Bruegmann: Urban Myths About Sprawl And Congestion

Robert Bruegmann, author of "Sprawl: A Compact History," writes that traffic congestion is caused not by sprawl but by misconceptions about sprawl.

"Sprawl is not the worst thing that ever happened to the nation's cities. In fact, by many measures, it's been beneficial. Despite the cliche among some academics and intellectuals that sprawl leads to incoherent, unattractive, traffic-clogged cities, the reality is that it has benefited many people over many years...In recent years, it is true, L.A.'s congestion has gotten worse. But that is actually less the fault of sprawl than it is the result of things that have been done or not done because of misconceptions about sprawl. modes of transportation that combine the adaptability and personal comfort of the auto with the efficiency of the train or bus are more likely, in the long run, to satisfy the needs of most Americans than forcing everyone back into high-density cities so they can ride trains."

Full Story: Gridlock, schmidlock



Anyone have any ideas where this campaign comes from?

I'm curious and I'd like to know which lobbying group/think tank has initiated this "sprawl all good" campaign.

Anyone have an idea?



Mike Lydon's picture

Sprawl Brawl

Look no further than the Reason Institute,

Bruegmann Is Also A Fanatic For Mobility

In addition to being a fan of sprawl, Bruegmann is a fanatic for mobility. "Try driving 60 mph through the center of Paris" -- as if Paris would be a better place to live if that were possible.

Looking at the figures on VMT per capita, we see that the average American drives twice as much now as in the 1960s. Are Americans really better off because of all of this extra mobility -- all of this extra driving back and forth? I would say we spend lots of money on this mobility, without increasing our well being.

At the end of this article, he says battles over sprawl "weaken the consensus for funding for all kinds of transportation — public and private, highway and rail," and he calls for massive new investments in mobility.

Investments in mobility, highway or rail, almost always mean subsidies to mobility. This mean that people who live in neighborhoods where they can walk pay extra taxes to subsidize people who live in neighborhoods where they have to drive every time they leave their homes.

We should be doing the opposite of what Breugmann says. Eliminate the subsidies to the automobile, so people do not have an artificial incentive to drive such long distances. Change the zoning laws so the design of our cities doesn't force people to drive such long distances. Then we would have less mobility -- and we would also have less congestion and more livable cities.

Charles Siegel


Nice to see Bruegmann finally reveal his true colors by dragging out that tired 1960s era stalking horse, Personal Rapid Transit.

What's next Mr. Bruegmann? Flying Cars???

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