Readers Respond To Leinberger's 'Death of Fringe Suburb'

The Times published three responses to op-eds by Leinberger and anti-sprawl contributor, Louise A. Mozingo. Univ. of IL urban planning professor and author Robert Bruegmann and Carnegie Endowment director Shin-Pei Tsay present contrasting viewpoints.

Urban theorist Christopher Leinberger (Planetizen: Why Have the Exurbs Declined?) and University of California, Berkeley Professor Louise A. Mozingo ("To Rethink Sprawl, Start With Offices" espouse higher density, urban visions of land use that Robert Bruegman, professor emeritus of art history, architecture and urban planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the author of "Sprawl: A Compact History" characterizes as "wishful thinking".

"In this view (described by Leinberger and Mozingo) of the world, S.U.V.'s will rust beside the road in front of abandoned McMansions as Americans finally come to their senses, renounce low-density settlements and rush back to the city. Or, if they don't, we should change our policies to push them back", Bruegmann writes.

Transportation Solvency Director, Shin-Pei Tsay, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace indicates the difficulties in achieving the smart growth visions of Leinberger and Mozingo.

"Unfortunately, decades-old policies and laws discourage sprawl-free developments in much of the country. Local laws are shaped by federal policy. The current national transportation bill continues to focus on highway development at the expense of walking, biking and public transit", she writes.

Finally, Jonathon Carey, a San Francisco environmental planner, rejects Leinberger's assertion that the market wants mixed income cities and suburbs.

"Witness a wealthy neighborhood's reaction to a proposed low- or mixed-income housing development, and you'll see just how classist and selfish our society can be", Carey writes.

Full Story: Cities, Suburbs and Changing Attitudes



Bruegmann in NY Times

"...fallacious assumptions, notably that low-density development is inherently less efficient or environmentally sustainable than high-density settlement."

I was amazed when I read this in the NY Times. There is nothing more obvious than the fact that low density, auto-dependent development requires more energy than higher density, walkable development - and also uses more land, more water, and more of other resources. How can Bruegmann just deny the obvious?

Charles Siegel

The obvious.

How can Bruegmann just deny the obvious?

He gets paid to deny the obvious.



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