed of cities with vast empty plazas and quiet streets. Post-pandemic, might they do so again?

By Richard J. Williams
Richard J. Williams is a professor of contemporary visual cultures at the University of Edinburgh and the author, most recently, of “Why Cities Look the Way They Do.”

May 5, 2020

… But the idea that cities ought to be crowded is really quite new [in 20th Century prestige culture]. We’ve learned to like density in the Western world of late, but in cities like New York and London, the equation of the urban crowd with urban success has fluctuated, and its recent ascent is one of many oscillations. In New York, its recent history can be traced back to Jane Jacobs’s 1962 book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities,” which made the then-incendiary argument that cities were, in effect, their public lives: What happened on the street corner was the city, and, crudely put, the more of it the better. Ms. Jacobs was a lonely voice at the time against the postwar trends toward urban decentralization and suburbanization, and for the human life of the neighborhood and its streets.

Jacobs’ basic argument was that her neighborhood, Greenwich Village in Manhattan, with its shaded wide sidewalks for children to play on under the eye of shopkeepers who operated out of storefronts underneath medium-height apartment buildings where the kids lived, was a nice place to live. Now, of course, so many people have come to agree with her that families with kids can’t afford to live there anymore …

Things really got going, however, in the Catalan metropolis Barcelona, via politician-planner Oriol Bohigas. Between 1981 and 1987, under his guidance at the Office of Urban Projects, the city built or remade some 160 public spaces and filled them with people. Few Western urban leaders were unimpressed by the spectacle, especially when they saw its mature form at the 1992 Olympics.

Today, Barcelona is an immense tourist attraction, but when I went to Europe in 1980, I didn’t bother to go there. (Although an Australian tourist in Switzerland told me that when he was in Barcelona a few weeks before, he was wondering what that enormous racket coming from downtown was. Finally, it was over and all these pedestrians came flooding by. He asked one who told him that The Clash had just finished playing a free outdoor concert.) Barcelona 1992 was probably the most successful Olympics in terms of glamorizing the host city since Berlin 1936. The Games were no better organized than Atlanta 1996, but when your bus was an hour late, you were still killing an hour in Barcelona rather than in Atlanta.

How attractive urban crowds could be! And how much money could be made when you gave them the space in which to eat and drink!

Donald Trump was one of the early investors in the restoration of Times Square from Taxi Driver wasteland to tourist capital of the world.

… Following the Barcelona example, public space became a defining part of the global city and urban crowds filling public spaces began to seem like both an economic and a moral good. “The Great Inversion,” the journalist Alan Ehrenhalt called it in 2013, a process whose architectural emblems were the spaces wherever a crowd might gather: the street corner, the public square, the park. What Mr. Ehrenhalt and others described was partly demographic, partly symbolic: People really were coming back to live in cities, but they also wanted to see and be seen in them.

But however much that process looks like common sense now, it was itself a reaction to the midcentury urban decline in the West. That process wasn’t all to do with Detroit-style industrial decay; it had just as much to do with a planned dispersal that was ultimately about the fear of urban disease in the 19th-century city. To understand that fear, there’s no better source than Friedrich Engels’s “The Condition of the Working Class in England,” published in German in 1845 and of extraordinary and durable influence worldwide. Its account of industrial Manchester was also an account of its sickness and, by proxy, its density. The city’s lightless, airless streets teeming with the poor became a figure of long-lasting architectural horror; so much of modernist planning was a reaction to places like it.

If density was disease for modernists, it followed that their cities were about keeping people apart. Look back at the utopian schemes for cities of the first half of the 20th century, and the same hygienic preoccupations come up again and again: There must be light and space and fresh air. The Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier wrote about these things in his book “Vers Une Architecture” (translated as “Towards a New Architecture”).

Here’s St. Louis’s Pruitt-Igoe housing complex, designed by Corbusier fan Minoru Yamasaki in the 1950s and blown up in the 1970s:

Parts of the book read like comedy now — the author’s attempt to turn his own obsession with hygiene into an avant-garde manifesto. But it was serious when it was published in 1923, the Spanish flu pandemic having just run its course.

As I’ve mentioned before, when I moved to Santa Monica in 1981, my parents were very concerned about Santa Monica’s notorious foggy dampness. My parents had both moved to Southern California before penicillin arrived in 1945, so fear of tuberculosis was a huge factor in driving migration of well-to-do people, like my paternal grandfather, from the Midwest. The cool coastline was largely shunned in favor of the drier inland areas like Pasadena, which attracted the health conscious from the 1880s to the 1940s.

Then about 1943, smog became a problem, which blew inland on the ocean breezes, so Pasadena began to fall out of favor relative to the coast.

Now the smog is gone, so both Santa Monica and Pasadena are expensive.

In his first venture into town planning, Le Corbusier designed the imaginary Ville Contemporaine, a city of vast empty spaces. My copy of his book “The City of Tomorrow and Its Planning,” published in 1929, has a perspective drawing of the Ville Contemporaine on the cover, showing in the foreground a sunlit cafe terrace looking out toward vast cruciform towers in parkland; it is all light and space and greenery, and apart from some tiny specks in the far background, entirely free of human beings.

Its emptiness has been the source of endless critique; it has been cited as evidence of modernism’s moral bankruptcy in general, and Le Corbusier’s inhumanity in particular. But place it in its post-pandemic context, and it begins to look different.

I notice now that this cover illustration of Corbusier’s book is in the same style as the cartoons that Evelyn Waugh drew to illustrate his 1928 first novel Decline and Fall, which features a modernist architect modeled on Corbusier.

The Ville Contemporaine inspired plenty of real-life experiments, and perhaps the most closely related is Brasília, the modernist capital of Brazil, which turned 60 in April.

Much of 20th Century thought is related to actual leaps forward in scientific understanding in the 19th and early 20th Century thought, such as Pasteur and Koch coming to understand the germ theory of disease and the beginnings of evolutionary theory and genetics, and scaring the hell out of people.

For example, Hitler was obsessed by fear of “race poisoning,” not wholly unlike how my Swiss German grandfather of similar vintage was obsessed with fear of food poisoning by factory-made foods. (See Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle for why his crackpot worries weren’t all that crackpot.)

So he moved to Pasadena, with its year-round growing season, to be able to grow much of his own food in his own yard. (Which was a much better idea than what Hitler came up with.)

 
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  1. These perspectives seem obvious and even, an illustration of what happened with the suburbanization of America. I don’t spend alot of time watching older movies/tv shows, but I do spend some time doing so.

    Two examples: a decade ago I rewatched Marty (Ernest Borgnine is a lonely single guy who finally meets somebody), and a few years ago I rewatched a Twilight Zone episode where a girl is dying and an old peddler has to con death into forgetting to visit her before midnight.

    In both cases, I noticed how alive the streets were-people-pedestrians-were actually on them. Life was lived on them. Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner. What I grew up with (crowds of people in malls) occurred just outside the front door for my grandparents.

    I don’t spend any time in New York City, so for all I know that still happens there. But midwest cities are, by and large, wastelands. Commercial districts with a few bars for nightlife, but Life, by and large, is lived in the suburbs.

    Presumably, cars had something to do with this.

    joe

    • Agree: Inverness
    • Replies: @Mike Zwick
    One city in the Midwest where much of the streets stayed alive believe it or not is Chicago. Many neighborhoods cleared out in the 50's and 60's with the population moving to the suburbs, but many did not. Chicago has a great mass transit system that links the suburbs with the central city and that helped keep the central city alive. Growing up in an inner ring suburb of Chicago in the 70's, a kid did not need his parents to drive him anywhere. The neighborhood was walkable and we could go to stores or parks whenever we wanted. If we so desired, we could hop on a train a couple of blocks away and be in Downtown Chicago, or at the lake, in less than a half hour.
    , @slumber_j

    Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner.
    [...]
    I don’t spend any time in New York City, so for all I know that still happens there.

     

    When we aren't in rusticated exile, I live in Manhattan with my wife and two children. The shopping thing is great: I love not having to drive anywhere. And I suppose I did some courting in the streets back in the day...

    But while my kids used to play on the sidewalks from time to time, there no longer exists the old kids' street culture of constant hopscotch, jacks, Johnny-on-a-Pony etc. etc. At least not on the Upper East Side where we live; that sort of thing may persist in less staid parts of town with fewer Tiger Moms on the prowl.
    , @Anonymous

    In both cases, I noticed how alive the streets were-people-pedestrians-were actually on them. Life was lived on them. Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner. What I grew up with (crowds of people in malls) occurred just outside the front door for my grandparents.
     
    In the 80's, I lived on the upper east side, and there was a gaggle of girls, probably aged from 11-13, who would hang out on their stoop, and create light mischief in the neighborhood. I walked by them regularly on my to and from work, and they’d occasionally, good-naturedly heckle me. I never saw any adult overseers. They were free agents out there, and they seemed to be having a lot of fun.

    My block was probably an outlier block by that time, but the intense sense of community there was something I never forgot. Rent control was in full effect, so there were families who had lived there for many decades. Everyone knew each other’s general story. People still congregated on stoops in the summer months. The stoop sitters would eventually get to know mine. I guess because everyone on the block at least somewhat knew each other, they’d let their kids float around there.

    , @Alden
    The black migration north had much to do with the move to the suburbs and far from bus lines. Suburbs still fight public transit stops because public transit brings criminals. RBB, ruined by blacks.

    Do you ever read that Santa Monica newspaper Steve? It has a weekly crime report. Most of the burglaries mugging assaults and rapes occur within 6 north south blocks of Pico, Santa Monica Blvd and Wiltshire. The blocks between Pico and Santa Monica Blvd are usually the hardest hit.

    Public transit is necessary but there’s always crime around bus lines. Victims get off the bus and are robbed attacked raped and killed on the walk home. That kind of thing is why Los Angeles and most cities have building codes that new apartments have locked secured underground parking. Too many people were attacked after parking in a carport or on the street. But bus riders are still attacked when they get off the bus and start walking.

    There was also a massive massive propaganda blast about how great suburbs were in contrast to the city. The only thing I have against suburbs is that most of the houses don’t have real living rooms according to what seems to have been the 1946 master plan. A low ceiling badly proportioned awkward large hallway from the front door to the bedrooms with room for a couch and TV. Residential floor plans just get worse and worse. Best thing about cities is just about any house built before 1940.

    Most of the suburbs were built in the farm land around small dry towns. No bars, no place for the men to stop on the way home. No liquor no dinner restaurants, no night life. And TV kept people at home.
    , @Paul Jolliffe
    JJJ,

    Hmm.

    This article from Crain's Detroit Business, titled "Downtown Detroit's energy is catching on; maybe it will spread to its neighborhoods, too" seems to make your point in an unintended way: the lead (tele!)photo shows exactly three pedestrians.

    https://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20150813/BLOG106/150819935/downtown-detroits-energy-is-catching-on-maybe-it-will-spread-to-its

    In my experience, once anyone gets away from the Fox Theater/Comerica Park/Ford Field junction, there are several blocks of few pedestrians until one gets to the riverfront area, or along Jefferson Avenue downtown.

    (But as you head east on Jefferson, it doesn't take long reach long stretches where there isn't much happening, at least, of which you'd want to be a part.)

    https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3720314,-82.9465981,3a,60y,1.13h,90.78t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sksNgxCkonv2tuHZhdcQkmg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    (J.Ross or Reg Caesar, feel free to chime in.)

  2. In the early 1950s, the Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, invited Le Corbusier to design a brand new capital city for the Punjab. Nehru, a product of Edwardian era Harrow and Cambridge, was a modernist and an internationalist.

    The project is considered to have been a success.

    Is This the Perfect City

    http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20151211-is-this-the-perfect-city

    https://www.arch2o.com/well-planned-cities-20th-century/

    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson Three

    The project is considered to have been a success.
     
    It does look good.
  3. From an Australian perspective, the notion of living in a small box in the sky, enclosed in a tall concrete tower, looks very alien and unattractive as a lifestyle. Even if the box is as large in floor area as a house, there is still no green margin between one’s home and one’s neighbours. No backyard to play in, or where one can enjoy a barbeque with one’s friends.

    However, for the past 30 or 40 years our academic betters have been arguing that our traditional ideal of the quarter-acre block is socially retrograde and a threat to the planet. Our political masters have, to some extent, gone along with the academics, and so the inner suburbs of large Australian cities are now infested with those tall concrete towers.

    Fortunately, the bulk of Australians still live in stand-alone houses with modest gardens in the suburbs. Evidently that is one reason why our death rate from Covid-19 is currently at 4 per million. In overcrowded western Europe (and metro USA) it is in the hundreds per million.

    As a kind of divine joke, many of the little boxes in those Australian towers are owned (as investments) by our Chinese friends and many are inhabited by their studious children. They are welcome to them.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    Gee, overpopulation and immig ... er, mass mobility of humans are never brought up as threats to the environment. Capitalists and their cronies want more heads. They don't really care about the environment or (your) quality of life. Factory farmers never do!
    , @Cowboy Shaw
    Those massive appartment blocks in Melbourne are hideous. I wonder what will become of them in years to come.
  4. My apologies. I linked to the wrong image, above and didn’t notice until the edit window closed. That’s Brasilia above, which was designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

    This is Chandigarh, the city in India, designed by Le Corbusier.

    • Thanks: nokangaroos
    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson Three

    I linked to the wrong image, above and didn’t notice until the edit window closed.
     
    Oh, thanks. Let me revise and extend my previous remarks...
    , @TomSchmidt
    Yeah, but nobody would have known one Brutalist monstrosity from another, would they?
    , @JimB

    This is Chandigarh, the city in India, designed by Le Corbusier.
     
    Does the giant commode on the roof represent a national aspiration?
  5. I guess that’s all fine and good, but do city folk eat the grass and trees when the stores go stock-out?

  6. Maybe we will get an answer to question, does living in a city induce people to vote democrat or do democrats just flock to cities?

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    It was Republican mayors in Detroit and Philadelphia who tore down black slums and rebuilt them with modern housing. They never built as much housing as they tore down, and the blacks had to go somewhere, so they invaded white Democrat urban ethnic enclaves where Italians, Irish, and Poles lived. This might have been an attempt to break up Catholic urban power on the part of the Republican elite.

    It set off a cycle of neighborhood destabilization and eventual collapse. Detroit finally elected a cAtholic ethnic in 1965, but Mayor Cavanaugh was too late to have the city be run by a white Democratic machine. Eventually, all the white ethnic neighborhoods were abandoned, providing VERy low cost housing for the blacks who moved in to replace them. The Republicans lost power in the city.

    The only neighborhood in Detroit that really held up was the one built by Mies in Lafayette Park, over the bones of the destroyed black neighborhood of Black Bottom. All else became the ruin porn beloved of earlier this century.
  7. @joeyjoejoe
    These perspectives seem obvious and even, an illustration of what happened with the suburbanization of America. I don't spend alot of time watching older movies/tv shows, but I do spend some time doing so.

    Two examples: a decade ago I rewatched Marty (Ernest Borgnine is a lonely single guy who finally meets somebody), and a few years ago I rewatched a Twilight Zone episode where a girl is dying and an old peddler has to con death into forgetting to visit her before midnight.

    In both cases, I noticed how alive the streets were-people-pedestrians-were actually on them. Life was lived on them. Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner. What I grew up with (crowds of people in malls) occurred just outside the front door for my grandparents.

    I don't spend any time in New York City, so for all I know that still happens there. But midwest cities are, by and large, wastelands. Commercial districts with a few bars for nightlife, but Life, by and large, is lived in the suburbs.

    Presumably, cars had something to do with this.

    joe

    One city in the Midwest where much of the streets stayed alive believe it or not is Chicago. Many neighborhoods cleared out in the 50’s and 60’s with the population moving to the suburbs, but many did not. Chicago has a great mass transit system that links the suburbs with the central city and that helped keep the central city alive. Growing up in an inner ring suburb of Chicago in the 70’s, a kid did not need his parents to drive him anywhere. The neighborhood was walkable and we could go to stores or parks whenever we wanted. If we so desired, we could hop on a train a couple of blocks away and be in Downtown Chicago, or at the lake, in less than a half hour.

  8. One problem with any urban area designed by or inspired by Le Corbusier is that they are so sterile and mind numbing. Throw in the crappy mid-century modern architecture and it is even more so. You are trading illness from germs for mental illness.

    • Agree: TomSchmidt
  9. Rome today is populated less by the descendants of the residents of Rome in 1 AD than by the descendants of country folk from adjoining rural areas.

    While this is certainly true, more than once my wife and I have commented on the classically Senatorial faces you see on a few of the fancier old Romans when you’re having an al fresco drink in Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina. Your eye will be drawn to some perfectly turned-out septuagenarian’s very expensive-looking electric-blue blazer or whatever and then notice that the whole outfit is surmounted by a head that may as well have been chiseled off an ancient bust in the Capitoline Museum.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    ... and then notice that the whole outfit is surmounted by a head that may as well have been chiseled off an ancient bust in the Capitoline Museum.
     
    https://i.imgur.com/RaMfagN.jpg
    , @Old Palo Altan
    You conjure that image up very well, and you are very likely literally correct.

    The Massimo boast a fabulous descent from Quintus Fabius Maximus, who flourished in the second century BC. They like to say that they can't prove it, but it has been a family tradition for at least 1200 years.
    I met the Prince Massimo who died in 2008: he could have been the model for what you describe.
  10. @joeyjoejoe
    These perspectives seem obvious and even, an illustration of what happened with the suburbanization of America. I don't spend alot of time watching older movies/tv shows, but I do spend some time doing so.

    Two examples: a decade ago I rewatched Marty (Ernest Borgnine is a lonely single guy who finally meets somebody), and a few years ago I rewatched a Twilight Zone episode where a girl is dying and an old peddler has to con death into forgetting to visit her before midnight.

    In both cases, I noticed how alive the streets were-people-pedestrians-were actually on them. Life was lived on them. Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner. What I grew up with (crowds of people in malls) occurred just outside the front door for my grandparents.

    I don't spend any time in New York City, so for all I know that still happens there. But midwest cities are, by and large, wastelands. Commercial districts with a few bars for nightlife, but Life, by and large, is lived in the suburbs.

    Presumably, cars had something to do with this.

    joe

    Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner.
    […]
    I don’t spend any time in New York City, so for all I know that still happens there.

    When we aren’t in rusticated exile, I live in Manhattan with my wife and two children. The shopping thing is great: I love not having to drive anywhere. And I suppose I did some courting in the streets back in the day…

    But while my kids used to play on the sidewalks from time to time, there no longer exists the old kids’ street culture of constant hopscotch, jacks, Johnny-on-a-Pony etc. etc. At least not on the Upper East Side where we live; that sort of thing may persist in less staid parts of town with fewer Tiger Moms on the prowl.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan

    But while my kids used to play on the sidewalks from time to time, there no longer exists the old kids’ street culture of constant hopscotch, jacks, Johnny-on-a-Pony etc. etc. At least not on the Upper East Side where we live; that sort of thing may persist in less staid parts of town with fewer Tiger Moms on the prowl.
     
    It wasn't there on the Upper East Side or in the East 30s even in the late 1970s. I did see a bit of it in parts of Queens, back then and some areas of Brooklyn still seem to be a bit like that.

    But for the most part, I think a combination of urban street crime, modern homework loads in elementary school, and electronic distractions have killed off the phenomenon of kids playing on urban sidewalks, in New York, and whereever else it might have existed.
    , @Desiderius
    Went up to Manhattan for an interview while in grad school in ‘03 and had more beautiful women expressing overt interest in that one day than I’d had in the entire previous decade.

    And then my kidneys gave out. Happy ending took awhile.
  11. @slumber_j

    Rome today is populated less by the descendants of the residents of Rome in 1 AD than by the descendants of country folk from adjoining rural areas.
     
    While this is certainly true, more than once my wife and I have commented on the classically Senatorial faces you see on a few of the fancier old Romans when you're having an al fresco drink in Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina. Your eye will be drawn to some perfectly turned-out septuagenarian's very expensive-looking electric-blue blazer or whatever and then notice that the whole outfit is surmounted by a head that may as well have been chiseled off an ancient bust in the Capitoline Museum.

    … and then notice that the whole outfit is surmounted by a head that may as well have been chiseled off an ancient bust in the Capitoline Museum.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Your pic would be before the nose job. Elvis' nose was quite a honker.

    https://i2-prod.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article10993407.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/PROD-Photo-of-Elvis-PRESLEY.jpg

  12. @slumber_j

    Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner.
    [...]
    I don’t spend any time in New York City, so for all I know that still happens there.

     

    When we aren't in rusticated exile, I live in Manhattan with my wife and two children. The shopping thing is great: I love not having to drive anywhere. And I suppose I did some courting in the streets back in the day...

    But while my kids used to play on the sidewalks from time to time, there no longer exists the old kids' street culture of constant hopscotch, jacks, Johnny-on-a-Pony etc. etc. At least not on the Upper East Side where we live; that sort of thing may persist in less staid parts of town with fewer Tiger Moms on the prowl.

    But while my kids used to play on the sidewalks from time to time, there no longer exists the old kids’ street culture of constant hopscotch, jacks, Johnny-on-a-Pony etc. etc. At least not on the Upper East Side where we live; that sort of thing may persist in less staid parts of town with fewer Tiger Moms on the prowl.

    It wasn’t there on the Upper East Side or in the East 30s even in the late 1970s. I did see a bit of it in parts of Queens, back then and some areas of Brooklyn still seem to be a bit like that.

