The Crusade Against Urban Sprawl mis-diagnoses sprawl as the
cause of problems:
dreamed up by the New Urbanistís Smart Growth philosophy
Foundations: A fundamental problem with the
"new urbanist" formula is that most of the facts and assumptions
on which it is based are patently false.
1. In the United States, air pollution tends to increase with population density.
2. Similarly, traffic
congestion tends to be worse in higher density urban areas
trip travel times have actually decreased --- from
an average of 22.0 minutes in 1969 to 20.7 minutes in 1995. Although work
trip distances have increased, travel speeds have also increased . This
has occurred at the same time that urban sprawl was increasing the
land is not being lost to urbanization. Since 1950,
agricultural land has been taken out of production at a rate eight
times that of the urban land area increase. At the same time, US
agricultural production has increased more than 100 percent.
The Mythical Problem:
"Urban Sprawl:" For decades the land area growth in American urban areas has been much greater
than the population growth. This geographic
expansion is often attributed to increasing dependence upon the automobile
and the construction of the interstate highway system. A relatively new
school of urban planners, "the new urbanists" blame a number of
problems on the expanding urban area, including increased traffic
congestion, higher air pollution, increasing work trip travel times, the
decline of central cities and a reduction in valuable agricultural land
(new urbanist policies also go by the label "smart growth").
The data show that this is not true
and "Smart Growth" is not the solution.
Moreover, new urbanists believe that more spacious urban
areas typical of the United States are inherently inefficient relative to
more compact cities, exhibiting higher costs for infrastructure and public
In fact the relatively small difference in these
costs is gratefully paid for by the residents who demand and enjoy
this space. http://www.publicpurpose.com/pp-newurban.htm
Forcing growth within certain urban boundaries will never
reduce the demand for automobile travel.
An underlying assumption of the rail promoters is that
we've become over-dispersed and auto-dependent, "we ought not to
be", and by God they've set out with a vengeance to cure it. It may
be understandable to long for a village-square past, but it's born more of
an impulse than reason, and the cause of a great deal of misdeed and