Density, neoliberalism, and COVID

By Calvin Welch : 48hills – excerpt

SF has allowed developers to build housing and offices for more and more people — without paying for the infrastructure that we need to take care of them.

“There is a density level in NYC that is destructive. It has to stop and it has to stop now. NYC must develop an immediate plan to reduce density.” @NYGovCuomo8:36 AM · Mar 22, 2020·

The COVID pandemic seems to offer one surprise after another, as state and local governments scramble to fill the void created by President Trump’s daily narcissistic meanderings in cobbling together rational and effective programs to address the new reality confronting them. This is especially true in major urban areas all of which, across the world, have embraced neo-liberal policies that resulted in dramatic increases in density that clearly out-stripped the fragile urban infrastructure (including health care) needed to deal with massive viral infections now literally plaguing them…

The primary task of all government, neo-liberals argue, is to facilitate the development of the un-hindered market by reducing “red-tape” and cutting government regulations in every sphere of life…

Neo-liberalism is closely embraced, of course, by the masters of the tech sector. But far more importantly it is the dominate governing philosophy of both national political parties

The market simply cannot address this crisis, rendering the neo-liberal play book irrelevant. And the dense populations and thin urban infrastructure created by both national and local neo-liberal urban policies have brought cities to a profound crisis…

Cutting regulations, shrinking the public sector and handing more critical urban functions over to market based “disruptive innovators” got us into more trouble than such policies can get us out of. … (more)

It appears that the density bills should be pulled this year, but, you might wan to pay attention to make sure they are. The next step is to figure out what next? How do we live a healthy life without density? Can we more office jobs off-site and cut the commuting down? Can we switch to renewable energy sources and cut emissions?

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