    But for the most part, I think a combination of urban street crime, modern homework loads in elementary school, and electronic distractions have killed off the phenomenon of kids playing on urban sidewalks, in New York, and whereever else it might have existed.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    When I take my boys out for our twice-daily constitutional at the local parks they're all but abandoned. My sense is that they weren't all that crowded before the panic when we went to playgrounds instead.
  13. David says:

    In addition to logging and mining, American Midwestern industrialists seeking respite from summer humidity were a major force of development in Northern Ontario.

    Lots of Americans had consumption, and those that could afford it sought the cooler, drier summer air of Muskoka, for example. The Canadian transcontinental railway and the Great Lakes made the area very accessible from huge swaths of the US. When I was a kid, the more glamorous local resorts tended to have American names. And on our lake, the fireworks of the 4th were far grander than those of the 1st, which is not the case today.

    A great grandfather acquired the land I grew up on because consumption was in the family. His first two wives died from it. He died in 1919, maybe of Spanish flu. I don’t know.

  14. I’ve come to love Pasadena: the Huntington, Caltech, the Simon Norton, some nice bookstores, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair is held there every other year.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Pasadena has terrific amenities all over the place. It was settled from the 1880s onward by affluent people with good taste. Now that the smog is gone, it's really nice.
    , @TomSchmidt
    Pre-war California and Florida are magnificent places. Post-mass-motoring? Not so much.
  15. Steve, breed is declined: breed, bred, have bred.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    Ha! Your post just before that one indicates dyslexia ;)
  16. Jacobs’ basic argument was that her neighborhood, Greenwich Village in Manhattan, with its shaded wide sidewalks for children to play on under the eye of shopkeepers who operated out of storefronts underneath medium-height apartment buildings where the kids lived,

    Well part of the trouble is that those “shopkeepers” are now often third-world invaders who will “keep on eye” on your daughter by grooming her for rape and sex slavery and will sell your son drugs. And then there’s the ever present young black thugs — male and female — who are omnipresent and a constant, low-level threat to your children. I don’t suppose anybody bothers to track how many kids’ bikes are stolen by black teenagers and even pre-teenagers, but I’m sure the number is extravagantly high. Good luck getting the cops to be interested in it.

    Even a multi-ethnic city was safe when it was a white multi-ethnic city. Read things like Betty Smith’s “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and her other novels for a good idea of New York street life for kids back in the day.

    • Replies: @George
    "Jacobs’ basic argument was that her neighborhood, Greenwich Village in Manhattan, with its shaded wide sidewalks for children to play on under the eye of shopkeepers "

    Historically Manhattan heterosexual culture almost immediately collapsed. The city was run by a financial control board, Big MAC, after 1975 until like 1995. Greenwich village and the East Village became the center of Gay male culture and eventually AIDS. She might have been well meaning, and it might have been impossible to predict what happened, but the conversion of 'The Village' into the world center of Gay male culture was already underway, which is why the Stonewall riot occurred there. To the extent there was a heterosexual culture it was mostly in a few white enclaves and the notorious housing projects, plus some Puerto Rican ghettos.

    Robert Moses' plan for the area was to build apartments young families could live while providing a way for surface transportation to cross from New Jersey to Long Island. Given that 7.8 Million people live on Long Island it is surprisingly difficult to get from the mainland US to Long Island.

    In fairness to Gays 'The Village' would have been a much harder sell to young families than a single family home North Jersey or newly accessible, due to Robert Moses, Nassau county.
    , @Mr McKenna

    Well part of the trouble is that those “shopkeepers” are now often third-world invaders who will “keep on eye” on your daughter by grooming her for rape and sex slavery and will sell your son drugs.
     
    Damned capitalists! In SF you get your "alcohol, marijuana and tobacco" for free now.


    https://www.sfgate.com/news/editorspicks/article/San-Francisco-homeless-hotels-drugs-alcohol-15253297.php
    , @Alden
    I read the Jacobs book. Blacks didn’t seem to exist. Her neighborhood seemed to be Italian. I understand that Italians resisted black thuggery better than most Whites did. I think she wrote it in the 1950s when NY was still de facto segregated and the police were allowed to do their job.

    I read the book around 1980 and just laughed. Her safe White NYC neighborhood was so outdated compared to what happened when blacks invaded the village. Not to live, but to rob murder and rape.

    Nowadays if a store clerk glared at 3 black thugs following an old woman with a purse NAACP ADL $PLC and the whole Soros gang would be after him.
  17. @PiltdownMan

    But while my kids used to play on the sidewalks from time to time, there no longer exists the old kids’ street culture of constant hopscotch, jacks, Johnny-on-a-Pony etc. etc. At least not on the Upper East Side where we live; that sort of thing may persist in less staid parts of town with fewer Tiger Moms on the prowl.
     
    It wasn't there on the Upper East Side or in the East 30s even in the late 1970s. I did see a bit of it in parts of Queens, back then and some areas of Brooklyn still seem to be a bit like that.

    But for the most part, I think a combination of urban street crime, modern homework loads in elementary school, and electronic distractions have killed off the phenomenon of kids playing on urban sidewalks, in New York, and whereever else it might have existed.

    When I take my boys out for our twice-daily constitutional at the local parks they’re all but abandoned. My sense is that they weren’t all that crowded before the panic when we went to playgrounds instead.

  18. Speaking of dust from demolition, Illinois is now suing over the destruction of a chimney; we have degenerated into a bunch of eco-whiners.

    https://news.wttw.com/2020/05/05/illinois-attorney-general-sues-hilco-over-botched-smokestack-demolition

  19. Down through history, cities were usually “demographic sinks,” meaning that the population generally didn’t reproduce itself, dying off faster than it breeded, requiring replacement from the healthier countryside.

    They still are.

    The Wuhan-special has highlighted that American suburbia–that makes certain people quiver in fear and dread–is much healthier/better for resisting disease.

    But even without modern cities are parasitic disasters. The are where the parasite people gather to extract–government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets–to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus. Once people were settled with agriculture, the looters were on the job and the ruler needed somewhere to locate his looting apparatus–the city.

    And modern cities in the West–and a lot of other places now–are again demographic sinks. In America, young college educated singles–particularly young women–flock to 10 or 15 “cool” metros … where housing is expensive, the culture is permissive and the women slut around, marriages are delayed or never formed and fertility is suppressed.

    The modern “cool” metro is an IQ shredder. .

    Taking high quality white genes–built up over millennia … and killing them. Throwing out the legacy of our ancestors in the trask. It is criminal.

    If young people eschew big city life, even modestly, because of this virus … it will be a huge win and make the virus a net positive for the West.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @Jack D

    The are where the parasite people gather to extract–government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets–to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus.
     
    This is a very Pol Pot view. Maybe we should evacuate the cities and send all those parasites to the countryside to do REAL work?

    Cities are also where the Industrial Revolution happened, where the great universities were located that made breakthroughs in production of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. , where the factories were that made locomotives and tractors. The place where the theaters and museums were, and therefore the poets and artists that produce what we call civilization.

    And to build a tractor factory you need capital and therefore a financial industry (and a legal profession to support finance). Farmers need capital too, to buy their equipment and seed. Without the cities, the farmers in the countryside would still be plowing their fields with mules and living at a subsistence level, since there would be no market for their products in the cities and no transportation to get them there. There would be no wealth to extract, just lots and lots of poverty. At best you can create wealth for a handful of lords who can leverage the labor of lots and lots of peasants, serfs or slaves to live in a grand manner/manor.

    Jefferson also had the same idiotic view, but he lived at a time when the unprecedented wealth creation of the Industrial Revolution was just starting, so he can (almost) be forgiven.
    , @YetAnotherAnon
    "The modern “cool” metro is an IQ shredder."

    This. I know I keep banging on about it, but for every yummy mummy with a pushchair in Battersea or Clifton (insert Manhattan or your district of choice), there are three intelligent, attractive women like Jody Day.


    She remembers the moment she realised she was definitely never going to be a mother. It was February 2009 and, at 44-and-a-half, she had left a bad long-term relationship and moved into a grotty London flat. “I was standing by the window, watching the rain make dusty tracks down the glass, when the traffic in the street below seemed to go silent, as if I’d put it on ‘mute’. In that moment, I became acutely aware of myself, almost as if I were an observer of the scene from outside my body. And then it came to me: it’s over. I’m never going to have a baby.
     
    And, in the opposite direction, I can't count the times some London bad-boy is sentenced and he has three or four kids.
    , @Mr McKenna

    The Wuhan-special
     
    That's a good one, but is it like a train or a blue-plate special?

    At this (presumably) late date we still don't have a definitive slur, I mean label, for this pestilence. Many contenders but there's still work to be done imho. I've just been calling it China Time but I know we can do better than that. Kung Flu is another favorite, but seems to understate the menace.

    https://www.thewrap.com/snl-alec-baldwin-trump-covid-racist-names-weekend-update/ Racist!! As usual, SNL is about one percent as funny as random remarks on the internet.

    , @TomSchmidt
    You just earned yourself a reading assignment: Scale, by Geoffrey West. Don't comment any more until you've finished it.
  20. For example, Rome today is populated less by the descendants of the residents of Rome in 1 AD than by the descendants of country folk from adjoining rural areas.

    During the Dark Ages, the population of Rome fell to 30,000 (down from a peak of around 1 million) so chances are most of the people who live in Rome today aren’t the descendants of the local country folk either.

    Up until the end of the 19th century, it was considered to be inevitable that there would be periodic epidemics that would kill some large fraction of the population. Something as mild as Wuhan Virus would have gone completely unnoticed because the REAL epidemics (bubonic plague, cholera, yellow fever, etc.) were so much worse. The Black Death killed between 30-45% of the population of the UK between 1348-50.

    • Replies: @Agathoklis
    Unfortunately, Steve Sailor forgot the earlier part of the story of the Roman population. Based on the genetic evidence so far, using ancientDNA samples, modern Romans probably resemble their Iron Age and late Antique ancestors more than Romans of 1AD. They resemble the people that actually built the Roman Republic. However, by 1AD Rome had changed demographically with eastern Mediterranean immigrants. Later, as Rome began to collapse by late Antiquity, the Roman stock from the countryside repopulated the city.

    This is a fascinating study with some great charts.

    Ancient Rome: A genetic crossroads of Europe and the Mediterranean

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/366/6466/708

    Of course, the genetic evidence upsets Nordicists and other northern European suprematists who cannot bring themselves to accept that other people built great civilisations too.
    , @a.n.o.n.y.m.o.u.s.

    For example, Rome today is populated less by the descendants of the residents of Rome in 1 AD than by the descendants of country folk from adjoining rural areas.
     
    This is doubly true, first in the way you explain, second in that the population of Rome had ceased to be overwhelmingly racially Roman by the end of the first century AD, which is to say it was full of people who could not only did not descend from from the founding tribes, they couldn't even trace their ancestry back to the Italian peninsula. By the end of the Western Empire, Rome had not been a Roman urbs for about 5 centuries. To be completely truthful, this was true for all of the peninsula from Rome southward plus Sicilia.
  21. anonymous[238] • Disclaimer says:
    @Richard of Melbourne
    From an Australian perspective, the notion of living in a small box in the sky, enclosed in a tall concrete tower, looks very alien and unattractive as a lifestyle. Even if the box is as large in floor area as a house, there is still no green margin between one's home and one's neighbours. No backyard to play in, or where one can enjoy a barbeque with one's friends.

    However, for the past 30 or 40 years our academic betters have been arguing that our traditional ideal of the quarter-acre block is socially retrograde and a threat to the planet. Our political masters have, to some extent, gone along with the academics, and so the inner suburbs of large Australian cities are now infested with those tall concrete towers.

    Fortunately, the bulk of Australians still live in stand-alone houses with modest gardens in the suburbs. Evidently that is one reason why our death rate from Covid-19 is currently at 4 per million. In overcrowded western Europe (and metro USA) it is in the hundreds per million.

    As a kind of divine joke, many of the little boxes in those Australian towers are owned (as investments) by our Chinese friends and many are inhabited by their studious children. They are welcome to them.

    Gee, overpopulation and immig … er, mass mobility of humans are never brought up as threats to the environment. Capitalists and their cronies want more heads. They don’t really care about the environment or (your) quality of life. Factory farmers never do!

    • Agree: Mr McKenna
  22. @AnotherDad

    Down through history, cities were usually “demographic sinks,” meaning that the population generally didn’t reproduce itself, dying off faster than it breeded, requiring replacement from the healthier countryside.
     
    They still are.

    The Wuhan-special has highlighted that American suburbia--that makes certain people quiver in fear and dread--is much healthier/better for resisting disease.

    But even without modern cities are parasitic disasters. The are where the parasite people gather to extract--government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets--to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus. Once people were settled with agriculture, the looters were on the job and the ruler needed somewhere to locate his looting apparatus--the city.

    And modern cities in the West--and a lot of other places now--are again demographic sinks. In America, young college educated singles--particularly young women--flock to 10 or 15 "cool" metros ... where housing is expensive, the culture is permissive and the women slut around, marriages are delayed or never formed and fertility is suppressed.

    The modern "cool" metro is an IQ shredder. .

    Taking high quality white genes--built up over millennia ... and killing them. Throwing out the legacy of our ancestors in the trask. It is criminal.

    If young people eschew big city life, even modestly, because of this virus ... it will be a huge win and make the virus a net positive for the West.

    The are where the parasite people gather to extract–government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets–to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus.

    This is a very Pol Pot view. Maybe we should evacuate the cities and send all those parasites to the countryside to do REAL work?

    Cities are also where the Industrial Revolution happened, where the great universities were located that made breakthroughs in production of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. , where the factories were that made locomotives and tractors. The place where the theaters and museums were, and therefore the poets and artists that produce what we call civilization.

    And to build a tractor factory you need capital and therefore a financial industry (and a legal profession to support finance). Farmers need capital too, to buy their equipment and seed. Without the cities, the farmers in the countryside would still be plowing their fields with mules and living at a subsistence level, since there would be no market for their products in the cities and no transportation to get them there. There would be no wealth to extract, just lots and lots of poverty. At best you can create wealth for a handful of lords who can leverage the labor of lots and lots of peasants, serfs or slaves to live in a grand manner/manor.

    Jefferson also had the same idiotic view, but he lived at a time when the unprecedented wealth creation of the Industrial Revolution was just starting, so he can (almost) be forgiven.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke, dfordoom
    • Replies: @J.Ross
    White, Christian, industrialist-friendly, culturally homogeneous cities, often in freaking Scotland, you of course meant to type. The word "cities" without qualifiers means pretty much "a place where the industrial revolution is being undone."
    , @Desiderius
    The American Cultural Revolution happened in the 80s when we decided all our best and brightest should go to vocational school (STEM/Finance) in lieu of the traditional Liberal Arts, producing unsurprisingly the worst and stupidest leadership class in American history.
    , @James O'Meara
    Indeed. Before everyone here straps on their lederhosen and gets all Neo-Nazi on "urban parasites," consider De Blasio and other local tyrants banning all protests -- "because virus." Freedom of opinion is another city virtue, along with neighbors who mind their own business.
    , @Charles Erwin Wilson Three

    This is a very Pol Pot view. Maybe we should evacuate the cities and send all those parasites to the countryside to do REAL work?
     
    The best you can do is a straw man argument?
    , @Chris Mallory
    You are right. Without finance where would the big conglomerates get the money to buy up the family farms? Without the law where would we get the "intellectual property" on farm equipment that keeps the farmers from making repairs on their own tractors? Without government where would the men of low character and suspect morals gain employment and strive mightily to render the rest of us into serfs?
  23. @Jack D

    The are where the parasite people gather to extract–government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets–to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus.
     
    This is a very Pol Pot view. Maybe we should evacuate the cities and send all those parasites to the countryside to do REAL work?

    Cities are also where the Industrial Revolution happened, where the great universities were located that made breakthroughs in production of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. , where the factories were that made locomotives and tractors. The place where the theaters and museums were, and therefore the poets and artists that produce what we call civilization.

    And to build a tractor factory you need capital and therefore a financial industry (and a legal profession to support finance). Farmers need capital too, to buy their equipment and seed. Without the cities, the farmers in the countryside would still be plowing their fields with mules and living at a subsistence level, since there would be no market for their products in the cities and no transportation to get them there. There would be no wealth to extract, just lots and lots of poverty. At best you can create wealth for a handful of lords who can leverage the labor of lots and lots of peasants, serfs or slaves to live in a grand manner/manor.

    Jefferson also had the same idiotic view, but he lived at a time when the unprecedented wealth creation of the Industrial Revolution was just starting, so he can (almost) be forgiven.

    White, Christian, industrialist-friendly, culturally homogeneous cities, often in freaking Scotland, you of course meant to type. The word “cities” without qualifiers means pretty much “a place where the industrial revolution is being undone.”

    • Thanks: Mr McKenna
  24. @AnotherDad

    Down through history, cities were usually “demographic sinks,” meaning that the population generally didn’t reproduce itself, dying off faster than it breeded, requiring replacement from the healthier countryside.
     
    They still are.

    The Wuhan-special has highlighted that American suburbia--that makes certain people quiver in fear and dread--is much healthier/better for resisting disease.

    But even without modern cities are parasitic disasters. The are where the parasite people gather to extract--government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets--to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus. Once people were settled with agriculture, the looters were on the job and the ruler needed somewhere to locate his looting apparatus--the city.

    And modern cities in the West--and a lot of other places now--are again demographic sinks. In America, young college educated singles--particularly young women--flock to 10 or 15 "cool" metros ... where housing is expensive, the culture is permissive and the women slut around, marriages are delayed or never formed and fertility is suppressed.

    The modern "cool" metro is an IQ shredder. .

    Taking high quality white genes--built up over millennia ... and killing them. Throwing out the legacy of our ancestors in the trask. It is criminal.

    If young people eschew big city life, even modestly, because of this virus ... it will be a huge win and make the virus a net positive for the West.

    “The modern “cool” metro is an IQ shredder.”

    This. I know I keep banging on about it, but for every yummy mummy with a pushchair in Battersea or Clifton (insert Manhattan or your district of choice), there are three intelligent, attractive women like Jody Day.

    She remembers the moment she realised she was definitely never going to be a mother. It was February 2009 and, at 44-and-a-half, she had left a bad long-term relationship and moved into a grotty London flat. “I was standing by the window, watching the rain make dusty tracks down the glass, when the traffic in the street below seemed to go silent, as if I’d put it on ‘mute’. In that moment, I became acutely aware of myself, almost as if I were an observer of the scene from outside my body. And then it came to me: it’s over. I’m never going to have a baby.

    And, in the opposite direction, I can’t count the times some London bad-boy is sentenced and he has three or four kids.

    • Replies: @AnotherDad


    This. I know I keep banging on about it, but for every yummy mummy with a pushchair in Battersea or Clifton (insert Manhattan or your district of choice), there are three intelligent, attractive women like Jody Day.
     
    My natural instincts are pretty libertarian. I don't like being told what to do. I don't wish to force people to live a certain way. (Ergo--"separate nations".)

    But young women really need much better advice.

    In fact, everyone does. I'm relatively smarter than the average person, but i've made plenty of mistakes. Some things i could figure out. Even at 20, i knew smart, productive people should be the ones having kids--i.e. "eugenics" is right--that's just common sense and math. But i had plenty of confused ideas. What your culture--its traditions--are supposed to give you is good guidance for living a useful productive and happy life that helps sustain civilization.

    And that's what's gone wrong. Especially wrong for women who are more compliant and conforming to cultural/societal messaging. They really need society--its institutions and culture--to be giving them good advice. Instead they live in a soup of lies and disinformation pumped out by the global cosmopolitans--literally given a recipe for long term discontent and unhappiness.
    , @Cowboy Shaw
    Yeah, this is basically true, speaking as someone living in central London for twenty years. Things are gonna change though.
    , @kihowi
    I feel sorry for her. She looks sexy and feminine and like the kind of girl I've been with, namely extremely conservative at heart, longing to be a little stay at home wifey, but she let herself be psyched out by the tv and the newspapers. Then when it's too late she realizes what she actually wanted all this time.

    It's heart-breaking.
  25. There are high-rise housing complexes much like Pruitt-Igoe still in use in northern European cities. They are pretty dehumanizing even under the best circumstances.

  26. Muse says:

    Urban living appeals to the young and childless, unless one can live like Sherman McCoy on Park Avenue. The city slowly eats the poor alive. The appeal of urban living waxes and wanes in natural cycles, subject to a sort of super-position principle of overlapping causes. I remember the 9/11 event and I had relatives living in Greenwich Village in a rather nice condo, and they left Manhattan shortly after having personally watched one tower fall while walking to work, and the other collapse while returning home. There were other factors impacting their calculus. They were older and living in the city was becoming more difficult with each passing year. They could also easily afford to leave having saved dutifully over the years, having had not children and by selling an expensive piece of real estate. The impact of the summation of tens of thousand of these decisions impacts the net flow in or out of a metropolitan area. Inflow is important because cities don’t seem to use their wealth and income to make productive citizens at replacement. This is where wealth and income disparities from the exploitation of immigrants and working people really come into play.

    [MORE]

    I think the aging demographics in the US are one factor tipping the scales, as well as a general decline in fertility. The massive influx of immigrants, both legal and illegal has overwhelmed this effect, but the Wuhan flu may have caused an inflection. Immigration has been severely curtailed which will lower the demand for housing. The practical aspects of trying live and work in a post Corona Virus world are rattling through people’s everyday lives, including people running businesses. How can you shop, take a train or work in an open office environment safely.

