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WOKE LEFT GOES CRAZY: Trump's plan for 10 new American cites 'trad havens for beautiful families'

The Daily Knight

Cityscape of historical center, Munich, Germany Image: Harald Nachtmann/Getty Images

By Business Insider.

  • Architecture critic Kate Wagner says Trump's plan to build "freedom cities" is nothing new.

  • She argues Trump is pushing a right-wing "aesthetic culture war" against urbanism and progressivism.

  • "He's just gonna create trad havens for beautiful families," she told Insider. "I think it's kind of crazy."

When former President Donald Trump recently debuted his 2024 campaign pledge to charter up to ten new American cities on federal land, critics and supporters alike didn't really know what to say.

Some conservatives praised his national "beautification campaign," others panned his plan to engineer a "baby boom" in these new cities. Some on the right condemned the proposal as a "leftist plan" to create high-tech, government chartered metropolises like those being built in Saudi Arabia.

And Kate Wagner, the architecture critic and author of the popular "McMansion Hell" blog, argues Trump's plan is part of a much bigger, decades-long "aesthetic culture war" the political right has waged against modern architecture, urbanism, and progressivism.

Her take harkens back to when, as president, Trump called for a return to classical architecture and made racist appeals to suburban voters whose neighborhoods he argued Democrats were "destroying" by promoting affordability and inclusivity. "The 'suburban housewife' will be voting for me. They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood," Trump tweeted in 2020, warning that Sen. Cory Booker, a Black Democrat, would help build affordable housing under a Biden administration.

With his freedom cities, which Trump says will feature plentiful single-family homes and both regular and flying cars, Wagner says he's applying his traditionalist aesthetic to the creation of cities, or as she describes them "trad sprawl."

Conservative politicians and their supporters have long glorified classical design, derived from ancient Greek and Roman architecture, and denigrated modern architecture with its clean lines and new materials. In Europe, traditionalists have tried to tie brutalist architecture, characterized by concrete and geometric shapes, to the post-war welfare state and socialism. Far-right commentator, Paul Joseph Watson, called the creators of modernism "the social justice warriors of their time" and "aesthetic terrorists." There's a whole eco-system of classical architecture proponents on Twitter with Roman statues as their avatars who decry modernism.