BS people believe about urbanists: an extension

The Stammering Dunce
4 min readMar 28, 2023

Also published on Wordpress.

This is not a continuation of the previous blog. This is an attempt to extend two of my points.

I want to extend one of them because of the recent fifteen minutes city controversy. As I have debunked it in another blogpost, I am not going to detail it here; I will focus on the projection instead.

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Fourth, fifth and sixth projection part B: Propaganda and/or social engineering

You believe urbanists are nothing but victims of either propaganda or social engineering (I have heard people use either term). You genuinely believe we cannot form our urbanist beliefs on our own.

False.

Most, if not all, urbanists grew up in car-centric (sub)urban sprawls and some of us still live in such places. They are the reasons why we become staunch urbanists, because we end up craving places that are the exact opposites.

Yes, those urbanist content creators may not use impartial languages. But, they still provide citations for their arguments; they are not just mere pundits.

Now, how about you?

Most, if not all, of you grew up in car-centric urban sprawls and still live in them. Without ever living in a walkable, bike-friendly and transit-oriented city, you dismiss the possibility that you may enjoy living in one.

In fact, you believe dense urban environments are innately anti-humans and humans are biologically wired to seek lives in those North American-style suburbs…

… Despite the fact that, as a concept, city is as old as civilisations and is an inevitable byproduct of human advancements… while those North American-style suburbs are results of deliberate 21st century policy-making. If your claim has any factual basis, it would have been the other way around.

Don’t forget your reactions towards urban planning in general.

You are dismissive of what urbanist content creators have to say even though, as snarky as they can be, they are equipped with actual data… while you are only equipped with anecdotes and feelings.

It is so blatant who are the victims of propaganda and social engineering here.

Seventh projection part B: imprisonment

You believe fifteen minutes city is a project to turn cities into prison complexes where residents are prohibited from leaving their neighbourhoods without special permits and we urbanists are the complicit idiots.

False.

There are no evidences of any governments proposing such policies, especially in the name of urban planning. Literally none. Even North Korea doesn’t do that.

What places like Oxford are proposing include restriction of car movements and increasing walkability. What’s so prison-like about improving mobility for people who cannot drive?

And no, a policy that only targets car movements won’t lead to totalitarianism; slippery slope fallacy AKA your personal feeling is not an evidence.

But, do you know what is a prison? A car-centric city.

In such a place, it is next to impossible to go anywhere without cars. If you are too young and too old to drive or you have disability, your mobility is at the mercy of other people who drive. If none of them is available, you cannot go anywhere.

Cars are also expensive. If you are too poor to buy one, you are at the mercy of public transit; in a car-centric place, public transit is — more of than not — unreliable because the vehicles get stuck in traffic, the frequency is very infrequent and the routes are very limited and non-sensical.

If you are neither poor nor rich, you can own a car. But, the maintenance cost is still pricy and, considering the instability of oil prices, it may gets even pricier. Unless you genuinely love driving and don’t feel coerced to own one, the expenses would feel smothering.

Oh and don’t forget the traffic.

Believe it or not, cars cause congestions. The more roads have cars, the more congested they become. Building wider roads does not satisfy the demands, it actually induces them, as it compels even more people to drive.

Just take a look at any highways in the world. Virtually every single one of them has regular congestion issues. The 26-lane Katy Freeway is the widest in the world and yet, it still manages to be the most congested in the big ass state of Texas.

Car-centric urban design is also hostile to drivers by trapping them in regular traffic jams congestions. More walkable, transit-oriented and bike-friendly one, which provides alternatives to cars, actually liberates them by having lesser congestions, if at all.

Extremely limited mobility, the lack of options, financial burden, perpetual congestions. While they are not literal prisons, they are still problems that shackle us from living our lives more freely, caused by government-implemented car-centrism, provoked by lobbyists of the automotive industry.

Deep down, you know you are complicit by helping the spread of pro-car propaganda. That’s why you try to avert the negative attention from yourselves to urbanists, by accusing them of the things you are guilty of.

Either that or you are just virtue signaling.

You don’t actually care about any forms of oppressiveness. But, you do care about looking good or feeling good about yourself.

Hence why, instead of condemning actual cases of oppression (no matter how figurative and “mild” they are) with actual people denied of higher living standards….

You choose to speak out on a non-existent one, supported by nothing but probability fallacy, slippery slope fallacy and the words of pundits.

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