Taking On "Smart Growth"

Definition: “New Urbanism – the revival of our lost art of place-making, and promotes the creation and restoration of compact, walkable, mixed-use cities.”

It is completely impractical to make everything “walking distance” from everything else. People like cars. The car is the most liberating personal appliance ever invented. The new urbanist war on the car is based on a communalist ideology that completely fails in the real world. From an environmentalist perspective, the war on the car is already obsolete given the car is on the verge of becoming cradle to cradle green.


The utopian notions of the “smart growth” lobby are the reason homes are way too expensive for the average person. The massive expenditures in public amenities necessary to facilitate “smart growth” have created building fees that are now as high as $100K per home. This, combined with the complete (and artificial) lack of available land for building entitlements have restricted the supply of homes and driven prices into the stratosphere.

Understandably, public sector workers have a difficult conflict of interests here – higher property tax revenue means their pensions may remain solvent. But the rest of us pay higher taxes and can’t even afford annual property taxes when we’re old; forget about servicing a mortgage on social security. And we all get crammed into cluster homes, where people are piled on top of one another. There is plenty of land in the US, and open space should not be sacred. When you block suburban growth, you simply stimulate exurban growth.

There is an intrinsic conflict between advocating liberal immigration policies which cause rapid population growth and trying to protect open space. The new urbanist solution is to cram us all into ultra high density urban areas – this approach should be rejected. Either we stablize population via sensible immigration policies, or we allow market driven development onto open space.

There is nothing wrong with high density in the urban core, as long as it is car friendly. What is deplorable is high density on the urban fringe, or in neighborhoods that are preexisting and primarily low density. But the market should be allowed to sort this out, not new urbanist social engineers. Of course people want to live in cool high rises or condominiums or mixed use housing in the urban core. And if people want these types of developments, they should be built. But nobody should have to live in a neighborhood 20 miles from the city center in cluster homes where 20,000 people are packed into each square mile, when half that density would still ensure that very small percentages of open space are urbanized. The higher the density, the more likely there will be no canopy whatsoever among residential structures. They become imperious tree wastelands and heat islands. There is nothing smart about this. The only reason people buy single family dwellings with nonexistant yards is because it’s all they can afford and they want the mortgage interest deduction.

And private property is not a “mantra,” if that implies it has no moral basis and is simply something people repeat mindlessly to themselves without critically examining what they think. Wrong. Private property is a value that, when respected, creates the incentives that make people work hard and accomplish goals in life for themselves and their families. Take that away and you have the Soviet Union. Be careful when you dismiss the value of private property as nothing more than a “mantra.” Be careful what you wish for.

Thanks to new urbanism, restrictive zoning has made all housing less affordable. If someone wants to live in the city, great. But if someone actually likes to live on a nice big lot, they should be able to pay a reasonable price, not some over-inflated price that is only the result of artificially restricted supply. In the Sacramento region of Northern California, an acre of land within the “urban service boundary” may cost some $300K, while land barely across the street outside this arbitrary boundary can cost 1/10th that amount. This is a perversion of the market, that only inflates the price of housing, pricing ordinary people out of home ownership.


18 Responses to “Taking On "Smart Growth"”
  1. Dan Staley says:

    But the market should be allowed to sort this out, not new urbanist social engineers. Of course people want to live in cool high rises or condominiums or mixed use housing in the urban core. And if people want these types of developments, they should be built. But nobody likes living in a neighborhood 20 miles from the city center in cluster homes 20,000 per square mile. These are treeless, soulless wastelands, and they are being sold as smart growth. Yada.

    The Market IS SORTING IT OUT and the market is responding by building more compact developments, which are more resistant to the current downturn. What’s your problem with that?

    Your baseless statement nobody likes living in a neighborhood 20 miles from the city center certainly arises from your narrow experience, as New Urbanist developments are going like hotcakes. I guess nobody is living in the houses, right?

    Lastly, your These are treeless, soulless wastelands, and they are being sold as smart growth. confuses cr*p with decent design. Surely it’s out of ignorance and not malice. Many of these areas set aside ~20-30% open space, and as you saw on Urbnrnet today, code is written to allow space for green infrastructure – as my talk in Baltimore last month detailed. Too bad you missed it – were you at a Cato or Reason seminar instead?

    Best regards,

    DS

  2. Dan Staley says:

    Missed this little gem:

    It is completely impractical to make everything “walking distance” from everything else.

    No one is trying to do this.

