A Word Or Two On Density

Nathan Marsak

Nathan Marsak

· 6 min read

I am forever fascinated by GrowLA’s Facebook page. They are first-tier density cheerleaders, fervently committed to tearing down any and all Los Angeles and replacing it with vast swaths of multi-units. Here is their cover page:

"Advocacy" group CA-YIMBY is funded by the Building Industry Association, Construction Trades Council, Regional Council of Carpenters, and the Plumbers & Pipefitters Union, God bless ’em_

Need I say, the opposite of this graphic is the actual truth. According to studies by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and all their various graphs involving demographic cross-tabulations of USFPP vs PPB (Unit Square Footage-Per-Person, Person-Per-Bedoom) and so forth, Americans in houses are “overhoused,” meaning they have more elbow room, while Americans in denser areas and multiunits are “underhoused,” i.e., suffering from overcrowding. This is true across all spectrums of race and ethnicity, income, metropolitan area, citizenship, etc. Don’t know if the YIMBYs made an honest mistake here, or they’re just lying liars who lie. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, of course.

What sort of thing gets posted on GrowLA? This is typical:

It’s like looking down the Norden bombsight

There’s you answer, “get” the City of Los Angeles to “do this,” what, through eminent domain? Tearing down single family homes is, for the YIMBY, always the answer. (We’ll ignore the fact that 5,000+ units are already under construction for UCLA right now.)

And what are we to replace Los Angeles’ single-family-dwellings with? Micro-Units, of course!

How can it be spread, John? Like any infectious disease, I suppose…

When you read this article, you’re supposed to feel warm and fuzzy because look! there’s more units and they COST LESS! Win for millennials!

Of course, what they fail to explicate: When you spend that $2,305 for a one-bedroom you are getting on average 768 square feet. That is because average rent around there is $3/sf. _Ergo_, the 265 square foot apartment at MicroUnitz _should_ cost $795 a month. _Why_ then would you pay $1500, or $5.66 a square foot, for your tiny place, when $5.66/sf is the going rate in Beverly Hills? But think of the amenities! Like not…having…parking…or a closet.

But you’re not supposed to ask these questions. You’re supposed to just accept that we can add millions of new people to Los Angeles—it will all be ok because we can tear down the old neighborhoods, those homes and lawns and trees, and learn to live with less. It has been said that living with less is good for the environment, and far be it from me to argue with that. What it does to your soul be damned, of course. The individual (and certainly the soul) are outdated concepts, anyway.

The new way of living is certainly the pod. All hail the pod! Here is General Pod discussing life in the Pod. Moscow-born Elvina Beck, CEO of PodShare, formed PodShare “like the idea of the government giving you everything in a Communist state”…though you still have to pay $1200 for the privilege. Which I suppose is a step up from living in disused sewer pipes:

I like the big glass wall that underscores “your basic human right to privacy is a lie”

Los Angeles has been criticized as an exclusionary region for homebuyers, though at least homes kept selling, which prevented their demolition. As those monied, home-buying types depart California in general and Los Angeles in particular, the powers-that-be are only interested in filling the void with a vast sea of perpetual rent serfs who will never know antiquated concepts like “elbow room.” I’m not sure how these PodPeople™ are going to pay the rent; Lord knows they won’t be working for Disney or Universal or Warner Brothers (if any of us are left alive; at 59 people per acre, Los Angeles is considerably more dense than New York or Chicago [47 and 41 people per acre, respectively] and we are being absolutely hammered by the plague thanks to that). Maybe they can get a service industry jo—oh, damn. Wait I know, government can subsidize their rent, via the money-making noblesse oblige of those high-income Californians paying 62¢ out of every dollar they earn—oh that’s right, those people moved out of California...because the government took 62¢ out of every dollar they earned.

Well then I guess I don’t know what will happen. People like me will keep complaining I suppose, but I am after all the problem according to our pals at GrowLA:

Yeahhh, my property taxes prop up your teacher’s union, so you’re welcome

"People will know about it!" Me and that pesky politician who sides with the homeowner. (Because this blog exists to recount all those times pesky politicians keep stepping in to save houses from becoming multiunit Jenga boxes.) But goddamn the homeowner! Who owns their home at the expense of everybody else! I can’t wait till we do away with that pesky private property and fix that!

Whither Los Angeles? Will we end up living as atomized ants in a great isolating colony? These kooky kids of to-day love them some globalism, and the Great Reset promulgated by their kreepy king Klaus Schwab, who is working for the abolition of private property (of your private property, that is; elites buy up everything with the money you gave them). So when Los Angeles becomes this, and I hear you say “once in awhile I get annoyed about the fact that I have no real privacy. No where I can go and not be registered. I know that, somewhere, everything I do, think and dream of is recorded.” but at least it’s “much better than the path we were on!” I will punch you in the…no, I’m sure I will say Hail General Pod.

Nathan Marsak

About Nathan Marsak

NATHAN MARSAK says: “I came to praise Los Angeles, not to bury her. And yet developers, City Hall and social reformers work in concert to effect wholesale demolition, removing the human scale of my town, tossing its charm into a landfill. The least I can do is memorialize in real time those places worth noting, as they slide inexorably into memory. In college I studied under Banham. I learned to love Los Angeles via Reyner’s teachings (and came to abjure Mike Davis and his lurid, fanciful, laughably-researched assertions). In grad school I focused on visionary urbanism and technological utopianism—so while some may find the premise of preserving communities so much ill-considered reactionary twaddle, at least I have a background in the other side. Anyway, I moved to Los Angeles, and began to document. I drove about shooting neon signs. I put endless miles across the Plains of Id on the old Packard as part of the 1947project; when Kim Cooper blogged about some bad lunch meat in Compton, I drove down to there to check on the scene of the crime (never via freeway—you can’t really learn Los Angeles unless you study her from the surface streets). But in short order one landmark after another disappeared. Few demolitions are as contentious or high profile as the Ambassador or Parker Center; rather, it is all the little houses and commercial buildings the social engineers are desperate to destroy in the name of the Greater Good. The fabric of our city is woven together by communities and neighborhoods who no longer have a say in their zoning or planning so it’s important to shine a light on these vanishing treasures, now, before the remarkable character of our city is wiped away like a stain from a countertop. (But Nathan, you say, it’s just this one house—no, it isn’t. Principiis obsta, finem respice.) And who knows, one might even be saved. Excelsior!””
Nathan’s blogs are: Bunker Hill Los Angeles, RIP Los Angeles & On Bunker Hill.

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