Nov 5, 2005

City and Country

Comment Magazine has begun a series on Urbanism and Agrarianism, with the publication of The Case for Paleo-Urbanism by Eric Jacobsen, author of Sidewalks of the Kingdom.

I'm fairly disillusioned with New Urbanism, since I first looked at it a few years ago. First, because the results (e.g. Celebration, FL and Santana Row in San Jose, CA) appear to me to be superficial and artifical, nothing but the bourgeois bohemian's eclectic nostalgia and actually containing some of the worst elements of suburbanism. Second, because New Urbanism doesn't seem to arise from an ethical ideal, or even to contain an ethical impulse, or to be any sort of commitment to community. Conversely, I'm more taken than ever with Wendell Berry-styled Agrarianism, which I don't take to be about where one lives, but how.