2010-05-20 Money, not millennials, hurting cities

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Dear Mr. Duany,

At twenty-two years old, I qualify as a Millennial. I enjoy loud music and cheap, greasy food, among other things. I also love cities, including Washington, D.C., the one I was born in. I can't afford to live there, so I live at home with my parents. Yet, according to what you recently told the Atlantic, I'm ruining the place:

"There's this generation who grew up in the suburbs, for whom the suburbs have no magic. The mall has no magic. They're the ones that have discovered the city. Problem is, they're also destroying the city. The teenagers and young people in Miami come in from the suburbs to the few town centers we have, and they come in like locusts . . .

They have this techno music, and the food cheapens, and they run in packs, great social packs, and they take over a place and ruin it and go somewhere else."

But you know what really kills a city? Keeping people out. Making it prohibitively expensive by demanding it look or feel a certain way. A city cannot be planned all at once or dropped from the sky. A city is the accumulation of years and years of small changes made by many, many people of all kinds, creating a unique, irreplaceable product.

I don't think you understand that – which is understandable, because it took me a while to figure it out.

Duany's complaints about Millennials sounds like the stereotype of every generation's complaint about the next. Wasn't this exactly what adults said about the kids who were teenagers in the 1950s? (...and for that matter, what's wrong with loud music?)

Another comment on the quote from Duany is here