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1 XtremeDave  Sun, Apr 22, 2012 3:38:21pm

What a horrible article. Joel Kotkin's biggest complaints about California are rooted in his hate of dense urban areas. He complains that middle class Californians cannot afford single family housing in LA and the SF Bay Area, but that's because there is barely any land available for new housing. The solution to making housing in CA affordable where the jobs are is to allow more dense multi-family housing and mixed use development where the jobs are. Kotkin is against this type of development, instead advocating for increased suburban sprawl.

He can blame environmentalists and liberals all he wants, but geography, not ideology is why the price of living in CA has become so expensive. Anybody familiar with California knows that in both LA and the Bay Area, there aren't vast tracts of land ready to be converted into subdivisions, instead forcing homebuyers to live out in the Central Valley, Inland Empire or Antelope Valley and face long super-commutes to where the jobs are. In CA's urban areas, the only solution is to densify and build up, not to continue pushing outside to the urban fringe. More suburban sprawl works in Salt Lake City or Dallas, because there is land readily available to convert to housing. It doesnt work in LA.

The funny thing is that the one project that would allow Californians to live in affordable housing and commute to where the jobs are is high speed rail, which is what Kotkin is against. High speed rail would allow someone to live in the affordable Central Valley and have a 60-90 minute train ride into the Bay Area or Downtown LA, instead of fighting traffic on freeways for 2 hours each way.

People like Kotkin can complain all they want, but the California of the 1950s and 60s is gone. Either adapt to the new reality or leave to another state where the post-war suburban dream is still alive.

2 Bob Levin  Sun, Apr 22, 2012 4:05:11pm

re: #1 XtremeDave

It's possible that you and Kotkin are not that far apart. This is an edited interview with Allisya Finley, and it seems as though she patched together quotes rather than try to get the gist of what Kotkin is saying. You might be more aware of the full body of Kotkin's work, but his work doesn't show through in this article.

3 calochortus  Sun, Apr 22, 2012 4:13:23pm

I notice that the author only worries about people moving here from other states, not other countries. I believe growth slowed to a mere 10% increase from 2000-2010, and he seems to think we ought to grow explosively forever.

I further notice that he ignores the fact that all these suburban houses he envisions won't have any water.


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