Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Smart Growth

As a recovering opinionated idiot, here's an issue about which I have no opinion: smart growth city planning. The proponents argue about the cost-savings in government expenditures and the social and environmental benefits of creating high-density cities. The opponents describe the economic costs to local businesses and residents. On the one hand, any time one does something that the market would otherwise no do, it's going to cost more--that's a given. On the other hand, we do a lot of things that the market would not do, and we do it because there are other things, things which can very rarely be measured in dollars, which we also find valuable. On the third hand, my favorite city in the world, Portland, Oregon, is a smart growth city, but then I've never had to live there, so it may be very different than my idealized view. On the fourth hand, I don't live a typical-American, car-addicted lifestyle, so I appreciate public transportation, bike lanes, wide sidewalks, and nearby services more than most. Thus, with two extra hands, I have no opinion.

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