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Euro-America and the Aspirational Cities

There is a very good new article up at the Weekly Standard discussing demographic, economic, and cultural trends in America's cities.

The author, Joel Kotkin, claims that the fastest growing cities are one's that allow people to pursue "happiness". In Kotkin speak, that means have the most opportunity for upward economic mobility. By contrast, there are the Euro American cities that have become small bohemian paradises. As a result, elites move into these places, driving home and property values, displacing the "aspirational" crowd to other parts of the country. However, the "aspirational" cities now believe they must have little "So-Ho" enclaves if they are to compete for the New Elite. It is a Catch-22.

The cultural and political effect of this trend is far-reaching. Here is an excerpt from the article as an example:

"In the wake of John Kerry's loss to George Bush, a widely circulated editorial entitled "It's the Cities, Stupid" in The Stranger, a Seattle alternative weekly, called on Democrats to adopt a politics that excludes countryside, suburban, and exurban constituencies. Democrats "are the party of urban America," the paper proclaimed, suggesting a political approach catering to city-dwellers at the expense of those living in "the soulless sprawling suburbs" and in rural America.

"The highly urbanized Kerry voters, we were told, represented "the real Americans" who reject "heartland 'values' like xenophobia, sexism, racism, and homophobia." The suburbanites and small-town denizens came from places where "people are fatter and dumber and slower." "Let them have the shitholes, the Oklahomas, Wyomings, and Alabamas," the Seattle paper raged. "We'll take Manhattan.""


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Comments (1)


I saw that article too. We are personally experiencing this Euro-American city phenomenon; even earning well above the average for a family of four (and that appears to be the "normal" sized family)we are finding it hard to live on one income.

If we were not homeschooling, I don't think we could afford to live in our neighborhood. And those neighborhoods we could live in aren't all that great for kids. What does it say about where we place our values when families cannot afford to live places that are safe for children?

Frankly, the idea of living in Reno, Nevada, fills me with fear and loathing. But we have definitely talked about moving to a smaller city somewhere, a place where you could actually find a four-bedroom home with a yard, in which you would feel it was safe for your children to play.

This is my personal rant. Sorry. But I definitely recommend the article. It really describes the way things are now for a lot of the middle class.

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