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Op-Ed: Time to Take Planning Power Back from Communities

In light of the current housing crisis, argues Stephen Smith, the community-based land use controls created as a response to urban renewal policies of the 20th century should be for forfeited to more development friendly political forces.
March 30, 2015, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Stephen Smith begins a recent post for New York YIMBY by summarizing a familiar polemic about the effects of NIMBY culture in cities from coast to coast before proposing a radical shift in land use powers: "There is… another way: ignore 'the community.'" Smith elaborates on the definition of that term, and the proposal:

Not the community writ large, but “the community” as a euphemism for those who are already lucky enough to live in a neighborhood that others want to move to, whether it’s a hip, gentrifying neighborhood or an uptight, leafy suburb. Land use governance should be shifted from the local level to the city, state or national level, where governments seem to be more willing to let cities grow.

Smith goes on to provide a geographically diverse survey of the impacts of community control over land use regulations, like zoning, as well as providing examples of places where control comes from city, regional, or even state levels, such as Houston, Seattle, Portland, Toronto, and Tokyo. Independent of the polemic of the article, Smith's survey offers value in the breadth and depth of its insights.

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Published on Friday, March 27, 2015 in New York YIMBY
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