Making the Case for Sprawl

Christopher Mims reports on L. Brooks Patterson, county executive of Oakland County, Michigan, who is perhaps the country's most vocal advocate of sprawl.

Mims quotes a number of rich passages from an essay that Patterson, whom Grist calls the "World's Worst Elected Official", posted to the Oakland County website.

Below is one of the choicest quotes, of which there's an abundance:

"To Patterson, sprawl is an issue of freedom. 'Let's stop the hysteria and honestly ask ourselves what is sprawl? 'Sprawl' is the unfortunate pejorative title government planners give to economic development that takes place in areas they can't control. In reality, 'sprawl' is new houses, new school buildings, new plants, and new office and retail facilities. 'Sprawl' is new jobs, new hope and the fulfillment of lifelong dreams. It's the American Dream unfolding before your eyes.'"

Full Story: World’s worst elected official makes the case for sprawl



L Brooks

Poor Patterson merely compiles a bunch of talking points, assembles them, and speaks like a salesman. That's all. No need to read his work, as there is nothing new there.



American dream for whom? Certainly not young urban professionals

American Dream for whom? Certainly not the hordes of young people flocking to compact, walkable, mass transit-rich, multi-story, urban centers and away from the bland, alienating, single-story, auto-dependent sprawl forced on them by the often-racist WWII-era generation and their entitlement-hungry Baby Boomer children, who continue to view suburbia as their America Dream and demand the government subsidies to support it.

There has, indeed, been a massive generational shift back towards the smart growth that has been our urban centers all along, but that doesn't mean anyone wants to outlaw suburbia. All that is being asked for is basic fairness. The right to live an urban lifestyle that receives a proportionate amount of government spending on the same infrastructure that the suburbs receive, instead of the current, unjust spending formula that gives 10 times more money to the half of the population that chooses to live the automotive, sprawl lifestyle.

Fair is fair.

That said, let's not forget how very much sprawl is at the root of global climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, inner city decay, race and class segregation and Middle Eastern tensions that require treasury-busting military spending. Given these facts, it's obvious that, although suburbs should be allowed to exist, those who live there should expect to pay a substantial sum.

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