December 24, 2004

Red-Blue Housing War Stories

Your point about the difference between housing-price trends in Northwest DC and DC's eastern provinces is certainly true. Chevy Chase, DC, is child-friendly in a lot of ways, and there are plenty of kids here among the couples who can afford the prices of both homes and private schools. But the neighborhood is basically a land of $50,000 houses sitting on $500,000 lots. The two-income families huddle together in the $50,000 houses, while their dogs get to play in the $500,000 lots. Plus, the dogs get walked every morning and will see their owners early each evening, since the commute to downtown jobs is so short. I think we must have the happiest dogs in America.

But apart from the natural expense of living downtown in cities, there has been some artificial destruction of livable places in a lot of American cities. Washington has lost something like 40 percent of its total population since the 1950s. It is not, overall, a congested city, with insufficient land for more affordable residences. There are huge tracts to the east that have been partly deserted and rendered uninhabitable for middle-class whites and blacks, by crime, lousy schools and rent controls on new apartments. This is the general tendency of liberal places to render themselves more liberal by making themselves even more dysfunctional.

Maybe another reason parents with kids don't like to live in dense cities is the heavy traffic on all the surrounding streets, which can be very risky for younger children. However, when kids reach their teenage driving years, the city is probably less risky, since you can walk or take the bus most places.

The increased traffic is bad for bikes, so kids these days expect to get driven everywhere, which is another stress of parenting.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

No comments: