I like to spend a week or two each year with the family in a more urban environment. San Francisco is one of our favorite places. Union Square is the location of choice and we mostly walk the city. This is the lifestyle that almost everybody writes about. It’s cool, energizing, and enlightening. These are great vacations, but they also allow one to appreciate home.
There are things at home that aren’t as “urban” to enjoy, but for me are important. Uber is cool, but I also like to park a car in the garage at my house, drive it to work, and get it washed on the weekends. Daily visits to small neighborhood shops tucked in the bottom corner of a large building are great, but I also enjoy filling up the trunk with groceries and not thinking about it again for another week. Taking a bus or train to a park is ok for a while, but it can’t beat opening the front door and playing catch with my kid in the street. Biking across a crowded bridge is fun, but it’s also nice to be able to take a left on some local trail and not see anybody for 15 minutes or more.
Community planning can be based on a number of different lifestyles. We can indeed strive for amenities that are similar to what we would find in some of the greatest cities. But, it’s ok if we also have yards and cars and wider streets. It’s also ok to not apologize for them.
Author’s note: If there is a particular economic or policy issue you would like covered in a later publication feel free to send your ideas and/or comments to [email protected]