The Loss of Communities and Cultural Memory

Flickr: Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Ken Archer published a thought-provoking post in Greater Greater Washington — “True urbanism must come with a big tent“– about how race intersects with smart growth:

Urbanism can and should command a broader constituency, including families, the elderly and the poor and working-class…Prominent amongst the benefits that flow from density plus proper planning and development are the freedom to participate in diverse communities of cultural depth and richness.

Kunstler, Duany and Jacobs bemoan the damage done to cultural institutions sustained by cities as a result of suburban sprawl. Yet urbanists in DC don’t bemoan the loss of communities and cultural memory when neighborhoods turnover their residents – it’s just the free market at work.

These same authors praise the generational and socioeconomic diversity that is possible in cities. Jacobs writes that “cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

There’s a robust discussion occurring in the comments, as well.