An Inclusive Litany


Carol Lloyd, in an article on patterns of home ownership in the San Francisco Chronicle, January 2, 2002:
Harvard Professor John Stilgoe, whose specialty is visual and environmental studies, believes the current war on terror will intensify the desire for home ownership.

"Owning the real estate is going to become much more important," he says, "but the kind of real estate may be different." Instead of high-priced urban properties, he says, places off the beaten track are going to become increasingly attractive.

Why? He predicts that if there's another major terrorist attack in a metropolitan area, residents will no longer value urban real estate in the same way. "People are going to want to move out of the big cities and nest in a community where they feel safe," Stilgoe adds. "Then urban real estate values are going to collapse, and a lot of very rich people are going to lose their riches."

Stilgoe thinks that not only has such a scenario occurred to the powers that be, but the possibility has actually influenced our current foreign policy.

"The federal government was badly shocked after Sept. 11," he told me. "The elites thought they had to get the American people focused on something else. And so we're bombing the hell out of Afghanistan. I'm sorry to say this, but I think that's what this whole war on terrorism is all about: It's about maintaining urban property values. It is necessary to do whatever they can to keep people willing to pay exorbitant prices for a small apartment in Manhattan or San Francisco or Los Angeles."

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