    People like cars. The car is the most liberating personal appliance ever invented. Your war on the car is based on a communalist ideology that completely fails in the real world and is already obsolete given the car is on the verge of becoming cradle to cradle green.

    People also don’t like to get in their car for every d*mn thing, as the Almighty Market is showing with the increasing number of developments you don’t like and wish others did too so your ideology isn’t shown to be wanting.

    Best regards,

    DS

  3. Ed Ring says:

    Dan: When you perseverate regarding Cato and Reason you simply reveal your bias. Again, I’m not saying high density can’t work in some places. But I think you are being optimistic if you think most people prefer them. Many of these communities are being deliberately designed to prevent adequate space for parking a car. This is totally unrealistic. Maybe you should come to California and see what they’re doing. I’ve talked with developers who believe all the same things you are saying, yet they are appalled at the extreme to which these principles are being applied.

    Why do you think we are any better off having homes on 3,000 square foot lots, with oversized parks, compared to having homes on 6,000 square foot lots, with normal sized parks? Wouldn’t we have more trees covering the entire neighborhood in the second case – since people would have room on their lots to plant a tree? And wouldn’t the public sector maintenance budget be cut, allowing lower taxes, if there was a higher percentage of open space on the private lots?

  4. Dan Staley says:

    Again, I’m not saying high density can’t work in some places. But I think you are being optimistic if you think most people prefer them.

    Never said that. You’re confused.

    Many of these communities are being deliberately designed to prevent adequate space for parking a car.

    No they’re not. Find me a NU SFD development without 2-car garages and on-street parking for at least .5. MFR needs at least 1.25 and find me one that doesn’t.

    Why do you think we are any better off having homes on 3,000 square foot lots, with oversized parks, compared to having homes on 6,000 square foot lots, with normal sized parks?

    Never said that. You’re confused.

    Wouldn’t we have more trees covering the entire neighborhood in the second case – since people would have room on their lots to plant a tree?

    Depends. Brian Stone’s work anyway shows your second case has a lower albedo and greater overall semipervious and thus higher urban heat island & receiving waters channel scouring, with higher turbidity and lower WQ.

    And wouldn’t the public sector maintenance budget be cut, allowing lower taxes, if there was a higher percentage of open space on the private lots?

    What if the citizens want public space?

    Sorry, Ed. Your view is in the minority. You can rail about it all you want, but the Almighty Market says the opposite of what you wish everyone wanted.

    Best regards,

    DS

  5. Ed Ring says:

    Dan: Yes, there are “NU SFD” developments without two car garages – and for the benefit of our readers, “NU SFD” means “new urbanist single family dwelling.”

    There are developments being proposed all over California with one car garages that are “SFD,” they are actually being suggested at 14+ units per acre. And what, on street parking for “.5″ cars per home is ok? If I’m not mistaken, you are in Colorado. If you had to deal with some of the planners and the activist community in California, you might actually start agreeing with me.

    It was not the “almighty market” that got home prices into the stratosphere – it was the artificially constrained supply of entitled land, combined with public sector building fees that now often top $100K per home.

    If you can stop calling me names, I would greatly appreciate a link or reference so I can study Brian Stone’s work regarding the heat island tradeoffs between high density and low density.

  6. Dan Staley says:

    I like it, Ed, that you have to resort to accusing me of calling you names (hint: ‘you’re confused’ isn’t calling you names). And proposed development isn’t _built_ development. Show me the 1-car SFD on the ground, Ed.

    And you’re confused about The Almighty Market comments – The Almighty Market is building the communities you think no one wants.

    California purposely constrained land, as surface water and other issues such as air pollution drove many communities to constrain supply (let’s not confuse this with how it is everywhere) – in fact, I left Sacto. after 14 years because there are too many people in CA. So supply constraints? Sure.

    Lastly, Brian Stone work.

    specifically, among others:

    Abstract
    This paper examines the influence of residential zoning and subdivision regulations on the extent and distribution of impervious land cover in Madison, WI. Specifically, an analysis of approximately 40,000 single-family residential parcels in the Madison region is presented to assess the impact of land development regulations governing lot size, lot frontage, front yard setbacks, street width, and the neighborhood street network configuration on total parcel impervious cover. The results of this research suggest that lower density patterns of single-family development are associated with a larger area of impervious cover per unit of occupancy than higher density patterns. The paper argues that parcel-based analyses of environmental impact are needed to evaluate the role of specific land use planning policies on regional environmental quality. Based on the results of the analysis, we identify three specific strategies for reducing residential impervious area through municipal land development regulations.

