Almost two decades ago I was introduced to government land use and zoning policies. As I began talking to elected officials and city planners I was astounded by the misinformation used to justify the land use policies.
Almost every city official and planner I spoke to was relying on false or misleading information. I began to question everything.
When people told me that high density mixed use developments reduce traffic I asked them to prove it. But they couldn’t. Because it wasn’t true.
When proponents of urbanization told me high density transit oriented developments would pave the way for MARTA trains that would reduce congestion I asked them to prove it. But they couldn’t. Because it wasn’t true.
When supporters of transit oriented developments told me that heavy rail would bring more jobs to Alpharetta I asked them to prove it. But they couldn’t. Because it wasn’t true.
And as I questioned claim after claim about the benefits of urbanization a website called NewGeography.com became invaluable for research. The website currently features an article about the challenges city planners face today and how difficult it is for them to respond to a rapidly changing world that doesn’t conform to many previously held biases and preconceived notions.
Below are a couple of excerpts from the article De’ja’ Vu and the Dilemma for Planners which was written by Steven Poltzin:
You should read the whole article here.
Unfortunately everything is more politicized today than ever before. That is especially true of zoning decisions worth hundreds of millions of dollars. But facts are facts even when the “conventional wisdom” of developers, consultants and urban planners may not agree.
Keep up the good work Jim. I’m quite concerned that not only is there too much high density development, but it’s happening too fast for infrastructure to keep up. Traffic is the most visible issue. Just as important is sewage, water, schools, and public services and noise, just to name a few.