09 December 2008

David Brooks on on New Localism

In his column this morning, David Brooks cites Joel Kotkin's 2002 book The New Geography (which probably just jumped on Amazon) and the phenomenon of New Localism which he then links to Obama's new infrastructure investment plan. He sets the stage well for both his discussion of the plan but also our current exploration of our watershed:
The 1980s and 1990s made up the era of the great dispersal. Forty-three million people moved every year, and basically they moved outward — from inner-ring suburbs to far-flung exurbs on the metro fringe. For example, the population of metropolitan Pittsburgh declined by 8 percent in those years, but the developed land area of the Pittsburgh area sprawled outward by 43 percent.
It is remarkable how rapidly much of this change occurred. Still more remarkable is how we act like nothing has changed - this is the America of Jefferson and Lincoln and Roosevelt. In reality, this is something new and very possibly something fairly transitory. Read Brooks' column and see if you think something new is coming down the pike.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Chances are that the infrastructure funding discussed by the new administration would be dedicated to large public works infrastructure projects which would be wide in scope and large in budget. Most likely, this funding would be best applied to failing and functionally deficient highway, bridge and rail infrastructure. Building downtown streetscapes and suburban town squares are amenities that don't improve safety and simply doesn't yield political capital that any administration seeks to produce.