Thought re: crime rates
Via Volokh Conspiracy comes this WaPo article by gadfly Jeremy Rifkin. He's pointing out the environmental costs (of course!) of dense cities.
Just a thought: crime and in particular homicide rates go up drastically with urbanization, and the larger the city the worse they become. It may be the animal in us -- pack lab rats in densely and they start to fight. How much of the crime rate may be attributable to increasing urbanization might be an interesting question.
It has some local impact here. Channeled by mountains and government land, Tucson has expanded mostly to the Northwest and the East, becoming rather L-shaped. I live in the northeast end, and rarely go downtown (except to court). There's nothing down there, really, and the streets were laid out a century ago, so traffic is slow. We have shopping malls, office supply stores, and everything else here in the east side.
So the local governments are spending millions to "revitalize downtown" in hopes that I would drive 16 miles to go somewhere that has nothing that interests me. Of course it's a boondoggle. But I can't see why revitalizing downtown is a slogan in this context. In some places "downtown" is a crime-ridden slum and improving it might be nice. But here, it's just downtown, narrow streets and old buildings, and most of us have essentially moved away because other places are just more convenient.