Populist Urbanism: Beyond the Creative Class

Smart Growth needs to adopt a more populist message, argues Robert Steuteville, and demonstrate how cities can empower people of all classes. Could "Lean Urbanism" provide the foundation?

"A couple of recent stories on Better! Cities & Towns point to an ongoing problem: New Urbanism, smart growth, and related trends need to work on their appeal to working class and minority groups."

The defeat of Roxanne Qualls in her bid to be elected mayor of Cincinnati and the difficulties that bicycle planning runs into in African-American neighborhoods are two recent stories that demonstrate we're not doing a good enough job of communicating the benefits of planning that strengthens freedom in transportation, says Steuteville.

"New Urbanism is about safety and jobs and livability and freedom — that’s transportation choice — for everyone. Why can't smart growth adopt a more populist message? I don't have all the answers as to how that could happen. Yet advocates for walkable cities could lay the groundwork for our political leaders to run on a positive message of urban transformation."

Thanks to newurban

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