Saturday, October 22, 2011

Our failed development model

I found an interesting series (links to part 1 of 5) about the failure of the suburban planning model in a journal (Aug. 2011 issue) of the American Planning Association and thought it was worth sharing.  I traced the article back to a series of blog posts by the author on the website of the New Urban Network - one of those New Urbanism advocacy groups that have sprouted up over the last two decades.

This isn't really about water - but water resource planning plays a huge role in it, especially in arid areas like the southwest.  But I found this series very interesting because it does a really good job of articulating some things I have been trying to say, somewhat inarticulately, for a long time.  I think the Ponzi scheme language is maybe a bit strong - maybe because that term has been so degraded through use by a certain presidential candidate, but the overall point of the series is pretty much dead on.  The way we have grown - especially in the Sunbelt, but all over the U.S., since WWII has resulted in financial obligations taken on by most local jurisdictions that are proving to be unsustainable.  Especially since the financial meltdown.  I call it the junkie model of growth - a city gets a taste of something it likes, in this case subsidized growth that increases local tax bases, and before you know it they can't seem to get enough of it and if they stop getting it they're headed for a nasty crash.

I highly recommend checking it out if you find this sort of thing interesting like I do.

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