Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tough choices

Tyler Cowen linked to this Joe Satran post about LA vs NY food (also look at the video). LA vs NY stuff is always interesting, especially when food is involved. Predictably, the discussion evokes "sprawl" and "density" and ease of access to a variety of choices.  As readers of this blog know, some of these are bad words.  "Sprawl" is pejorative and vague. "Density" is also vague and is often used when agendas are in place.

Both, NY and LA, are much too big to be described by just plain "density;" I keep noting that if one must play that game, then one has to face the fact that the LA urbanized area is denser that NY's -- and has been for at least the past 25 years. Overall "density" is a poor descriptor.

In this discussion, when the foodies compare, they rely on the poor descriptors. How easily can I access a rich variety of eateries?

The question of where one can find a better quality of life intrigues planners and others. But that question does not work. Preferences and resources vary and we each look for a niche (in this case a neighborhood) that works best in light of our preferred lifestyles -- including restaurant styles, prices, access, variety, etc.

A good friend once confided that he would like Manhattan outside his front door and Santa Monica outside his back door. Until we make progress on this package, we will have to evaluate the trade-offs involved in the packages available and make our choices.