Sprawl is Good Defense
December 14, 2001 9:48 AM   Subscribe

Sprawl is Good Defense "It's a pretty good rule of military thumb that the greater the concentration of value, the more attractive the target... To keep things safe, you need to spread things out." The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian should begin moving their collections out of NYC and Washington,D.C. Now. Talented, intelligent people and people with irreplaceable skills should go next. Re-locate to the Great Plains.
posted by Faze (11 comments total)
No need to worry about the Smithsonian. Their budget has recently been slashed in half.
posted by Postroad at 10:32 AM on December 14, 2001

Unless, of course, the concentration of that value is a value in itself. Spreading out NYC would destroy everything that makes it great. Sure, you could put MoMA somewhere else, for instance, but it wouldn't be worth nearly as much. The resources (cultural and otherwise) in NYC serve vast numbers of people, both directly and indirectly -- and that is what makes them valuable. Businesses (some more than others, of course) thrive off the energy and efficiencies close proximity to other businesses (both competitors and partners) brings. Artists and ordinary people alike can find rich and diverse communities that sustain them.

Obviously, one could go on in this vein. But let's just say, we could just as well defend the bald eagle by finding the species a nice little zoo, too.
posted by mattpfeff at 10:33 AM on December 14, 2001

Please see this thread for more or less the same argument with a nice set of refutations.

I won't repeat what I said there, but I refuse go live in a bunker by myself because my city is a target. Look at Israel, avoiding for a moment any political discussion and focusing on the ordinary people. They've been living with terrorism for 30 years, but they still go to the movies, they still eat in restaurants and they still live in cities.

The concentration of cities is the value of cities. Removing that concentration (destroying our cities) "means the terrorists won." (Oh for the love of tired cliches.)
posted by joemaller at 10:38 AM on December 14, 2001

I was assuming this had to be a satirical treatment of something dumb that a military person said, but no, the author is just a moron:
As targets on the battlefield grow increasingly diffuse, it becomes all too clear that value elsewhere is still concentrated in the most terrible way.
Another way of making things "less attractive" as targets is to cover them with poop, which is something the author might try. I'd find that less "terrible" than his current attractive non-poop covered state. (Agreement with Mattpfeff and Joemaller.)
posted by sylloge at 10:43 AM on December 14, 2001


I was tempted to make this article "less attractive" as a a target. He seems to be saying if we don't adopt hydrogen and wind power, then the terrorists ....
posted by euphorb at 11:26 AM on December 14, 2001

Geez, sounds almost like centralized planning and distribution of talent and labor. Sounds almost... [gasp] communist.
posted by holycola at 11:26 AM on December 14, 2001

Of course, none of this takes into account how many people will die on the roads as they transverse the sprawled urban/non-urban landscape.

I strongly recommend the book Suburban Nation to anyone who's interested in the design of communites and how that design affects us. This spread out or die rhetoric is bullshit.
posted by mrbula at 12:03 PM on December 14, 2001

Re-locate to the Great Plains.

please don't.
posted by tolkhan at 1:23 PM on December 14, 2001

Re-locate to the Great Plains

Yeah, and then watch the rise of environmental terrorism.
posted by PeteyStock at 2:05 PM on December 14, 2001

Relocate to the Great Plains, sure. It's not like there are nuclear missile silos (at the top of the hit list) or anything out in the heartland.
posted by StOne at 10:21 PM on December 14, 2001

My suggestion is to give the Great Plains "Back to the Buffalo."
posted by Carol Anne at 3:08 PM on December 15, 2001

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