The Battle Over Sprawl and The Future Of America

Former journalist Anthony Flint discusses his new book, which chronicle of the fledgling smart-growth movement and the challenges it faces. Some see Flint as a moderate voice in the highly-charged debate.

Few debates in the U.S. are more emotionally charged than the one over sprawl... Into this contentious debate steps unusually cool-headed Anthony Flint, whose book This Land: The Battle Over Sprawl and the Future of America is a chronicle of the fledgling smart-growth movement and the challenges it faces from entrenched interests. For 20 years, Flint was a journalist covering urban development, planning, and transportation, primarily for The Boston Globe.

From an interview in Grist Magazine:

"David Roberts: Do you consider yourself anti-sprawl, or is that too simplistic?

Anthony Flint: "I want to focus on making sure that there are alternatives to sprawl available to people who are rethinking how they live, primarily because of energy and transportation costs. Urgent action is needed to make sure we're ready to accommodate those people, and that means changing zoning, working on urban infill and redevelopment, and investing in transit infrastructure. That is plenty to keep us all very busy without worrying about whether we should restrict sprawl, or whether sprawl is an actual thing, or a good thing."

From an interview in The Oregonian:

"Laura Oppenheimer: How can smart growth achieve positive things without creating negative situations?

Anthony Flnt: You've hit the nail on the head. Most people in smart growth and new urbanism today don't care so much about sprawl anymore. They're focused on making sure there's an alternative to sprawl.

The hard work of changing zoning and cutting red tape in urban infill areas and addressing urban schools . . . these are the areas of focus today, rather than, "Oh, my gosh, we've got to stop that next subdivision from happening."

Full Story: Street Smarts


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