"Hayek's View of New Urbanism" Responses

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#21
I lived in Germany for nearly 4 years. I arrived with a child who was about 8 months old. I had another baby when my first was 2 1/2. I did a LOT of walking in Germany, or I took my bike. Germans generally do a lot more walking than Americans. They wear leather boots ("winter shuhe") and short, heavy coats. They also have gloves and stuff.

I walked to the grocery store 4 to 6 days per week. One year, we got more snow than usual for that region of Germany. That same winter, I had my second child. Two days before he was born, my husband and I stood with our 2 1/2 year old between us on the sidewalk, on our way to the grocery store, each of us holding his hands. We told him to not cross without us. Naturally, for this child, that meant it was imperative in his mind that he manage to pull away from both of us and dart out into the street as an Experiment to find out what would happen if he defied us. He came so close to getting run over that he cut his finger on the car that drove past him. He then spent the next year refusing to cross the street until there were no moving vehicles within his sight -- in 2 blocks or so in all directions. I spent that year standing on the curb for 20 minutes, regardless of the weather and with his infant brother strapped to my chest, waiting for him to determine that it was SAFE to cross. I wasn't about to veto him and undo the lesson he learned by so narrowly escaping being run over by a car.

Sorry, weather is not really a great excuse much of the time. Neither are kids. Those excuses occur to the minds of folks who have never done much walking and who can't imagine making the lifestyle changes necessary to make walking a success. However, it is a very good argument that more Americans would walk if the built environment were more pedestrian friendly. But there are cultural factors involved here. Part of it is that Americans generally don't "know" how to make a pedestrian lifestyle work. And part of it is how squeamish middle class Americans are about being "clean". We get all weird if someone has done any sweating, if they smell at all, or if their hair isn't perfectly coiffed because they have been out in the wind for 20 minutes of walking. Europeans aren't so squeamish.

It also creates class issues in America that I think are less problematic in countries where "cleanliness" is less of a big deal. Because we are squeamish about such things, we shun the immigrants who do the hard physical labor that we are unwilling to do, generally speaking. We think we aren't classist, it is just that they smell. But it is classist to act like only super-clean people are "good enough". You have to have a rather pampered life to be "clean" like that all the time -- and having a car-based lifestyle is intricately interrelated with that American foible. Cultures that use more public transit and do more walking simply don't have the means to get to a psychological place where that degree of isolation and "cleanliness" seems "normal" and reasonable.
 

BKM

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#22
Michele Zone said:
And part of it is how squeamish middle class Americans are about being "clean". We get all weird if someone has done any sweating, if they smell at all, or if their hair isn't perfectly coiffed because they have been out in the wind for 20 minutes of walking. Europeans aren't so squeamish.
How dare you, Michelle! We have no social classes in the United States! Everybody is MIDDLE CLASS, except for a few deserving professional athletes, movie stars, and hard-chargin' manly CEOs, who we elect to rule us! LOL!

Seriously, the whole cleanliness thing, when combined with laziness, is why I never ride my bicycle to work. Its only 10 miles, but its hot, windy, and hilly, and I tend to sweat too much, so I find myself turning that ignition switch every morning.

On another note, we may be cleanliness obsessed, but do ADULT Americans really think that dressing in an obscene tee shirt and short shorts is an appropriate way to dress?
 
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#23
BKM said:
How dare you, Michelle! We have no social classes in the United States! Everybody is MIDDLE CLASS, except for a few deserving professional athletes, movie stars, and hard-chargin' manly CEOs, who we elect to rule us! LOL!
[elitist snob] That should say "...WHOM we elect..." [/elitist snob] :p

I don't know where your obscene t-shirt question is coming from. I don't own any. But, based on how often I get mistaken for being European, I don't think I dress like "an American". :-D
 

The One

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#24
Its all good.....

Michele Zone said:
We get all weird if someone has done any sweating, if they smell at all, or if their hair isn't perfectly coiffed because they have been out in the wind for 20 minutes of walking. Europeans aren't so squeamish.
You make a clean point :-D
Lets not let the secret out beyond this forum about how much better it is to walk places. Otherwise, next thing you know, thousands of people will start walking everywhere and those little sidewalks will start to get congested and then we'll have planners that specialize in sidewalk congestion management and a whole new area of lawsuits revolving around sidewalk collisions then before you know it, we'll have special bicylce insurance and pedestrian insurance...... :-D
 

mendelman

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#25
[personal attack]The author of the article
looks like an over zealous high school newspaper editor with more intelligence than experience or sense.[/personal attack]
 
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#26
We get all weird if someone has done any sweating, if they smell at all, or if their hair isn't perfectly coiffed because they have been out in the wind for 20 minutes of walking. Europeans aren't so squeamish.
I walk into work after a 40 minute bike ride and a 15 minute walk. The following questions come at me no matter what.
1. Why are you so red? I've rode my bike back from school and walked really fast to work.
2. Why are your eyes blood shot? The sweat gets in my eyes and burns, I SWEAR!
3. Are you sweating? Yes blah, blah
4. Are you tired? This one really gets me because after an hour of excersice I'm about as hyper as I can get. I think to myself, this person is just used to people (including me) looking sedate.

It's basically summer and I'm done with the pick up truck for 5 months, time to ride and walk!
 

BKM

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#27
mendelman said:
[personal attack]The author of the article
looks like an over zealous high school newspaper editor with more intelligence than experience or sense.[/personal attack]
Yep. Definitely your "typical" libertarian college kid. (Sorry, libertarians :))
 
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