Extreme right parties give themselves feel-good names like \”Party for Freedom,\” \”(Swiss) People's Party,\” and \”(Sweden) Democrats,\” because the extreme right brand is so tarnished. That's how I feel about this sort of rebranding of what clearly means conservative urbanism. Because referring to this as conservative urbanism sounds too politicized, they use the term \”opportunity urbanism.\” The Sweden Democrats aren't particularly democratic, and the opportunity urbanists don't seem to care at all about any national measure of opportunity, like inequality or intergenerational income mobility, at neither of which the US Sunbelt is very good even by US standards.In reality, New York is the most unequal US metro area, but among major metro areas it's followed by Miami and Houston, not San Francisco or Boston. But it goes further, for two reasons. First, the US cites inequality numbers before taxes or transfers, and New York and California have higher taxes on the rich and social spending than Texas, reducing their after-taxes-and-transfers inequality more. And second, New York and San Francisco have dual housing markets because of rent controls, and between this and mass transit, this produces a class gradient in living costs. Wealthier people are more likely to be in market-rate housing and to want a car even in New York; the ability not to own a car in New York is a major moderating effect on living costs, while rent controls raise living costs for wealthier people and for people who'd like to move in while lowering them on long-time working-class residents. That's how the Center for Neighborhood Technology produces these maps showing that (at lower middle-class income) it's cheaper to live in central cities than in suburbs, and no cheaper to live in the Sunbelt than in New York.The other issue is that it's completely wrong to compare Houston with New York on many questions, especially racial ones. Houston and New York are both multiracial cities, in which non-Hispanic whites are not a majority. Why not compare the entire South with the Northeast? The sort of economic policies that Cox, Kotkin, and other right-wingers applaud in Texas are equally present in the rest of the South. Well, I didn't count them because they're not as big as Miami or Houston, but after New York and Miami, the most unequal US metro areas are various Deep Southern ones like Birmingham and New Orleans. And in those cities, the white majorities (in the state or county if not in the city proper) lead to a very different kind of racial politics from that of either New York or Houston, the kind where there's never any money for public schools, and instead white families of all social classes send their children to segregated private schools.

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