sprawlThe David Suzuki Foundation has produced a complete toolkit on how to stop urban sprawl in your neighbourhood. The toolkit includes background information on Smart Growth policies, programs and benefits, information on who and how to lobby for changes to urban plans, how to convert proposed ‘sprawl’ developments into ‘smart’ development projects, how to protect land from development, how to use ‘compact development’ and ‘brownfield‘ programs to reduce sprawl, how to work with the media, and how to improve local public transit infrastructure. The kit is upbeat, helpful, and full of scripts, templates and checklists. It’s designed for Canadian municipalities, but Smart Growth is an international movement and the Smart Growth Online site gives information particular to the US that you can substitute as applicable.
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  1. O RLY YA RLY says:

    Or you could try to find a protected species (the chance is pretty big nowadays) in the area concerned.

  2. Realist says:

    The easiest way to prevent people building a home for themselves is to shoot them. Or put them in gas chambers. That’s the only human solution, since building them small homes or non at all will make the majority very unhappy. And unhappy people tend to consume more, be more aggresive and less social. That will backfire on the original goals to push back the need for natural resources.The history department in your local library will provide you with a lot of inspiration on the extermination of humans.On the other hand, you can try to improve life not by making it harder for people to find or build homes, but by creatively inventing -good- alternatives that have an eye for human needs. Then give them a good incentive not to reproduce. Happy, well educated people reproduce less than poor undereducated ones in poor housing.

  3. Dave Pollard says:

    Uhh, Realist, the point is not to put people into cramped homes, but to (a) make better use of space, especially by limiting the huge sprawling warehouses and low-rise commercial/industrial spaces and by reusing brownfield sites, and (b) decentralizing commercial/industrial/office space so that people can walk to work, or take public transport, save time and gasoline and reduce the need for expressways and roads. And as my previous article indicated, there are already plenty of incentives not to reproduce.

  4. Rob Paterson says:

    Off topic Dave but Dave Winer just linked you on Scripting newsRob

  5. Adrian says:

    Dave, do you mean decentralizing or recentralizing commercial/industrial space? Historically, the decline of public transportation and the emergence of sprawl has been linked to decentralization and the distance-eliminating technologies (cars, computers) which make it possible.A model in which people could walk to work or take public transportation would seem be a neo-urban one, no? can you clarify? I sometimes have the feeling you are attempting to have it both ways: a) following your utopian forebears, who tended to be anti-urban and against centralization, and b) allying yourself with the progressive left, which tends to favor cities (the site of proletarian revolution, after all!) and dislike suburbs. Or am I radically misreading your point of view?

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    Adrian: What I’m talking about, and what Smart Growth espouses, is clusters of small towns, each with about 5-10k maximum residents and a business/commercial core, where most of the people can work locally rather than having to drive long distances from a residential-only suburb to a commercial/industrial/office-only ‘downtown’ core. Ideally, if the world had a lot fewer people, we wouldn’t need high-density urban agglomerations at all. But realistically, having more, smaller, autonomous urban agglomerations (‘communities’) rather than a few monster cities means (a) less commuting time, (b) fewer cars and roads and expressways, and (c) less pollution.

  7. O RLY YA RLY says:

    Realist: In that case Japan must be about to burst into anarchie. I think the amount of space people use nowadays is simply decadent. Just look at that picture. How much space these houses use. And how many people do you think live in these houses? On average?Dave: I also believe that people should live near where you work (which has nothing to do with the size of a city, by the way). But what if you have a job in one place and your wife in another? And if businesses would have to spread out across lots of small cities, wouldn’t they loose their advantages in scale?

  8. Dave Pollard says:

    Harald: That’s an interesting point. I’ve just been studying the phenomenon that, until the turn of the 20th century, virtually everyone married someone who lived and worked walking distance from them i.e. neighbours. I believe we’re in a transitional state from where physical distance determined everything (up to 1900 AD) to where physical distance for work will be irrelevant (by 2050 AD), since then you’ll be able to do anything from home that you can do in a workplace. I’m also a very strong believer that decentralization of business into small, autonomous business units makes the business more efficient, more agile, and more customer-responsive, so having BU’s spread out among many small towns would actually make them more productive. Besides, all the gurus predict that big corporations will soon employ less than 5% of the workforce and the rest will be small entrepreneurial operations. So I think it can be done.

  9. O RLY YA RLY says:

    Dave: Hah! Gurus schmurus. Remember those bright white shining cities they promised us? Those UFO cars? That electric kitchen? Have you read “The Gernsback Continuum” by William Gibson?

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