Will walkable cities be a culture war flashpoint during 2024?
Dec 31

Market closes at the end of 2023.

Market resolves durning 2024.

I am open to suggestions as to how to measure this. I will update the description when we settle on a measure

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@DanW Already a lot of conservative forums rail against the idea of dense cities as a form of totalitarian control.

bought Ṁ20 of YES

Why does the market close end of 2023 when it resolves in 2024?

@Daniel_MC presumably to prevent people from betting because they actually see what is happening around them in 2024. Restricting to 2023 keeps this market as solely prediction.

bought Ṁ15 of YES

I've already seen the idea of walkable cities be packaged with stuff like "eating the bugs" in memes against "globohomo," so I can see it happening.

bought Ṁ60 of NO

no one actually wants walkable cities. they don't exist anyway, since you either have republican sidewalkless stroad suburbs or shit- and drug-covered democrat cities

predicts YES

@AlQuinn having lived in both stroadburgs and shitscapes before, I can say that walktowns are definitely better. the problem is politics...

predicts NO

@cloudprism I think that's part of the problem, though the US is structurally deficient in the sort of infrastructure needed to make walkable cities work beyond several boutique examples. I'd like to be proven wrong but hard to see a workable path forward

predicts YES

@AlQuinn that's interesting. can you say more?

predicts NO

@cloudprism I just see a lot of magical thinking around how to fix cities so that they are walkable. The sexy projects like high speed rail cover inter-city travel while not covering intra-city travel, meaning that even in a wet-dream scenario of 50K miles of HSR in the US, the cities are still shit from a walkable perspective. I think the extent to which already prevalent geographic development patterns within metro areas already precludes any simple or cheap solution to the problem of intra-city travel. Drive end-to-end across a metro region (Denver is the one I'm most familiar with) and imagine what it would take to unify all the fugly mcmansions into a coherent whole...it's magical thinking that anything short of a meteor strike and rebuild will allow for meaningful improvement. Meanwhile, people will virtue-signal in the direction of "mass transit" and HSR options that they themselves would prefer not to use.

sold Ṁ7 of YES

@AlQuinn Have you heard of Culdesac? Not as a counterpoint, just as somewhat relevant

predicts NO

@cloudprism Well, now I have! I see it looks like a neighborhood-level strategy which fits with my "boutique" statement above. I hope it works and can expand but I doubt this approach (or any) will put a meaningful dent in broader-based measures of walkability any time soon. Many 'muricans culturally want their suburbs, while others will state otherwise but vote for NIMBY policies/politicians to prevent densification and relaxed zoning rules.

predicts NO

@cloudprism but, dang, those rents. I paid $570/mo in Missouri for a 2 BDR...they want $2K? I'm living on a different planet

@AlQuinn Have you ever travelled out of North America?


predicts NO

@DanW Yes, I have. But I think that video proves something closer to my point: take any medium US city and look at how much would have to be redesigned/reconfigured to Amsterdamize it. Maybe they will manage to add a few bike lanes amidst the constraints imposed by the overall pattern of development laid down over many of the preceding decades... (also the guy in that video is running stop signs on his bike; hope he's being careful since when I lived in California there was one spot where I'd always be nearly accidentally smashing those kind of guys)

predicts NO

@DanW oh and wrt bikes in general, worth mentioning that they will never be a mainstream US transit solution. Besides culture, it's probably relevant to note the obesity rate in the US is ~42% vs. ~13% in Netherlands.

@AlQuinn yeah I agree, it isn't an instant process, but if we can clear out NIMBY opposition we can begin a process of mixed use infill development that can start a decades long process of shifting to more walkable cities and less fat lonely americans.

Why would republicans actively want urban centers to be unwalkable. It's not a political disagreement if only one side cares about the issue.

@makoyass There's a conservative bent against infill development in suburbs, and protests against 15 minute cities is entirely conservative.

predicts YES

@makoyass It's about defending against unchecked incrementalism. Slippery slope fallacy aside, why would anyone need a car if all goods and services are within a 15 minute walk? Why would anyone need to travel? Why would anyone need internet access? Why would anyone need electricity? Etc.

@cloudprism @makoyass I hope this answers your question. Conservatives will fight against better urban design & walkable cities partially because they fear it will inevitably lead to tyranny. I think this is also a product of pervasive conservative xenocentrism, as globally North America is an extreme outlier in having terribly designed car dependent cities that mandate long commutes for basic necessities. In Europe & southeast Asia higher pop density & denser urban design allow for 5 - 10 minute walkable cities, which also contributes to those cultures being on average less fat and less lonely.

predicts YES

@DanW I agree that it's most likely about tyranny/fascism. And did you mean xenophobia? Also, it's not "either/or" with 15-minute cites vs. car culture. There are ways to design and iterate that both preserve existing freedoms as well as improve sentiments, outcomes, and overall wellbeing, and without alienating any relative outgroup, including conservatives.

predicts YES

One side is very on-edge about both losing freedoms as well as a common identity.

In America, the car has long been a symbol of freedom, complemented by the interstate highway system arguably as a symbol for unity, commerce, and public good.

Walkable cities are fantastic, but only in addition to the above, not in exchange for it.

bought Ṁ10 of NO

@cloudprism why would it be

predicts YES

@Odoacre "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."

@cloudprism "NOOO you cant vastly improve life for the majority of people, I want to play cowboy"

predicts YES


Edit: Well, I thought this was the perfect GIF, but I guess there's not support for them yet.