    Best regards,

    DS

  7. Ed Ring says:

    Dan – I was trying to be nice. You’re right, you weren’t calling me names, you were being arrogant by repeatedly calling me “confused” and saying I’ve “parrotted” material from other sources. By getting personal, you lower the quality of our discussion. Thank you for allowing me to clarify that.

    Thank you also for the link to Brian Stone’s work.
    Land use planning and surface heat island formation: A parcel-based radiation flux approach.”

    Here is one excerpt from his research which you may wish to ponder:

    “…the magnitude of surface warming scales closely with lot size, with the mean net black body flux increasing by a factor of almost six between the highest and lowest density classes. While this descriptive evidence supports our hypothesis of a negative relationship between the density of singlefamily residential development and surface warming, it is important to note that this simple covariation does not account for the distribution of residential capacity or tree canopy cover
    throughout the region. If larger lot sizes are also associated with greater residential capacities (e.g., four and five bedroom houses) and a less mature tree canopy cover, then the relationship between the density of development and thermal performance may be attributable to incompatible design objectives or to the age of development in different areas of the city.”

    Translation, if you have higher density, you have greater heat island effects, and, if you don’t have room for mature trees, the heat island effect is higher still.

    Here is another excerpt:

    “As indicated by our analysis, for the average single-family parcel, an increase in tree canopy cover from 45% to 60% reduces the parcel net black body flux by 14%. For trees strategically planted along roadways and in proximity to houses, the thermal benefits are likely to be greater.”

    Now take a look at the aerial photo of the housing development at the top of this post. These are 4,000 square foot lots with 2,500 square foot homes. Do you see any trees? Do you think anyone is going to plant trees there?

  8. Dan Staley says:

    Ed, you’ll want to contact Brian and tell him your interpretation of his conclusion. Tell us what he says, as his paper does not say what you wish it says.

    That is: I don’t need to ponder his research, as I lecture and write upon it. The issue you don’t want to understand in the paper is that:

    5. Discussion

    The results of this analysis provide compelling evidence that the size and material composition of single-family residential parcels is significantly related to the magnitude of surface warming in the Atlanta study region. Specifically, smaller, higher density parcels were found to be associated with a lower net black body flux than larger, lower density parcels when controlling for the class of land use and the number of bedrooms in the residential structure [blackbody flux = albedo - D]. While both the area of impervious materials and lawn and landscaping were found to be positively related to the parcel net black body flux, the area of lawn and landscaping—a strong correlate of parcel size—was found to be the strongest predictor of excess surface warming.

    In contrast to previous work on the urban heat island (e.g., Hoyano, 1984), the results of this study support the hypothesis that lower density, dispersed patterns of urban residential development contribute more surface energy to regional heat island formation than do higher density, compact forms. [pg 3570, emphases added]

    The reason for this is because in Atlanta [can't remember if he teases this out in this paper or another one], social norms hold that only a portion of the parcel should be covered with tree canopy. So, while we may wish that everyone plant trees everywhere, it is only a wish.

    Thus, as my recent presentation stated, we should look strongly to public spaces to increase tree canopy (as the developments are providing ~20-40% open space set asides already), and the Muni Codes should reflect wider treelawns and utilize traffic calming measures to increase Green Infra. in the front of parcels, and the back of parcels are already providing adequate volume for canopy.

    And, to reiterate, your implicit assertions that dispersed land use forms are benign is, simply, incorrect.

    Best regards,

    DS

  9. Dan Staley says:

    Forgot:

    Again, just because something is “compact” doesn’t mean it’s “Smart Growth”.

    Let us stop confusing the two.

    DS

  10. Ed Ring says:

    Dan: Stone writes: “the magnitude of surface warming scales closely with lot size, with the mean net black body flux increasing by a factor of almost six between the highest and lowest density classes.”

    Obviously the tradeoff between high and low density is that while the high density may have a much higher heat absorption than low density, it also is home to far more people, leaving open space that has low heat absorption.

    But are we permitting low density housing with zoning contingent on planting tree canopy, or building reflective roof and pavement surfaces? No. And why aren’t we comparing low density housing to farmland in terms of environmental impact? The idea that low density exurbs are somehow more disruptive to ecosystems or climate than irrigated (and subsidized) corn ethanol farms is certainly debateable – to use a pertinent example. And where are the trees in the high density development shown in the photo at the top of this post? Maybe the high density neighborhoods you design aren’t as high density as the norm here in California. Because there is NO room for trees in the neighborhood in that photo.

