I don't care much for the term "Development Excellence" because it adds to
the vagueness already surrounding the term smart growth. It strikes me as
another chapter the seemingly unending search for words that will not offend
anyone because they can be easily defined anyway one wishes, and often are,
perpetuating issue confusion.
I think that planners always have to be mindful of their communities when
they plan, but there are so many similarities of development and mentality
that a book like the "Geography of Nowhere" could be written and be easily
My concept of smart growth is that of informing and educating the public.
Smart growth is about choices. Too many times, people make decisions based
on lack of information or disinformation. If people really want urban
sprawl, they need to know the consequences and trade-offs to themselves,
their children, and the environment.
Let's face it, there are a lot of people out there who are ignorant. They
are part of two somewhat overlapping circles of people; those that do not
know and those who do not WANT to know. By-and-large, though, I believe
that if people are educated about the choices and consequences, they try to
do the right thing.
David Kruse, AICP
Sent: Monday, June 17, 2002 3:17 PM
To: korski(a)erols.com; ed.herlihy(a)comcast.net
Subject: RE: [CTPP] INNOVATION BRIEFS Advisory
As the MPO Executive Director in the Austin Texas metropolitan area, I hear
a lot about "Smart Growth". I like the term used by the North Central Texas
COG better - "Development Excellence." I agree with the NCTCOG that quality
of life in land use and transportation is what we're after, whether that be
in low density or high density development. All metropolitan areas have
some similarities, e.g. predominance of the automobile, but they have some
differences, too, e.g. propensity for passenger rail systems in congested
corridors. I don't think national trends are helpful to planners in
individual areas trying to find solutions to problems with specific local
conditions. There is a lot of situation diversity between metropolitan
areas and within them, too. Therefore, different solutions work in
different places and under different conditions. The solutions should be
customized for each area, taking advantage of applicable lessons learned
from peer cities.
I think that opinionated positions on land use and transportation lead to a
"I'm right/ you're wrong" mentality driven by egos that only leads to a
of heat and not much light in solving urban problems.
Thanks for the opportunity,
From: C Kenneth Orski [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, June 16, 2002 10:57 AM
To: Ed Herlihy
Subject: Re: [CTPP] INNOVATION BRIEFS Advisory
Perhaps my point of view will become clearer if you see the entire
Brief, which is attached. Unlike you, most "smart growth" and
anti-automobile crusaders refuse to accept the implications of the
trends revealed by the 2000 census. You would understand what I mean if
you took part (as I do) in some of the other forums devoted to "smart
growth" and anti-automobile proselytizing, such as CNU (Congress of New
Urbanism), STPP and TLC-net. Unfortunately, many "smart growth" and
anti-auto zealots are not as reasonable and clear thinking as you. They
do not let facts interfere with their ideology.
Ed Herlihy wrote:
As one of those who happens to support the Smart Growth movement you can
rest assured that I was not at all "surprised" by the new data in the
2000 Census. Most of us who follow these things,
even casually, knew
well that the aggregate trends were (and are)
still going in the "wrong"
direction. Lets remember, the Smart Growth movement is just a "babe in
woods" and it may take decades for the
message to take hold.
Perhaps the message of Smart Growth will not take hold and perhaps there
some land speculators who still expect to derive
huge profits from
and the proliferation of large lot McMansions.
So be it.
But it is not the job of the "new Census data" to send us a message that
of the Smart Growth ideas are a
"failure". And it was never the message
from the Smart Growth folks that the car was going to be obsolete at any
time in the future.
It is the job of planners to seek out solutions that best serve our
communities. And, as we dig into the census data, we will most likely
some exceptions to the overall trends that will
tell a good story about
Smart Growth and its benefits.
PS. OK, I fully agree the CTPP may not the best list to start a
about the merits of Smart Growth. If the list
moderators have a
I will be glad to move the discussion to a more
appropriate forum, if
is one. Any suggestions? << File: New
Census Data Provides Reality