Sprawl Is Not an Endangered Species

Today on the Streetsblog Network, member blog Sprawled Out takes on haters of New Urbanism — specifically, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran, who wrote a piece lauding a designer of subdivisions named Rick Harrison.

McIlheran quotes Harrison saying, "People don’t want to walk five minutes to a park. They want to see it outside their window. And they don’t want to see
their neighbors and they don’t want to sit on their porch all day."

Sprawled Out’s John Michlig points out that there are already plenty of places where people can buy houses that offer just that neighbor-avoiding lifestyle (including much of his home turf in Franklin, Wisconsin). Denser development models aren’t taking that option away, as fear-mongering sprawl advocates like to imply:

3911008071_23f775a09f.jpgOld-fashioned suburbia: Space still available! (Photo: Charlie Essers via Flickr)

Like
others who lobby for Sprawl, Inc., McIlheran conveys the ludicrous
notion that — in a region overrun with non-planned, non-sustainable
suburbs that have grown at the whims of developers and their desire for
increased and quicker profit (a condition that has created the need for
cuts in services while property taxes continue to climb) — creating
provisions for New Urbanist or Traditional Neighborhood Development
subdivisions somehow limits our choices rather than increasing them by adding another flavor to the mix.

You see, in McIlheran’s worldview, the appearance of a non-standard choice in some way magically eliminates countless existing subdivisions — and their ready-to-buy vacancies.

In other words, no one is going to make you sit on a porch if you don’t want to. But wouldn’t it be nice to have the choice?

More from around the network: Second Avenue Sagas on the subway’s din. Smart Growth Around America on how public transit creates more jobs for the stimulus dollar than highways. And Copenhagenize on the heart-warming story of a bicycle thief who stole a cargo bike with three sleeping children inside, then shepherded them home. Only in Denmark?

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