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The Crusade Against Urban Sprawl mis-diagnoses sprawl as the cause of problems:
dreamed up by the New Urbanistís Smart Growth philosophy

Flawed 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
3. Work 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 greatest.
4. Agricultural 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 services.
In fact the relatively small difference in these costs is gratefully paid for by the residents who demand  and enjoy this space.
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 waste.