Zoned Out: Regulation, Markets, and Choices in Transportation and Metropolitan Land Use

Category: Social Sciences
Author: Jonathan Levine
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by dmix   2018-01-07
> I'm certain I'm better off for growing up in a diverse community.

I'm curious how much the internet has helped bridge this gap today and whether this idea of diversity through government-backed forced integration policies are really relevant/useful anymore. It seems very difficult to grow up in a culturally homogeneous environment today, you'd basically have to be a Luddite to accomplish that.

That plus living in a city like most young people are starting to do today, I find exposure to different cultures to be highly accessible with little investment. This is not really the result of forced integration policies but simply through technology, market options (restaurants, entertainment, etc) and proximity in dense housing areas.

It's interesting that not long after the Civil Rights act passed (which included legislation to make mandatory increases in housing and school integration) that there was a big migration from cities to suburbanization starting in the 1970s - reducing integration in both schools and housing. Most people falsely believed 'white flight' to be a cultural thing when if fact it was largely the result of regulatory policy making. There's a great book about how local government policies was the largest cause of this shift towards suburbia:

I've read that statistically today's schools in the US are even more segregated than even before the civil rights act. Yet one could argue that despite this the young generation is the most open and accepting to other cultures than ever before.

So I'm not sure that (mandatory) integration policies are a necessary construct in order to improve social conditions and relationships between communities/races - as much as it used to be. The solution may simply be to reverse a lot of the existing legislation that pushed so many communities away from dense naturally integrated urban areas to small towns and suburbs.

Trying to improve economic and quality of education via integration is another question (I'm mostly looking at cultural considerations). Although I've also heard of mostly black charter schools in poor communities doing as well as public schools in upper class neighbourhoods. So, again, on the surface that seems to be more about access to quality services rather than racial integration.

You have to be careful not to mistake the chicken for the egg.

by dmix   2017-10-22
> But everyone wants to live on an island of asphalt with a sterile, depression patch of grass in front, at least three miles away from the nearest place to buy a cup of coffee (a disposable cup, natch).

... I love how the cliche environmentalists worldview is to reduce these problems to entirely the result personal choice. As if consumers chose petroleum as the most efficient and widespread fuel in the earth's crust, and the combustion engine, then decided they wanted highways and suburbs, etc. Instead of thousands of small choices over a century (or more) based on circumstance, central planning, present needs, etc - things largely out of their control. Combined with other biological human flaws like short term thinking and favouring political populism and emotion when voting/buying.

Not to mention, the widespread adoption of suburbs was not a product of market capitalism or consumerism... it was the result of government zoning and regulatory policy:

You may be convinced and have deep knowledge of the subject but it's far from common knowledge. Understanding of climate issues is very low and it's not entirely the result of ignorance or malice or compromise because someone loves having a big lawn.

I tried to educate myself on the subject, I love to read, but even I found it difficult to find good books on the subject, specifically books that were balanced and scientific instead of sounding like the ravings of an ideologue.

I've asked on HN for book recommendations on climate change multiple times and each time I've been pointed to websites with dry 150 page reports by non-profit organizations. It's far from easy to know better.