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A Response to Charles C. Bohl

Controversy

Abstract

Charles Bohl has presented a thoroughgoing critique of authors who portray the New Urbanism as part of an anti-market coalition seeking to impose its favored development pattern on an unwitting public. In doing so, Bohl has made an important contribution to the contemporary debate on planning and land use that should encourage the targets of his critique to refine their case. There is much in Bohl’s analysis with which I agree. The following remarks, therefore, will concentrate on the aspects of his essay that I find wanting. These fall into three broad areas. First, Bohl misrepresents the practical emphases of those he seeks to criticize. Second, Bohl is far too enamored with the results from survey analyses, which he offers in defence of New Urbanism. Finally, Bohl misconstrues the theoretical arguments for “free markets” and hence, fails to outline a clear set of principles within which the role of New Urbanism in a market-driven approach to land use could properly be specified.

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