    The problem is that the existing infrastructure is no longer suitable for its intended use. I talked to a high level exec at global pharma company yesterday that just completed large building renovation from a traditional office layout to an open space plan in the Chicago suburbs. Literally tens of millions of dollars have been spent renovating office space that the informed senior leadership knows they will now not be able to use. The businesses working in Willis Tower, formerly Sears Tower are struggling to find a way to get people safely from the lobby up one hundred floors with only four people in an elevator, and they don’t seem to have a solution as of yesterday. United Airline has their headquarters there. How much is that building worth now if you can only put 1/2 the people in it.

    I use Sears tower as an example because some of these effects are ephemeral. Sears Tower suffered a similar problem after 9/11. Many people were afraid to work in a high profile building. They had risk averse tenants like Goldman Sachs move out and had difficulty filling space for a number of years, but eventually the leasing prices stabilized and bargain hunting corporations got some great long term leases. Memories fade and people seemed to lose their fear of working there.

    The possible persistence of the virus, the long duration of the crisis and the long term economic damage from the lockdown may make this situation different. Additionally, many executives, and other folks that are working from home see that the arrangement is working out for professionals. Lawyers and executives are working at home, using teleconferencing etc and are still making money as long as there is business. Why pay for office space? They don’t have to burn two hours getting to and from the office. They are able to workout at home, bill more hours and live a more healthy lifestyle. I am not sure how this arrangement will work for marketing and sales types that hyper-network plying entertainment using dinners (booze) sports events (gambling and booze), conventions (whores, gambling and booze) to sell products.

    Also there is a problem with what happens to Huxley’s Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. These folks lack executive function and need close supervision and simple tasks. They are not ever going to work from home and be productive. It seems to me that corona will wildly accelerate this problem for the less capable and less productive. Guess we need to move more manufacturing back.m to the US and limit immigration.

    Amazon warehouse anyone. I am not sure I trust them to pick out the right variety of goat cheese with chives for me working as an Instacart.

  27. Anonymous[231] • Disclaimer says:
    @PiltdownMan

    ... and then notice that the whole outfit is surmounted by a head that may as well have been chiseled off an ancient bust in the Capitoline Museum.
     
    https://i.imgur.com/RaMfagN.jpg

    Your pic would be before the nose job. Elvis’ nose was quite a honker.

  28. Hygiene was a big concern for a lot of modernists, from the notorious bigshots down to people making everyday apartment buildings … or at least it was a rationale they used a lot to justify the kind of designing and building they liked to do.

    If your eyes are open during your next visit to Manhattan you’ll notice a fair number of otherwise unremarkable glossy white brick apartment buildings, typically 20ish stories high and largely from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Glossy … white … That’s right, they were advertised as clean and healthy. Hospital chic. The more maniacal modernists wanted to re-do cities entirely, often in the name of “the machine age” but also in the name of hygiene. Old cities were dirty, yucky, full of dirt and disease. The Utopian modernist city would be full of air, light and space! In practice modernist spaces mostly wound up being bleak and abandoned. It turns out most people don’t enjoy living amidst the conceptual abstractions of bigshot architects and planners. Jane Jacobs had a funny line somewhere where she mused (about bigshot wreckers and planners), more or less: “I think they just don’t like cities.”

    Fwiw, after giving it a lot of thought (I almost majored in architecture back in the ‘70s, and I’ve followed the field ever since and have introduced myself to a lot of interesting people in it) I’ve worked my way around to a simple-minded conclusion about modernism: whatever the fancy rationales people have come up with to justify modernism, it’s just a taste. It’s always just been a taste. Some people really like blankness, geometricism, emptiness, plainness. Other people — editors especially (and editors are important tastemakers) — like the way modernism photographs and looks on the page. Modernist buildings, spaces and interiors often do look appealing and attractive in magazine layouts … partly because modernist buildings and spaces are designed in ways similar to how magazines are designed.

    This can be a little hard for most of us to wrap our minds around, because most of us have an instinctual preference for a lot more in the way of texture, warmth, quirkiness, etc. It’s such a bizarre taste-set to most of us that we tend to think that the people who love modernism’s flatness and blankness must have interesting reasons for doing so. In fact, what I’ve found is that they don’t. They just love the look of it. Architecture-as-graphic-design is how I think of it. They’re often people who are very happy sitting at worktables full of little squares of colored paper and Xacto knives, and who think it’d be cool if the larger world looked like their workspace.

    Modernism is all about the way things look, while a more sensible view of architecture and urbanism is that it should be about the 4-dimensional experience of structures and spaces. What’s it like to visit? To live in? To work in? To pass by? The “look” in the graphic-design sense plays a role in all that, but many other factors (which modernism has notoriously been poor at) do too.

    • Agree: JRB, Chrisnonymous
    • Thanks: TomSchmidt, Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @James O'Meara
    On a matter of taste:

    "The insides of most Protestant churches resemble courthouses or town halls, and the focal point of their services is a serious exhortation from a man in a black gown. No golden light, no bells, incense, and candles. No mystery upon an altar or behind an iconostasis. But people brought up in this atmosphere seem to love it. It feels warm and folksy, and leads, on the one hand, to hospitals, prison reform, and votes for all, and, on the other, to sheer genius for drabness, plain cooking ungraced with wine, and constipation of the bright emotions—all of which are considered virtues.

    If I try to set aside the innate prejudices which I feel against this religion, I begin to marvel at the depth of its commitment to earnestness and ugliness. For there is a point at which certain types of ugliness become fascinating, where one feels drawn to going over them again and again, much as the tongue keeps fondling a hole in a tooth. I begin to realize that those incredibly plain people, with their almost unique lack of color, may after all be one of the most astonishing reaches of the divine Maya-the Dancer of the world as far out from himself as he can get, dancing not-dancing." ----Alan Watts, Beyond Theology, Chapter Two, “Is It Serious?”
    , @Peter D. Bredon
    Interesting. Is Frank Lloyd Wright considered a modernist? I seem to recall he hated them (hence the deliberately perverse design of his Guggenheim). It seems like he too emphasized the "look" rather than practicalities of working or living in one of his designs, as homeowners often discovered to their grief.
    , @Mr McKenna
    Good set of insights. Entire cities have been destroyed because designers thought that what 'looked neat' on their drawing tables would surely work just fine when blown up to urban scale.
    , @MBlanc46
    You don’t think that economics has a lot to do with it? Decorative doodads cost money. Fabricating large members off-site and flying them into place rather than a lot of handwork by expensive craftsmen on the job-site.
    , @Steve Sailer
    By the postwar era, most pre-Modernist buildings were dingy from air pollution, especially coal smoke. I suspect that much of the taste for modernist steel and glass architecture came from a desire for cleanliness. (Of course, it turned out to be a challenge to keep steel and glass buildings washed, too.)

    De Gaulle's Minister of Culture Andre Malraux started a program in 1961 to wash Paris' great stone buildings like the Louvre and Notre Dame. It was a huge success and spread worldwide, which I suspect helped change architectural tastes as old buildings with complicated designs became pristine again.

    But then steel and glass modernism came back in fashion about 10 years ago again.

  29. Anonymous[231] • Disclaimer says:
    @joeyjoejoe
    These perspectives seem obvious and even, an illustration of what happened with the suburbanization of America. I don't spend alot of time watching older movies/tv shows, but I do spend some time doing so.

    Two examples: a decade ago I rewatched Marty (Ernest Borgnine is a lonely single guy who finally meets somebody), and a few years ago I rewatched a Twilight Zone episode where a girl is dying and an old peddler has to con death into forgetting to visit her before midnight.

    In both cases, I noticed how alive the streets were-people-pedestrians-were actually on them. Life was lived on them. Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner. What I grew up with (crowds of people in malls) occurred just outside the front door for my grandparents.

    I don't spend any time in New York City, so for all I know that still happens there. But midwest cities are, by and large, wastelands. Commercial districts with a few bars for nightlife, but Life, by and large, is lived in the suburbs.

    Presumably, cars had something to do with this.

    joe

    In both cases, I noticed how alive the streets were-people-pedestrians-were actually on them. Life was lived on them. Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner. What I grew up with (crowds of people in malls) occurred just outside the front door for my grandparents.

    In the 80’s, I lived on the upper east side, and there was a gaggle of girls, probably aged from 11-13, who would hang out on their stoop, and create light mischief in the neighborhood. I walked by them regularly on my to and from work, and they’d occasionally, good-naturedly heckle me. I never saw any adult overseers. They were free agents out there, and they seemed to be having a lot of fun.

    My block was probably an outlier block by that time, but the intense sense of community there was something I never forgot. Rent control was in full effect, so there were families who had lived there for many decades. Everyone knew each other’s general story. People still congregated on stoops in the summer months. The stoop sitters would eventually get to know mine. I guess because everyone on the block at least somewhat knew each other, they’d let their kids float around there.

  30. @slumber_j

    Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner.
    [...]
    I don’t spend any time in New York City, so for all I know that still happens there.

     

    When we aren't in rusticated exile, I live in Manhattan with my wife and two children. The shopping thing is great: I love not having to drive anywhere. And I suppose I did some courting in the streets back in the day...

    But while my kids used to play on the sidewalks from time to time, there no longer exists the old kids' street culture of constant hopscotch, jacks, Johnny-on-a-Pony etc. etc. At least not on the Upper East Side where we live; that sort of thing may persist in less staid parts of town with fewer Tiger Moms on the prowl.

    Went up to Manhattan for an interview while in grad school in ‘03 and had more beautiful women expressing overt interest in that one day than I’d had in the entire previous decade.

    And then my kidneys gave out. Happy ending took awhile.

  31. This is a very Pol Pot view.

    Jack i realize whenever anyone says the word “parasite” or anything negative about finance or cities some Jews will go barking mad.

    But not this is not the Pol Pot view, it’s the long historical view.

    (And i’m not a farm boy–though i enjoy going to my cousin’s Iowa farm to drive a tractor around hauling corn and beans in during the harvest–or even a country boy. My parents grew up on the farm. I grew up in the Cincinnati suburbs my dad an engineer for a “large packaged goods company”. I’ve lived in ‘burbs or cities my whole life … until retirement to the beach.)

    Just historical reality:

    Most production historically was agricultural or craft production and took place in farms, villages, towns. The core “economic production” of these famous cities you’ve heard about was … collecting taxes. Obviously with the market created by the tax loot, some productive activities would setup in those cities–spin cloth, tailor clothes, smelt and forge iron, tan hides, polish stone, mill grain, brew or ferment and distill beverages, etc. But production was not a huge scale and was overwhelmingly in the countryside.

    This radically changed only with the industrial revolution–which is only 300 years ago. The scale of production with coal and steam power leapt up by a couple orders of magnitude. You suddenly had real cities–not just towns–springing up near resources for industry. The population of England shifted notably to the north and west–to the midlands–as towns near the coal and iron resources boomed.

    But–a key thrust of my point–that isn’t what the Western “post-industrial” city does much anymore. In America, our two leading “super-zip” cities–New York and Washington–aren’t productive hotspots, they are the twin axes of looting the productive–finance and government. Across the 50 states, there’s a general pattern that state capitals are booming, rising relative to industrial towns. Much industry has been outsourced to China. In Britain, the midlands have been in decline for decades while London and the South–seat of government and finance–booms.

    And … yes–exactly as i said and the thrust of my comment–Western cities are again demographic sinks. Young women flock to the cities for their–government padded–careers, and “exciting” city life … and marriages are delayed or never happen. Fertility is shit. But the cats are well fed.

    Western cities are not sustaining Western civilization but parasites upon it, destroying it.

    • Disagree: Corvinus
  32. OT: Why is the Pentagon classifying coronavirus infection as a permanent disqualification for military service?

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/covid-19-suvivors-be-permanently-disqualified-military-default

    • Replies: @epebble
    In some instances, Covid may cause brain damage:

    https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200402/in-some-cases-covid-19-may-harm-the-brain#1

    There was an episode of a doctor who caught Covid, recovered but later committed suicide. So, the military is playing safe.
  33. @YetAnotherAnon
    "The modern “cool” metro is an IQ shredder."

    This. I know I keep banging on about it, but for every yummy mummy with a pushchair in Battersea or Clifton (insert Manhattan or your district of choice), there are three intelligent, attractive women like Jody Day.


    She remembers the moment she realised she was definitely never going to be a mother. It was February 2009 and, at 44-and-a-half, she had left a bad long-term relationship and moved into a grotty London flat. “I was standing by the window, watching the rain make dusty tracks down the glass, when the traffic in the street below seemed to go silent, as if I’d put it on ‘mute’. In that moment, I became acutely aware of myself, almost as if I were an observer of the scene from outside my body. And then it came to me: it’s over. I’m never going to have a baby.
     
    And, in the opposite direction, I can't count the times some London bad-boy is sentenced and he has three or four kids.

    This. I know I keep banging on about it, but for every yummy mummy with a pushchair in Battersea or Clifton (insert Manhattan or your district of choice), there are three intelligent, attractive women like Jody Day.

    My natural instincts are pretty libertarian. I don’t like being told what to do. I don’t wish to force people to live a certain way. (Ergo–“separate nations”.)

    But young women really need much better advice.

    In fact, everyone does. I’m relatively smarter than the average person, but i’ve made plenty of mistakes. Some things i could figure out. Even at 20, i knew smart, productive people should be the ones having kids–i.e. “eugenics” is right–that’s just common sense and math. But i had plenty of confused ideas. What your culture–its traditions–are supposed to give you is good guidance for living a useful productive and happy life that helps sustain civilization.

    And that’s what’s gone wrong. Especially wrong for women who are more compliant and conforming to cultural/societal messaging. They really need society–its institutions and culture–to be giving them good advice. Instead they live in a soup of lies and disinformation pumped out by the global cosmopolitans–literally given a recipe for long term discontent and unhappiness.

    • Replies: @jimbo
    I agree. I was pretty lost and aimless as a 20and early 30-something. I got along great with my father, but I sometimes wish he had sat me down and gave me a good talking to about what should be my priorities in life. Instead he just expressed endless approval for whatever stupid idea I had at the time, as I frittered away my youth. I finally got married at 37, didn't have a kid until I was 39 (to his endless surprise, I think) and he only got to know him for about 3 years until he died.

    When it's time, I hope I have the courage to tell my son what he should be concentrating on, and I hope he listens.
  34. JimB says:

    Jane Jacobs’s 1962 book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”

    Jane Jacobs is the first and most famous Karen in history. Her blowhard activism against Robert Moses was the start of a now familiar driving force in progressive politics that the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, especially if the few can get a wealthy billionaire to fund their megaphone. David Rockefeller essentially bankrolled Jane Jacobs as AstroTurf to foment popular dislike for Robert Moses, the head of the Triborough Bridge Authority. The TBA was a public benefit corporation, a globally imitated innovation of Moses, which stitched NYC together with beautiful roads and bridges. Moses was a champion of middle class amenities, having built numerous parkways connecting the boroughs to the beaches on Long Island. Ironically, the middle class he served so faithfully were driven out of the city by financialism, represented by Moses arch enemies the Rockefeller brothers.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    David Rockefeller essentially bankrolled Jane Jacobs as AstroTurf to foment popular dislike for Robert Moses, the head of the Triboro Bridge Authority. The TBA was a public benefit corporation, a globally imitated innovation of Moses, which stitched NYC together with beautiful roads and bridges

    While I despise David Rockefeller as much as the next fellow, Robert Moses' "innovation" was, and was designed to be, an end run around democracy. The vast majority of Public Benefit Corps have become entirely unaccountable , thoroughly corrupt institutions.
    , @TomSchmidt
    the start of a now familiar driving force in progressive politics that the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, especially if the few can get a wealthy billionaire to fund their megaphone.

    Oh, brother. First off: the Jane Jacobs position is that property rights ought to be first most. She consistently decries the destruction of wealth when urban renewers would value a business only at the cost of the land and pay nothing for goodwill. She is almost certainly best described as "bourgeois," advocating for those gauche middle-class values that built urban society.

    The Progressive was definitely Robert Moses, and he exemplified that spirit expressed by Woodrow Wilson in this article:

    When Woodrow Wilson in 1914 was asked “can’t you let anything alone?” he answered with, “I let everything alone that you can show me is not itself moving in the wrong direction, but I am not going to let those things alone that I see are going down-hill.” Wilson spoke for the thousands of well-off Americans who patronized the spas at places like Chautauqua and Lake Mohonk. By such upper-middle-class waters, progressives who imagined themselves the world’s examples and the world’s reformers dreamt big dreams of establishing order, justice, and peace at home and abroad. Neither were they shy about their desire for power. Wilson was the first American statesman to argue that the Founders had done badly by depriving the U.S. government of the power to reshape American society. Nor was Wilson the last to invade a foreign country (Mexico) to “teach [them] to elect good men.”
     
    The Progressive here was Robert Moses. He brooked no discussion or compromise, and the only reason that Southern Manhattan wasn't blighted by his bridge instead of the battery tunnel that did not obscure the sightlines of that magnificent wall of towers rising up from the waterline is that the Navy claimed that the bridge would interfere with naval operations. If you ever look for good in FDR, this one act was it.

    Moses was frequently quoted saying "you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." He was personally not interested in money, unlike Tammany-era politicians who engaged in honest graft, but he didn't need money because his power and control of the TBTA gave him all the amenities he desired, including extravagant catered dinners and a personal chauffeur. And he was backed by people who wanted to use the power of government and eminent domain to steal land from less-connected groups and provide it to political backers to make profits on. The names in NYC aren't as notable, but the case of Rappoport in Boston's West End is an example, tearing down a low-cost mixed white ethnic neighborhood to put up the sterile modern construction. A description of the "slum" that was replaced is in Gans' The Urban Villagers. Those people loved their neighborhood and when it was being torn down the wreckers observed how well-cared-for the interior spaces were. Like the South and North Ends, the West End might have survived to today as an exemplary urban neighborhood. Or like East Harlem that Moses destroyed.

    Moses' wanton destructionof neighborhoods is detailed The Power Booker for two areas: East Tremont in the Bronx, and Sunset Park, in Brooklyn. The eggs he broke there set off a cycle of neighborhood destruction, in the first case to poor Jews, in the second case to NY's Scandinavian neighborhood, as the people with options fled from the noise and disorder his elevated highways created, opening up room for poorer and less-social replacements, driving crime and social chaos sky high. This cost isn't accounted for anywhere, but the destruction of Sunset Park has only recently been undone with gentrification: 60 years of reduced city tax collections and increased social costs from that area, one of many he destroyed, is why the city hit a financial crisis in the 70s. It started to recover in the 80s as it no longer had to suffer the depredations of Progressive Egg Breaking.

    All that having been said, you cannot come away from a read of the Power Broker without admiration for the man's accomplishments and will to power. The description of all the horse-trading that Moses had to do to build the Henry Hudson Parkway and bridge reveals an operational and organizational genius. Robert Caro decries the fact that the parkway was built at the river's edge instead of inland, denying walkers and bikers the magnificent view of the river. That has recently been remedied with a path, and frankly Moses' vision of the drive and the view for drivers has held up.
  35. @Jack D

    The are where the parasite people gather to extract–government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets–to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus.
     
    This is a very Pol Pot view. Maybe we should evacuate the cities and send all those parasites to the countryside to do REAL work?

    Cities are also where the Industrial Revolution happened, where the great universities were located that made breakthroughs in production of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. , where the factories were that made locomotives and tractors. The place where the theaters and museums were, and therefore the poets and artists that produce what we call civilization.

    And to build a tractor factory you need capital and therefore a financial industry (and a legal profession to support finance). Farmers need capital too, to buy their equipment and seed. Without the cities, the farmers in the countryside would still be plowing their fields with mules and living at a subsistence level, since there would be no market for their products in the cities and no transportation to get them there. There would be no wealth to extract, just lots and lots of poverty. At best you can create wealth for a handful of lords who can leverage the labor of lots and lots of peasants, serfs or slaves to live in a grand manner/manor.

    Jefferson also had the same idiotic view, but he lived at a time when the unprecedented wealth creation of the Industrial Revolution was just starting, so he can (almost) be forgiven.

    The American Cultural Revolution happened in the 80s when we decided all our best and brightest should go to vocational school (STEM/Finance) in lieu of the traditional Liberal Arts, producing unsurprisingly the worst and stupidest leadership class in American history.

    • Replies: @Peter D. Bredon
    This comment is gold.

    AND... notice that a certain ethnic group, famed for its "high IQ", did not. I mean, they swarmed into the vocational schools too, but also saw the chance to overwhelm the liberal arts, thereby taking over the culture itself.
    , @Faraday's Bobcat

    The American Cultural Revolution happened in the 80s when we decided all our best and brightest should go to vocational school (STEM/Finance) in lieu of the traditional Liberal Arts, producing unsurprisingly the worst and stupidest leadership class in American history.
     
    / is doing a hell of a lot of work there.
    , @Charles Erwin Wilson Three

    The American Cultural Revolution happened in the 80s when we decided all our best and brightest should go to vocational school (STEM/Finance) in lieu of the traditional Liberal Arts
     
    You seem to imply that students actually received a liberal arts degree. As the Romans would have written, "dubito." (Okay, DVBITO.) The humanities already had been corrupted by leftists, and the rot has spread. The choice was not and is not between STEM/Finance and Liberal Arts. It is between useful degrees and leftist superstitions.
  36. The Official Narrative on suburbs is that the oil companies killed the interurban light rail after World War II. And the auto companies backed freeways.

    But my narrative is that middle-class women, after they have snagged their man, instinctively choose to raise a family in leafy, spread-out suburbs.

    I wonder why? It couldn’t be that, down the ages, women who lived at a social distance had more surviving children. It couldn’t be that, because it would be racist.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    But my narrative is that middle-class women, after they have snagged their man, instinctively choose to raise a family in leafy, spread-out suburbs.

    I wonder why? It couldn’t be that, down the ages, women who lived at a social distance had more surviving children. It couldn’t be that, because it would be racist.


