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View Diary: Cars Cause Republicanism (338 comments)

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  •  Except that it's not merely self-imposed (4.00)
    Subdivision sprawl is also imposed by preferential land use policies and economic factors.  There is no inherent reason that suburban or rural living should be safer or cheaper then urban living.  I agree with everything else you say.

    Essential funk: 'Impeach the President' by the Honeydrippers

    by pontechango on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:43:42 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I hate the suburbs (a rant) (4.00)
      I grew up in the semi-rural suburbs of King County, and I think suburbs are actually rather terrible for kids, particularly teenagers. There are no sidewalks or bike lanes, meaning that kids who want to go anywhere either 1. Have to get mommy and daddy to drive them, or 2. Get hit by cars. So of course suburban teens grow up dreaming of the day when they can drive their own cars, it becomes a powerful symbol of adult autonomy.

      The closest thing to a public space is the local shopping mall.

      Suburban teenagers are BORED OUT OF THEIR MINDS and engage in rampant vandalism, drug abuse, and stupid sex.

      A lot of people aren't actually saving money by living in the suburbs -- they're just using the cheaper real estate to buy a bigger house. So then they spend all their money filling the house with junk.

      My parents' big ol' suburban mansion has been robbed, and the interior of their car has been stripped of seats -- twice!

      There's one kind of "security" which comes from not having any people around. I submit, that security is illusory (and sometimes blatantly racist). Real security comes from having neighbors, friends, and communities.

      The much-vaunted suburban schools aren't that great either. I mean, I guess some of them look good on paper, but it always seemed to me that the rampant anti-intellectualism of suburban culture offsets the advantages of having money to invest in shiny computers.

      I don't know, maybe poor urban schools are even worse (although rich urban schools are much better). Still, if my junior high and high school is what suburbanites are talking about when they say they live out in the boonies for "good schools" then it really isn't worth all the extra gasoline.

      People always say they live in the suburbs for their kids. Popular mythology, or possibly self-delusion -- kids don't like suburbs, adults do.

      •  I agree... (none)
        ...I hate 'em too, but I understand why people live in them.  The author of this article doesn't.

        No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

        by CrazyHorse on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 09:34:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I had the same experience (4.00)
        Grew up in the far-flung suburbs, and reached the same conclusion:  boy, I wouldn't want to raise kids there.

        It was nice and quiet, and safe within the confines of the subdivision.  We had yards to play in and lots of undeveloped spaces.  On the other hand, there was absolutely nothing to do.  Everything was in the next town over---schools, libraries, stores, theaters---and it was too far to bike (or if you tried, your parents would kill you.)

        Heck, outside of the subdivision's perimiter, just crossing a street could be lethal.  So even now that the area is surrounded by stores that spread from nearby towns, still people drive to get to them.

        If you want to raise kids in the suburbs, you must be prepared to be their chauffeur all the time.  If you don't like this, hope that they never develop an interest in anything except for television.

        As for crime, that may depend some on how old the subdivision is, and on surrounding cities.  A drug dealer would be crazy to ignore the income potential of thousands of bored kids stranded in cornfields, so a nearby city with drug or gang problems are your problem.  By the time I moved away, there were stabbings in my old high school, a drive-by shooting (!!) three houses down from mine (!!) and I knew two kids I went to school with who eventually got sentenced to prison for violent crimes, one of them infanticide.

        On the other hand, my parents could afford a house there.  I agree with the poster way up the thread about the lack of choices people have:  sometimes our values are a luxury.


      •  Rush (the band) had a song about this (none)
        Subdivisions (from the 1982 album "Signals"):

        Sprawling on the fringes of the city
        In geometric order
        An insulated border
        In between the bright lights
        And the far unlit unknown

        Growing up it all seems so one-sided
        Opinions all provided
        The future pre-decided
        Detached and subdivided
        In the mass production zone

        Nowhere is the dreamer
        Or the misfit so alone

        Subdivisions ---
        In the high school halls
        In the shopping malls
        Conform or be cast out
        Subdivisions ---
        In the basement bars
        In the backs of cars
        Be cool or be cast out
        Any escape might help to smooth
        The unattractive truth
        But the suburbs have no charms to soothe
        The restless dreams of youth

        Drawn like moths we drift into the city
        The timeless old attraction
        Cruising for the action
        Lit up like a firefly
        Just to feel the living night

        Some will sell their dreams for small desires
        Or lose the race to rats
        Get caught in ticking traps
        And start to dream of somewhere
        To relax their restless flight

        Somewhere out of a memory
        Of lighted streets on quiet nights...

      •  what are you talking about (none)
        what do urban kids have to do that suburban kids dont?

        and suburban kids get tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts, and other niceties that i'm sure are hard to come by in the big city

        I believe in saving money. I believe in having a house. I believe in keeping things clean. I believe in exercising.

        by The Exalted on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 11:43:22 AM PST

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