Saturday, January 17, 2009



Obviously, though, what’s available in the city isn’t going to be enough for many people. And personally while I recognize a lot of virtues to New York City, I prefer living in a smaller city. And others will prefer small towns or rural areas or suburbs. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Getting planning policy right isn’t about saying that there’s one kind of neighborhood that people ought to live in. Indeed, just the reverse. It’s about saying that public policy shouldn’t be aimed at exclusively promoting a particular vision of car-only suburbanism. If we had the mirror-image of our current policies—it’s illegal to build parking lots or garages, there’s no money available for work on roads, no structure can occupy less than 90 percent of its lot, no building can be shorter than six stories, no home can have more than 2,000 square feet—that would be stupid and bad.

While many things in my posts about this stuff are often misunderstood by people, the thing that people seem to most fail to grasp is the basic point that in almost all of the country it is illegal to build a neighborhood like mine. This is even true in my neighborhood!