Talk (or Comment) of the Town (and Towns)

I had the good luck last week to work with Sommer Mathis at CityLab, the site where people who think about urban issues go to learn and teach. I wrote a piece reviewing zoning, court and economic data to raise and linger on the idea that the rules restricting what you can build in most towns end up enforcing racist practice. 

I expected the piece to come and go in a day. Instead, it took root. 

I humbly saw more than 900 people share it (no more than 15 of whomo could have been my dad) and watched comments unfold. The comments got into that hairy I-can't-see-you-so-I'll-egg-you territory we know too well in cyberspace. Someone called me a racist, others called each other names, and many people said the choice they faced as to where to live indeed turned out narrower than they'd hoped. 

My conclusion remains that higher sea level and heavier storms will force Americans to live in closer, higher buildings than most places have seen in a century. The reaction to this story about what preserves single-family spread shows that we could all stand a few drills in how to talk productively with each other. Please read and react as you see fit.