Booming Buffalo

Ed Glaeser is right about Buffalo, and by extension about all declining cities and regions: let ‘em croak. Or rather, help disadvantaged individuals, not landowners or elected officials. Free Exchange offers an excellent summary.

I’ll just add, briefly, that Gregg Easterbrook believes that Buffalo has a bright future in a warming world.

My hometown of Buffalo, New York, for example, is today so déclassé that some of its stately Beaux-Arts homes, built during the Gilded Age and overlooking a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, sell for about the price of one-bedroom condos in Boston or San Francisco. If a warming world makes the area less cold and snowy, Buffalo might become one of the country’s desirable addresses.

So perhaps climate change alarmists (and I include myself among them) should make a grand contrarian bet and buy up Buffalo.

I should note that I’m a lot less sanguine than Easterbrook: I don’t think he pays close enough attention to positive feedback loops. But that’s a separate issue.