Modern urbanism and human flourishing

Marnie Lux
5 min readMay 31, 2022

The modern planner is the reason we no longer produce another San Francisco, New York, Paris or London anymore. These cities have some of the highest price per square foot in the world for a reason. They were slowly and organically built up to be more resilient and community-based in all ways.

The urban sprawl we now have works with the current car culture but it is not an optimal way of moving and living. Far from it as a matter of fact.

If the statistics for car accidents were to stand alone; the number of deaths of our children and teenagers would scream out and we would have abolished this instrument of death a long time ago.

The solution

Allow organic growth which is slow; not debt-fueled sprawl, letting creative destruction run its course till you get a city center that has ‘eyes on the street’ a la Jane Jacobs with safety for our children and the ability to afford to live near where we work. Walkability is key but this feature has to grow on its own merits and the local community needs to make its own slow edits with small bets. That is anti-fragility and resiliency.

Then our civilization will once again flourish. Modern city and county governments have gone astray with power trips and a hubris that exceeds those of dictators. Politicians needing to promise instant changes, translate to the dearth of their governed’s education and wisdom.

Healing and righting our landscape is simple but not simplistic.

My points lead to righting our education system to allow for creativity and humbleness. Unfortunately, those traits are the very opposite of what we foster in our public education hierarchies of federal oversight, school administrators and teachers’ unions.

I believe that America is still riding on the crest of the creativity fueled from the last three hundred years of having minimal public education bureaucracies and the freedom to live our lives free of zoning regulations amongst other made up laws which hurt us.

Function follows form, especially in urbanism. Our lives benefit from proximity to interact allowing us to encourage and sharpen each other. Proximity creates trust and increases commerce. All that supports a higher standard of living.

Simple but complex.

It is a wonderful thing that our world is made up of tremendous complexity. It makes for fascination and beauty and passion. And those three things should be the impetus for all education.

These are the things that make life worth living. Fortunately, despite these shackles of regulation, even with our short lives, we still see the tremendous outflow of productivity. Thank God we have this instinctual pressing need to produce despite being taxed for being productive. This need, thankfully, is so strong that it overcomes basic psychology i.e. reward increases an activity just as punishment decreases it. Our current progressive system of taxation does exactly that. The more you make, the more you are punished for being productive.

We need freedom to experiment, fail and flourish

That productivity is hindered by a common set of rules for everyone. Imagine the human flourishing that would have taken place if we had allowed people to follow their passion. And why don’t we allow people to follow their passion? It is because of ever increasing regulations which has stopped us dead in our tracks. And because we live such short lives, it is all the more pressing that the government does not prevent us from working on our skills at an early age.

Sadly, our children are funneled through this current educational system which are meant to create mindless slaves that supports their system of slavery. Nothing is self-customized and this leaves no room for focused ‘play’ which is the fuel for everything beautiful in life.

There are some skills which needs to be encouraged possibly from the age of five years old. With our child labor laws and the imposed public education structure, we have stymied this potential set of artisans, entrepreneurs and producers.

The freedom to do concentrated work allowing people the freedom to develop their skills from as young an age as five could have brought about so-called geniuses. These so-called prodigies would have developed these skills because of the ability to start at an early age. However as we have stifled such creativity, this capital resource is killed forever, much less harnessed. We have taken away so much happiness and fulfillment from the population and we continue to do so because of our dismal public education.

It brings to mind the sad mental condition of our children. One which is so bored that they seek to amuse themselves or to focus on destructive means as an outlet for their misdirected energies. Imagine the busyness and flow that would grip our kids if we let loose and allow their imagination to create a competitiveness of cooperation to produce stuff instead of the entitled state of milieu we currently foster.

We managed to write the American constitution four hundred years ago and grow this country to be the most powerful country in the world without a federal education department. I believe right now that we continue to increase our standard of living from our non-public education tradition from yesteryears. And that crest is also still fueling the scientific and technological advancements of our day and age. A prime example is this rising crypto age whose genesis comes from a shrugging of government and regulations.

It is the seen and unseen

One can hardly imagine how much further along we would be in our development and human flourishing if we did not have our current top down control and command type governance.

In life, we all operate within ranges with critical tipping points. Right now, it is still not obvious and the masses do not see how close we are to the end of the great American experiment which is slowly failing. Unfortunately, things tend to slowly fall apart and then suddenly it all comes to a precipitous end. And that’s how empires rise and fall.

And now you have my philosophy and outlook in life but also glimpses into my sadness and frustration of what could have been if we were all libertarians.



Marnie Lux

Christian humanist, gerontologist, financial analyst, engineer and community builder.