Page C1.1 . 08 May 2002                     
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    Costs of "Dumb Growth"

    by John Fregonese and Lynn Peterson

    The Congress for the New Urbanism aims to change the way the United States builds its cities and towns. We want regions that are made of thriving neighborhoods, connected by efficient, effective public transportation. We want neighborhoods that feel alive, where people from all walks of life can cross each other's paths and meet their needs. We call this form of development "new urbanism," and the policies that support it are called "smart growth."

    Current development practices create sprawl. For too long, our development system has produced a landscape that is dominated by the private car. Most new developments are miserable to walk in and impossible to serve with public transit. No wonder traffic jams get worse every year.

    There is wide support for changing this state of affairs. Tens of millions of Americans want to live in walkable neighborhoods served by public transportation. However, a cottage industry of "sprawl apologists" has sprung up. This small group of individuals and think tanks aggressively distribute misinformation about new urbanism and smart growth, developing notoriety as defenders of the status quo.

    The most frequently quoted individual behind these "dumb growth" efforts is Wendell Cox. In his papers, Cox attacks Portland, Oregon as the epitome of smart growth, and uses Atlanta, Georgia as an example of the high quality of life provided by car-dependent development.   >>>

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    Portland Oregon's light rail system has made downtown more accessible to people without requiring cars for every trip.
    Photo: Livable Oregon

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    Sidewalk retail in Portland and other traditional cities accommodates pedestrians without massive parking lots out front.
    Photo: Livable Oregon


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