    At the end of the day, the policy environment is making it relatively easy to buy a high-density home, but is making low density housing unaffordable. I think this is wrong, for all the reasons I’ve stated. People who love nature and want their own yard should be able to pay a reasonable price and achieve that dream.

  11. Dan Staley says:

    No.

    You don’t understand the paper, Ed.

    Higher density land uses have LESS HEAT ABSORPTION because their surfaces have a higher albedo (lower flux because of higher reflectivity) and greater %age of shading where canopy exists. The lawn surfaces and replacement of natural vegetation in large-lot developments makes MORE HEAT ABSORPTION due to the lower albedo from darker surfaces and less evapotranspiration than woodland/forest it replaced (lawn is dark and has less ET than woodlot-forest-ag due to lower overall leaf surface area). Not to mention the greater nitrification from lawns in large-lot development (Arden Creek in Sacto was most nitrified water body in US in early 2000s, from lawns and landscaping of the rich people in large lots along the creek).

    And you are confused yet again with this statement the policy environment is making it relatively easy to buy a high-density home, but is making low density housing unaffordable.

    This is bass-ackwards for many reasons. Because the low-density affordable homes are on the fringe, where people drive to qualify: Lodi, Lathrop, Tracy. These are low-density areas with affordable developments due to lower land rents, permitting and impact fees, labor making per-unit [any unit] costs far cheaper than on the peninsula. Amazing how wrong your statement is. The unmet market demand for NU homes drives up equilibirum rents until demand is met – thus making this sort of development MORE expensive than low-density snouthouses lacking nearby amenities, as in a McSuburb. Not to mention that NU developments’ prices haven’t fallen as far as McSuburb prices in this downturn. And developments that lack amenites (as in McSuburbs on the fringe) are more affordable precisely because they lack amenities and the poor sods who live there have to jump in the car for every d*mn thing, which keeps rents down.

    You also, Ed, haven’t shown a 14 DU/ac SFD with 350 sf garage project on the ground – you know, what you claim is crowding out the precious 4 DU/ac that everybody and their brother wants. How are you coming with backing that claim, and what is the fraction of that project to overall permitting? And is the 14 DU/ac similar to the cr*ppy foto you put at the top of this post (that you wish to imply everything is built this way). or does it have a treelawn, and what is the open space set-aside %?

    Best regards,

    DS

  12. Ed Ring says:

    Dan: Here is one example of a proposed development that is 14 units per 3/4 acre with one car garages:
    http://www.sacbee.com/103/story/317983.html (You may have to register, so here’s one quote: “Her groupings of 14 dwellings contain 10 regular houses and four “carriage units,” where residents live above three or four garage spaces that will be used by the homeowners. Most of the houses will be allotted one garage parking space.”).

    There are more examples. And the photo I display at the top of this story is quite typical. What are you saying, that it is easier to plant trees in areas such as depicted in this photo, where you’ve got 8-10 homes per acre, than it is to plant them in a lower density development?

    In general you seem to be cherry picking the conclusions you want to hear, at the same time as you fail to acknowledge areas where we might agree. I have never criticized high density housing in downtown areas. And I don’t consider places like Tracy, California, to be low density developments; they are high density developments in my opinion. And I have no more enthusiasm for a “McSuburb” than you.

    I’m going to reiterate my criticisms of new urbanism:

    1 – It supports “urban service boundaries” that makes land outside the boundary very hard to develop, which artificially (and some would say catastrophically) raises the price of land. This makes homes less affordable.

    2 – It emphasizes public space, expensively maintained by public entities and paid for by taxpayers, over private space.

    3 – It makes war on the car, despite the fact that most people prefer cars and despite the fact that cars are on the verge of becoming totally green. It advocates zero freeway upgrades despite massive population growth, in order to force people into mass transit.

    4 – It promotes infill in quiet, preexisting suburbs where neighbors should not see their low density lifestyle destroyed by “special planning” areas where literally 10x as many new units are on an acre compared to within the neighborhood at large.

    5 – It places a premium on open space, but offers no criticism of land use even more inefficient than low density homes and ranchettes, such as irrigated, subsidized corn ethanol farms.

