Cities & Families

The other night I posted a set of tweets questioning the conventional wisdom that cities should prioritize the interests of families and children in policy. Brad called it a “mini blog post,” so I decided to repost it here in its entirety.

I received a couple replies making the political case (largely that parents are over represented at the ballot box), but that’s not really the issue I was trying to get at. That any given group which wields disproportionate political clout tends to get their way is hardly a novel idea. The most incisive response (which I am unfortunately unable to embed) was this:

because it helps support their suburban ideals since 50 years of history tell us kids = suburbs!

I think there might be something to this.

The “but what about the children?” argument is evergreen (and ever specious), and it serves an anti-urban agenda as well as any other. In this case the thought process of the anti-urbanites would go something like this:

  1. Cities should be good for kids.
  2. Urbanism is bad (for kids).
  3. Suburbanism is good (for kids).
  4. Therefore, our cities should attempt to mimic the suburban form.

That is, of course, ridiculous on its face, but if you’re an anti-urbanite trying to justify your agenda, I can see how you might dupe yourself into believing it.