Peter Calthorpe's Stimulus Prescription

In this op-ed, Peter Calthorpe warns against a massive investment to stimulate sprawl as was done after WWII. He notes 3 areas that need smart investment to make the American Dream sustainable: urban transit, environment, and multi-family housing.

"We must not unwittingly (allow the stimulus package to) subsidize another generation of sprawl by overinvesting in new freeways or underwriting remote subdivisions.

The alternative to sprawl is simple and timely: compact neighborhoods of housing, parks, and schools within walking distance of shops, jobs and transit.

Using the power of the federal government to promote such community development requires an integrated effort focused on three areas:
• Transportation funding that moves away from a bias for highway projects and toward transit investment.
• Environmental policy that protects air quality and opens space.
• Federal housing assistance that moves beyond its historic orientations toward single-family hosing to encourage urban redevelopment."

"Just as federal policy set the stage for sprawl with enormous investment in freeways and VA loans that drove sprawl, it must now support a new direction though investments in transit and walk able communities."

Full Story: Stimulus for the next American Dream



While the concept of

While the concept of spending stimulus money on architecture is being laughed out of the room, I might as well stimulate more laughter with my stimulus spending proposals. The problem is that I’ll have everyone laughing, even those stung by the reaction to their own proposals. But here goes anyway.

Environmentalist/architects need to draw a line in the sand:

- No building that doesn’t address the need to slow and reverse climate change

- Apart from sensitive urban infil that respects the need for urban open space, no building on open land

- Build to help economically challenged people sustain themselves

— Construct independent basement units beneath buildings that lack them now, enabling harried homeowners to gain income from renting or condominiumizing them

- End starchitecture

These ideas might fare no better with government support, but they at least address a need to bring very radical change to architecture’s for a planet in peril.

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