City Hall

Liveblogging the 21st Century City Conference

Feliz morning, Unfair Amigos! I rolled into City Hall a few minutes ago and found myself standing amid many trendily slacks-ed, bottle-rim bespectacled folks up here in the sixth-floor council chambers. Those New Urbanists, they are a good-looking, if easily spotted, bunch. We're here for the 21st Century City Conference what The Bobsky told you about earlier.

Actually, noted speaker Joel Kotkin is apparently styled a "new geographist," and his talk, addressed to this well-dressed bunch of urbanists who look freshly plucked from Unhappy Hipsters, is titled "American Cities 2050." He was introduced by Dallas Morning News opinionator Larry Allums, who cheerleaded for Kotkin's book The New Geography and instructed us to remove our hats in his presence and turn toward Mecca for the entrance of Kotkin and his thorough mustache.

Kotkin opened with a quandary: How can you be as smart and brilliant as we are, and not end up talking down to the unwashed, un-stylish-jacket-wearing masses about your awesome ideas? OK, I'm paraphrasing. Here's what he really said: "One of the great problems of American progressivism is it tends to talk down to the population." And now I promise to quit whining about the awesome smugness of this room, promise.

Moving on: Kotkin talked up to us, literally, in council chambers, beginning with the challenges we'll face in the future: there will be more population crowding, and we're all "getting older slower." What to do about all this? Join me in the comments for Kotkin's prescription for a better, more newly geographized tomorrow.

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Andrea Grimes
Contact: Andrea Grimes

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