    It was actually a childless woman, Catherine Beecher of THAT family, projecting, who came up with the idea that women were better off in suburbia and that it would be better for children. Because of all her lived experience, I'm sure. I quote from Kenneth Jackson's Crabgrass Frontier:

    Catharine was not a feminist, however. She opposed the women’s rights movement as soon as it emerged as a national organization, insisting that woman’s relation to man should be one of dependence and subservience.

    “Heaven has appointed to one sex the superior and to the other the subordinate station,” Beecher intoned. Unlike Angelina Grimke and other militants who sought immediate female self-realization, Beecher believed that women could best achieve their goals by being so unassuming and gentle that men would yield to them. ...

    Beecher’s national influence began with her Treatise on Domestic Economy, For the Use of Young Ladies at Home and at School, which first appeared in 1841. An immediate popular success, it was frequently adopted as a textbook and was reprinted dozens of times over the next thirty years. Because the “cult of true womanhood” linked the home with piety and purity, Beecher sought to connect architectural and landscape design with her domestic ideal. … Although her designs were technically conventional – the houses were boxes with a central core of fireplaces – the book provided a vision of a healthy, happy, well-fed, and pious family living harmoniously in a well-built, well-furnished, well-kept house.

    Beecher did not specifically refer to suburbia, but she assumed that family life could best thrive in a semirural setting. She believed that “implanted in the heart of every true man, is the desire for a home of his own.” Devoting five chapters of the Treatise to yards and gardens, she argued in favor of the physical and social separation of the population into the female-dominated sphere of home life, preferably suburban, and the male-dominated sphere of the business world, usually urban…
     
    Just like leaders who lack their own offspring have less invested in the future than those who do (Cough, France, Netherlands, Germany), we built suburbia to fit the vision of childless women like Catherine Beecher to fulfill their longings to care for children they did not have, ignoring the wishes of actual mothers. In theory it works in practice; in practice, it works only in theory.
  37. @Jack D

    The are where the parasite people gather to extract–government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets–to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus.
     
    This is a very Pol Pot view. Maybe we should evacuate the cities and send all those parasites to the countryside to do REAL work?

    Cities are also where the Industrial Revolution happened, where the great universities were located that made breakthroughs in production of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. , where the factories were that made locomotives and tractors. The place where the theaters and museums were, and therefore the poets and artists that produce what we call civilization.

    And to build a tractor factory you need capital and therefore a financial industry (and a legal profession to support finance). Farmers need capital too, to buy their equipment and seed. Without the cities, the farmers in the countryside would still be plowing their fields with mules and living at a subsistence level, since there would be no market for their products in the cities and no transportation to get them there. There would be no wealth to extract, just lots and lots of poverty. At best you can create wealth for a handful of lords who can leverage the labor of lots and lots of peasants, serfs or slaves to live in a grand manner/manor.

    Jefferson also had the same idiotic view, but he lived at a time when the unprecedented wealth creation of the Industrial Revolution was just starting, so he can (almost) be forgiven.

    Indeed. Before everyone here straps on their lederhosen and gets all Neo-Nazi on “urban parasites,” consider De Blasio and other local tyrants banning all protests — “because virus.” Freedom of opinion is another city virtue, along with neighbors who mind their own business.

    • Replies: @dfordoom

    Freedom of opinion is another city virtue, along with neighbors who mind their own business.
     
    It's probably an unpopular view here but having neighbours who mind their own business is a very very good thing.

    One of the pluses of city living is that you can choose your social circle. People who wax lyrical about the joys of traditional societies tend to forget that in such societies your social circle is chosen for you. If you're a person who enjoys being rigidly conformist then a traditional society might be very attractive but if you don't enjoy being rigidly conformist then life in a traditional society can be Hell on earth.

    One of the reasons so many people from traditionalist rural communities flocked to cities was that they found city life to be overall a hell of a lot more pleasant, even with its disadvantages.

    Some people really seem to have a problem with this - that some people actually like living in cities. They seem to have an even bigger problem with the idea that maybe people should be allowed to choose to live in cities.
  38. @Paleo Retiree
    Hygiene was a big concern for a lot of modernists, from the notorious bigshots down to people making everyday apartment buildings ... or at least it was a rationale they used a lot to justify the kind of designing and building they liked to do.

    If your eyes are open during your next visit to Manhattan you’ll notice a fair number of otherwise unremarkable glossy white brick apartment buildings, typically 20ish stories high and largely from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Glossy ... white ... That’s right, they were advertised as clean and healthy. Hospital chic. The more maniacal modernists wanted to re-do cities entirely, often in the name of “the machine age” but also in the name of hygiene. Old cities were dirty, yucky, full of dirt and disease. The Utopian modernist city would be full of air, light and space! In practice modernist spaces mostly wound up being bleak and abandoned. It turns out most people don’t enjoy living amidst the conceptual abstractions of bigshot architects and planners. Jane Jacobs had a funny line somewhere where she mused (about bigshot wreckers and planners), more or less: “I think they just don’t like cities.”

    Fwiw, after giving it a lot of thought (I almost majored in architecture back in the ‘70s, and I’ve followed the field ever since and have introduced myself to a lot of interesting people in it) I’ve worked my way around to a simple-minded conclusion about modernism: whatever the fancy rationales people have come up with to justify modernism, it’s just a taste. It’s always just been a taste. Some people really like blankness, geometricism, emptiness, plainness. Other people — editors especially (and editors are important tastemakers) — like the way modernism photographs and looks on the page. Modernist buildings, spaces and interiors often do look appealing and attractive in magazine layouts ... partly because modernist buildings and spaces are designed in ways similar to how magazines are designed.

    This can be a little hard for most of us to wrap our minds around, because most of us have an instinctual preference for a lot more in the way of texture, warmth, quirkiness, etc. It’s such a bizarre taste-set to most of us that we tend to think that the people who love modernism’s flatness and blankness must have interesting reasons for doing so. In fact, what I’ve found is that they don’t. They just love the look of it. Architecture-as-graphic-design is how I think of it. They’re often people who are very happy sitting at worktables full of little squares of colored paper and Xacto knives, and who think it’d be cool if the larger world looked like their workspace.

    Modernism is all about the way things look, while a more sensible view of architecture and urbanism is that it should be about the 4-dimensional experience of structures and spaces. What’s it like to visit? To live in? To work in? To pass by? The “look” in the graphic-design sense plays a role in all that, but many other factors (which modernism has notoriously been poor at) do too.

    On a matter of taste:

    “The insides of most Protestant churches resemble courthouses or town halls, and the focal point of their services is a serious exhortation from a man in a black gown. No golden light, no bells, incense, and candles. No mystery upon an altar or behind an iconostasis. But people brought up in this atmosphere seem to love it. It feels warm and folksy, and leads, on the one hand, to hospitals, prison reform, and votes for all, and, on the other, to sheer genius for drabness, plain cooking ungraced with wine, and constipation of the bright emotions—all of which are considered virtues.

    If I try to set aside the innate prejudices which I feel against this religion, I begin to marvel at the depth of its commitment to earnestness and ugliness. For there is a point at which certain types of ugliness become fascinating, where one feels drawn to going over them again and again, much as the tongue keeps fondling a hole in a tooth. I begin to realize that those incredibly plain people, with their almost unique lack of color, may after all be one of the most astonishing reaches of the divine Maya-the Dancer of the world as far out from himself as he can get, dancing not-dancing.” —-Alan Watts, Beyond Theology, Chapter Two, “Is It Serious?”

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    Gonna have to read that book. Thanks.

    Well, I've reserved "Do you don't, or does it do you?" Instead. Worth a read?
  39. @Paleo Retiree
    Hygiene was a big concern for a lot of modernists, from the notorious bigshots down to people making everyday apartment buildings ... or at least it was a rationale they used a lot to justify the kind of designing and building they liked to do.

    If your eyes are open during your next visit to Manhattan you’ll notice a fair number of otherwise unremarkable glossy white brick apartment buildings, typically 20ish stories high and largely from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Glossy ... white ... That’s right, they were advertised as clean and healthy. Hospital chic. The more maniacal modernists wanted to re-do cities entirely, often in the name of “the machine age” but also in the name of hygiene. Old cities were dirty, yucky, full of dirt and disease. The Utopian modernist city would be full of air, light and space! In practice modernist spaces mostly wound up being bleak and abandoned. It turns out most people don’t enjoy living amidst the conceptual abstractions of bigshot architects and planners. Jane Jacobs had a funny line somewhere where she mused (about bigshot wreckers and planners), more or less: “I think they just don’t like cities.”

    Fwiw, after giving it a lot of thought (I almost majored in architecture back in the ‘70s, and I’ve followed the field ever since and have introduced myself to a lot of interesting people in it) I’ve worked my way around to a simple-minded conclusion about modernism: whatever the fancy rationales people have come up with to justify modernism, it’s just a taste. It’s always just been a taste. Some people really like blankness, geometricism, emptiness, plainness. Other people — editors especially (and editors are important tastemakers) — like the way modernism photographs and looks on the page. Modernist buildings, spaces and interiors often do look appealing and attractive in magazine layouts ... partly because modernist buildings and spaces are designed in ways similar to how magazines are designed.

    This can be a little hard for most of us to wrap our minds around, because most of us have an instinctual preference for a lot more in the way of texture, warmth, quirkiness, etc. It’s such a bizarre taste-set to most of us that we tend to think that the people who love modernism’s flatness and blankness must have interesting reasons for doing so. In fact, what I’ve found is that they don’t. They just love the look of it. Architecture-as-graphic-design is how I think of it. They’re often people who are very happy sitting at worktables full of little squares of colored paper and Xacto knives, and who think it’d be cool if the larger world looked like their workspace.

    Modernism is all about the way things look, while a more sensible view of architecture and urbanism is that it should be about the 4-dimensional experience of structures and spaces. What’s it like to visit? To live in? To work in? To pass by? The “look” in the graphic-design sense plays a role in all that, but many other factors (which modernism has notoriously been poor at) do too.

    Interesting. Is Frank Lloyd Wright considered a modernist? I seem to recall he hated them (hence the deliberately perverse design of his Guggenheim). It seems like he too emphasized the “look” rather than practicalities of working or living in one of his designs, as homeowners often discovered to their grief.

  40. jimbo says:
    @AnotherDad


    This. I know I keep banging on about it, but for every yummy mummy with a pushchair in Battersea or Clifton (insert Manhattan or your district of choice), there are three intelligent, attractive women like Jody Day.
     
    My natural instincts are pretty libertarian. I don't like being told what to do. I don't wish to force people to live a certain way. (Ergo--"separate nations".)

    But young women really need much better advice.

    In fact, everyone does. I'm relatively smarter than the average person, but i've made plenty of mistakes. Some things i could figure out. Even at 20, i knew smart, productive people should be the ones having kids--i.e. "eugenics" is right--that's just common sense and math. But i had plenty of confused ideas. What your culture--its traditions--are supposed to give you is good guidance for living a useful productive and happy life that helps sustain civilization.

    And that's what's gone wrong. Especially wrong for women who are more compliant and conforming to cultural/societal messaging. They really need society--its institutions and culture--to be giving them good advice. Instead they live in a soup of lies and disinformation pumped out by the global cosmopolitans--literally given a recipe for long term discontent and unhappiness.

    I agree. I was pretty lost and aimless as a 20and early 30-something. I got along great with my father, but I sometimes wish he had sat me down and gave me a good talking to about what should be my priorities in life. Instead he just expressed endless approval for whatever stupid idea I had at the time, as I frittered away my youth. I finally got married at 37, didn’t have a kid until I was 39 (to his endless surprise, I think) and he only got to know him for about 3 years until he died.

    When it’s time, I hope I have the courage to tell my son what he should be concentrating on, and I hope he listens.

  41. @Desiderius
    The American Cultural Revolution happened in the 80s when we decided all our best and brightest should go to vocational school (STEM/Finance) in lieu of the traditional Liberal Arts, producing unsurprisingly the worst and stupidest leadership class in American history.

    This comment is gold.

    AND… notice that a certain ethnic group, famed for its “high IQ”, did not. I mean, they swarmed into the vocational schools too, but also saw the chance to overwhelm the liberal arts, thereby taking over the culture itself.

  42. @peterike

    Jacobs’ basic argument was that her neighborhood, Greenwich Village in Manhattan, with its shaded wide sidewalks for children to play on under the eye of shopkeepers who operated out of storefronts underneath medium-height apartment buildings where the kids lived,
     
    Well part of the trouble is that those "shopkeepers" are now often third-world invaders who will "keep on eye" on your daughter by grooming her for rape and sex slavery and will sell your son drugs. And then there's the ever present young black thugs -- male and female -- who are omnipresent and a constant, low-level threat to your children. I don't suppose anybody bothers to track how many kids' bikes are stolen by black teenagers and even pre-teenagers, but I'm sure the number is extravagantly high. Good luck getting the cops to be interested in it.

    Even a multi-ethnic city was safe when it was a white multi-ethnic city. Read things like Betty Smith's "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and her other novels for a good idea of New York street life for kids back in the day.

    “Jacobs’ basic argument was that her neighborhood, Greenwich Village in Manhattan, with its shaded wide sidewalks for children to play on under the eye of shopkeepers ”

    Historically Manhattan heterosexual culture almost immediately collapsed. The city was run by a financial control board, Big MAC, after 1975 until like 1995. Greenwich village and the East Village became the center of Gay male culture and eventually AIDS. She might have been well meaning, and it might have been impossible to predict what happened, but the conversion of ‘The Village’ into the world center of Gay male culture was already underway, which is why the Stonewall riot occurred there. To the extent there was a heterosexual culture it was mostly in a few white enclaves and the notorious housing projects, plus some Puerto Rican ghettos.

    Robert Moses’ plan for the area was to build apartments young families could live while providing a way for surface transportation to cross from New Jersey to Long Island. Given that 7.8 Million people live on Long Island it is surprisingly difficult to get from the mainland US to Long Island.

    In fairness to Gays ‘The Village’ would have been a much harder sell to young families than a single family home North Jersey or newly accessible, due to Robert Moses, Nassau county.

  43. For an interesting take on failed “futurist” architecture and community living, check out
    Arcosanti.

    https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/paolo-soleri-arcosanti-arizona

    Designed by Italian planner Paolo Soleri, it is a behive sci-fi kind of community which still exists and promotes itself as the wave of the future. About 40 miles or so north of Phoenix AZ.

    My wife and I toured there about 35 years ago, worth a visit. Full of theorizing residents who mostly seem to exist as advocates of beehive living. Giving lectures, seminars. You can stay there too.

    The future didn’t seem to belong to them, as the rest of inhabited Arizona urban life is in spread out family suburban style homes. Many in the Spanish/Indian adobe style. You have to give it to the Arcosanti advocates, they don’t let failure dissuade them. Some people do want to live in beehives, but not many. We didn’t see any old people since you have to do a lot of climbing. Of course this was envisioned 60+ years ago. I think the SW Indian pueblo dwellers did it better.

  44. Cities are the equivalent of giant sardine cans? Was humankind meant to live under such conditions? I think not.

  45. “Here’s St. Louis’s Pruitt-Igoe housing complex, designed by Corbusier fan Minoru Yamasaki in the 1950s and blown up in the 1970s:”

    The Yamasaki curse, poor guy couldn’t catch a break:

    “The Wendell O. Pruitt Homes and William Igoe Apartments, known together as Pruitt–Igoe, were joint urban housing projects first occupied in 1954 in the US city of St. Louis, Missouri. Living conditions in Pruitt–Igoe began to decline soon after completion in 1956.

    By the late 1960s, the complex had become internationally infamous for its poverty, crime and racial segregation. The 11-story high rises within the complex almost exclusively accommodated African-Americans.

    All 33 buildings were demolished with explosives in the mid-1970s, and the project has become an icon of failure of urban renewal, public-policy planning and public housing.

    The complex was designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the World Trade Center towers.”

    05B537B2-73F5-4A1B-A29D-FA5CB61FBAB1

    • Replies: @Alden
    RBB, ruined by blacks
  46. Glasgow went very close to being swept away and cleared for Le Corbusier style tower blocks just after the war: https://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/history/glasgow-plans-soviet-bloc-city-17033205

  47. @Richard of Melbourne
    From an Australian perspective, the notion of living in a small box in the sky, enclosed in a tall concrete tower, looks very alien and unattractive as a lifestyle. Even if the box is as large in floor area as a house, there is still no green margin between one's home and one's neighbours. No backyard to play in, or where one can enjoy a barbeque with one's friends.

    However, for the past 30 or 40 years our academic betters have been arguing that our traditional ideal of the quarter-acre block is socially retrograde and a threat to the planet. Our political masters have, to some extent, gone along with the academics, and so the inner suburbs of large Australian cities are now infested with those tall concrete towers.

    Fortunately, the bulk of Australians still live in stand-alone houses with modest gardens in the suburbs. Evidently that is one reason why our death rate from Covid-19 is currently at 4 per million. In overcrowded western Europe (and metro USA) it is in the hundreds per million.

    As a kind of divine joke, many of the little boxes in those Australian towers are owned (as investments) by our Chinese friends and many are inhabited by their studious children. They are welcome to them.

    Those massive appartment blocks in Melbourne are hideous. I wonder what will become of them in years to come.

  48. “…fear of tuberculosis was a huge factor in driving migration of well-to-do people, like my paternal grandfather, from the Midwest. The cool coastline was largely shunned in favor of the drier inland areas like Pasadena, which attracted the health conscious from the 1880s to the 1940s.”

    The founder of Sunnyvale California, which was ground zero for what eventually became Silicon Valley, came for a similar reason:

    In Missouri the dreaded malaria had killed several members of Martin Murphy Jr’s family. A priest from California told him of fertile lands out West.

    Murphy’s was the first successful wagon train to cross the Sierra Nevada, two years before the fateful Donner Party failed at their attempt.

    Martin became one of the biggest landowners in the state of California, founder of schools, father of mayors and senators. At one point in the 19th century, you could travel from Sunnyvale to San Luis Obispo without ever leaving Murphy land.

    Martin Murphy Jr. had limited reading skills, and could not write: his signature was an X.

  49. @YetAnotherAnon
    "The modern “cool” metro is an IQ shredder."

    This. I know I keep banging on about it, but for every yummy mummy with a pushchair in Battersea or Clifton (insert Manhattan or your district of choice), there are three intelligent, attractive women like Jody Day.


    She remembers the moment she realised she was definitely never going to be a mother. It was February 2009 and, at 44-and-a-half, she had left a bad long-term relationship and moved into a grotty London flat. “I was standing by the window, watching the rain make dusty tracks down the glass, when the traffic in the street below seemed to go silent, as if I’d put it on ‘mute’. In that moment, I became acutely aware of myself, almost as if I were an observer of the scene from outside my body. And then it came to me: it’s over. I’m never going to have a baby.
     
    And, in the opposite direction, I can't count the times some London bad-boy is sentenced and he has three or four kids.

    Yeah, this is basically true, speaking as someone living in central London for twenty years. Things are gonna change though.

  50. The other day someone linked to an excellent article in The Occidental Observer about Schopenhauer. For most moderns, Schopenhauer was a bit too pessimistic. We want to believe that “it’s getting better all the time”. Schopenhauer seems a bit too resigned.

    But when you consider that, as has been pointed out both in this piece by Steve and some commenters, in times of yore, the general populace was afflicted with intestinal parasites, lice and all the other ailments that besieged the unwashed who had access to neither clean drinking water nor sanitary sewage treatment facilities, then perhaps Schopenhauer wasn’t such a pessimist after all. Maybe he was simply telling it like it was. To live was to deal with one affliction after another.

    We are so fortunate today. To think that sanitary water is so abundant and cheap that you can shower in it—well, that’s amazing. And if you aren’t amazed, then you don’t know history, are an ingrate and should be spanked.

  51. @slumber_j

    Rome today is populated less by the descendants of the residents of Rome in 1 AD than by the descendants of country folk from adjoining rural areas.
     
    While this is certainly true, more than once my wife and I have commented on the classically Senatorial faces you see on a few of the fancier old Romans when you're having an al fresco drink in Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina. Your eye will be drawn to some perfectly turned-out septuagenarian's very expensive-looking electric-blue blazer or whatever and then notice that the whole outfit is surmounted by a head that may as well have been chiseled off an ancient bust in the Capitoline Museum.

    You conjure that image up very well, and you are very likely literally correct.

    The Massimo boast a fabulous descent from Quintus Fabius Maximus, who flourished in the second century BC. They like to say that they can’t prove it, but it has been a family tradition for at least 1200 years.
    I met the Prince Massimo who died in 2008: he could have been the model for what you describe.

  52. @Jack D

    For example, Rome today is populated less by the descendants of the residents of Rome in 1 AD than by the descendants of country folk from adjoining rural areas.

     

    During the Dark Ages, the population of Rome fell to 30,000 (down from a peak of around 1 million) so chances are most of the people who live in Rome today aren't the descendants of the local country folk either.

    Up until the end of the 19th century, it was considered to be inevitable that there would be periodic epidemics that would kill some large fraction of the population. Something as mild as Wuhan Virus would have gone completely unnoticed because the REAL epidemics (bubonic plague, cholera, yellow fever, etc.) were so much worse. The Black Death killed between 30-45% of the population of the UK between 1348-50.

    Unfortunately, Steve Sailor forgot the earlier part of the story of the Roman population. Based on the genetic evidence so far, using ancientDNA samples, modern Romans probably resemble their Iron Age and late Antique ancestors more than Romans of 1AD. They resemble the people that actually built the Roman Republic. However, by 1AD Rome had changed demographically with eastern Mediterranean immigrants. Later, as Rome began to collapse by late Antiquity, the Roman stock from the countryside repopulated the city.