    6 – It presumes that social problems will be alleviated through forcing everyone to live in ultra high density neighborhoods; it supports cramming affordable housing units into higher income neighborhoods, undermining the incentives that inspired people to work hard and earn their way into a higher income neighborhood.

    7 – It maintains there is a shortage of open space and farmland, and at least in the USA, there is not. California is projected to add 13 million people to their population within the next 25 years. If you put all of those people into homes on 1 acre lots with households of 3.5 people, you would only use up 6,500 square miles – that will never happen, because as you correctly state, many people prefer high density living. But if they were dispersed in this manner, 6,500 square miles is a small fraction of California’s 158,000 square miles. In all, only about 4% of the USA is urbanized – not much at all.

    8 – New Urbanism pretends they have the final answer; that their precepts are beyond debate. The new urbanists share this trait with the anthropogenic CO2 alarmists; they also tend to march in lockstep with the anthropogenic global warming crowd, and use AGW concerns as trump cards to roll over opposition to their plans and policies. I think the AGW issue is nuanced – example: European carbon offset credits created the global market for subsidized biodiesel, which is the direct cause of massive deforestation throughout Asia (want to talk about heat islands?) – and for everyone’s sake debate on AGW and New Urbanism should be welcomed, not ridiculed.

    As for Stone’s study – he is welcome to comment here or even submit a guest post, as are you. But you cannot convince me that covering something like 70% of the ground with roofs, cement and asphalt per the new urbanist model is going to be more reflective than a low density suburb. And if trees are the solution, mandate them. You want to mandate everything else. It is certainly more feasible to plant trees in a low density suburb than in neighborhoods where people are packed on top of each other 10-20 units per acre.

  13. Dan Staley says:

    Ed, I asked for a project on the ground. Your reading comprehension needs lots of work.

    Wrt Stone’s paper that you don’t want to understand:

    “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

    – Marcel Proust

    Lastly, your eight assertions are so far off, so not grounded in any knowledge base, so rife with misconceptions, so entrenched in ideological maintenance and back-asswardsness that I’m afraid I must enact my personal rule to not argue or deliberate with residents of Wingnuttia. I’ll never get that time back, alas.

    Keep using your rhetoric and this argumentation, Ed. Please.

    You’ll make my – and other planner’s – jobs a lot easier when contrasted with you and this ideological position.

    Best regards.

    DS

  14. Ed Ring says:

    Dan: So I finally wore you out, did I? I’m afraid the objective reader will find far more validity in my eight assertions than you do. And your insults (latest one “wingnuttia”) undermine your credibility.

  15. I work with the New Urbanist open-source model zoning code, the SmartCodeI work with the New Urbanist open-source model zoning code, the SmartCode, available for free download to all municipalities here:
    http://www.smartcodecentral.org/ I would like to address the eight criticisms Ed Ring has written, based specifically on what is in the SmartCode.

    1 – “It supports “urban service boundaries” that makes land outside the boundary very hard to develop, which artificially (and some would say catastrophically) raises the price of land. This makes homes less affordable.”

    The SmartCode and New Urbanism in general does not support “urban service boundaries,” rather it allocates the size and intensity of communities based on the environmental sensitivity or agricultural usefulness of the land, and on availability of existing infrastructure. You may have hamlets almost anywhere except protected habitats, but your regional centers should be assigned to existing thoroughfares and transit. Regardless of the size or intensity of the community, it must be planned according to one or more pedestrian sheds, so that walking is one of the transportation options for at least some of your daily needs, and so that children, the elderly, the disabled, and the poor are not dependent on those who drive.

    2 – “It emphasizes public space, expensively maintained by public entities and paid for by taxpayers, over private space.”

    It regulates both. The street is conceived as a public space and designed for comfort and safety of pedestrians and bicyclists as well as the car. New Urbanists have been designing “complete streets” for over two decades. Private space is regulated by lot size, building type (NOT style), frontage type, etc. so that walkability, safety, and diverse options in living arrangements are enabled. There are large and small lots, large and small houses, and mixes of uses within the overall neighborhood.

    3 – “It makes war on the car, despite the fact that most people prefer cars and despite the fact that cars are on the verge of becoming totally green. It advocates zero freeway upgrades despite massive population growth, in order to force people into mass transit.”

