Comment 108655

By MissingPartOfTheStory (registered) | Posted February 01, 2015 at 09:57:34 in reply to Comment 108648

Great comment. Attempts to understand where the other person is coming from tend to lead to more success.

A few comments though:

1) Suburbs can strictly speaking 'pay for themselves', it would just involve higher taxes. Increasing density is just easier for politicians to sell than increased taxes to single family home owners in places like Mississauga. Small but independent towns made up of single family homes and roads with no public transit are able to 'pay for themselves' just fine. The idea that suburbs by the very nature of their form have some sort of dependence on downtown cores to pay for them or exist at all is a fantasy, at worst they would be looking at higher taxes.

2) Density does not support high fertility rates. How are people going to have 3-4 children in a 600 squarefoot condo in Toronto? There are studies showing the relationship between fertility and density:

Cities do not exist in a vacuum. This is another classic problem that you see when people attempt to do evidence based reasoning - they limit the context, and the evidence, to only what they want to see. Anybody writing articles about peak oil lately? I thought not...

We've seen what happened to Japan and Europe, the canaries in a coal mine for density - low birth rates lead to high government debts and failing economies.

Without children, who will pay all of our future pensions? Who is subsidizing who indeed...

3) We are not suburbanites and urbanites. We're people that live in different places, at different times in our lives. Many of us grow up in the suburbs, move into the city early in our careers, move back to the suburbs to raise our own families, and then perhaps again move into the city to enjoy retirement. Most people live based on what they need at the time.

It's a very small, insular, and generally speaking very privileged group that has the time and social capital to advocate for urbanist policies as a sort of hobby. Most people are just out there living their lives.

That's another reason why when you guys try to sell this stuff outside downtown it doesn't work. At best, you can sympathize with 'surbanites', but ultimately work from a starting point that you are correct and that they are incorrect, and that you don't need to listen and learn, only to explain and convert. Do you see the difference?

Cities are more like an organism, where one part does something better than the other parts, but the entire organism is better off for having both.

You could come at it from another more holistic perspective. You could recognize how suburbs are better than urban areas - increased fertility for starters. That's an economic boost that no amount of LRTs will replace.

Once you recognize that the other side isn't evil, or just different, but also correct, you can start to have a reasonable conversation.

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