August 6, 2013 The Demand for Urbanism
Just say this in a handout in synagogue, written by a rabbi living on the west side of Los Angeles: “When I pick the kids up from school, I park nearby and walk in to get them…. [at a nearby 7-11] There’s a homeless man who sits in front of the store, and I routinely give the kids change to give him as we walk by.”
From both a urban and a suburban standpoint this rabbi has the worst of both worlds: on the one hand she has to dodge panhandlers (unlike most suburbanites) but she is clearly more car-dependent than people in my Manhattan neighborhood. And yet she lives where she lives.
Why are such places popular? Because in Los Angeles there isn’t a Manhattan. Americans (OK, some Americans) are so starved for urban life that they will live in a wishy-washy half-urban place if a Manhattan isn’t available. (By contrast, where a Manhattan is available, these sorts of half-suburbs are often declining).