1 vote

Suburban Sprawl: Why America's towns have declined and what we can do to fix it.

This post has been edited:

Hey I wanted to spread more info on this topic. There's probably a lot of bad things that the public highways cause that you didn't even think about before, but you will now. It's also FHA and housing regulations. I certainly wouldnt call the people or the narrator in here libertarian, they're just smart people who understand how things work. They get into city planning a bit, but I strongly doubt this is the same or has anything to do with the infamous Agenda 21. They're not called this, but these are mostly libertarian solutions, or at least their proposals lead to less government though perhaps not the minimum.

This one is called "Saving Pennsylvania." It is much better and less wishy washy than the one i posted originally. I just had more trouble finding this one because its more of a local thing by a local guy. If you are from PA you'll like this.


Here's the other one, but I do not recommend.


Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

wrong thread sorry

wrong thread sorry


Let me summarize because I

Let me summarize because I did a terrible job starting the thread, but I fixed it. The local reporter from PA is generally disgusted that our farmlands and cities are being sacrificed and with little benefit to anyone. People dont have communities any more, they have big spread out mass produced neighborhoods encroaching on the natural scenery. You have to drive a long way to see your family. You have to drive everywhere. This reporter sets out on a journey to see exactly why these things happened, and then to examine cases where this does not happen.

These are all valid concerns, are they not? The trouble and prejudice seems to come from the fact that usually the solution to these problems ends up being more government, not less. That is not what he suggests at all. What he found were a couple of big government programs that ruined the urban neighborhood and town and also caused the destruction of the countryside.

One is the FHA, from the time of FDR. People decided that the american dream was to own a home, and that it would be better if everyone could afford to buy a house. This was implemented by a little money down scheme, but also with many regulations. To qualify, the house had to be set back from the road a considerable distance, they had to be in a "good" neighborhood. There couldnt be any commercial property around the house. They had to have a certain amount of space on either side, so no townhouses. So you can see how this ruined the idea of living in a town or a city where space is precious.

Another is the Federal Highway subsidies. Again this is government intervention, and in particular, it is federal government intervention. The highways increased the ability for people to move away from the city and compounded the problems of the FHA. People started picking off little lots on farms on the sides of these roads. I'm not saying that isnt ok at all, but what I am saying is it should only happen if the market creates these roads, or at a minimum, if the city creates these roads. And since the highways made it so easy for auto transport, railroads and general public (like busses, even if private busses. a restaurant is "public") transport went bankrupt. So now we are really dependent on cars. Again, I'm not saying this is wrong in itself, but it is wrong if the free market didnt create it. Car owners dont realize the true cost of owning and operating a vehicle this way. Now everyone must own a car, which can equate to tens of thousands per year. This hurts the poor especially, but also the middle class particularly now that we are so dependent on expensive gasoline. And year after year our tax dollars go to lane expansions that only get re-congested by the next year because more people keep living way outside the city. It also discourages walking, a healthy exercise that keeps people from becoming obese.

There's also the "affordable" low income housing subsidy which looks like it just creates big ugly unlivable poor-only areas, which inevitably become abandoned wastes. Things like these really destroy the cities.

Another thing are environmental regulations. Apparently, the EPA says in order for a person to sell a demolished property, it must be cleaned up to near pristine conditions in order for it to be sold. This means that developers are much more inclined to buy up the beautiful untouched countryside.

Another thing is the conflicting state laws versus municipality laws. One example he gives is that the State of PA says, if Walmart wants to build on a farm, and the municipality says no, then they must find another location within the municipality for them to locate. But the thing is, there may be other wal marts just across into the next municipality which are easily reachable. Now, I'm sure there are those here who beleive the government ought not prevent a business from opening anywhere, but if you consider the above (FHA, Roads) and the idea that a municipality is really a place where everyone knows each other, that seems like a fair place to be deciding things like that. And if we consider that government must protect property, then you could probably see how if a walmart opened next door to you, then your property value would likely be infringed upon.

Now, yes he talks nostalgically about public schools, but it wasnt really a commentary on that in particular. One thing he was pissed about was that they tore down a millions dollar middle school in his neighborhood only to build a new millions dollar school a few miles away where the new suburbia was.

