[ExI] brittle systems

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Sat May 9 19:35:16 UTC 2020

On May 8, 2020, at 10:05 PM, spike jones via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> We have long known the extended metropolis areas have grown dependent on brittle subsystems, such as mass transit in New York and Chicago.  OK so we saw that system shattered.  We recognize there are no good solutions to it: the city grew up on mass transit and needs it, even after it is clear that these systems make social distancing is impossible for the passengers.  There’s no clear way to break the habit.
> The current emergency has pointed out other weak spots, such as nursing homes.  I am now thinking we have other brittle systems we don’t even know about yet.  Any ideas what will be the next one to be revealed?

A complicated topic, but I believe two things make cities brittle in the US: city planning and zoning. There’s a long history of both and the latter was especially used to segregate along racial and class lines. Redlining is an example. These tend to make cities brittle by forcing allocation and growth into what’s preferred by whomever controls the planning and zoning apparatus. (And it’s a fool’s errand to believe this apparatus is either necessary or can be tamed to benefit all. They grew from and exist to serve an oligarchy.)

Also, federal promotion of highways created strong incentives to adopt the car for transporting people and the truck for goods on regional and national level. 

By the way, there are some good discussion of these issues and what to do about them amongst market urbaniste. See, for instance:


And also:



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