What are luxuries in a dense city?

  • A grassy front yard

  • A single-unit building

  • A garage connected to your apartment

  • A garage, period

  • Parking

  • A car

  • A view of the city skyline

  • A 3000 square foot one bedroom apartment

  • The means to avoid interactions with strangers (but then, why are you living in a city?) 

Unfortunately there are also some luxuries that really shouldn’t be luxuries

  • Groceries and other essentials within walking distance

  • Mass transit within walking distance

  • An affordable apartment

  • A great school

  • Walking distance to a public space like a park or plaza

  • A space (perhaps public, perhaps outdoors) for exercise

  • Safe streets

Notice that some of the luxuries and essentials take physical space. Consider the fundamental problem of allocating scare city land. When is it appropriate for one person’s luxury to prevent another person’s essential?