The story paints quite the picture of crowded subways, packed grocery stores, and otherwise nice people getting mad at the old lady who just won't move out of the way fast enough.
It even quotes a woman asking, “How many years does New York have before it starts to look like ‘Blade Runner?’
I hope this article helps cool off a few of the over-eager urbanistas of Cincinnati who preach the evils of suburbia and sing the praises of big city living. (But I don't think it will.)
Densely crowded places may be exciting to visit, but living in one is a different story. There are some obvious reasons why so many millions of people chose to flee big cities after World War II, and why even now, most people who can afford to do so frequently choose to acquire more living space rather than less.
Yet this NYT article calls our attention to a Harvard professor named Ed Glaeser, author of an important book called "Triumph of the City." After reading some of his comments about crowded spaces being interesting, and how city dwellers use less energy than suburban people, I suddenly wanted to know how he lives.
Does a Harvard economist really live in one of those tiny apartments that hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of regular humans would be stuck with if the Big Apple and other cities grew according to his pro-density vision? A lot of not-so-big flats in very big cities cost more per month in rent than I pay for a mortgage on a 5-bedroom house, located less than 20 minutes drive from Cincinnati's Fountain Square.
Does Prof. Glaeser maintain a car in Boston, or whatever big city he lives in? Or does he swim with the sardines on public transit? I think it's fair to ask such questions of a thought-leader who wants to tell the rest of us how to live.
I searched around for a little bit on the Internet without finding any quick answers. I will look more later. Meantime, let me know if you happen know anything about this man's how this man lives. If he practices what he preaches, I'll give him some credit.
But I think it's more likely that he lives like a lot of successful professors like to live -- off-campus in some grand old house in some leafy, overpriced neighborhood with more-than-adequate parking and plenty of elbow room.
Then again, I doubt that his calls for unrestricted skyscrapers in New York City will ever really apply to life in Cincinnati. It remains hard to believe that the planned streetcar will ever be so packed that personal space will need to be measured with a micrometer.