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Part 1: Mark Baumer Reflection: Impounding Vehicles & Immigrant Rights

This is part of a multi-part reflection I've been doing following the death of my friend, Mark Baumer . There's nothing graphic i...

Some more Philadelphia photos

Kurt Van Dexter sent some of his own photos. An architect and member of the the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architecture, Kurt was one of our partners in Park(ing) Day. He's also originally from the Philly area. Some of these streets, from even older parts of the city, are even narrower than the one I laid down in.

A lot of these parts of the city, because they're so beautiful, can be pricey to live in. But creating a narrow street is not inherently expensive. One of the frustrating enigmas about our current state of affairs is that lots of things that are cheap to do and well liked by all (creating walkable streets, adding protected bike lanes, running frequent transit service, and so on) would actually make more sense in a pure free market than the things we actually do (using public funds for parking, building expensive "free"way type highways, etc.). We limit ourselves with zoning from doing what naturally came to people over the course of human history. If you only let people build so much of a thing that people love, the remaining models will become expensive an unwieldy. We've warped the market for driving, housing, and so on in this way, and it gives the false impression that a detached house in the exurbs is the way of the everyman.

We should have a role for public power to regulate safety, give workers more power to advocate for themselves, prevent environmental harm, and create a more shared distribution of wealth, for sure. But it's remarkable to think of how much we could do just by letting these basic market patterns emerge. It should be an ideal that unites people across any political ideologies they might have.

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Happy New Year.

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