The author of the original article is Wendell Cox. Wendell writes often for a website called New Geography (click here). He is also the author of the book "War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life," and a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National Des Arts et Metiers in Paris, France.
Cox has written a second article on the "California War on Suburbia" theme, mostly dealing with the concern the first one caused in the usual quarters. Here is how he introduces that theme:
My April 9 Cross Country column commentary in The Wall Street Journal outlined California's determination to virtually outlaw new detached housing. The goal is clear: force most new residents into multi-family buildings at 20 and 30 or more per acre. California's overly harsh land use regulations had already driven housing affordability from fairly typical levels to twice and even three times higher than that of much of the nation. California's more recent tightening of the land use restrictions (under Assembly Bill 32 and Senate Bill 375) has been justified as necessary for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The reality, however, is that all of this is unnecessary and that sufficient GHG emission reductions can be achieved without interfering with how people live their lives. As a report by the McKinsey Company and Conference Board put it, there would need to be "no downsizing of vehicles, homes or commercial space" while "traveling the same mileage." Nor, as McKinsey and the Conference Board found, would there be a need for a "shift to denser urban housing." All of this has been lost on California's crusade against the lifestyle most California households prefer.
You can access Cox's entire article ("California Declares War On Suburbia II: The Cost Of Radical Densification") by clicking here.
As we have stated before, the move to bring "stack and pack" development to Sierra Madre in order to somehow save the world from ecological disaster does have its active adherents here in town. The Green Committee, through its somewhat awkward attempts to make related findings contained in the United Nations Environmental Accords a portion of our city's General Plan, being the most freak forward effort right now. Though I am not sure that giving Madagascar and Albania a say in Sierra Madre's planning deliberations is at the top of anybody's priority list in town.
Today on the New Geography site Wendell Cox takes on another myth being pushed by the proponents of uber-development, that being people now prefer to live on 20 to 30 unit per acre lots, and they can't wait to sell their suburban homes to get in on all the transit village excitement. Something that, as anyone with two eyes and a brain can see, has not quite taken off yet in the San Gabriel Valley. A quick trip down to The Stuart on Foothill Boulevard should provide anyone with enough evidence of that.
This article, entitled "Staying The Same: Urbanization In America," takes a scalpel to all the hype over this new urbanist joy offensive. You can access the entire thing by clicking here.
The recent release of the 2010 US census data on urban areas shows that Americans continue to prefer their lower density lifestyles, with both suburbs and exurbs growing more rapidly than the historic core municipalities. This may appear to be at odds with the recent Census Bureau 2011 metropolitan area population estimates, which were widely mischaracterized as indicating exurban (and suburban) losses and historical core municipality gains. In fact, core counties lost domestic migrants, while suburban and exurban counties gained domestic migrants.
Urban density in 2010, remains approximately 27 percent below that of 1950, as many core municipalities lost population while suburban and exurban populations expanded. This resulted in the substantial expansion of urban land area reflecting the preference for low-density lifestyles among Americans and most people in other high-income areas of the world. Between the 1960s and 2000, nearly all of the growth in the major metropolitan regions of Western Europe and Canada has taken place in suburban areas, as these nations' urban areas have dispersed in a manner similar to that of the United States. the trend continued through 2011 in Canada and domestic migration data in Western Europe shows a continuing movement of people from the historical cores to the suburbs and exurbs.
As we saw yesterday with our discussion about SCAG's phony baloney population increase projections for our part of Southern California, there is a lot of untrue nonsense being pushed out there. All with the purpose of radically changing the way we live. But the truth is most people do not want want what Sacramento and certain elements here in Sierra Madre are attempting to shove down our throats. We prefer things just as they are, thank you.
In other words, if we build it they won't necessarily come. Judging by the experience of other towns in the area, we will end up with half-filled high-density housing blocks that will fail economically and become a financial burden on the taxpayers. Despite the hype, nobody really wants SCAG Housing.
It is time we just told these folks we aren't interested in their plans and that they should go and try elsewhere. We do still have the right to make the decisions about how our own town is to be planned and look, correct? This is still America?