April 15, 2011

If you don't like density and you don't like sprawl...

Every now and then a comment meant to dismiss an idea leads to something much more interesting.

Wednesday night, Dryden Planning Director Dan Kwasnowski noted that he had just returned from an American Planning Association conference. As he summed it up:

Americans hate two things: they hate sprawl, and they hate density.

And then he laughed along with much of the board and the audience, because those two things are supposed to be opposites. In theory, this explains why zoning conversations are so difficult.

This morning, though, I realized that he'd summed up the fundamental reasons for my opposition to the proposed zoning changes. While many of the changes do simply rationalize the weirdly chaotic zoning we have now, the overall direction is targeted at creating denser sprawl: too dense to give residents a sense of privacy, too sprawling to create a critical mass that creates advantages more important than the loss of privacy.

It's a unique combination of those two supposed opposites, both of which, I agree, Americans generally dislike.

(How does it do this? With a mix of restrictions in some areas that might otherwise be more separated sprawl, along with new possibilities and encouragement for developing along the main transportation corridors of the town without worrying about achieving critical mass.)

Posted by simon at April 15, 2011 12:43 PM in
Note on photos