Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

An insight from my brother on societal supports and social infrastructure

 I hadn't seen my brother, who lives in Florida, for many many years.  He came to see me, all too briefly, when I was in the hospital two weeks ago.

As men do, we didn't express dying love for each other, we just talked about stuff.

One of the points he made is that why are so many state governments focusing on legalizing drugs ("How America got high as a kite," Financial Times).  For the money, and sometimes, theoretically, to be able to focus on helping people instead of criminalizing them, although the Oregon initiative isn't really working ("Oregon Decriminalized Hard Drugs. It Isn't Working," ) and it seems that the Portugal policy too has diminishing returns ("Portugal's drug decriminalization faces opposition as addiction multiplies," Washington Post).

I had no idea until a couple years ago, that the death rate from overdoses is significantly higher than that from murders or car accidents.  

We talked about legalizing drugs as a form of anesthetization.  This is called by some economists, sociologists and health researchers, "Deaths of Despair."  It and covid are contributing to the US's decline in lifespan ("Life expectancy in U.S. is falling amid surges in chronic illness," Washington Post).

He said instead of legalizing drugs we should be investing in people.  We didn't talk about national health care.  He mentioned investing in arts programs for people, for expanded educational opportunities, for investments in civic assets.

What Eric Klinenberg calls Social Infrastructure.  And how I write about social urbanism.

Of course, he's right.

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At 9:35 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

10 years ago I have marijuana legalization very high on "Top 10" things the US should do. Along with higher gas taxes, better MPG requirements and a few others.

There is always going to be a transition, but it's not going well. I strongly suspect that a large part of the DC crime wave is related to marijuana. Lots of cash to rob. My opinion is switching back.

One big questions I'm pondering is how the new GLP-1 drugs will change society's view on "over indulgence". Basically it dulls the reward center so that behavior doesn't feel good. Eat less, drink less, party less.

(I've also noted it just removes a lot of the void de vivre in patients on it).

But yeah, basically, we prefer anathesia.

At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The American system on so many levels is allergic to change and frankly prefers that you just die.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

A bleak assessment. But yes our first response is not to invest in people but to take benefits away.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I did find a journal article on the crime impact of medical dispensaries but it is 11 years old. It said minimal but I know there have been issues.

Many years ago I toured the Takoma DC one around its opening and I was impressed by the high level of security in treated into the building and its operation. But I know there have been attempted robberies there regardless.


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