Tuesday, July 04, 2006
The Front Door Test
If your front door opens onto a sidewalk, you're probably a Democrat.
If your front door is more than 25' from your street, you're probably a Republican.
There is some logic to this: the city street brings us into contact with all sorts of people; the suburban cul-de-sac isolates us in our cars and family rooms.
“The downside of sprawl is the loss of things public. We have lost physical community, because car-centered culture is more individual and less group oriented. We have lost something hard to define, which I will call "Place." We have lost easy access to nature and open space. We have lost the ability to bicycle on a country road without traffic. We have lost coherence. We have lost diversity and flexibility of our transportation systems, one which would have treated old, young, and poorer people more gently. We have harmed our environment. These losses can be quantified, but many still go back to feelings and perceptions that are subjective. It is simply not as fun living in a place that stretches across hundreds of square miles, where the country side is inaccessible, where simple errands require braving traffic, where the alternative to driving is personal isolation.”
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Am I missing a link to a follow up article regarding the comment above? The graphic looks interesting... how may I inspect it more closely?
Posted by: Paul Benson at Jul 5, 2006 8:53:53 AM
That blanket statement is further evidence of the venom spewed from the mouths of Democrats who are oh-so-tolerant of others. Let's say for one second that statement is true...then where have the Democrats been since 1945? Sleeping? This is not a political discourse, it is a sociological one. Statements like yours shifts the focus of the discussion and at the same time alienates the majority of voting citizens in this country by throwing a jab at them, as well as Republican Architects who are Urbanists.
Posted by: Dave Buckhorn at Jul 5, 2006 7:10:02 PM
Of course, this wasn't always so. For example, Rep. Hartley of Taft-Hartley fame represented Newark, and West Philadelphia voted for Eisenhower! It wasn't that moving to suburbs turned the Ds into Rs- its just that the Rs left the cities first.
Posted by: Michael Lewyn at Jul 5, 2006 9:26:49 PM
I wasn't expecting this to upset people so much (it had the same effect with two people on the internet).
It is a statistical fact that cities vote Democratric and suburbs vote Republican. The current leadership of the Republican party caters to that fact.
Here's one response, followed by a reply from a sociology professor.
> Secondly, and most importantly, there
> isn't even a logical inductive > correlation between housing density,
> political persuasion and
> tolerance- and to say so is to be
> intellectually dishonest.
Not true. Tell this grad student to read "Fenced Off: The Suburbanization of American Politics" by Juliet Gainsborough (Georgetown Univ. Press).
Another study that just came out, "The Causes of City-Suburban Political Polarization: A Canadian Case Study" by Alan Walks (2006, Annals of the Assoc. of American Geographers) says this:
"In the U.S., ...since the early 1980s place of residence (in an inner city or suburb) has had increasingly important independent effects in structuring both party preferences and political attitudes. These effects remain strong and statistically significant even after controlling for region of residence and sociodemographics..."
Posted by: john massengale at Jul 16, 2006 9:31:03 AM
I am interested in the logic aspect. What is it about contact with all sorts of people that gravitates people to the democratic side of the political spectrum?
Conversely, why is it that isolation causes people to move to the right?
I wonder what you think of people that move to the country. Can't get much more isolated than sitting at the center of a 5 acre farmette.
The real problem with that logic is the presuppisition that people in the city actually interact with many different kinds of people. Everytime I am in NYC I am amazed how little people really interact with anyone outside of their little circle of family, friends and co-workers. When all those different people are moving so fast when do they have a chance to influence each others politics?
Go to a coffee house or diner in the city and see how much interaction you see. Now travel out to the countryside and go to a diner and look at the difference.
Now for a real shock travel to the suburbs outside of DC and see how many different types of people you meet. Arab, Asian, African, African-American and caucasions, they are all there living on their cul-de-sac's.
So much for that theory.
Posted by: dave at Jul 30, 2006 1:01:40 AM
1) It's a statistical fact. I don't know why this so upsets people that they miss that.
2) My sister lives in Arlington, and the DC suburbs are something I know a little about. Statistically, greater Washington's suburban neighborhoods are NOT racially diverse. If you know the Washington suburbs, you know that the overwhelming majority of African Americans who move to the Washington suburbs move to Prince George's county.
So why do you say this?
3)Go to a New York bar and you will see plenty of interaction. Read Jane Jacobs, and you'll see that's not really the point.
4) Can't get much more auto-dependent than living on a farmette.
5) A five acre piece of land is approximately 400 feet by 500 feet. Divide a 100 acre farm into pieces that size, plop a MacMansion on each lot, and you'll see exactly what the country isn't.
Posted by: john at Jul 30, 2006 1:26:37 AM