29 October 2008

The Conservative Case for Urbanism

I thought I may have linked to this before, but I'm not sure, and this article in the New Prospect is worth revisiting:
...Proposals to shift from a sprawling, car-dependent geography to one of denser population centers connected via public transit have often been called elitist and out-of-touch with how most Americans choose to live their lives. The typical family does not want to live in a city or commute by rail, writes suburban-triumphalist writer Joel Kotkin, since big backyards, quiet, and privacy are "everything they have wanted for a half-century." Wendell Cox, a Heritage Foundation partisan, has written a book calling anti-sprawl activism a "war on the American dream."

.... Policies in favor of dense development shouldn't be viewed on a left-right spectrum and certainly needn't be filtered through culture-war rhetoric,... In fact, one doesn't have to be concerned about climate change at all in order to support such policies; values of fiscal conservatism and localism, both key to Republican ideology, can be better realized through population-dense development than through sprawl.

Tom Darden, a developer of urban and close-in suburban properties, said Wednesday, "I'm a Republican and have been my whole life. I consider myself a very conservative person. But it never made sense to me why we would tax ordinary people in order to subsidize this form of development, sprawl." ...

...the federal government is a hindrance as often as a help..., throwing years worth of bureaucratic red tape in front of states that want to construct light rail lines...

...A third of the cost of a new commuter rail in the St. Paul suburbs comes from fulfilling unnecessary federal construction regulations

..."People don't want to live 40 miles away from their workplaces," ...

...conservatives must join progressives in rethinking the United States' geography. Density is cost effective, it fosters small business development at the local level, and it strengthens ties within communities. None of that should be anathema to either national party -- unless they continue to put the interests of construction behemoths and automakers above the interests of ordinary Americans.

2 comments:

Quim said...

More from The American Conservative
http://www.amconmag.com/article/2008/jun/16/00018/

CityKin said...

Thanks for that link, I don't think I had read that before. Here is the hotlink to the article.