Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Tragedy of California

Yglesias laments the weather wasted in Southern California. I would include Northern California and most of the Bay Area that is not served by transit in that assessment.

The thing you really forget about the deplorable land use and development patterns in southern California (and the Southwest more generally) until you come back out here is how goddamn nice the weather is, a fact that takes the situation out of the realm of farce and into tragedy. You know what a good place to never walk anywhere would be? Boston or Chicago in the winter. Or maybe DC or New York in the summer. That's some nasty weather to be walking around in.

But LA would be a great place to walk or ride a bike to work all year 'round. But it's our bad weather belt that has the walkable cities, and our sunny and temperate all the time region that barely has sidewalks.


inkyfingers said...

While I agree generally with this, Arizona, New Mexico and southern Nevada are not picnics in the heart of summer (Vegas= 115 degrees in August). Even NM (my home state) is as bad as the East Coast (at times) in winter.

That being said, I have lamented many a-time about how SoCal residents do not appreciate the weather they have and how conducive it is to being outside (and, optimally, on a bike!).

arcady said...

Southern California also hasn't done very much in terms of designing outdoor spaces for the weather. Just consider the iconic palm tree of LA: a five story tall pole, with a few leaves on top, providing exactly no shade, but nice to look at as you drive by in a car. Fortunately, that's starting to change, as the City of Los Angeles has embarked on a program to plant a million new street trees, none of them palms.

M1EK said...

Those palm trees are better equipped to deal with the lack of rain, perhaps? Think how much irrigation more normal trees would need in a climate where it doesn't rain for 8 months.