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New Buildings and Old Sidewalks

In line for a performance in Los Angeles. Standing on an old, warped sidewalk. Building across the way getting a new facade. Lame conversation behind with three heads echoing a single thought, before interrupted. Girl posed a question: “What do you want to talk about?”

What indeed. Struck by the oddity of new and old in downtown Los Angeles. A question, lurking beneath, but not words.

Why new buildings and old sidewalks? Lacks sense.

More of the interesting things seem to happen in the city. Looking around, the city is obviously insane. What?

A building is ripped out and rebuilt, while surrounded by old sidewalks. What?

Drive a few hours on the interstates, outside of the dense urban/suburban areas. Vast areas of unused wastelands. What difference?

Take that same rectangle of land in the city, transport to any of the abundant open spaces, and it has no value. The value of land in a city is entirely derived from the surrounding social and material matrix. The intrinsic value within the rectangle is near none.

Makes the arguments about “taxes” less meaningful. The value of a plot of land within a city derives entirely from the surrounding matrix. There is a cost to being part of that matrix.

Why do we end up with new buildings and old sidewalks? Disconnect. The source of value is the surrounding matrix. The costs of the matrix need more accurate factoring.

Next time I have a topic.