Atrios and Pandagon, spurred by WereBear give some indication that they’re in tune to at least a few of the spatial implications of the urban realm. One of the problems I’ve always had with MyDD and DailyKos is that it’s more or less all political rhetoric and strategy without any recognition of space. Even today, Chris Bowers today lauded the 200th chapter of Drinking Liberally as part of a Creative Class progressive social network. Someone took him to task by pointing out that the idea is lame for being so feebly centered on the middle class. As one of my professors noted, the author of the Creative Class theory is an apologist for the children of middle-class suburbanites who are now gentrifying the central cities their parents abandoned. (One thing that Kunstler still gets right, though he’s gone off the deep end about most things, is that none of the major Democrats have any inkling of this. For them, the American lifestyle is still non-negotiable).
The point is that none of these systems — energy use, urban economics, politics — takes place outside of space. These are all inextricably linked to the spatial mismatch of jobs and housing; the overexpansion of suburban infrastructure; the overconsumption of fossil fuels through housing and transportation. If the progressive/liberal movement is solely centered on recruiting the middle class, I’m not sure there is much value to it, because I am sure its coalition would sell out whoever needed its help when the chips were down, politics being what it is. Likewise, a problem with the progressive movement seems to be one of creative class consumption, thinking that there’s a technical solution or strategy to solve our biggest problems when it is really going to take a major shift in lifestyle.
At any rate, the choice of urban living, while better than its suburban alternative, if simply another consumer lifestyle emphasizing convenience, is not much of an improvement and nowhere near the thoughtful consideration of lifestyle choices (soon to be necessities) people should be making, like choosing urban living and forgoing auto transportation because it’s their responsibility.