Plumb Lines

February 17, 2009

Acid, Abortion, and Asphalt

Filed under: Uncategorized — Matthew Schmitz @ 9:43 pm

I don’t know much about urban policy, but I feel like wading into the debate over whether or not the economic crisis will help revitalize America’s urban core. Ross Douthat offers up the interesting and to my mind correct opinion that this debate is a culture war one.  Judging from the title of his last book, it’s not hard to figure out what side of this debate Douthat thinks conservatism should take: that of the subdivisions. However, if Florida is right this is not only misguided ideologically but unwise politically. Unless we can build cities that accommodate children and retirees as well as they do young professionals, conservatives are likely to experience increased political isolation. The significance of geographic marginalization is already reflected in the cultural dominance of liberals. Indeed, the constant yet fleeting enterprises aimed at conjuring  ‘conservative culture’ will have trouble taking hold so long as we refuse to create cities that allow for simultaneous participation in cultural production and family life.  A vibrant conservatism, both culturally and politically, will have to elaborate family values in opposition to the the isolated, atomized nuclear family. ‘Family values’ should be reoriented in favor of broader social and familial networks that find a natural home in the urban context.

Matthew Schmitz



  1. […] and Asphalt Filed under: Uncategorized — Keith Staples @ 11:07 am Matt’s post is stimulating. One caveat:  I wouldn’t want to neglect efforts to make the suburbs less […]

    Pingback by Re: Acid, Abortion and Asphalt « Plumb Lines — February 18, 2009 @ 11:07 am

  2. […] Very Good Sentences From a post on family life and urban planning, by Matthew Schmitz at the smart-looking new group blog Plumb Lines: Unless we can build cities […]

    Pingback by Some Very Good Sentences « Upturned Earth — February 19, 2009 @ 12:12 am

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