America is a nation of tiny cities
It's not all about racism, but I have to say that to many of my relatives and acquaintances in rural areas, a "city" means a lot of non-white people strolling with you on that street to get ice cream. And I mean they say that explicitly.
Addison, This article essentially gets the point made correctly about how people rationalize (make excuses) when viewing old towns versus newer cities.
Your rambling thoughts may even be ‘beating a dead horse’, as the point was made up front.
Suggest using your excellent observational skills on-site to comprehend that while false comparisons are rife, CONTEXT is very important - especially in mature suburban communities adjacent to ‘largish’ cities - like Washington, D.C. By context I mean what economic interests are pressuring ‘urbanification’ of smaller suburbs in real time. An Amazon HQ for Arlington is/will dominate future housing policy, with top-down housing density growth linked to much higher real estate prices of existing homes for sale and for rentals.
In other somewhat comparable suburban locations without an Amazon ‘take-over’, quality of life comparisons are distinctly different. When a few outside real estate/for-Profit Developers pay (‘donate’) for campaigns by politicians pushing large-scale densification/for-profit model of New Urbanist upzoning notions, resistance is not “NIMBYISM’ as you characterize it. Instead it is in the best community interests to protect and preserve existing truly affordable housing like older garden apartments/other apartment complexes currently providing larger units for poorer families in decent surroundings. An aggressive Planning Board trying to raze these affordable apartments, scatter occupants, and encourage (subsidize) for-profit Developers and bit Land corporations to transform these ‘suburban’ spaces into denser ‘New Urban’ upscale complexes becomes the real-world threat. They misuse Urbanism concepts to acquire ‘land’ cheaply and sell brand new dense housing ‘dear’. These operators are not Urban idealists, they are capitalisms seeking profit above all things. They work on corrupted officials using ‘land-use’ devices while extolling need for more housing.
They seek (& typically receive) many windfalls including free street-side parkland and County land via so-called ‘land-swaps’ in which the developable land spaces are worth much more to developers than interior spaces of similar square footage given in return. Plus many regulatory waivers including on ‘set-backs’ and exceeding height limits by paying nominal amounts into a County fund for future parkland. Wide variety of ‘devices’ used to ‘incentivize’ developers in order to induce them to raze/build on designated Sites even though they are already very profitable. Result is a ‘race-to-the-bottom’ by County governments trying to give away more valuable land while displacing needy families. Honest Urban growth would not indulge in this charade. But that is how current market abuses undermine neighborhoods and mixed-use small business areas. I suggest you look more deeply into underly ‘machinations’ first, then write on how these aspects impact your much higher-level constructs that make sense abstractly but founder in the face of socio-economic realities. And So It Goes…..