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To What Extent and in What Ways Should Governmental Bodies Regulate Urban Planning?

Charles C. Bohl


This controversy piece introduces readers to the New Urbanism (NU), a movement in architecture and planning that advocates the use of traditional neighborhood design to build walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods and towns that emulate places of enduring quality and provide an alternative to low-density, single-use, automobile-dependent development patterns commonly referred to as sprawl. Critics maintain that what is derided as sprawl is simply the development pattern of choice as generated by market forces over time and that NU and related smart-growth policies and transit initiatives are at odds with the lifestyle preferences and homeownership goals of Americans. This essay explores these and other arguments that grossly simplify and misinterpret NU and present an outdated, myopic view of an ever-changing and diversifying real estate market in the United States.

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