    This is a fascinating study with some great charts.

    Ancient Rome: A genetic crossroads of Europe and the Mediterranean

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/366/6466/708

    Of course, the genetic evidence upsets Nordicists and other northern European suprematists who cannot bring themselves to accept that other people built great civilisations too.

  53. @Desiderius
    The American Cultural Revolution happened in the 80s when we decided all our best and brightest should go to vocational school (STEM/Finance) in lieu of the traditional Liberal Arts, producing unsurprisingly the worst and stupidest leadership class in American history.

    The American Cultural Revolution happened in the 80s when we decided all our best and brightest should go to vocational school (STEM/Finance) in lieu of the traditional Liberal Arts, producing unsurprisingly the worst and stupidest leadership class in American history.

    / is doing a hell of a lot of work there.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    You’d be surprised.

    They both produce McKinsey consultants in lieu of statesmen, preachers, and reporters.
  54. @PiltdownMan
    In the early 1950s, the Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, invited Le Corbusier to design a brand new capital city for the Punjab. Nehru, a product of Edwardian era Harrow and Cambridge, was a modernist and an internationalist.

    The project is considered to have been a success.


    Is This the Perfect City

    http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20151211-is-this-the-perfect-city
     

    https://i.imgur.com/vmXALYw.jpg


    https://www.arch2o.com/well-planned-cities-20th-century/

    The project is considered to have been a success.

    It does look good.

  55. @PiltdownMan
    My apologies. I linked to the wrong image, above and didn't notice until the edit window closed. That's Brasilia above, which was designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

    This is Chandigarh, the city in India, designed by Le Corbusier.

    http://images.faena.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2017/06/chandigarh-4.jpg

    I linked to the wrong image, above and didn’t notice until the edit window closed.

    Oh, thanks. Let me revise and extend my previous remarks…

    • LOL: PiltdownMan
  56. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    The problem with urbanism is that all its proponents and supporters imagine that they themselves would be living in grand townhouses, spacious apartments, penthouses, fashionable lofts, etc. But a city can’t provide all that to most of its inhabitants and workers. A city is a dense concentration of people who aren’t wealthy enough to avoid selling their labor providing lots of menial services. Most city dwellers and workers have to commute into the city or live in small apartments, if not slums, tenements, or public housing.

    An arrangement in which most people are supplied with lots of space and high levels of consumption is called suburbia.

  57. @Jack D

    The are where the parasite people gather to extract–government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets–to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus.
     
    This is a very Pol Pot view. Maybe we should evacuate the cities and send all those parasites to the countryside to do REAL work?

    Cities are also where the Industrial Revolution happened, where the great universities were located that made breakthroughs in production of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. , where the factories were that made locomotives and tractors. The place where the theaters and museums were, and therefore the poets and artists that produce what we call civilization.

    And to build a tractor factory you need capital and therefore a financial industry (and a legal profession to support finance). Farmers need capital too, to buy their equipment and seed. Without the cities, the farmers in the countryside would still be plowing their fields with mules and living at a subsistence level, since there would be no market for their products in the cities and no transportation to get them there. There would be no wealth to extract, just lots and lots of poverty. At best you can create wealth for a handful of lords who can leverage the labor of lots and lots of peasants, serfs or slaves to live in a grand manner/manor.

    Jefferson also had the same idiotic view, but he lived at a time when the unprecedented wealth creation of the Industrial Revolution was just starting, so he can (almost) be forgiven.

    This is a very Pol Pot view. Maybe we should evacuate the cities and send all those parasites to the countryside to do REAL work?

    The best you can do is a straw man argument?

  58. @Percy Gryce
    Steve, breed is declined: breed, bred, have bred.

    Ha! Your post just before that one indicates dyslexia 😉

  59. @peterike

    Jacobs’ basic argument was that her neighborhood, Greenwich Village in Manhattan, with its shaded wide sidewalks for children to play on under the eye of shopkeepers who operated out of storefronts underneath medium-height apartment buildings where the kids lived,
     
    Well part of the trouble is that those "shopkeepers" are now often third-world invaders who will "keep on eye" on your daughter by grooming her for rape and sex slavery and will sell your son drugs. And then there's the ever present young black thugs -- male and female -- who are omnipresent and a constant, low-level threat to your children. I don't suppose anybody bothers to track how many kids' bikes are stolen by black teenagers and even pre-teenagers, but I'm sure the number is extravagantly high. Good luck getting the cops to be interested in it.

    Even a multi-ethnic city was safe when it was a white multi-ethnic city. Read things like Betty Smith's "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and her other novels for a good idea of New York street life for kids back in the day.

    Well part of the trouble is that those “shopkeepers” are now often third-world invaders who will “keep on eye” on your daughter by grooming her for rape and sex slavery and will sell your son drugs.

    Damned capitalists! In SF you get your “alcohol, marijuana and tobacco” for free now.

    https://www.sfgate.com/news/editorspicks/article/San-Francisco-homeless-hotels-drugs-alcohol-15253297.php

  60. @AnotherDad

    Down through history, cities were usually “demographic sinks,” meaning that the population generally didn’t reproduce itself, dying off faster than it breeded, requiring replacement from the healthier countryside.
     
    They still are.

    The Wuhan-special has highlighted that American suburbia--that makes certain people quiver in fear and dread--is much healthier/better for resisting disease.

    But even without modern cities are parasitic disasters. The are where the parasite people gather to extract--government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets--to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus. Once people were settled with agriculture, the looters were on the job and the ruler needed somewhere to locate his looting apparatus--the city.

    And modern cities in the West--and a lot of other places now--are again demographic sinks. In America, young college educated singles--particularly young women--flock to 10 or 15 "cool" metros ... where housing is expensive, the culture is permissive and the women slut around, marriages are delayed or never formed and fertility is suppressed.

    The modern "cool" metro is an IQ shredder. .

    Taking high quality white genes--built up over millennia ... and killing them. Throwing out the legacy of our ancestors in the trask. It is criminal.

    If young people eschew big city life, even modestly, because of this virus ... it will be a huge win and make the virus a net positive for the West.

    The Wuhan-special

    That’s a good one, but is it like a train or a blue-plate special?

    At this (presumably) late date we still don’t have a definitive slur, I mean label, for this pestilence. Many contenders but there’s still work to be done imho. I’ve just been calling it China Time but I know we can do better than that. Kung Flu is another favorite, but seems to understate the menace.

    https://www.thewrap.com/snl-alec-baldwin-trump-covid-racist-names-weekend-update/ Racist!! As usual, SNL is about one percent as funny as random remarks on the internet.

  61. @PiltdownMan
    My apologies. I linked to the wrong image, above and didn't notice until the edit window closed. That's Brasilia above, which was designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

    This is Chandigarh, the city in India, designed by Le Corbusier.

    http://images.faena.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2017/06/chandigarh-4.jpg

    Yeah, but nobody would have known one Brutalist monstrosity from another, would they?

    • Agree: PiltdownMan
  62. @Thea
    Maybe we will get an answer to question, does living in a city induce people to vote democrat or do democrats just flock to cities?

    It was Republican mayors in Detroit and Philadelphia who tore down black slums and rebuilt them with modern housing. They never built as much housing as they tore down, and the blacks had to go somewhere, so they invaded white Democrat urban ethnic enclaves where Italians, Irish, and Poles lived. This might have been an attempt to break up Catholic urban power on the part of the Republican elite.

    It set off a cycle of neighborhood destabilization and eventual collapse. Detroit finally elected a cAtholic ethnic in 1965, but Mayor Cavanaugh was too late to have the city be run by a white Democratic machine. Eventually, all the white ethnic neighborhoods were abandoned, providing VERy low cost housing for the blacks who moved in to replace them. The Republicans lost power in the city.

    The only neighborhood in Detroit that really held up was the one built by Mies in Lafayette Park, over the bones of the destroyed black neighborhood of Black Bottom. All else became the ruin porn beloved of earlier this century.

  63. @AnotherDad

    Down through history, cities were usually “demographic sinks,” meaning that the population generally didn’t reproduce itself, dying off faster than it breeded, requiring replacement from the healthier countryside.
     
    They still are.

    The Wuhan-special has highlighted that American suburbia--that makes certain people quiver in fear and dread--is much healthier/better for resisting disease.

    But even without modern cities are parasitic disasters. The are where the parasite people gather to extract--government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets--to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus. Once people were settled with agriculture, the looters were on the job and the ruler needed somewhere to locate his looting apparatus--the city.

    And modern cities in the West--and a lot of other places now--are again demographic sinks. In America, young college educated singles--particularly young women--flock to 10 or 15 "cool" metros ... where housing is expensive, the culture is permissive and the women slut around, marriages are delayed or never formed and fertility is suppressed.

    The modern "cool" metro is an IQ shredder. .

    Taking high quality white genes--built up over millennia ... and killing them. Throwing out the legacy of our ancestors in the trask. It is criminal.

    If young people eschew big city life, even modestly, because of this virus ... it will be a huge win and make the virus a net positive for the West.

    You just earned yourself a reading assignment: Scale, by Geoffrey West. Don’t comment any more until you’ve finished it.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna

    You just earned yourself a reading assignment... Don’t comment any more until you’ve finished it.
     
    I used to know a girl like you.
  64. @YetAnotherAnon
    "The modern “cool” metro is an IQ shredder."

    This. I know I keep banging on about it, but for every yummy mummy with a pushchair in Battersea or Clifton (insert Manhattan or your district of choice), there are three intelligent, attractive women like Jody Day.


    She remembers the moment she realised she was definitely never going to be a mother. It was February 2009 and, at 44-and-a-half, she had left a bad long-term relationship and moved into a grotty London flat. “I was standing by the window, watching the rain make dusty tracks down the glass, when the traffic in the street below seemed to go silent, as if I’d put it on ‘mute’. In that moment, I became acutely aware of myself, almost as if I were an observer of the scene from outside my body. And then it came to me: it’s over. I’m never going to have a baby.
     
    And, in the opposite direction, I can't count the times some London bad-boy is sentenced and he has three or four kids.

    I feel sorry for her. She looks sexy and feminine and like the kind of girl I’ve been with, namely extremely conservative at heart, longing to be a little stay at home wifey, but she let herself be psyched out by the tv and the newspapers. Then when it’s too late she realizes what she actually wanted all this time.

    It’s heart-breaking.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    If you read her story it's a tragic tale. She actually changed her mind quite early about "muh career" but it was still too late. Shouldn't have aborted that child.

    I have less sympathy for the big city "muh career" crowd who suddenly discover at age 37 that they've stayed too long at the fair.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-3452636/The-clock-ticking-didn-t-realise-probably-stopped-One-woman-s-story-childlessness-mummy-mad-world.html

    "Jody had had an abortion when she was 20 during a previous relationship, which was ‘emotionally traumatic’.

    But as the child of an unmarried mother (her mother became pregnant with her aged 18), she had grown up with the idea that having a child on your own can ruin your life.

    Far better to put your energies into an education and a career.

    I launched into adulthood without forming a clear position on having children,’ she admits. "
     
  65. @Paleo Retiree
    Hygiene was a big concern for a lot of modernists, from the notorious bigshots down to people making everyday apartment buildings ... or at least it was a rationale they used a lot to justify the kind of designing and building they liked to do.

    If your eyes are open during your next visit to Manhattan you’ll notice a fair number of otherwise unremarkable glossy white brick apartment buildings, typically 20ish stories high and largely from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Glossy ... white ... That’s right, they were advertised as clean and healthy. Hospital chic. The more maniacal modernists wanted to re-do cities entirely, often in the name of “the machine age” but also in the name of hygiene. Old cities were dirty, yucky, full of dirt and disease. The Utopian modernist city would be full of air, light and space! In practice modernist spaces mostly wound up being bleak and abandoned. It turns out most people don’t enjoy living amidst the conceptual abstractions of bigshot architects and planners. Jane Jacobs had a funny line somewhere where she mused (about bigshot wreckers and planners), more or less: “I think they just don’t like cities.”

    Fwiw, after giving it a lot of thought (I almost majored in architecture back in the ‘70s, and I’ve followed the field ever since and have introduced myself to a lot of interesting people in it) I’ve worked my way around to a simple-minded conclusion about modernism: whatever the fancy rationales people have come up with to justify modernism, it’s just a taste. It’s always just been a taste. Some people really like blankness, geometricism, emptiness, plainness. Other people — editors especially (and editors are important tastemakers) — like the way modernism photographs and looks on the page. Modernist buildings, spaces and interiors often do look appealing and attractive in magazine layouts ... partly because modernist buildings and spaces are designed in ways similar to how magazines are designed.

    This can be a little hard for most of us to wrap our minds around, because most of us have an instinctual preference for a lot more in the way of texture, warmth, quirkiness, etc. It’s such a bizarre taste-set to most of us that we tend to think that the people who love modernism’s flatness and blankness must have interesting reasons for doing so. In fact, what I’ve found is that they don’t. They just love the look of it. Architecture-as-graphic-design is how I think of it. They’re often people who are very happy sitting at worktables full of little squares of colored paper and Xacto knives, and who think it’d be cool if the larger world looked like their workspace.

    Modernism is all about the way things look, while a more sensible view of architecture and urbanism is that it should be about the 4-dimensional experience of structures and spaces. What’s it like to visit? To live in? To work in? To pass by? The “look” in the graphic-design sense plays a role in all that, but many other factors (which modernism has notoriously been poor at) do too.

    Good set of insights. Entire cities have been destroyed because designers thought that what ‘looked neat’ on their drawing tables would surely work just fine when blown up to urban scale.

  66. Alden says:
    @joeyjoejoe
    These perspectives seem obvious and even, an illustration of what happened with the suburbanization of America. I don't spend alot of time watching older movies/tv shows, but I do spend some time doing so.

    Two examples: a decade ago I rewatched Marty (Ernest Borgnine is a lonely single guy who finally meets somebody), and a few years ago I rewatched a Twilight Zone episode where a girl is dying and an old peddler has to con death into forgetting to visit her before midnight.

    In both cases, I noticed how alive the streets were-people-pedestrians-were actually on them. Life was lived on them. Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner. What I grew up with (crowds of people in malls) occurred just outside the front door for my grandparents.

    I don't spend any time in New York City, so for all I know that still happens there. But midwest cities are, by and large, wastelands. Commercial districts with a few bars for nightlife, but Life, by and large, is lived in the suburbs.

    Presumably, cars had something to do with this.

    joe

    The black migration north had much to do with the move to the suburbs and far from bus lines. Suburbs still fight public transit stops because public transit brings criminals. RBB, ruined by blacks.

    Do you ever read that Santa Monica newspaper Steve? It has a weekly crime report. Most of the burglaries mugging assaults and rapes occur within 6 north south blocks of Pico, Santa Monica Blvd and Wiltshire. The blocks between Pico and Santa Monica Blvd are usually the hardest hit.

    Public transit is necessary but there’s always crime around bus lines. Victims get off the bus and are robbed attacked raped and killed on the walk home. That kind of thing is why Los Angeles and most cities have building codes that new apartments have locked secured underground parking. Too many people were attacked after parking in a carport or on the street. But bus riders are still attacked when they get off the bus and start walking.

    There was also a massive massive propaganda blast about how great suburbs were in contrast to the city. The only thing I have against suburbs is that most of the houses don’t have real living rooms according to what seems to have been the 1946 master plan. A low ceiling badly proportioned awkward large hallway from the front door to the bedrooms with room for a couch and TV. Residential floor plans just get worse and worse. Best thing about cities is just about any house built before 1940.

    Most of the suburbs were built in the farm land around small dry towns. No bars, no place for the men to stop on the way home. No liquor no dinner restaurants, no night life. And TV kept people at home.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    "Public transit is necessary but there’s always crime around bus lines. Victims get off the bus and are robbed attacked raped and killed on the walk home."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9L56AWo0izA

    If only there was "Constitutional Carry" in all the Democrat-ruled gun control dystopias.
  67. Alden says:
    @peterike

    Jacobs’ basic argument was that her neighborhood, Greenwich Village in Manhattan, with its shaded wide sidewalks for children to play on under the eye of shopkeepers who operated out of storefronts underneath medium-height apartment buildings where the kids lived,
     
    Well part of the trouble is that those "shopkeepers" are now often third-world invaders who will "keep on eye" on your daughter by grooming her for rape and sex slavery and will sell your son drugs. And then there's the ever present young black thugs -- male and female -- who are omnipresent and a constant, low-level threat to your children. I don't suppose anybody bothers to track how many kids' bikes are stolen by black teenagers and even pre-teenagers, but I'm sure the number is extravagantly high. Good luck getting the cops to be interested in it.

    Even a multi-ethnic city was safe when it was a white multi-ethnic city. Read things like Betty Smith's "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and her other novels for a good idea of New York street life for kids back in the day.

    I read the Jacobs book. Blacks didn’t seem to exist. Her neighborhood seemed to be Italian. I understand that Italians resisted black thuggery better than most Whites did. I think she wrote it in the 1950s when NY was still de facto segregated and the police were allowed to do their job.

    I read the book around 1980 and just laughed. Her safe White NYC neighborhood was so outdated compared to what happened when blacks invaded the village. Not to live, but to rob murder and rape.

    Nowadays if a store clerk glared at 3 black thugs following an old woman with a purse NAACP ADL $PLC and the whole Soros gang would be after him.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna

    I read the Jacobs book. Blacks didn’t seem to exist.
     
    Because she was working on a theory of how to make cities healthy and functional again.
    , @TomSchmidt
    I think blacks didn't exist for the same reason that Charles Murray wrote "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010." Id bet even then that there was no upside to comparing black and white social dysfunction, so by focusing largely on whites Jacobs avoided both criticizing blacks and being criticized for not showing black dysfunction when she did talk about them.

    There were Puerto Ricans in the book, though, and I think her visit to Philadelphia was to a black neighborhood. Of the Puerto Ricans she is sunnily optimistic that they "will make fine citizens one day," after they have unslummed and risen through the urban economy. Of course, the urban economy that paid high wages to people without finance degrees was soon to disappear, so smart but poor Puerto Ricans (and blacks) were unable to work their way up and out of poverty the way generations of whites had.

    Jacobs also wrote about East Harlem, once a solidly Italian neighborhood before being wrecked by urban "renewers" like Robert Moses. Blacks and Puerto Ricans could not compete for expensive housing, so they gravitated to these low-cost areas that whites had fled from. In a counter-factual NYC that didn't destroy its high-value-added manufacturing economy and go all-in on finance, they might have wound up like the horribly poor Irish of the mid-19th century did.

    Of course, West Indian blacks have a higher income than white Americans in the second generation (https://research.upjohn.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1032&context=up_workingpapers) so in theory the same was achievable by all the groups in NYC.
  68. @danand

    “Here’s St. Louis’s Pruitt-Igoe housing complex, designed by Corbusier fan Minoru Yamasaki in the 1950s and blown up in the 1970s:”
     
    The Yamasaki curse, poor guy couldn’t catch a break:

    https://youtu.be/ieIFtjnBfJU

    “The Wendell O. Pruitt Homes and William Igoe Apartments, known together as Pruitt–Igoe, were joint urban housing projects first occupied in 1954 in the US city of St. Louis, Missouri. Living conditions in Pruitt–Igoe began to decline soon after completion in 1956.

    By the late 1960s, the complex had become internationally infamous for its poverty, crime and racial segregation. The 11-story high rises within the complex almost exclusively accommodated African-Americans.

    All 33 buildings were demolished with explosives in the mid-1970s, and the project has become an icon of failure of urban renewal, public-policy planning and public housing.

    The complex was designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the World Trade Center towers.”
     
    https://flic.kr/p/2iYAEFr

    RBB, ruined by blacks

  69. @Paleo Retiree
    Hygiene was a big concern for a lot of modernists, from the notorious bigshots down to people making everyday apartment buildings ... or at least it was a rationale they used a lot to justify the kind of designing and building they liked to do.

    If your eyes are open during your next visit to Manhattan you’ll notice a fair number of otherwise unremarkable glossy white brick apartment buildings, typically 20ish stories high and largely from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Glossy ... white ... That’s right, they were advertised as clean and healthy. Hospital chic. The more maniacal modernists wanted to re-do cities entirely, often in the name of “the machine age” but also in the name of hygiene. Old cities were dirty, yucky, full of dirt and disease. The Utopian modernist city would be full of air, light and space! In practice modernist spaces mostly wound up being bleak and abandoned. It turns out most people don’t enjoy living amidst the conceptual abstractions of bigshot architects and planners. Jane Jacobs had a funny line somewhere where she mused (about bigshot wreckers and planners), more or less: “I think they just don’t like cities.”

    Fwiw, after giving it a lot of thought (I almost majored in architecture back in the ‘70s, and I’ve followed the field ever since and have introduced myself to a lot of interesting people in it) I’ve worked my way around to a simple-minded conclusion about modernism: whatever the fancy rationales people have come up with to justify modernism, it’s just a taste. It’s always just been a taste. Some people really like blankness, geometricism, emptiness, plainness. Other people — editors especially (and editors are important tastemakers) — like the way modernism photographs and looks on the page. Modernist buildings, spaces and interiors often do look appealing and attractive in magazine layouts ... partly because modernist buildings and spaces are designed in ways similar to how magazines are designed.

    This can be a little hard for most of us to wrap our minds around, because most of us have an instinctual preference for a lot more in the way of texture, warmth, quirkiness, etc. It’s such a bizarre taste-set to most of us that we tend to think that the people who love modernism’s flatness and blankness must have interesting reasons for doing so. In fact, what I’ve found is that they don’t. They just love the look of it. Architecture-as-graphic-design is how I think of it. They’re often people who are very happy sitting at worktables full of little squares of colored paper and Xacto knives, and who think it’d be cool if the larger world looked like their workspace.

