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Is New Urbanism Just Slickly Packaged Sprawl?

Location may be key to New Urbanism-inspired developments.

"New urbanism appeals to many buyers, planners and smart-growth advocates. [But] some wonder whether new-urbanist towns, villages and communities necessarily equate with smart growth, especially in places that are in transition from rural to suburban. Are these neotraditional communities the solution to sprawl, or just sprawl slickly packaged?"

Full Story: Is growth spurt 'smart'?



Same Pig, Different Dress

Man sitting at the bar bemaons the latest round of lost freedoms at the planning level says out loud; "Those huckster new urbanists are a bunch of arrogant jerks." The man next to looks up, "I deeply resent those words!" "Why? Are you a planner?" "No, I'm an arrogant jerk."

I've translated the Congress for New Urbanisms Charter:

The Congress for the New Urbanism advocates: disproportionate government investment in central cities, government restrictions on choice of home or neighborhood, government mandated forced integration by race and income, increased government protections of the environment by limiting choice and uses of private property, and the application of government policies to return to old city form and dominance.

CNU seeks to restore density in the old cities, increase density in the new suburbs and place prohibitions on any land use policies that result in either lower densities or investment outside the dense urban areas.

CNU recognizes that intense limits on personal liberty and private property rights are necessary as it seems physical solutions by themselves will not solve social and economic problems inherent we percieve in our nations prefered urban patterns, but neither can economic vitality, community stability, and environmental health be sustained without a coherent and supportive physical framework.

CNU advocates the restructuring of public policy and development practices to support the following principles: neighborhoods should be diverse in use and population; communities should be designed for the pedestrian and transit as well as the car; cities and towns should be shaped by physically defined and universally accessible public spaces and community institutions; urban places should be framed by architecture and landscape design that celebrate local history, climate, ecology, and building practice.

CNU seeks to impose our extremeist and extreme minority views on the general population using force of government upon broad-based citizenry, composed of public and private sector leaders, community activists, and multidisciplinary professionals. We are committed to reestablishing the relationship between the art of building and the making of community, through citizen-based participatory planning and design. In short, we want to direct.

CNU dedicates ourselves to reclaiming our homes, blocks, streets, parks, neighborhoods, districts, towns, cities, regions, and environment.

You must be a disciple of

You must be a disciple of ether Wendell Cox/Randal O'Toole (same person perhaps?)

At any rate, your tired rhetoric fits the mold well.

I would think that you (whichever one you might happen to be), being a libertarian would support more OPTIONS and CHOICE for where people want to live, not just what you deem as "choice." New Urbanism is all about providing alternatives to the standard suburban formula. New urbanism accounts for such a slim percentage of new developments each year, I would hardly look at it as "forcing" anything upon anyone. People vote with their feet. The fact that these NU developments sell out so quickly says a great deal about demand and what consumers want. God forbid the people have a choice except for the same tired old forumla.

The Long Knives Are Out

Now I am accused of impersonation and plagarism as well as being labeled a Libertarian with no evidence to support any of these attacks. At least this anonymous poster took a few seconds out from the vicious personal attacks to address some of the content of my comments.

New Urbanism is indeed about an alternative to the current evolution of built urban patterns. No one objects to this characterization. And yes, New Urbanist projects are a small percentage of all development. But, New Urbanisims is not competing in the marketplace, either the marketplace of ideas or the economic marketplace. The CNU Charter is explict that NU is not a self sustaining process and that both subsidies and design/build exemptions are necessary for implementation. "Demand" for NU is nothing more than the ugly child whose parents need to pay the other children to play with her. Take away the bribes and the "demand" evaporates.

When without fact, let's just make them up!

You have absoultley no evidence to back up the baseless claim you make about demand for NU being due of subsidies.

You are right that NU is barely competing in the marketplace, but the reason is because most local zoning laws PROHIBIT the form of development practices used in NU communities. Sounds like an old case of the government using frivilous regulation to stand in the way of the free market. Let's level the playing field and see how fast demand will go up for these NU communities.

Just Ask, Don't Accuse

The challenge has been issued in a most insulting manner:
"You have absoultley no evidence to back up the baseless claim you make about demand for NU being due of subsidies."

These quotes from the CNU Charter:

"We recognize that physical solutions by themselves will not solve social and economic problems, but neither can economic vitality, community stability, and environmental health be sustained without a coherent and supportive physical framework."

"Affordable housing should be distributed throughout the region to match job opportunities and to avoid concentrations of poverty."

"Transit, pedestrian, and bicycle systems should maximize access and mobility throughout the region"

"Revenues and resources can be shared more cooperatively among the municipalities"

As to a level playing field I refer you to a previous discussion of the Portland Armory:
In order to acheive "sustainability" with viable economics the Armory project has recieved New Markets Tax Credits, Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits, Business Energy Tax Credits, property tax abatements, public and private donations, ongoing transit provision and any number of other subsidies along with all the public investment being poured into the Peral District in order to justify its' transit oriented development patterns.

I know it is difficult for proud parents to be told no one wants to play with their child but the correct course of action is to modify the child's behavior not bribe the other kids.

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