    No, it does not make war on the car. It accommodates the car in a way that does not continue the degradation of the public realm we have seen for 60 years. Parking and thoroughfares are given at least 15 pages in the SmartCode and its Modules, but parking *location* and holistic street design are critical because thoughtless parking location and overwide, high-speed streets have destroyed the public realm. Regarding “freeway upgrades,” I forget who said this, but “Widening a road to accommodate more traffic is like a fat man loosening his belt so he can eat more.” The key to alleviating congestion is providing networks of connected streets like those in traditional neighborhoods and cities. The network is to the city as the wetlands are to the coasts – absorptive, so there is no flood in any one place. (By the way, “green” cars wouldn’t do a thing to reduce driving – they would encourage more sprawl and traffic accidents and dependence on drivers and more highway and parking infrastructure, i.e, more impervious surface.

    4 – “It promotes infill in quiet, preexisting suburbs where neighbors should not see their low density lifestyle destroyed by “special planning” areas where literally 10x as many new units are on an acre compared to within the neighborhood at large.”

    I don’t know what’s going on in the places you reference, but the SmartCode (and NU in general) employs transect-based planning that does not support development that is out of context with its immediate surroundings.

    5 – “It places a premium on open space, but offers no criticism of land use even more inefficient than low density homes and ranchettes, such as irrigated, subsidized corn ethanol farms.”

    You are free to prohibit that use on Table 12 when you customize the model code.

    6 – “It presumes that social problems will be alleviated through forcing everyone to live in ultra high density neighborhoods; it supports cramming affordable housing units into higher income neighborhoods, undermining the incentives that inspired people to work hard and earn their way into a higher income neighborhood.”

    I don’t actually understand this criticism. It sounds like you mean you wouldn’t want your children or parents to be able to afford to live in the same neighborhood you do.

    7 – “It maintains there is a shortage of open space and farmland, and at least in the USA, there is not.”

    New Urbanism never maintains any such thing. One of the NU leaders routinely reminds us that 95% of America is considered “undeveloped.” Greenfield development is part of our toolkit, but it must be in the form mentioned above, i.e., planned with pedestrian sheds, to reduce overall driving and impervious surface.

    8 -” New Urbanism pretends they have the final answer; that their precepts are beyond debate. … for everyone’s sake debate on AGW and New Urbanism should be welcomed, not ridiculed.”

    Informed debate is always welcomed. I’ve never seen a group that loved debate more than the New Urbanists.

    “And if trees are the solution, mandate them. ”

    They are mandated, because they are essential environmentally and urbanistically. See Section 5.11 for the private frontage and Section 3.7 and Tables 4A, 4B, and 6 and Module 4C for the public frontage.

    Sandy Sorlien

  16. Sorry, I just saw the photograph acompanying this page. That is not a New Urbanist community, at least not an exemplary one – it has front-loaded parking, and, apparently, no trees.

    Sandy

  17. Ed Ring says:

    Sandy,
    I have pasted your response into a more recent post which focuses specifically on the eight criticisms and will respond there.
    See “Letter from Wingnuttia – Eight Criticisms of New Urbanism
    Ed

  18. The premise of New Urbanism is social engineering – we will all live in compact neighborhoods and be friendly with our neighbors chatting on the sidewalk and from our front porches… too bad we cannot interview the neighbors before they move in… Here are some key points – there are no New Urban neighborhoods that are both affordable and non-subsidized – none. The amount of impervious surface in a typical New urban neighborhood is shameful and why it is touted as environmentally sound is beyond me – just look at the examples all over the internet – concrete and rooftop – hardly any “green”. The grid? How about the MNDOT study showing 32 impact points at 4 way intersections – 9 at Tee intersections, the fact that 51% of pedestrians get killed at intersections (NTSB), the fact that if you can separate pedestrians and vehicles accidents will be reduced (World Health Org studies), the fact that the amount of start stop acellerate will waste more fuel than efficient and safter more suburban design (if done right). The fact that intermixing a wide range of housing values tends to devalue expensive housing (comp’s) – oop’s that’s right there are no “affordable non subsidized homes! How about the New Urbanism that failed – where are those articles? Clover Ridge in Chaska Minnesota or the Ramsey Town Center come to mind. As blighted urban cores get redeveloped into Gentrified New Urban meccas for the wealthy (mostly single, emply nesters, and gays) how did that make the displaced poor have a better life? Hey – where are the studies and articles how their lives have improved? Finally I grew up in New Urbanism – Detroit. We call people who sit on their front porches there – targets.

    When will we get some common sense back to land planning and city planning? I understand why New Urbanism got so strong – as there were not other solutions, so it is politically advantageous to hold onto something – but today there are new options for design – ones that make far more sense.

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