    Modernism is all about the way things look, while a more sensible view of architecture and urbanism is that it should be about the 4-dimensional experience of structures and spaces. What’s it like to visit? To live in? To work in? To pass by? The “look” in the graphic-design sense plays a role in all that, but many other factors (which modernism has notoriously been poor at) do too.

    You don’t think that economics has a lot to do with it? Decorative doodads cost money. Fabricating large members off-site and flying them into place rather than a lot of handwork by expensive craftsmen on the job-site.

    • Agree: TomSchmidt
  70. @JimB

    Jane Jacobs’s 1962 book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”
     
    Jane Jacobs is the first and most famous Karen in history. Her blowhard activism against Robert Moses was the start of a now familiar driving force in progressive politics that the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, especially if the few can get a wealthy billionaire to fund their megaphone. David Rockefeller essentially bankrolled Jane Jacobs as AstroTurf to foment popular dislike for Robert Moses, the head of the Triborough Bridge Authority. The TBA was a public benefit corporation, a globally imitated innovation of Moses, which stitched NYC together with beautiful roads and bridges. Moses was a champion of middle class amenities, having built numerous parkways connecting the boroughs to the beaches on Long Island. Ironically, the middle class he served so faithfully were driven out of the city by financialism, represented by Moses arch enemies the Rockefeller brothers.

    David Rockefeller essentially bankrolled Jane Jacobs as AstroTurf to foment popular dislike for Robert Moses, the head of the Triboro Bridge Authority. The TBA was a public benefit corporation, a globally imitated innovation of Moses, which stitched NYC together with beautiful roads and bridges

    While I despise David Rockefeller as much as the next fellow, Robert Moses’ “innovation” was, and was designed to be, an end run around democracy. The vast majority of Public Benefit Corps have become entirely unaccountable , thoroughly corrupt institutions.

    • Replies: @JimB

    The vast majority of Public Benefit Corps have become entirely unaccountable , thoroughly corrupt institutions.
     
    Perhaps so, but Moses prioritized the needs of the majority more highly than NYC elected officials did because they needed special interest campaign donor bucks to stay in power. And in politics, whoever pays the piper etc.
  71. Barcelona 1992 was probably the most successful Olympics in terms of glamorizing the host city since Berlin 1936.

    The facilities were built in the same era, particularly the big stadium. Barcelona vied to host the Games 60 or so years earlier, but it never came about. Until 1992.

    The Games were no better organized than Atlanta 1996, but when your bus was an hour late, you were still killing an hour in Barcelona rather than in Atlanta.

    The middle week of the three was deadly hot and humid, though how far from normal that was I can’t tell you. The only air conditioning available without a ticket was at El Corte Ingles. (They may even have had a drinking fountain, which is extremely rare on the Continent.) My best deal was the fencing, which was an eight-hour event inside. Baseball was brutal, as the Olympic variety was molasses-slow, and synchronized swimming was in a metal bowl apparently designed to utilize sunlight to microwave the spectators. All the men were topless, and were this France or places north, the women would have been as well.

    Here’s St. Louis’s Pruitt-Igoe housing complex, designed by Corbusier fan Minoru Yamasaki in the 1950s and blown up in the 1970s:

    This is a bit unfair. The papers of the day report that Yamasaki’s original design was a mix of low- and high-rise buildings. The Saint Louis Housing Authority was the true guilty party, tossing out the low-rises for being less efficient.

    Not long before, Yamasaki had visited his father’s native village in Japan and wrote about the wisdom of traditional architecture. Sadly, little of that got into his work back home in the States.

    I blame his clients– the SLHA, and the Rockefellers with the WTC.

  72. Anon[296] • Disclaimer says:

    This from The Conversation struck me as LOL funny:

    Personally, I favour the end of the continuum that aims at controlled adaptation, rather than aiming for complete elimination of the virus in Australia…. But either way, it’s clearly important that cases are kept very low. While the disease disproportionately affects the old, people are still dying early and health economists have shown that an average of between 3 and 11 healthy life-years are still being lost per COVID-19 death.

    https://theconversation.com/new-roadmap-gives-australia-two-paths-out-of-covid-19-lockdown-elimination-or-adaptation-137494

    I love the concerned “important cases be kept low” followed by the “loss of 3 to 11 years of life,” i.e. only geezers are dying of it. How concerned is he really? Or is he really chuckling at how Millennials lucked out here?

    By the way, this was from a piece that revealed that Australia (and apparently also New Zealand) are in a position to eliminate the virus completely. Really? Wow. “Elimination” means extinction from their land masses. “Eradication” is apparently the word used to mean elimination from the entire world.

    Elimination means a few more weeks of lockdown and permanent strict border controls. No foreign travel for pleasure. Non-self enforced, strict quarantine upon entry, for the few who would be allowed entry.

    This is really extraordinary, and this idea came from a consortium of eight universities and is being taking seriuosly by the government. Again, wow!

    Hilariously, the strongest argument against elimination seems to be that eradication won’t ever happen worldwide, so Australians need to practice behaviors they might need if they ever go abroad. Can’t you just give them a class, like a table manners class, before they leave?

    —-

    Pet peeve that shows my age:

    “it’s clearly important that cases are kept very low”

    Is the subjunctive now completely lost, even in cases like this?

    “it’s clearly important that cases be kept very low”

    At first I read it as a quaint Australianism, but would “are” also be used in educated writing and speech in the U.S.?

  73. @Jack D

    The are where the parasite people gather to extract–government, law, finance and other assorted scams and rackets–to extract wealth from productive people. It was ever thus.
     
    This is a very Pol Pot view. Maybe we should evacuate the cities and send all those parasites to the countryside to do REAL work?

    Cities are also where the Industrial Revolution happened, where the great universities were located that made breakthroughs in production of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. , where the factories were that made locomotives and tractors. The place where the theaters and museums were, and therefore the poets and artists that produce what we call civilization.

    And to build a tractor factory you need capital and therefore a financial industry (and a legal profession to support finance). Farmers need capital too, to buy their equipment and seed. Without the cities, the farmers in the countryside would still be plowing their fields with mules and living at a subsistence level, since there would be no market for their products in the cities and no transportation to get them there. There would be no wealth to extract, just lots and lots of poverty. At best you can create wealth for a handful of lords who can leverage the labor of lots and lots of peasants, serfs or slaves to live in a grand manner/manor.

    Jefferson also had the same idiotic view, but he lived at a time when the unprecedented wealth creation of the Industrial Revolution was just starting, so he can (almost) be forgiven.

    You are right. Without finance where would the big conglomerates get the money to buy up the family farms? Without the law where would we get the “intellectual property” on farm equipment that keeps the farmers from making repairs on their own tractors? Without government where would the men of low character and suspect morals gain employment and strive mightily to render the rest of us into serfs?

  74. @TomSchmidt
    You just earned yourself a reading assignment: Scale, by Geoffrey West. Don't comment any more until you've finished it.

    You just earned yourself a reading assignment… Don’t comment any more until you’ve finished it.

    I used to know a girl like you.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    Yeah, I gotta Control that.

    The book is fascinating, and makes a point about the relationship of living things to cities: of all human creations, only cities benefit from fractal design. So when a city doubles in size, only 85% more infrastructure is required to support it. (In animals scale is more fractal, so an animal that is twice as large only uses 75% more energy.) the flip side of this is that when a city size increases by 100%, city salaries increase by 115%. As do city pathologies like crime, disease, etc.

    The challenge in running a city is to obtain the good results while clamping down on the bad results. That's why liberal policing policy is SO deadly, as they set off a negative cascade of decreasing scale and increasing cost. At some point you get Detroit, where what was once a city of 1.8 million people and was the wealthiest large city in the USA per capita in 1960 declines to under 700,000 and sinks into utter poverty.
  75. @Alden
    I read the Jacobs book. Blacks didn’t seem to exist. Her neighborhood seemed to be Italian. I understand that Italians resisted black thuggery better than most Whites did. I think she wrote it in the 1950s when NY was still de facto segregated and the police were allowed to do their job.

    I read the book around 1980 and just laughed. Her safe White NYC neighborhood was so outdated compared to what happened when blacks invaded the village. Not to live, but to rob murder and rape.

    Nowadays if a store clerk glared at 3 black thugs following an old woman with a purse NAACP ADL $PLC and the whole Soros gang would be after him.

    I read the Jacobs book. Blacks didn’t seem to exist.

    Because she was working on a theory of how to make cities healthy and functional again.

  76. @Faraday's Bobcat

    The American Cultural Revolution happened in the 80s when we decided all our best and brightest should go to vocational school (STEM/Finance) in lieu of the traditional Liberal Arts, producing unsurprisingly the worst and stupidest leadership class in American history.
     
    / is doing a hell of a lot of work there.

    You’d be surprised.

    They both produce McKinsey consultants in lieu of statesmen, preachers, and reporters.

  77. @James O'Meara
    Indeed. Before everyone here straps on their lederhosen and gets all Neo-Nazi on "urban parasites," consider De Blasio and other local tyrants banning all protests -- "because virus." Freedom of opinion is another city virtue, along with neighbors who mind their own business.

    Freedom of opinion is another city virtue, along with neighbors who mind their own business.

    It’s probably an unpopular view here but having neighbours who mind their own business is a very very good thing.

    One of the pluses of city living is that you can choose your social circle. People who wax lyrical about the joys of traditional societies tend to forget that in such societies your social circle is chosen for you. If you’re a person who enjoys being rigidly conformist then a traditional society might be very attractive but if you don’t enjoy being rigidly conformist then life in a traditional society can be Hell on earth.

    One of the reasons so many people from traditionalist rural communities flocked to cities was that they found city life to be overall a hell of a lot more pleasant, even with its disadvantages.

    Some people really seem to have a problem with this – that some people actually like living in cities. They seem to have an even bigger problem with the idea that maybe people should be allowed to choose to live in cities.

    • Replies: @black sea

    Some people really seem to have a problem with this – that some people actually like living in cities.
     
    I agree with your overall point, but it is worth noting that some people have a problem with those who choose not to live in cities, and condescend to them in fairly nasty ways.

    Most people anywhere are pretty conformist, and would like to believe that wherever they've landed in life is a reflection of their awesomeness. They conform to the local values and assumptions, and then congratulate themselves after the fact. I've seen this in cities; I've seen this in small towns; I've seen this in countries where expats marinate themselves -- or at least try to -- in the local culture.
  78. JimB says:
    @kaganovitch
    David Rockefeller essentially bankrolled Jane Jacobs as AstroTurf to foment popular dislike for Robert Moses, the head of the Triboro Bridge Authority. The TBA was a public benefit corporation, a globally imitated innovation of Moses, which stitched NYC together with beautiful roads and bridges

    While I despise David Rockefeller as much as the next fellow, Robert Moses' "innovation" was, and was designed to be, an end run around democracy. The vast majority of Public Benefit Corps have become entirely unaccountable , thoroughly corrupt institutions.

    The vast majority of Public Benefit Corps have become entirely unaccountable , thoroughly corrupt institutions.

    Perhaps so, but Moses prioritized the needs of the majority more highly than NYC elected officials did because they needed special interest campaign donor bucks to stay in power. And in politics, whoever pays the piper etc.

    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    It's true that Moses the yekke (German Jew), mostly did right by citizens of NY, but I think History has amply demonstrated that enlightened despots almost always give way eventually to the ordinary variety of despot, hence Churchill's quip " Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others."
    , @TomSchmidt
    Moses prioritized the desires of the NYT editorial section. Definitely NOT the majority, who had to see their democratic representatives' advocacy for them continually thwarted. Like J Edgar, he kept detailed lists and information on a whole host of politicians. Be on his good side and be rewarded; oppose him and be crushed through the press (much like SJWs use Twitter for today, frankly.)

    One guy who opposed him was the Manhattan Borough President for only two years. He questioned Moses so Moses "punished" him by not building the Mid-Manhattan expressway across 30th street. That man is a hero in my book, but I cannot recall his name.

  79. @kihowi
    I feel sorry for her. She looks sexy and feminine and like the kind of girl I've been with, namely extremely conservative at heart, longing to be a little stay at home wifey, but she let herself be psyched out by the tv and the newspapers. Then when it's too late she realizes what she actually wanted all this time.

    It's heart-breaking.

    If you read her story it’s a tragic tale. She actually changed her mind quite early about “muh career” but it was still too late. Shouldn’t have aborted that child.

    I have less sympathy for the big city “muh career” crowd who suddenly discover at age 37 that they’ve stayed too long at the fair.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-3452636/The-clock-ticking-didn-t-realise-probably-stopped-One-woman-s-story-childlessness-mummy-mad-world.html

    “Jody had had an abortion when she was 20 during a previous relationship, which was ‘emotionally traumatic’.

    But as the child of an unmarried mother (her mother became pregnant with her aged 18), she had grown up with the idea that having a child on your own can ruin your life.

    Far better to put your energies into an education and a career.

    I launched into adulthood without forming a clear position on having children,’ she admits. “

    • Replies: @anonymous coward

    ...a previous relationship, which was ‘emotionally traumatic’.
     
    Yeah, these poor dindu nuffin thots are always hopping from one 'emotionally traumatic' relationship to the next. I wonder why!
  80. @Paleo Retiree
    Hygiene was a big concern for a lot of modernists, from the notorious bigshots down to people making everyday apartment buildings ... or at least it was a rationale they used a lot to justify the kind of designing and building they liked to do.

    If your eyes are open during your next visit to Manhattan you’ll notice a fair number of otherwise unremarkable glossy white brick apartment buildings, typically 20ish stories high and largely from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Glossy ... white ... That’s right, they were advertised as clean and healthy. Hospital chic. The more maniacal modernists wanted to re-do cities entirely, often in the name of “the machine age” but also in the name of hygiene. Old cities were dirty, yucky, full of dirt and disease. The Utopian modernist city would be full of air, light and space! In practice modernist spaces mostly wound up being bleak and abandoned. It turns out most people don’t enjoy living amidst the conceptual abstractions of bigshot architects and planners. Jane Jacobs had a funny line somewhere where she mused (about bigshot wreckers and planners), more or less: “I think they just don’t like cities.”

    Fwiw, after giving it a lot of thought (I almost majored in architecture back in the ‘70s, and I’ve followed the field ever since and have introduced myself to a lot of interesting people in it) I’ve worked my way around to a simple-minded conclusion about modernism: whatever the fancy rationales people have come up with to justify modernism, it’s just a taste. It’s always just been a taste. Some people really like blankness, geometricism, emptiness, plainness. Other people — editors especially (and editors are important tastemakers) — like the way modernism photographs and looks on the page. Modernist buildings, spaces and interiors often do look appealing and attractive in magazine layouts ... partly because modernist buildings and spaces are designed in ways similar to how magazines are designed.

    This can be a little hard for most of us to wrap our minds around, because most of us have an instinctual preference for a lot more in the way of texture, warmth, quirkiness, etc. It’s such a bizarre taste-set to most of us that we tend to think that the people who love modernism’s flatness and blankness must have interesting reasons for doing so. In fact, what I’ve found is that they don’t. They just love the look of it. Architecture-as-graphic-design is how I think of it. They’re often people who are very happy sitting at worktables full of little squares of colored paper and Xacto knives, and who think it’d be cool if the larger world looked like their workspace.

    Modernism is all about the way things look, while a more sensible view of architecture and urbanism is that it should be about the 4-dimensional experience of structures and spaces. What’s it like to visit? To live in? To work in? To pass by? The “look” in the graphic-design sense plays a role in all that, but many other factors (which modernism has notoriously been poor at) do too.

    By the postwar era, most pre-Modernist buildings were dingy from air pollution, especially coal smoke. I suspect that much of the taste for modernist steel and glass architecture came from a desire for cleanliness. (Of course, it turned out to be a challenge to keep steel and glass buildings washed, too.)

    De Gaulle’s Minister of Culture Andre Malraux started a program in 1961 to wash Paris’ great stone buildings like the Louvre and Notre Dame. It was a huge success and spread worldwide, which I suspect helped change architectural tastes as old buildings with complicated designs became pristine again.

    But then steel and glass modernism came back in fashion about 10 years ago again.

    • Replies: @Chrisnonymous
    Recently, they tried to replace Notre Dame's smoke pollution patina. The predictable result was calls for glass and steel to be incorporated into the building.
  81. @Percy Gryce
    I've come to love Pasadena: the Huntington, Caltech, the Simon Norton, some nice bookstores, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair is held there every other year.

    Pasadena has terrific amenities all over the place. It was settled from the 1880s onward by affluent people with good taste. Now that the smog is gone, it’s really nice.

  82. @YetAnotherAnon
    If you read her story it's a tragic tale. She actually changed her mind quite early about "muh career" but it was still too late. Shouldn't have aborted that child.

    I have less sympathy for the big city "muh career" crowd who suddenly discover at age 37 that they've stayed too long at the fair.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-3452636/The-clock-ticking-didn-t-realise-probably-stopped-One-woman-s-story-childlessness-mummy-mad-world.html

    "Jody had had an abortion when she was 20 during a previous relationship, which was ‘emotionally traumatic’.

    But as the child of an unmarried mother (her mother became pregnant with her aged 18), she had grown up with the idea that having a child on your own can ruin your life.

    Far better to put your energies into an education and a career.

    I launched into adulthood without forming a clear position on having children,’ she admits. "
     

    …a previous relationship, which was ‘emotionally traumatic’.

    Yeah, these poor dindu nuffin thots are always hopping from one ’emotionally traumatic’ relationship to the next. I wonder why!

  83. @dfordoom

    Freedom of opinion is another city virtue, along with neighbors who mind their own business.
     
    It's probably an unpopular view here but having neighbours who mind their own business is a very very good thing.

    One of the pluses of city living is that you can choose your social circle. People who wax lyrical about the joys of traditional societies tend to forget that in such societies your social circle is chosen for you. If you're a person who enjoys being rigidly conformist then a traditional society might be very attractive but if you don't enjoy being rigidly conformist then life in a traditional society can be Hell on earth.

    One of the reasons so many people from traditionalist rural communities flocked to cities was that they found city life to be overall a hell of a lot more pleasant, even with its disadvantages.

    Some people really seem to have a problem with this - that some people actually like living in cities. They seem to have an even bigger problem with the idea that maybe people should be allowed to choose to live in cities.

    Some people really seem to have a problem with this – that some people actually like living in cities.

    I agree with your overall point, but it is worth noting that some people have a problem with those who choose not to live in cities, and condescend to them in fairly nasty ways.

    Most people anywhere are pretty conformist, and would like to believe that wherever they’ve landed in life is a reflection of their awesomeness. They conform to the local values and assumptions, and then congratulate themselves after the fact. I’ve seen this in cities; I’ve seen this in small towns; I’ve seen this in countries where expats marinate themselves — or at least try to — in the local culture.

  84. Anonymous[339] • Disclaimer says:

    You notice how in McDonald’s restaurants the kitchen area is always fully visible to the patrons of the establishment?

    An old east European custom involves a guest in a house inspecting the host’s kitchen before doing anything else.
    No doubt this influenced Ray Kroc, who was of Czech descent, the marketing genius who transformed McDonald’s from a solitary hamburger stand into a multi billion dollar business.

  85. @Desiderius
    The American Cultural Revolution happened in the 80s when we decided all our best and brightest should go to vocational school (STEM/Finance) in lieu of the traditional Liberal Arts, producing unsurprisingly the worst and stupidest leadership class in American history.

    The American Cultural Revolution happened in the 80s when we decided all our best and brightest should go to vocational school (STEM/Finance) in lieu of the traditional Liberal Arts

    You seem to imply that students actually received a liberal arts degree. As the Romans would have written, “dubito.” (Okay, DVBITO.) The humanities already had been corrupted by leftists, and the rot has spread. The choice was not and is not between STEM/Finance and Liberal Arts. It is between useful degrees and leftist superstitions.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Useful, eh?

    If one wishes to be a tool, they'll certainly suffice.

    Your counsel is the most craven cowardice.
  86. @James O'Meara
    On a matter of taste:

    "The insides of most Protestant churches resemble courthouses or town halls, and the focal point of their services is a serious exhortation from a man in a black gown. No golden light, no bells, incense, and candles. No mystery upon an altar or behind an iconostasis. But people brought up in this atmosphere seem to love it. It feels warm and folksy, and leads, on the one hand, to hospitals, prison reform, and votes for all, and, on the other, to sheer genius for drabness, plain cooking ungraced with wine, and constipation of the bright emotions—all of which are considered virtues.

    If I try to set aside the innate prejudices which I feel against this religion, I begin to marvel at the depth of its commitment to earnestness and ugliness. For there is a point at which certain types of ugliness become fascinating, where one feels drawn to going over them again and again, much as the tongue keeps fondling a hole in a tooth. I begin to realize that those incredibly plain people, with their almost unique lack of color, may after all be one of the most astonishing reaches of the divine Maya-the Dancer of the world as far out from himself as he can get, dancing not-dancing." ----Alan Watts, Beyond Theology, Chapter Two, “Is It Serious?”

    Gonna have to read that book. Thanks.

    Well, I’ve reserved “Do you don’t, or does it do you?” Instead. Worth a read?

  87. @Mr McKenna

    You just earned yourself a reading assignment... Don’t comment any more until you’ve finished it.
     
    I used to know a girl like you.

    Yeah, I gotta Control that.

