A few weeks ago, Randall O’Toole (a leading anti-anti-sprawl commentator) and Matthew Yglesias (a Washington-based pundit who primarily writes about politics, but occasionally veers off into planning issues) had an interesting discussion about the extent to which sprawl is a result of land use regulation.(1)
For nearly all of my adult life, I have lived in small towns or urban neighborhoods. But for the past two years, I have lived in sprawl. When I moved to Jacksonville two years ago, I moved to Mandarin, a basically suburban neighborhood about nine miles from downtown. As I looked for apartments in 2006, I noticed that in many ways, Mandarin is typical sprawl: our major commercial street (San Jose Boulevard) is as many as eight lanes in some places, and even most apartments are separated from San Jose’s commerce. [See http://atlantaphotos.fotopic.net/c872477.html for my photos of Mandarin and other Jacksonville neighborhoods.] I thought Mandarin would be a typical suburb: homogenously white and upper-middle class.