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Reason Foundation

Legos for Smart Growth

Leonard Gilroy
February 4, 2005, 1:07pm

The D.C. area is projected to gain 2 million new residents, 1.6 million new jobs, and 833,000 new homes over the next 25 years. Anyone following the trends in the area naturally wonder, where are these people and homes going to go? Well, straight from the playbook of 'smart growth' utopianism, we now have a way to figure this out: get a bunch of major players in a room and play a visioning game with Legos: Here's the link. Predictably, the "solutions" participants arrived at were smart growth outcomes, with populations being kept in developed areas near transit stations and out of the undeveloped fringe. I'm sure that they weren't led this way by facilitators (cough, cough, wink...). But there did appear to be some signs of common sense: Good observation. And what also should have been mentioned was the effect of the strong smart growth policies already in effect in places like Montgomery County, MD and Loudoun County, VA, which effectively keep large areas off-limits (or severely downzoned) and contribute to skyrocketing housing prices that send prospective residents further and further out to find remotely affordable homes. Oh well, who needs reality when you can just slide Legos around on a map and come up with an "ideal" solution?

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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