Was discussing traffic, housing and suchlike in the context of what hope our cities have going ahead of being better places to live and work in. It should not strike the fear of God in your heart to have to go meet someone at the other end of town. Or to just dress up and get to work every single day.
Then there's stuff like this, and water. And air. And the fears we've trapped ourselves in about our kids walking/cycling/busing around the city by themselves.
All those carelessly written words and notions in essays one wrote as a kid about "Technology : boon or bane" seem to have acquired a real, dangerous edge to them. We seem to have acquired a lot of ability, and gotten most our goals wrong.
Of course capitalism and the free market are god. But why do we destroy cities by forcing schools, and public utilities, and parks, and commercial real estate, compete for the same land ? Obviously a few of these either move out, or become unsustainable or too expensive. It sounds very communist, but the need to ensure that each micro-city - and keep them small for god's sake - has space allocated for people, the things they do, their schools, parks, lakes. And that each of this does not have to compete with multinational corporations or real estate interests with deep pockets.
We need to ensure with interact with, and understand well the cycles of, the producers - of food, of sources of water, of energy. Not merely sweep these connects under massive carpets of retail and services interfaces. We'll drive lesser, eat healthier, and do more meaningful stuff in life. It'll be more about the people in them, rather than about the cities themselves, or about their modes of transport etc. Cities need to impress and dazzle lesser, and accommodate and nurture more.
Our cities are killing themselves, and dragging us down with them.