    The book is fascinating, and makes a point about the relationship of living things to cities: of all human creations, only cities benefit from fractal design. So when a city doubles in size, only 85% more infrastructure is required to support it. (In animals scale is more fractal, so an animal that is twice as large only uses 75% more energy.) the flip side of this is that when a city size increases by 100%, city salaries increase by 115%. As do city pathologies like crime, disease, etc.

    The challenge in running a city is to obtain the good results while clamping down on the bad results. That’s why liberal policing policy is SO deadly, as they set off a negative cascade of decreasing scale and increasing cost. At some point you get Detroit, where what was once a city of 1.8 million people and was the wealthiest large city in the USA per capita in 1960 declines to under 700,000 and sinks into utter poverty.

    • Replies: @The Germ Theory of Disease
    "...they set off a negative cascade of decreasing scale and increasing cost."

    Or maybe just, ya know, negroes.
  88. @Percy Gryce
    I've come to love Pasadena: the Huntington, Caltech, the Simon Norton, some nice bookstores, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair is held there every other year.

    Pre-war California and Florida are magnificent places. Post-mass-motoring? Not so much.

  89. @JimB

    Jane Jacobs’s 1962 book, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”
     
    Jane Jacobs is the first and most famous Karen in history. Her blowhard activism against Robert Moses was the start of a now familiar driving force in progressive politics that the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, especially if the few can get a wealthy billionaire to fund their megaphone. David Rockefeller essentially bankrolled Jane Jacobs as AstroTurf to foment popular dislike for Robert Moses, the head of the Triborough Bridge Authority. The TBA was a public benefit corporation, a globally imitated innovation of Moses, which stitched NYC together with beautiful roads and bridges. Moses was a champion of middle class amenities, having built numerous parkways connecting the boroughs to the beaches on Long Island. Ironically, the middle class he served so faithfully were driven out of the city by financialism, represented by Moses arch enemies the Rockefeller brothers.

    the start of a now familiar driving force in progressive politics that the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many, especially if the few can get a wealthy billionaire to fund their megaphone.

    Oh, brother. First off: the Jane Jacobs position is that property rights ought to be first most. She consistently decries the destruction of wealth when urban renewers would value a business only at the cost of the land and pay nothing for goodwill. She is almost certainly best described as “bourgeois,” advocating for those gauche middle-class values that built urban society.

    [MORE]

    The Progressive was definitely Robert Moses, and he exemplified that spirit expressed by Woodrow Wilson in this article:

    When Woodrow Wilson in 1914 was asked “can’t you let anything alone?” he answered with, “I let everything alone that you can show me is not itself moving in the wrong direction, but I am not going to let those things alone that I see are going down-hill.” Wilson spoke for the thousands of well-off Americans who patronized the spas at places like Chautauqua and Lake Mohonk. By such upper-middle-class waters, progressives who imagined themselves the world’s examples and the world’s reformers dreamt big dreams of establishing order, justice, and peace at home and abroad. Neither were they shy about their desire for power. Wilson was the first American statesman to argue that the Founders had done badly by depriving the U.S. government of the power to reshape American society. Nor was Wilson the last to invade a foreign country (Mexico) to “teach [them] to elect good men.”

    The Progressive here was Robert Moses. He brooked no discussion or compromise, and the only reason that Southern Manhattan wasn’t blighted by his bridge instead of the battery tunnel that did not obscure the sightlines of that magnificent wall of towers rising up from the waterline is that the Navy claimed that the bridge would interfere with naval operations. If you ever look for good in FDR, this one act was it.

    Moses was frequently quoted saying “you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” He was personally not interested in money, unlike Tammany-era politicians who engaged in honest graft, but he didn’t need money because his power and control of the TBTA gave him all the amenities he desired, including extravagant catered dinners and a personal chauffeur. And he was backed by people who wanted to use the power of government and eminent domain to steal land from less-connected groups and provide it to political backers to make profits on. The names in NYC aren’t as notable, but the case of Rappoport in Boston’s West End is an example, tearing down a low-cost mixed white ethnic neighborhood to put up the sterile modern construction. A description of the “slum” that was replaced is in Gans’ The Urban Villagers. Those people loved their neighborhood and when it was being torn down the wreckers observed how well-cared-for the interior spaces were. Like the South and North Ends, the West End might have survived to today as an exemplary urban neighborhood. Or like East Harlem that Moses destroyed.

    Moses’ wanton destructionof neighborhoods is detailed The Power Booker for two areas: East Tremont in the Bronx, and Sunset Park, in Brooklyn. The eggs he broke there set off a cycle of neighborhood destruction, in the first case to poor Jews, in the second case to NY’s Scandinavian neighborhood, as the people with options fled from the noise and disorder his elevated highways created, opening up room for poorer and less-social replacements, driving crime and social chaos sky high. This cost isn’t accounted for anywhere, but the destruction of Sunset Park has only recently been undone with gentrification: 60 years of reduced city tax collections and increased social costs from that area, one of many he destroyed, is why the city hit a financial crisis in the 70s. It started to recover in the 80s as it no longer had to suffer the depredations of Progressive Egg Breaking.

    All that having been said, you cannot come away from a read of the Power Broker without admiration for the man’s accomplishments and will to power. The description of all the horse-trading that Moses had to do to build the Henry Hudson Parkway and bridge reveals an operational and organizational genius. Robert Caro decries the fact that the parkway was built at the river’s edge instead of inland, denying walkers and bikers the magnificent view of the river. That has recently been remedied with a path, and frankly Moses’ vision of the drive and the view for drivers has held up.

  90. @Christopher Chantrill
    The Official Narrative on suburbs is that the oil companies killed the interurban light rail after World War II. And the auto companies backed freeways.

    But my narrative is that middle-class women, after they have snagged their man, instinctively choose to raise a family in leafy, spread-out suburbs.

    I wonder why? It couldn't be that, down the ages, women who lived at a social distance had more surviving children. It couldn't be that, because it would be racist.

    But my narrative is that middle-class women, after they have snagged their man, instinctively choose to raise a family in leafy, spread-out suburbs.

    I wonder why? It couldn’t be that, down the ages, women who lived at a social distance had more surviving children. It couldn’t be that, because it would be racist.

    It was actually a childless woman, Catherine Beecher of THAT family, projecting, who came up with the idea that women were better off in suburbia and that it would be better for children. Because of all her lived experience, I’m sure. I quote from Kenneth Jackson’s Crabgrass Frontier:

    Catharine was not a feminist, however. She opposed the women’s rights movement as soon as it emerged as a national organization, insisting that woman’s relation to man should be one of dependence and subservience.

    “Heaven has appointed to one sex the superior and to the other the subordinate station,” Beecher intoned. Unlike Angelina Grimke and other militants who sought immediate female self-realization, Beecher believed that women could best achieve their goals by being so unassuming and gentle that men would yield to them. …

    Beecher’s national influence began with her Treatise on Domestic Economy, For the Use of Young Ladies at Home and at School, which first appeared in 1841. An immediate popular success, it was frequently adopted as a textbook and was reprinted dozens of times over the next thirty years. Because the “cult of true womanhood” linked the home with piety and purity, Beecher sought to connect architectural and landscape design with her domestic ideal. … Although her designs were technically conventional – the houses were boxes with a central core of fireplaces – the book provided a vision of a healthy, happy, well-fed, and pious family living harmoniously in a well-built, well-furnished, well-kept house.

    Beecher did not specifically refer to suburbia, but she assumed that family life could best thrive in a semirural setting. She believed that “implanted in the heart of every true man, is the desire for a home of his own.” Devoting five chapters of the Treatise to yards and gardens, she argued in favor of the physical and social separation of the population into the female-dominated sphere of home life, preferably suburban, and the male-dominated sphere of the business world, usually urban…

    Just like leaders who lack their own offspring have less invested in the future than those who do (Cough, France, Netherlands, Germany), we built suburbia to fit the vision of childless women like Catherine Beecher to fulfill their longings to care for children they did not have, ignoring the wishes of actual mothers. In theory it works in practice; in practice, it works only in theory.

  91. @JimB

    The vast majority of Public Benefit Corps have become entirely unaccountable , thoroughly corrupt institutions.
     
    Perhaps so, but Moses prioritized the needs of the majority more highly than NYC elected officials did because they needed special interest campaign donor bucks to stay in power. And in politics, whoever pays the piper etc.

    It’s true that Moses the yekke (German Jew), mostly did right by citizens of NY, but I think History has amply demonstrated that enlightened despots almost always give way eventually to the ordinary variety of despot, hence Churchill’s quip ” Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

  92. @Alden
    The black migration north had much to do with the move to the suburbs and far from bus lines. Suburbs still fight public transit stops because public transit brings criminals. RBB, ruined by blacks.

    Do you ever read that Santa Monica newspaper Steve? It has a weekly crime report. Most of the burglaries mugging assaults and rapes occur within 6 north south blocks of Pico, Santa Monica Blvd and Wiltshire. The blocks between Pico and Santa Monica Blvd are usually the hardest hit.

    Public transit is necessary but there’s always crime around bus lines. Victims get off the bus and are robbed attacked raped and killed on the walk home. That kind of thing is why Los Angeles and most cities have building codes that new apartments have locked secured underground parking. Too many people were attacked after parking in a carport or on the street. But bus riders are still attacked when they get off the bus and start walking.

    There was also a massive massive propaganda blast about how great suburbs were in contrast to the city. The only thing I have against suburbs is that most of the houses don’t have real living rooms according to what seems to have been the 1946 master plan. A low ceiling badly proportioned awkward large hallway from the front door to the bedrooms with room for a couch and TV. Residential floor plans just get worse and worse. Best thing about cities is just about any house built before 1940.

    Most of the suburbs were built in the farm land around small dry towns. No bars, no place for the men to stop on the way home. No liquor no dinner restaurants, no night life. And TV kept people at home.

    “Public transit is necessary but there’s always crime around bus lines. Victims get off the bus and are robbed attacked raped and killed on the walk home.”

    If only there was “Constitutional Carry” in all the Democrat-ruled gun control dystopias.

  93. @PiltdownMan
    My apologies. I linked to the wrong image, above and didn't notice until the edit window closed. That's Brasilia above, which was designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

    This is Chandigarh, the city in India, designed by Le Corbusier.

    http://images.faena.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2017/06/chandigarh-4.jpg

    This is Chandigarh, the city in India, designed by Le Corbusier.

    Does the giant commode on the roof represent a national aspiration?

  94. @Mr. Anon
    OT: Why is the Pentagon classifying coronavirus infection as a permanent disqualification for military service?

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/covid-19-suvivors-be-permanently-disqualified-military-default

    In some instances, Covid may cause brain damage:

    https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200402/in-some-cases-covid-19-may-harm-the-brain#1

    There was an episode of a doctor who caught Covid, recovered but later committed suicide. So, the military is playing safe.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon

    In some instances, Covid may cause brain damage:
     
    Wow, is there nothing COVID-19 can't do? Pretty soon, we won't need any other diseases.
  95. @Alden
    I read the Jacobs book. Blacks didn’t seem to exist. Her neighborhood seemed to be Italian. I understand that Italians resisted black thuggery better than most Whites did. I think she wrote it in the 1950s when NY was still de facto segregated and the police were allowed to do their job.

    I read the book around 1980 and just laughed. Her safe White NYC neighborhood was so outdated compared to what happened when blacks invaded the village. Not to live, but to rob murder and rape.

    Nowadays if a store clerk glared at 3 black thugs following an old woman with a purse NAACP ADL $PLC and the whole Soros gang would be after him.

    I think blacks didn’t exist for the same reason that Charles Murray wrote “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.” Id bet even then that there was no upside to comparing black and white social dysfunction, so by focusing largely on whites Jacobs avoided both criticizing blacks and being criticized for not showing black dysfunction when she did talk about them.

    There were Puerto Ricans in the book, though, and I think her visit to Philadelphia was to a black neighborhood. Of the Puerto Ricans she is sunnily optimistic that they “will make fine citizens one day,” after they have unslummed and risen through the urban economy. Of course, the urban economy that paid high wages to people without finance degrees was soon to disappear, so smart but poor Puerto Ricans (and blacks) were unable to work their way up and out of poverty the way generations of whites had.

    Jacobs also wrote about East Harlem, once a solidly Italian neighborhood before being wrecked by urban “renewers” like Robert Moses. Blacks and Puerto Ricans could not compete for expensive housing, so they gravitated to these low-cost areas that whites had fled from. In a counter-factual NYC that didn’t destroy its high-value-added manufacturing economy and go all-in on finance, they might have wound up like the horribly poor Irish of the mid-19th century did.

    Of course, West Indian blacks have a higher income than white Americans in the second generation (https://research.upjohn.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1032&context=up_workingpapers) so in theory the same was achievable by all the groups in NYC.

  96. @JimB

    The vast majority of Public Benefit Corps have become entirely unaccountable , thoroughly corrupt institutions.
     
    Perhaps so, but Moses prioritized the needs of the majority more highly than NYC elected officials did because they needed special interest campaign donor bucks to stay in power. And in politics, whoever pays the piper etc.

    Moses prioritized the desires of the NYT editorial section. Definitely NOT the majority, who had to see their democratic representatives’ advocacy for them continually thwarted. Like J Edgar, he kept detailed lists and information on a whole host of politicians. Be on his good side and be rewarded; oppose him and be crushed through the press (much like SJWs use Twitter for today, frankly.)

    One guy who opposed him was the Manhattan Borough President for only two years. He questioned Moses so Moses “punished” him by not building the Mid-Manhattan expressway across 30th street. That man is a hero in my book, but I cannot recall his name.

    • Replies: @JimB
    Moses got shit done by acting ruthlessly against pettifoggery and rent-seeking. He realized nothing big would ever get done through squabbling city councils and state representatives so he went straight to the people to gain their approval by building great things the public was happy to use. The source of his power were the tolls and fees those projects generated, not endless taxes. Politicians like your Manhattan Borough President were grifters who believed that they should be able to “wet their beak” in all money passing through the TBA. If only there were a few more men like Robert Moses today, perhaps our highways wouldn’t be crumbling and our bridges collapsing. Also, he would use American instead of crap Chinese steel.
  97. @TomSchmidt
    Yeah, I gotta Control that.

    The book is fascinating, and makes a point about the relationship of living things to cities: of all human creations, only cities benefit from fractal design. So when a city doubles in size, only 85% more infrastructure is required to support it. (In animals scale is more fractal, so an animal that is twice as large only uses 75% more energy.) the flip side of this is that when a city size increases by 100%, city salaries increase by 115%. As do city pathologies like crime, disease, etc.

    The challenge in running a city is to obtain the good results while clamping down on the bad results. That's why liberal policing policy is SO deadly, as they set off a negative cascade of decreasing scale and increasing cost. At some point you get Detroit, where what was once a city of 1.8 million people and was the wealthiest large city in the USA per capita in 1960 declines to under 700,000 and sinks into utter poverty.

    “…they set off a negative cascade of decreasing scale and increasing cost.”

    Or maybe just, ya know, negroes.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    Not enough for an explanation.

    Berry Gordy and Motown in the late 60s were putting on performances by blacks who had grown up in the black slum, named Black Bottom for its rich soil when first turned into housing. To quote from city lab:


    The Housing Act of 1949 provided cities with funding to clear neighborhoods deemed to be blighted, and Detroit was one of the first cities to take advantage of what would by 1985 amount to $13.5 billion for “slum” clearance and redevelopment projects. Beginning soon after the photos were taken, the city started to tear down Black Bottom, a 20-year process that would scatter its residents, most of them working class renters, but many with deep, multi-generational ties to the area. Today, the section of Detroit depicted in Kutil’s installation lies beneath the Chrysler Freeway (Interstate 375*) and Lafayette Park, a collection of superblock high-rise and low-rise apartments, many designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. (Most of the initial residents were white.)
     
    The blacks who came out of that slum made Motown. After they were shoved around like chess pieces by the city to build a literally Modernist fantasy, they lost community cohesion and muscled in on white ethnic neighborhoods. In counter factual history, what do you think happens if the city leaves the neighborhood alone? My guess is they do not disperse out into the rest of the city, setting off tension that culminated in race riots in 1967 and white flight. Black music came out of East and West coast, and the most significant rapper that Detroit produced was a white guy.
  98. A mix is needed. You don’t want too much density (bad for physical health), but you don’t want to spread everything out either (bad for psychical health)

  99. JimB says:
    @TomSchmidt
    Moses prioritized the desires of the NYT editorial section. Definitely NOT the majority, who had to see their democratic representatives' advocacy for them continually thwarted. Like J Edgar, he kept detailed lists and information on a whole host of politicians. Be on his good side and be rewarded; oppose him and be crushed through the press (much like SJWs use Twitter for today, frankly.)

    One guy who opposed him was the Manhattan Borough President for only two years. He questioned Moses so Moses "punished" him by not building the Mid-Manhattan expressway across 30th street. That man is a hero in my book, but I cannot recall his name.

    Moses got shit done by acting ruthlessly against pettifoggery and rent-seeking. He realized nothing big would ever get done through squabbling city councils and state representatives so he went straight to the people to gain their approval by building great things the public was happy to use. The source of his power were the tolls and fees those projects generated, not endless taxes. Politicians like your Manhattan Borough President were grifters who believed that they should be able to “wet their beak” in all money passing through the TBA. If only there were a few more men like Robert Moses today, perhaps our highways wouldn’t be crumbling and our bridges collapsing. Also, he would use American instead of crap Chinese steel.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    He went straight to the people exactly once: when he ran for governor in 1934 on the Republican ticket, and led a defeat at the polls so thumping that the party also lost control of the legislature. So he learned to suck up to powerful people to get them to appoint him to positions where he could do things while they took the heat.

    Now, he did actually do things, and a lot of them were good. What he accomplished as parks commissioner over the winter of 33-34 was simply astonishing, and an example of organization and drive that a politician would never have accomplished. Though the Cross Bronx expressway destroyed the heart of the Bronx, the technical achievement of ramming it through (and of removing 10,000 people from their homes to do it) and the engineering you can see along the way (and some frankly gorgeous arched roadways over and under it) still astound me when I drive it; and I have a lot of time to observe these things because his decisions in building it have had it crawl for over 50 years, but then he never wanted to pay attention to traffic studies or follow the Swiss idea of organization before electronics before concrete. He was very quick to concrete, since he knew that once he had it down he could get further funding to continue.

    But in truth he supported the rent-seekers. The people who wet their beak in his wake were numerous; id refer you to The Power Broker. Many of them were elected officials who went along with his plans for monetary reasons. If you look at a map of the cross Bronx, it takes a northward jog, missing Crotona Park, then sweeps south again. Building the road along the northern edge of Crotona park would have saved East Tremont from destruction, but Moses had promised a Bronx Elected Official who owned a bus depot that would have been eminent domained away from him. Rather than undercut the Bronx politician's minor economic interest (he needed to keep beaks wet), he spent millions more (and cost millions more in taxes) by destroying a poor to middle class Jewish neighborhood (he was rather dismissive towards Russian and Polish Jews.)

    Those "wet your beak" politicians actually did quite a bit to make the city a success. Read Plunkitt about "honest graft." We offer the opinion here of Mencius Moldbug:


    Instead, in the Union period or Third Republic, what was by 20th-century standards a remarkably limited government, but by 18th-century standards an almost omnipotent one, fell into the hands of ethnic machines, corrupt politicians, quasicriminal financiers, sinister wire-pullers, unscrupulous journalists, vested interests, and the like. History, which of course is always on the side of the winners, has written this down as the Gilded Age.

    For all its faults, the Gilded Age system created perhaps the most responsible and effective government in US history. Architecture is always a good clue to the nature of power, and Gilded Age buildings, where they still stand, are invariably decorative. The country’s prosperity and productivity was, of course, unmatched. Its laws were strict and strictly enforced—nothing like today’s festering ulcers of crime were imaginable.
     

    (note the contrast with the buildings erected after the Progressive Era and Corbusier had gotten their hands in the public purse.)

    continuing:


    "But the Gilded Age political system was, again, criminal. In other words, it was democratic. The old American system is probably best compared to the government of China today. While they evolved from very different origins, they have converged in that universal medium, corruption. ...

    And the bosses and plutocrats were not, by and large, cultured men. Sometimes I feel this is the main objection of their enemies. The American intellectual aristocracy simply could not tolerate a world in which their country was governed by these corrupt, boorish thugs. So, as aristocrats will, they plotted their revenge.
    ...

    Politically, the deepest roots of the present regime are found in the Liberal Republicans and the Mugwumps of the early Union period. The cause they are most associated with is civil service reform, which removed the President’s power to staff the civil service and replaced it with competitive examinations—which tended to select, of course, scions of said aristocracy.
     

    That's the sea that spewed Moses forth on the world. If you still want to admire him or praise his methods, you're welcome to him. As for me, I wish for you this blessing: May your eggs never been broken to make a Progressive's omelet.
  100. @JimB
    Moses got shit done by acting ruthlessly against pettifoggery and rent-seeking. He realized nothing big would ever get done through squabbling city councils and state representatives so he went straight to the people to gain their approval by building great things the public was happy to use. The source of his power were the tolls and fees those projects generated, not endless taxes. Politicians like your Manhattan Borough President were grifters who believed that they should be able to “wet their beak” in all money passing through the TBA. If only there were a few more men like Robert Moses today, perhaps our highways wouldn’t be crumbling and our bridges collapsing. Also, he would use American instead of crap Chinese steel.

    He went straight to the people exactly once: when he ran for governor in 1934 on the Republican ticket, and led a defeat at the polls so thumping that the party also lost control of the legislature. So he learned to suck up to powerful people to get them to appoint him to positions where he could do things while they took the heat.

