2020年3月24日 星期二

Is density deadly?

The coronavirus strikes at New York.
Crowds shopping at the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan on Saturday.James Sprankle for The New York Times
Author Headshot

By Paul Krugman

Opinion Columnist

Whenever you hear someone talking about the “real America” as a place of small towns, bear in mind that these days most of us live in large metropolitan areas. Indeed, around a quarter of us live in the top 10 metro areas, of which the smallest, greater Boston, has almost 5 million people.

But New York is different. It feels urban in a way other U.S. cities don’t. And the numbers bear out that impression.

The number to look at here isn’t raw population density, which can be misleading: greater Los Angeles and greater New York have almost the same ratio of people to land area, because L.A. is hemmed in by mountains, while the New York metro area extends all the way into Pennsylvania. But obviously Angelenos don’t have a New York-style urban experience. What you want to look at instead is “population-weighted density,” which asks how dense a neighborhood the average person lives in.

And this measure shows that New York is in a class of its own, with the average resident living in a census tract with more than 31,000 people per square mile. (My own neighborhood has about 60,000 people per square mile.) That’s two-and-a-half times the density in San Francisco or L.A., four times the density of Chicago.

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High density means that New Yorkers live very differently from other Americans. True, the suburbs look like suburbs anywhere. But those who live or work in or near the city shop and commute differently: they are far more likely to walk or take public transit than the rest of our car-centered nation.

There are a lot of positives to the dense-city lifestyle. An old line says that New York is a great place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there; that’s exactly wrong. I always feel sorry for the heaving crowds of tourists in midtown; meanwhile, if you can afford the real estate — a very big if — daily life in Manhattan is surprisingly easy, with everything you need just a few minutes away. And walkability makes it much easier to get exercise; having moved from the suburbs to the city a few years ago, I’ve been startled by how much healthier my lifestyle has become.

What about crime? Donald Trump, among others, still has a 1970s vision of “carnage” in crime-ridden big cities, but these days New York is remarkably safe, with homicides only a tiny fraction of their peak in 1990.

But now, all of a sudden, New York’s density has become a potentially deadly problem. For the moment, at least, the coronavirus is hitting New York much harder than other parts of the country, and density is probably the main reason: the disease spread faster in New York than elsewhere simply because there’s so much human contact.

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This exceptionalism may not last. New York has moved strongly to enforce social distancing, which should pay off in a week or two. I wouldn’t be surprised to see coronavirus cases in other places — such as Miami, which still had packed beaches not long ago, and where the state governor is still refusing to take strong action — overtake New York in the near future.

In any case, I hope that this experience doesn’t have a long-lasting negative impact on urbanism. We don’t all have to live like New Yorkers, but it’s good for America — which thrives on diversity — that some of us do. And I want my city back.

Quick Hits

Always read Andy Slavitt’s daily updates on the coronavirus.

How we commute: New York is different.

Coronavirus: a tale of two states.

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2020年3月21日 星期六

Throw Away One Worry This Week

We have enough on our plates right now.
A roundup of new guidance and stories from NYT Parenting.

Yesterday I opened my cupboard and stared at a pair of garish, orange plastic cups. I use these cups to serve my children milk, and as recently as last week, I would look at them and think: I really should throw these out. I don’t even remember where they came from, and they’re probably leeching all sorts of unpronounceable toxins into my kids’ bloodstreams every time they take a sip — which I know from our own coverage of plastics!

But when I look at them now, nested cheerfully on the shelf, when we’re barely leaving the house as the coronavirus whips around the country, I think: I don’t give a rat’s patoot about these cups anymore. And, in that spirit, I invite you all to take one minor thing you used to worry about and throw it out the window for the next several months. If you can take anything off your considerable mental loads right now, please do so.

This week, we have stories about how folks in Seattle are managing work with their children at home (the answer is: it’s a nightmare); how to handle your kids’ disappointment about the changes in their lives; how to work from home with your partner without losing it; and a bright spot: an essay from Hanna Ingber, an editor at The Times, about how her co-parenting relationship with her ex has improved during this pandemic. If you’re a divorced or separated parent, we want to hear from you about your experiences co-parenting during the coronavirus.

Thanks for reading!

— Jessica Grose, lead editor, NYT Parenting

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Lilli Carré

Handling Your Kid’s Disappointment When Everything Is Canceled

School and events are shutting down, affecting children in unexpected ways. Here’s how to deal with the letdown.

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Peter Phobia

What Should You Do About Your Babysitter During Coronavirus?

If we’re practicing social distancing, is it OK to invite babysitters into our homes? Should we be offering our sitters time off — and if so, paid or unpaid? What if we’re worried that our caregivers might get our families sick?

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Hanna Ingber

My Ex and I Fought About Everything. Then Came the Coronavirus.

As news of the coronavirus got more and more dire, I worried: How do single parents take care of themselves and their children?

Jaime Fitch working from home with her 10-month-old daughter, Elowen, strapped to her chest. Parents in Seattle found themselves suddenly without child care last week after schools closed because of the coronavirus.via Jamie Fitch

“It Is a Nightmare Out Here”: Seattle Parents Struggle to Balance Work and Child Care

One of the first major American cities to face the coronavirus is now dealing with a child care shortage.

Antonio Giovanni Pinna

How to Work From Home Alongside Your Partner Without Losing It

Try “spousal distancing” to minimize coronavirus conflict when you’re stuck at home with your whole family 24/7.

Tiny Victories

Parenting can be a grind. Let’s celebrate the tiny victories.
Got 30+ friends and family together on a Zoom call to sing happy birthday to my son, who turned 6 today! It was a much needed outpouring of love. — Lili Weisz, Chicago

If you want a chance to get your Tiny Victory published, find us on Instagram @NYTparenting and use the hashtag #tinyvictories; email us; or enter your Tiny Victory at the bottom of this page. Include your full name and location. Tiny Victories may be edited for clarity and style. Your name, location and comments may be published, but your contact information will not. By submitting to us, you agree that you have read, understand and accept the Reader Submission Terms in relation to all of the content and other information you send to us.

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