The Orange County Register opines on new urbanism, and as usual, is right on target:
- New Urbanists claim that they are only suggesting a design alternative, and want to work within the market. But we've seen too many instances of New Urbanist ideas being imposed by government in the form of growth controls that undermine property rights, debt spending to build new downtowns and the abuse of eminent domain to clear away properties for the new plans. We also fear that New Urbanists want to use government to expand low-income housing and to create new zoning requirements that make it untenable to build the single-family homes most people prefer.
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Nevertheless, New Urbanists make some reasonable points. They complain about zoning requirements that restrict the ability to build high-rises. They complain about the abuse of eminent domain to build big-box stores. They support school vouchers as a way to encourage families to move back into central cities. We agree with all of those points.
To the degree to which New Urbanists promote market alternatives to current designs and deregulation of land use, we'll defend them. To the extent that they promote subsidies, growth controls and other coercive features, we'll oppose.