Friday, March 22, 2013
Kotkin likes to distract people and play to class and other prejudices with inflammatory language about “hip and cool” places versus suburbs and young sophistos, trendoids, and gays versus real families. It’s interesting, in that context, to note that his recent report on “post-familialism” was supported by the right-wing philanthropist Howard Ahmanson. Kotkin’s report credits Ahmanson as a “philanthropist,” but Salon dubs him “the avenging angel of the religious right,” a large funder of antigay and anti-evolution groups and causes. I firmly reject such divisiveness. I’ve argued that a key to urban prosperity is not investments in convention centers, stadiums, casinos or arts complexes, or even coffee shops for that matter, but being open to diversity and difference—having low barriers to entry to people of every sort, young and old, American and foreign-born, gay and straight, married and single, families with kids and without. As Jane Jacobs said a long time ago, truly great cities are federations of neighborhoods that are made up of all kinds of people.