Monday, October 20, 2003

Sprawl Is Good.

John Hood of The Carolina Journal has an interesting look at the so called sprawl problem.

He notes the ‘new urbanism’, will likely cause increased crime coupled with the need for increased police resources to combat such crime.

Hood notes other benefits to sprawl:

Sprawl reduces traffic congestion by spreading out origins and destinations, creating various centers of employment and shopping, and generating sufficient highway capacity to accommodate the inevitable rise in auto commuting as societies become wealthier. Sprawl reduces the per-capita need for services overall, when you factor in functions such as law enforcement, and reduces the need to raise property-tax rates by generating more tax revenue per person (the only kind of residential growth that doesn't appear to "pay for itself" is low- to moderate-income multifamily housing). Sprawl reduces tailpipe emissions from automobiles by minimizing the time they spend idling in traffic jams or creeping along in central cities. Sprawl increases opportunities for homeownership among lower-income families by offering attractive new properties for those with rising incomes to purchase in the suburbs, thus moderating the prices of the existing housing stock closer into town, which would otherwise soar (as it has in Smart Growth enclaves such as college towns and the cities of the Pacific Northwest).

As here in Michigan there is currently much hand-wringing about sprawl, and the terrible cry of “do something!” is being heard in the Detroit-area media, it would likely behoove the newspaper editors and legislators to go read his entire column on the subject.

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