This comment thread go me thinking about something that's been bouncing around my head for a while now. Living in a city or a suburb puts severe limitations on what it means to own a house. (the case is even more extreme with condos but I don't really consider that ownership. Those are just apartments with mortgages.) Between HOAs and city ordinances, you have remarkably little freedom to do what you want with your own property.
That's just the start. Life in the city is constrained by a dense array of rules, because
1. Even as a homeowner, you spend a great deal of time in property you don't own;
2. Cities encourage specialization and a correspondingly high degree of interdependence;
3. It takes a lot of rules to allow this many people to live in this close a quarters;
4. If my freedom to move my arm stops at the closest person's nose, crowds have to severely limit my freedom.
I'm a city dweller, but if I gave into my libertarian tendencies, the only place I could stand living is back in the country. I'd get a place in the lower Ozarks off highway 7 at the end of a dirt road where a man can do what he damned well pleases. I'm not planning on moving any time soon but there are times the notion hits me (besides, it bothers me that I've forgotten that distinct smell of a dirt road).
Which is why libertarian urbanists like Edward Glaeser confuse me so. If the really value liberty so highly, why do they embrace the most rule dependent of lifestyles?
Links for 12-07-2013
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