Why It's Hard To Talk About Density

It makes people defensive:

Whenever we talk about urban form, people hear us making judgments about their homes.  I can stand in front of a group of citizens and talk about how a certain kind of development pattern implies certain consequences for transit, and thus for sustainability, and thus for civilization.  As we talk, it may appear that we’re having a thoughtful and educational discussion about good and bad design.  But some people in the audience have chosen to make their homes in the very development pattern that I’m describing, and to those people, I’m saying that their home is good or bad.  Once you hear that, you’re likely to have a strong emotional reaction that makes you deaf to rational argument.  On some level, consciously or unconsciously, you’re going to feel as though I’d walked into your own livingroom and told you that your decor is not just ugly but a threat to civilization. 

Strangely, Matt Feeney's thoughts on the new Arcade Fire album are tangentially related.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Just In