Myths About "The Myths About Sprawl"
With the growing popularity and acceptance of Smart Growth principles
and New Urbanist designs, comes the inevitable backlash: every once in a
while, a representative from a libertarian think tank who feels that the
notion of "sprawl" is simply pejorative and elitist (or socialist)
nonsense, decides to show that it's all a big fuss over nothing.
Statistics are dragged out to show that there's no real sprawl problem;
and in any case present urban patterns and housing forms are what
Americans (or Canadians) seem to prefer. And besides, nobody can tell me
where to live; to do otherwise is an assault on freedom.
For only the most recent example, check out the Washington Post, in
which longtime Smart Growth opponents Samuel Staley and Ted Balaker
challenge what they call the "anti-suburbs culture" by attempting to
dismantle some of the "myths" of urban sprawl.
Leaving aside the interesting fact that only one of the myth statements
below (re: paving America) is directly tied to "sprawl" as such, there
are more straw men here than at an open casting call for a Wizard of Oz
According to Balaker and Staley, the top five "Myths About Sprawl" are