Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sprawl's Paradox

Robert Bruegmann:
"When asked, most Americans declare themselves to be against sprawl, just as they say they are against pollution or the destruction of historic buildings. But the very development that one individual targets as sprawl is often another family's much-loved community. Very few people believe that they themselves live in sprawl, or contribute to sprawl. Sprawl is where other people live, particularly people with less good taste. Much anti-sprawl activism is based on a desire to reform these other people's lives."

The paradox? Everyone says they are against sprawl, but many (perhaps most) of us are pretty darn happy living in it. This seems paradoxical. Yet, the important paradox may be seen in trying to figure out why being "anti-sprawl" seems to be good politics? I would hope that in this land of liberty the last sentence quoted above was not the case, but alas, I'm afraid it is.

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