Humans Jammed Together Like Sardines is ... Bad? WHO KNEW?

ALPERN AT LARGE--It is doubtful that the "density warriors" and the "YIMBY's" and all those who confuse development with overdevelopment will reconsider their thinking during or after the Coronavirus pandemic, because...why confuse facts with rightful indignation? Why confuse logical debate with screaming activism.

Kind of like those protesting the failure to open our economy during the pandemic, but doing it without masks or social distancing to prove themselves wrong, those fools, tools, and ghouls of the megadensity-even-if-breaks-environmental-laws-and-the-laws-of physics-and-biology movement, from State Senator Wiener on down to the paid activists of Abundant Housing are just wrong.

So the questions now goes out: building dense cities to reduce the cost of living, and placing luxury skyrises near transit stops that were anything BUT transit-oriented, was ... bad ? Who knew?

Oh, just about all thinking adults. Building a 3-4 story development with pricing aimed to low to middle-class families is quite different than building expensive units geared towards Silicon Beach execs.

New York City suffering more deaths than other cities...because of density, as stated by New York Governor Cuomo himself? Who knew?

Oh, just about all thinking adults. Some of us choose to live in megadense and job-rich New York City, and some of us choose to live in a reconfigured Downtown L.A. with more density and livability than we've seen in decades, but it's hardly accurate to demean or deride those who want more space for themselves and their families. Being reasonable is NOT being selfish.

State Senator I've-got-a-conflict-of-interest-with-developers-who-are-my-constituents-more-than-everyday-Californians Wiener doing whatever the hell he wants after middle-class and homeowner groups tell him he's gone too far and other also-bought-legislators following him like lemmings ... is ... BAD? 

Who knew?

Oh, just about all thinking adults. Moderate densification along major commercial corridors and creating more homes with water in cities that are properly equipped with water, electricity and other infrastructure isn't so bad an idea.

And neither is the creation of parks and planting more trees a bad idea, instead of the current deforestation of L.A. with its removal of side yards and front yards to accommodate those trees' roots. 

Really, LA, your "woke" "pro-environment" government is the worst thing that ever happened to the health and environmental considerations of your citizens. 

And the rediscovery of the computer, with the ability to work remotely in a manner that makes more sense for the suburbs as a place to live AND find new jobs? I mean...WHO KNEW?

Oh, just about all thinking adults. Telecommuting and web use were already up before the Coronavirus pandemic started, and now it is soaring, and very few of us are truly surprised.

Workplaces at home, and with business hours staggered to allow for an alternative to the mind-numbing traffic that can make the Southern California lifestyle a living hell, like we did during the 1984 L.A. Olympics, might work? 

I mean...WHO KNEW?

Oh, just about all thinking adults. 

Which begs a final question: who ARE those still screaming for urbanization as the one-size-fits-all as the happy way for all of us to go (and who often live in the suburbs themselves, and drive their car to work every day)?

Are they thinking? Are they thinking like adults?

You make the call.


(CityWatch Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He was (termed out) also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee and Vice-Chair of its Planning Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at Ken.Alpern@MarVista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)