    Now, he did actually do things, and a lot of them were good. What he accomplished as parks commissioner over the winter of 33-34 was simply astonishing, and an example of organization and drive that a politician would never have accomplished. Though the Cross Bronx expressway destroyed the heart of the Bronx, the technical achievement of ramming it through (and of removing 10,000 people from their homes to do it) and the engineering you can see along the way (and some frankly gorgeous arched roadways over and under it) still astound me when I drive it; and I have a lot of time to observe these things because his decisions in building it have had it crawl for over 50 years, but then he never wanted to pay attention to traffic studies or follow the Swiss idea of organization before electronics before concrete. He was very quick to concrete, since he knew that once he had it down he could get further funding to continue.

    But in truth he supported the rent-seekers. The people who wet their beak in his wake were numerous; id refer you to The Power Broker. Many of them were elected officials who went along with his plans for monetary reasons. If you look at a map of the cross Bronx, it takes a northward jog, missing Crotona Park, then sweeps south again. Building the road along the northern edge of Crotona park would have saved East Tremont from destruction, but Moses had promised a Bronx Elected Official who owned a bus depot that would have been eminent domained away from him. Rather than undercut the Bronx politician’s minor economic interest (he needed to keep beaks wet), he spent millions more (and cost millions more in taxes) by destroying a poor to middle class Jewish neighborhood (he was rather dismissive towards Russian and Polish Jews.)

    Those “wet your beak” politicians actually did quite a bit to make the city a success. Read Plunkitt about “honest graft.” We offer the opinion here of Mencius Moldbug:

    Instead, in the Union period or Third Republic, what was by 20th-century standards a remarkably limited government, but by 18th-century standards an almost omnipotent one, fell into the hands of ethnic machines, corrupt politicians, quasicriminal financiers, sinister wire-pullers, unscrupulous journalists, vested interests, and the like. History, which of course is always on the side of the winners, has written this down as the Gilded Age.

    For all its faults, the Gilded Age system created perhaps the most responsible and effective government in US history. Architecture is always a good clue to the nature of power, and Gilded Age buildings, where they still stand, are invariably decorative. The country’s prosperity and productivity was, of course, unmatched. Its laws were strict and strictly enforced—nothing like today’s festering ulcers of crime were imaginable.

    (note the contrast with the buildings erected after the Progressive Era and Corbusier had gotten their hands in the public purse.)

    continuing:

    “But the Gilded Age political system was, again, criminal. In other words, it was democratic. The old American system is probably best compared to the government of China today. While they evolved from very different origins, they have converged in that universal medium, corruption. …

    And the bosses and plutocrats were not, by and large, cultured men. Sometimes I feel this is the main objection of their enemies. The American intellectual aristocracy simply could not tolerate a world in which their country was governed by these corrupt, boorish thugs. So, as aristocrats will, they plotted their revenge.

    Politically, the deepest roots of the present regime are found in the Liberal Republicans and the Mugwumps of the early Union period. The cause they are most associated with is civil service reform, which removed the President’s power to staff the civil service and replaced it with competitive examinations—which tended to select, of course, scions of said aristocracy.

    That’s the sea that spewed Moses forth on the world. If you still want to admire him or praise his methods, you’re welcome to him. As for me, I wish for you this blessing: May your eggs never been broken to make a Progressive’s omelet.

    • Replies: @JimB

    But in truth he supported the rent-seekers. The people who wet their beak in his wake were numerous; id refer you to The Power Broker.
     
    The only way to fairly evaluate Robert Moses legacy is to ignore Robert Caro’s book. I think his view of Moses is clouded by a mixture of blind hatred and jealousy. It’s time for a new generation of scholars to simply step over Caro’s vomit pile and reexamine the historical record.
  101. @The Germ Theory of Disease
    "...they set off a negative cascade of decreasing scale and increasing cost."

    Or maybe just, ya know, negroes.

    Not enough for an explanation.

    Berry Gordy and Motown in the late 60s were putting on performances by blacks who had grown up in the black slum, named Black Bottom for its rich soil when first turned into housing. To quote from city lab:

    The Housing Act of 1949 provided cities with funding to clear neighborhoods deemed to be blighted, and Detroit was one of the first cities to take advantage of what would by 1985 amount to $13.5 billion for “slum” clearance and redevelopment projects. Beginning soon after the photos were taken, the city started to tear down Black Bottom, a 20-year process that would scatter its residents, most of them working class renters, but many with deep, multi-generational ties to the area. Today, the section of Detroit depicted in Kutil’s installation lies beneath the Chrysler Freeway (Interstate 375*) and Lafayette Park, a collection of superblock high-rise and low-rise apartments, many designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. (Most of the initial residents were white.)

    The blacks who came out of that slum made Motown. After they were shoved around like chess pieces by the city to build a literally Modernist fantasy, they lost community cohesion and muscled in on white ethnic neighborhoods. In counter factual history, what do you think happens if the city leaves the neighborhood alone? My guess is they do not disperse out into the rest of the city, setting off tension that culminated in race riots in 1967 and white flight. Black music came out of East and West coast, and the most significant rapper that Detroit produced was a white guy.

  102. @epebble
    In some instances, Covid may cause brain damage:

    https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200402/in-some-cases-covid-19-may-harm-the-brain#1

    There was an episode of a doctor who caught Covid, recovered but later committed suicide. So, the military is playing safe.

    In some instances, Covid may cause brain damage:

    Wow, is there nothing COVID-19 can’t do? Pretty soon, we won’t need any other diseases.

  103. @Charles Erwin Wilson Three

    The American Cultural Revolution happened in the 80s when we decided all our best and brightest should go to vocational school (STEM/Finance) in lieu of the traditional Liberal Arts
     
    You seem to imply that students actually received a liberal arts degree. As the Romans would have written, "dubito." (Okay, DVBITO.) The humanities already had been corrupted by leftists, and the rot has spread. The choice was not and is not between STEM/Finance and Liberal Arts. It is between useful degrees and leftist superstitions.

    Useful, eh?

    If one wishes to be a tool, they’ll certainly suffice.

    Your counsel is the most craven cowardice.

  104. @joeyjoejoe
    These perspectives seem obvious and even, an illustration of what happened with the suburbanization of America. I don't spend alot of time watching older movies/tv shows, but I do spend some time doing so.

    Two examples: a decade ago I rewatched Marty (Ernest Borgnine is a lonely single guy who finally meets somebody), and a few years ago I rewatched a Twilight Zone episode where a girl is dying and an old peddler has to con death into forgetting to visit her before midnight.

    In both cases, I noticed how alive the streets were-people-pedestrians-were actually on them. Life was lived on them. Kids played in them, adults walked in them, couples courted in them, shopping was just a walk down to the corner. What I grew up with (crowds of people in malls) occurred just outside the front door for my grandparents.

    I don't spend any time in New York City, so for all I know that still happens there. But midwest cities are, by and large, wastelands. Commercial districts with a few bars for nightlife, but Life, by and large, is lived in the suburbs.

    Presumably, cars had something to do with this.

    joe

    JJJ,

    Hmm.

    This article from Crain’s Detroit Business, titled “Downtown Detroit’s energy is catching on; maybe it will spread to its neighborhoods, too” seems to make your point in an unintended way: the lead (tele!)photo shows exactly three pedestrians.

    https://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20150813/BLOG106/150819935/downtown-detroits-energy-is-catching-on-maybe-it-will-spread-to-its

    In my experience, once anyone gets away from the Fox Theater/Comerica Park/Ford Field junction, there are several blocks of few pedestrians until one gets to the riverfront area, or along Jefferson Avenue downtown.

    (But as you head east on Jefferson, it doesn’t take long reach long stretches where there isn’t much happening, at least, of which you’d want to be a part.)

    https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3720314,-82.9465981,3a,60y,1.13h,90.78t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sksNgxCkonv2tuHZhdcQkmg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192

    (J.Ross or Reg Caesar, feel free to chime in.)

  105. JimB says:
    @TomSchmidt
    He went straight to the people exactly once: when he ran for governor in 1934 on the Republican ticket, and led a defeat at the polls so thumping that the party also lost control of the legislature. So he learned to suck up to powerful people to get them to appoint him to positions where he could do things while they took the heat.

    Now, he did actually do things, and a lot of them were good. What he accomplished as parks commissioner over the winter of 33-34 was simply astonishing, and an example of organization and drive that a politician would never have accomplished. Though the Cross Bronx expressway destroyed the heart of the Bronx, the technical achievement of ramming it through (and of removing 10,000 people from their homes to do it) and the engineering you can see along the way (and some frankly gorgeous arched roadways over and under it) still astound me when I drive it; and I have a lot of time to observe these things because his decisions in building it have had it crawl for over 50 years, but then he never wanted to pay attention to traffic studies or follow the Swiss idea of organization before electronics before concrete. He was very quick to concrete, since he knew that once he had it down he could get further funding to continue.

    But in truth he supported the rent-seekers. The people who wet their beak in his wake were numerous; id refer you to The Power Broker. Many of them were elected officials who went along with his plans for monetary reasons. If you look at a map of the cross Bronx, it takes a northward jog, missing Crotona Park, then sweeps south again. Building the road along the northern edge of Crotona park would have saved East Tremont from destruction, but Moses had promised a Bronx Elected Official who owned a bus depot that would have been eminent domained away from him. Rather than undercut the Bronx politician's minor economic interest (he needed to keep beaks wet), he spent millions more (and cost millions more in taxes) by destroying a poor to middle class Jewish neighborhood (he was rather dismissive towards Russian and Polish Jews.)

    Those "wet your beak" politicians actually did quite a bit to make the city a success. Read Plunkitt about "honest graft." We offer the opinion here of Mencius Moldbug:


    Instead, in the Union period or Third Republic, what was by 20th-century standards a remarkably limited government, but by 18th-century standards an almost omnipotent one, fell into the hands of ethnic machines, corrupt politicians, quasicriminal financiers, sinister wire-pullers, unscrupulous journalists, vested interests, and the like. History, which of course is always on the side of the winners, has written this down as the Gilded Age.

    For all its faults, the Gilded Age system created perhaps the most responsible and effective government in US history. Architecture is always a good clue to the nature of power, and Gilded Age buildings, where they still stand, are invariably decorative. The country’s prosperity and productivity was, of course, unmatched. Its laws were strict and strictly enforced—nothing like today’s festering ulcers of crime were imaginable.
     

    (note the contrast with the buildings erected after the Progressive Era and Corbusier had gotten their hands in the public purse.)

    continuing:


    "But the Gilded Age political system was, again, criminal. In other words, it was democratic. The old American system is probably best compared to the government of China today. While they evolved from very different origins, they have converged in that universal medium, corruption. ...

    And the bosses and plutocrats were not, by and large, cultured men. Sometimes I feel this is the main objection of their enemies. The American intellectual aristocracy simply could not tolerate a world in which their country was governed by these corrupt, boorish thugs. So, as aristocrats will, they plotted their revenge.
    ...

    Politically, the deepest roots of the present regime are found in the Liberal Republicans and the Mugwumps of the early Union period. The cause they are most associated with is civil service reform, which removed the President’s power to staff the civil service and replaced it with competitive examinations—which tended to select, of course, scions of said aristocracy.
     

    That's the sea that spewed Moses forth on the world. If you still want to admire him or praise his methods, you're welcome to him. As for me, I wish for you this blessing: May your eggs never been broken to make a Progressive's omelet.

    But in truth he supported the rent-seekers. The people who wet their beak in his wake were numerous; id refer you to The Power Broker.

    The only way to fairly evaluate Robert Moses legacy is to ignore Robert Caro’s book. I think his view of Moses is clouded by a mixture of blind hatred and jealousy. It’s time for a new generation of scholars to simply step over Caro’s vomit pile and reexamine the historical record.

  106. When Caro’s bio of LBJ came out, people noticed the same sort of pattern: an animus against his subject. But then that probably motivated his digging of dirt. Caro does seem full of praise for all the touches that Moses made on Jones Beach, despite the cost far exceeding what a pedestrian government official would have built: he’s critical that Moses didn’t seem to find that same creativity when building playgrounds in black neighborhoods, for example. (And thank goodness for spending a little more to make a work of beauty of Jones Beach.)

    Do you claim that Caro falsified, or just that a newer biographer might put a better spin on Moses? All of the people drafting bills in Albany in the 20s who could have talked about Moses’ prowess (the best bill drafter in Albany, Caro called him) are now dead, so it will be hard to gain the same view of the man except from documents and infrastructure he built. Maybe there are things Caro left out? What might those be?

    New York City alone constituted 10% of national GDP in WW1 and WW2. It was the wealthiest state per capita through 1960. After all the spending on destroying neighborhood value and the various other government boondoggles, and all the destruction of rail and neglect of maritime transport, the city and state soon had to raise taxes and set off a spiral of rising costs that destroyed the high-value manufacturing culture in the city (Moses had a large hand in destroying manufacturers in SoHO and Tribeca when he condemned buildings for LoMex or just htreatened to build it, setting off a cycle of disinvestment; those empty spaces were later taken over by artists, but they had been high-value-added places where working class people could earn decent money.). A few years back there was a statistic quoted in the Times: NYC then had more jobs in colleges than in manufacturing. Much of that can be laid at the feet of master road builder Robert Moses. Now NYC is dependent on virtual industries for income: Wall Street, Advertising, Media, with nothing to supply a real-world counterbalance; it’s one thing that has driven the city so far left. That, too, is “Republican” Robert Moses’ legacy, though he had plenty of help.

    You might like the book Scale, by Geoffrey West. It explains the science of the city that Jacobs intuited and has now been documented, and which Moses could not have cared a whit for. I’d be interested to read your non-Caro bio.

    • Replies: @JimB
    An entirely fresh perspective should be taken on Moses based on the primary historical record and avoiding all of Caro’s writing — that way, the analysis is directly about Moses, with Caro’s slant completely rotated out. Moses was one of the most historically consequential guys of the 20th century. It is worth trying to get at the truth of his accomplishments. Why take the assessment of a second tier 60s gonzo journalist as the final word?

    Of course, any and all recorded interviews of Robert Moses or those who had first hand access to him should be considered. However, the agenda of the interviewer and interviewee should be properly deciphered. Remember, everybody lies.

  107. @Steve Sailer
    By the postwar era, most pre-Modernist buildings were dingy from air pollution, especially coal smoke. I suspect that much of the taste for modernist steel and glass architecture came from a desire for cleanliness. (Of course, it turned out to be a challenge to keep steel and glass buildings washed, too.)

    De Gaulle's Minister of Culture Andre Malraux started a program in 1961 to wash Paris' great stone buildings like the Louvre and Notre Dame. It was a huge success and spread worldwide, which I suspect helped change architectural tastes as old buildings with complicated designs became pristine again.

    But then steel and glass modernism came back in fashion about 10 years ago again.

    Recently, they tried to replace Notre Dame’s smoke pollution patina. The predictable result was calls for glass and steel to be incorporated into the building.

  108. JimB says:
    @TomSchmidt
    When Caro's bio of LBJ came out, people noticed the same sort of pattern: an animus against his subject. But then that probably motivated his digging of dirt. Caro does seem full of praise for all the touches that Moses made on Jones Beach, despite the cost far exceeding what a pedestrian government official would have built: he's critical that Moses didn't seem to find that same creativity when building playgrounds in black neighborhoods, for example. (And thank goodness for spending a little more to make a work of beauty of Jones Beach.)

    Do you claim that Caro falsified, or just that a newer biographer might put a better spin on Moses? All of the people drafting bills in Albany in the 20s who could have talked about Moses' prowess (the best bill drafter in Albany, Caro called him) are now dead, so it will be hard to gain the same view of the man except from documents and infrastructure he built. Maybe there are things Caro left out? What might those be?

    New York City alone constituted 10% of national GDP in WW1 and WW2. It was the wealthiest state per capita through 1960. After all the spending on destroying neighborhood value and the various other government boondoggles, and all the destruction of rail and neglect of maritime transport, the city and state soon had to raise taxes and set off a spiral of rising costs that destroyed the high-value manufacturing culture in the city (Moses had a large hand in destroying manufacturers in SoHO and Tribeca when he condemned buildings for LoMex or just htreatened to build it, setting off a cycle of disinvestment; those empty spaces were later taken over by artists, but they had been high-value-added places where working class people could earn decent money.). A few years back there was a statistic quoted in the Times: NYC then had more jobs in colleges than in manufacturing. Much of that can be laid at the feet of master road builder Robert Moses. Now NYC is dependent on virtual industries for income: Wall Street, Advertising, Media, with nothing to supply a real-world counterbalance; it's one thing that has driven the city so far left. That, too, is "Republican" Robert Moses' legacy, though he had plenty of help.

    You might like the book Scale, by Geoffrey West. It explains the science of the city that Jacobs intuited and has now been documented, and which Moses could not have cared a whit for. I'd be interested to read your non-Caro bio.

    An entirely fresh perspective should be taken on Moses based on the primary historical record and avoiding all of Caro’s writing — that way, the analysis is directly about Moses, with Caro’s slant completely rotated out. Moses was one of the most historically consequential guys of the 20th century. It is worth trying to get at the truth of his accomplishments. Why take the assessment of a second tier 60s gonzo journalist as the final word?

    Of course, any and all recorded interviews of Robert Moses or those who had first hand access to him should be considered. However, the agenda of the interviewer and interviewee should be properly deciphered. Remember, everybody lies.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
    Yeah, and Caro has been a part of the elevation of Jane Jacobs to secular saint. "Big bad wolf" versus Mother Jacobs of "home remedies for urban cancer." I didn't come to Caro's book venerating Jacobs versus Moses: you can tell that's just narrative. (Some of the vignettes in Caro are priceless, like his chapter describing FDR in NY government as "the feather duster" and "not verbal agreement capable," which was a nice perspective, and suggests Caro isn't in it just from left-wing partisan hackery.) So I can read descriptions of what Moses had to struggle with to accomplish things like the Henry Hudson, like the building of playgrounds and pools, like the horse-trading that built the Northern State with giant curves that delay traffic to this day, and come away impressed with the man. His unyielding loyalty to those whom he overworked was admirable; he demanded loyalty upwards, but also protected downwards. Contrast the Clintons, or for that matter Trump.

    Do you know any good economic analyses of the effects of the man? Clearly without him you have many fewer bridges and roadways, and maybe the city just chokes on traffic and dies; but maybe without roadways it maintains rail distribution and connection to the rest of North America and so avoids a tremendously higher cost involved in overdependence on trucking, reinforcing those because otherwise it suffocates and starves. After all, the water infrastructure that made the city possible, and the electric power distribution system, all pre-date him, and those are more essential than the road network for autos since the city survived without the latter for nigh on 300 years.
  109. @JimB
    An entirely fresh perspective should be taken on Moses based on the primary historical record and avoiding all of Caro’s writing — that way, the analysis is directly about Moses, with Caro’s slant completely rotated out. Moses was one of the most historically consequential guys of the 20th century. It is worth trying to get at the truth of his accomplishments. Why take the assessment of a second tier 60s gonzo journalist as the final word?

    Of course, any and all recorded interviews of Robert Moses or those who had first hand access to him should be considered. However, the agenda of the interviewer and interviewee should be properly deciphered. Remember, everybody lies.

    Yeah, and Caro has been a part of the elevation of Jane Jacobs to secular saint. “Big bad wolf” versus Mother Jacobs of “home remedies for urban cancer.” I didn’t come to Caro’s book venerating Jacobs versus Moses: you can tell that’s just narrative. (Some of the vignettes in Caro are priceless, like his chapter describing FDR in NY government as “the feather duster” and “not verbal agreement capable,” which was a nice perspective, and suggests Caro isn’t in it just from left-wing partisan hackery.) So I can read descriptions of what Moses had to struggle with to accomplish things like the Henry Hudson, like the building of playgrounds and pools, like the horse-trading that built the Northern State with giant curves that delay traffic to this day, and come away impressed with the man. His unyielding loyalty to those whom he overworked was admirable; he demanded loyalty upwards, but also protected downwards. Contrast the Clintons, or for that matter Trump.

    Do you know any good economic analyses of the effects of the man? Clearly without him you have many fewer bridges and roadways, and maybe the city just chokes on traffic and dies; but maybe without roadways it maintains rail distribution and connection to the rest of North America and so avoids a tremendously higher cost involved in overdependence on trucking, reinforcing those because otherwise it suffocates and starves. After all, the water infrastructure that made the city possible, and the electric power distribution system, all pre-date him, and those are more essential than the road network for autos since the city survived without the latter for nigh on 300 years.

  110. @Jack D

    For example, Rome today is populated less by the descendants of the residents of Rome in 1 AD than by the descendants of country folk from adjoining rural areas.

     

    During the Dark Ages, the population of Rome fell to 30,000 (down from a peak of around 1 million) so chances are most of the people who live in Rome today aren't the descendants of the local country folk either.

    Up until the end of the 19th century, it was considered to be inevitable that there would be periodic epidemics that would kill some large fraction of the population. Something as mild as Wuhan Virus would have gone completely unnoticed because the REAL epidemics (bubonic plague, cholera, yellow fever, etc.) were so much worse. The Black Death killed between 30-45% of the population of the UK between 1348-50.

    For example, Rome today is populated less by the descendants of the residents of Rome in 1 AD than by the descendants of country folk from adjoining rural areas.

    This is doubly true, first in the way you explain, second in that the population of Rome had ceased to be overwhelmingly racially Roman by the end of the first century AD, which is to say it was full of people who could not only did not descend from from the founding tribes, they couldn’t even trace their ancestry back to the Italian peninsula. By the end of the Western Empire, Rome had not been a Roman urbs for about 5 centuries. To be completely truthful, this was true for all of the peninsula from Rome southward plus Sicilia.

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