Monday, June 02, 2008

Pittsburgh's Sprawl Problem

Bill O'Driscoll has a nice short story about the effects of our misguided, government funded and enforced development pattern which is at the root of our wastefull lifesyle.

"Jim Hassinger, executive director of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, led off by discussing Project Region, the group's effort to chart its 10-county territory's preferred future. Over two years, with input from 3,000 citizens, Hassinger says the SPC discovered a public preference for more compact, higher-density development.

"Thus, the SPC's long-range plan -- the region's blueprint for funding things like infrastructure and economic development -- leans toward revitalizing existing communities and preserving open space, in contrast to the low-density, bedroom-suburb-and-strip-mall model that has characterized growth in the region (and the country) for decades.

This was music to critics of the SPC's history of favoring highway-based development. Meanwhile, the conference's keynote speech by renowned metropolitan land-use strategist, author and real-estate developer Christopher Leinberger announced that communities designed to be more compact and walkable -- and hence more environmentally friendly -- are also the market's future. "The market basically is switching," he said, citing increases not only in fuel prices but in people who prefer urban living."

I'll be back on this subject again soon.

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