Building the Future

Two good posts today, with divergent takes on urban experience:


1.  Colorlines discusses ground-up initiatives in urban agriculture – this time, coming from immigrant communities and people of color.  The foodie movement is easy enough to dismiss as the purview of rich white people, but doing so overlooks both the movement’s goal (inclusive food justice) as well as many of its active participants.  Sure, Michael Pollan might be the figurehead, but solutions on the ground are coming from people of all different backgrounds, income levels, and colors.  Writing off an entire movement based on some white people at the top erases the contributions of many of these intelligent, committed activists around the country and the world.


2.  Grist rants about the suburbs again! Well, specifically, an article on Grist points out the long-term financial unsustainability of constant suburban growth.  The whole thing is worth a read, but the crux of it is in this line: “Our problem was not, and is not, a lack of growth. Our problem is 60 years of unproductive growth – growth that has buried us in financial liabilities."  Indeed, I’m hardly the first person to wonder after the ludicrous accounting that holds GDP above all else – an accounting that showed Hurricane Katrina, for example, as a net economic positive, because of the money spent on rescue, emergency services, and rebuilding.  When the greatness of the American economy is discussed, GDP is the number that’s referenced (or sometimes productivity, which is also deeply problematic), but what GDP represents is just that Americans are really, really good at spending a lot of money – whether it’s money that’s worth spending, or money that might be better spent elsewhere, or even money that we actually, you know, have, is absent from the conversation.

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