The Broken Window Theory, Car Cops and Rising Tensions in Tough Times

Released: April 16, 2009.

James Howard Kunstler often advocates for a return to urban living arrangements. But urban living often bring residents into close proximity to bad behavior. The situation can be especially frightening when people inhabit cities that aren’t fully repopulated yet. Suburban style “car cop” policing causes additional problems because car culture can foster bad behavior from the police themselves. Kunstler believes that police on foot and horse would lead to more productive policing and would also allow citizens to police the police. Later Kunstler speaks about the “Broken Window Theory.” Host Duncan Crary asks Kunstler about the obligation of citizens to address and correct bad behavior when they encounter it. In his response, Kunstler touches upon the underlying racial issues that are sometimes present in these situations. Finally, Kunstler muses on the future of community policing after insolvent municipalities can no longer afford to pay for overwhelming vehicular policing styles. A listener caller from Portland, Maine ends the show with thoughts on “driving” bicycles on the street.

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(28 MB | 34:54 mins.)


Sponsorship for this podcast comes from the Congress for the New Urbanism, the nation’s leading forum dedicated to advancing urbanism and promoting alternatives to sprawl. CNU’s 17th annual Congress will be in Denver, June 10-14. For information and to register, visit: