TMLutas' blog posts can now be found at Flit(tm)

August 20, 2003

New Urbanism

Posted by TMLutas

I discovered new urbanism some time ago but just noted it as a welcome movement away from the really awful communities I saw being built up under the single use zoning ethos. Since I've recently tripped across the old and established fact that space matters, that development styles matter, I did a little more exploration of the subject. I found an interesting blog called City Comforts that covers the subject.

I had a great flashback reading it as it's quite critical of the right wing and libertarianism as having nothing original of import to say on the subject of creating livable urban spaces, a criticism that used to be very common about conservative urban policy. Well, conservatives, no doubt tiring of the constant ribbing, eventually did get an urban policy and lo and behold, they started getting elected in major cities as their ideas looked pretty good compared to the liberal ones that had failed so obviously in cities across the US.

Today, it's urban land use that's a blank hole in the conservative (and libertarian) ideology. Sure, you have throwaway lines about how there's no Republican or Democrat way to sweep the streets but when things aren't going right on a large scale, there should be party differences you can present to the voters on any issue, including space planning.

The bad planning decisions of previous generations have created developments that simply require automobiles to do even the most basic of tasks and encourage isolation. That's no way to run a community but the default planning structures almost everybody has positively encourage it.

There needs to be some sort of reform of these structures. As a matter of ideology, I think that the optimal solution will end up with either no government involvement or only minimal interference but right now the work to prove that is true simply hasn't been done.

As always, feel free to prove me woefully uninformed in flitters

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