The Urbanist Delusion
Serena Wong

02 February 2018

Since Amazon announced the search for its new urban headquarters, cities across the US have jumped at the opportunity, offering everything from tax breaks to municipal planning powers. In a bid to display their uniqueness, cities across the country have all touted the same set of assets—rich culture, beautiful parks, elite institutions of higher education, restaurants, and other identical hallmarks of urbanity.

In this polemical critque, author Nikil Saval argues that Amazon has now bankrupted "the ideology of urbanism." So what was this ideology? What really draws people to live in a city? And how has Amazon's search for new urban headquarters revealed "the urbanist delusion"? 

Nikil Saval addresses these questions in his article on n+1

Comments (3)

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Monday, February 5, 2018 -- 10:20 AM

I did not realize living in

I did not realize living in one environment, such as an urban one; or living in another, say, rural locale, had anything to do with something as foundational as ideology (foundational may not be the best descriptor, but I could not conjure a better word). People who choose one over the other generally have PREFERENCES, based on utility; economics; 'comfort zone'; and/or other more-or-less practical considerations. 'Par exemple', (French: for example): I like rurality and so does my wife, but it is impractical from the standpoint of access to professional healthcare. We are older and things tend to breakdown---us included. Speaking for ourselves only, country living vs. city living is not an ideology in any way, shape or form. For those for whom it is so, I say bully and bravo for them! To anyone who feels bankrupted by Amazon: my sympathies.

Laura Maguire's picture

Laura Maguire

Monday, February 5, 2018 -- 10:39 AM

Harold, are you familiar with

Harold, are you familiar with Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion? He talks about the rural-urban ideological divide there. You might find it interesting. He was also a guest on the show a few years ago:

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Monday, February 5, 2018 -- 10:53 AM

Thanks, Laura! I'll check it

Thanks, Laura! I'll check it out. HGN.