The most contentious thing, in your views I am sure, is his suggestion that the counties design development boundaries to keep the metro area compact. And he also suggests public investment in public transport. I personally think it may be enough to do away with Federal Highways and FHA, which would lead to an organic regrowth. However, what he suggests is to simply replace the big horribly expensive federal highways with city funded public transport to relieve congestion, encourage walking, discourage cars, or at least reduce cars from 2 or 3 per family to 1 per family. This isnt some kind of coercion any more than the other way was. As to the development boundaries, again I would say as a strictly local issue, it is fair game. Apparently Portland ended up loving it.

In all of these cases, its much like the caucuses our supporters have gone to. Its easy to go to a city/local council meeting and discus the fine details. There's nothing inherently wrong with a neighborhood working together. All of the replacements the man suggests would drastically reduce government involvement, just not to zero. He wants the state and the feds out of the way, so the local communities can run the operation.


and by the way, holy hell i

and by the way, holy hell i am sorry i subjected you to the first video now that I am beginning to remember how good this one is. It's a libertarian's handbook on local politics.


rebumping because I found the

rebumping because I found the original film I saw that made me realize the problems our federally run highways cause. it starts off telling about how a town forms in the first place. some business guy set up a factory in no man's land and hired a city planner to plan for his workers in the city. and since he started the city I'd say he's got some say in the planning, and you know what, he did a nice job


So this isnt the one I saw in

So this isnt the one I saw in Poly Sci a couple of years ago. I had trouble finding it on youtube so I went with this one, but just found after watching most of it they dont talk about a few key issues. One is impermiable cover. Basically the number of roads we have creates a ton of runoff and pollutes our water table.

The other one was the really interesting ways some british towns figured out a way to somehow have a city that has the starkest "city limit" I've ever seen. Basically its all big city up to a well defined line and the rest is farm land. The europeans have had to confront this problem being a few thousand years old by now where land is in short supply.

That video is better and doesnt have all of the sentimental arguements this one does. Maybe its the one poke is talking about. It featured some guy from my area, philly.


I Agree with you amartin315

I consider myself an environmentalist, and a Ron Paul supprter. I'm sure you'll get some grief for posting this, but dont let it get you down. If your interisted in this subject I think you'll love the movie "Urbanized". Thanks for posting this. BUMP!!!!

guys chill out. the biggest

guys chill out. the biggest thing theyre saying is the Government shouldnt have "intervened" by building all of those highways, and they have no business doing things like adding lanes. most of it examines the unintended consequences of this pubic funding of private extravagence, and it also hypothesizes the natural organic result of stopping it


fireant's picture

Peddle your central planning meme elsewhere.

Liberty is it's antithesis.

Undo what Wilson did

Repeal zoning laws!

Zoning laws are extremely bad for local free markets. I have to drive 3 miles just to go to a grocery store because zoning laws are so strict. And they like to make bars really far that way they can chunk up some change on some duis.

bullshit... nothing but

bullshit... nothing but bullshit...

what about it is bullshit.

what about it is bullshit. obviously you didnt take the time, so assuming you knew about suburban sprawl before this, what is the bullshit?


central planning.. its all

central planning.. its all bullshit. running out of "fossile" fules.. ita all bullshit. This crap reminds me of the zeitguist crap.. liberal propaganda.. very anti freedom and liberty. stupidity.

sure, but arent federal

sure, but arent federal highways a mode of central planning ??


How are you going to get

How are you going to get goods shipped from state to state? what if one of our coasts was attacked? how are you going to move men and machines. take this crap elswhere.

well if you would take some

well if you would take some time to research the issue or at least have an open enough mind to watch the video you might find that out.

even if there was no way to move men and machines, that is still government intervention, and we arent supposed to like government intervention

as a native delawarean i can tell you that before the great war era, it was the DuPont family that built most of their roads which created a nice externality for the rest of us

and before the car era, the railway system was where the money was. if the car put a damper on that, the federal highway system certainly threw ice water all over that