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Mark Stroup

I couldn't get through *Bowling Alone* and I certainly can't make it through "Social Interaction and Urban Sprawl." But if the researchers do regression analysis, I'm sure they probably know something I don't. I'm probably also sure that social interaction in sprawl lands also includes social interaction among people of diverse economic backgrounds (who do you think is bagging the groceries, cleaning the houses, weeding the gardens?).

What is socially constructive about a city is its ability to tell what's good and bad about society. It's pretty much in your face, and it's telling us we have social, political, and economic systems that could be improved upon.

Maybe our density is part of our problem. There's plenty of anecdotal evidence otherwise. Lack of income, lack of education, lack of meaningful work, poor nutrition, guns, and drug abuse are better determiners of crime and social disconnection than is density. So I won't begrudge Franklin Park and South Pointe a small advantage in building clubs for hobbyists. That we urbanites get along at all is hopeful.

sean mcdaniel

Hey, Mark,

The same people bagging groceries, tending the garden and lawn and cleaning the home are the same in the suburbs and the cities...unless city hired help is all white and all American. From what I can tell when I bike along Ellsworth Avenue in Oakland, those look like dark skinned people pulling weeds and emptying the trash...and I bet they don't live in those mansions.

stop with the trite stereotyping.

Actually, the Giant Eagle on Camp Horne employs, for the most part, white high school kids. Same with the lawn crews in my part of town.

C. Briem

I say lock the authors in a room with Kunstler for an hour and see who survives.

Mark Stroup


It wasn't my intention to indulge in trite stereotyping. I must admit I was generalizing, not in terms of race or ethnicity, but in terms of class and income. Perhaps we live in a more fluid society than I suspect. That would be a very good thing. That people who bag, clean house, and pick weeds are on their way to a piece of the pie is good news whether they're from the suburb or the city.

Of course if a piece of the pie means that we'll all have 5,000 sf houses on 1.5 acre lots and commute 50 miles each way, I think we still might have a bit of a problem.

sean mcdaniel

"Of course if a piece of the pie means that we'll all have 5,000 sf houses on 1.5 acre lots and commute 50 miles each way, I think we still might have a bit of a problem."

You know, that's been the situation in NYC for about, oh, 70 years, right? People from CT, NJ and other places commuting 50 miles and a couple of hours to work in Manhattan. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Same thing happens in SF, Boston, Chicago and...well, you get the point, right? Those towns are really suffering.

by the way, not that many people live in 5000 sq ft homes. 3,000 is getting common. but that extra 2000 sq ft is just more of your hyperbole.

Jonathan Potts

I believe that while average home sizes nationwide are increasing, average lot sizes are decreasing.

sean mcdaniel

Jonny boy, I acknowledged that new homes are big.
But not the size of Mark's silly stereotypes.

Jonathan Potts

My point was not to dispute what you were saying; rather I was pointing out evidence that overall densities may be increasing, even while average home sizes are also growing.

sean mcdaniel


sorry, but usually you're a little snarky in your replies to me.

Jonathan Potts

With all due respect Sean, between the two of us, I don't have a monopoly on that characteristic.

sean mcdaniel

sure you do. i'm sarcastic and caustic. and not the least bit intellectually pretentious. now you see the difference?

Jonathan Potts

No. You'll need to stop using big words.

sean mcdaniel

stay away from the humor JP. intellectual pretentiousness really better suits you.

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