How to Build Grassroots Support for Urbanism

Andrew Keatts interviews Benjamin Ross, of Maryland's Purple Line advocacy fame, about what it takes to build local support for transit and urban design.
June 5, 2014, 12pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The interview is in connection to the release of Ross' new book, Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism, which, according to Ross, addresses the great contemporary dilemma: "Everyone loves these neighborhoods that were built 100 years ago, with thin streets, and houses close together and buildings of different sizes close together, and yet we’re not able to build those things now. I’m trying to figure out why, and why it’s so hard to build transit."

The interview examines the lack of political action by those who support transit compared to opposition forces, including this insight from Ross about the NIMBY movements of today compared to yesteryear: "I think there’s very strong overlap from the NIMBY left and the NIMBY right. What I see is, the NIMBY left is really weakening, because smart growth has become such an important part of environmentalism. Look at Berkeley, where you have these big battles but the pro-development person is this former radical leftist, and you see the same thing in other places. The NIMBY left is much more interesting to write about, even though the NIMBY right is much more important in the grand scheme of things."

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Published on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 in Voice of San Diego
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