The Public Purpose
November 1999 . Number 33

Demographia & The Public Purpose:
Pro-Choice with Respect to
Urban Development

Some anti-sprawl activists (new urbanists) have labeled those who oppose or have difficulties their policies as "pro-sprawl." Nothing could be further from the truth for most opponents of the anti-sprawl movement.

The Public Purpose (Demographia), for example, believes that urban development should be left to market forces. As a result, The Public Purpose (Demographia), like some in the anti-sprawl movement, favors the deregulation of land use, so that compatible mixed use of commercial and residential development is permitted. A problem with some anti-sprawl strategies is that they would impose new, more rigid land use regulation to correct the distortions created by the present regulations. What is needed is not more regulation, but more consumer choice.

  • Those who choose to live and work in dense urban surroundings should not have that choice denied them due to government regulation.

  • Similarly those who choose to live and work in more sparsely development areas should not be precluded from doing so by government regulation.
Demographia and The Public Purpose are pro-choice with respect to urban development. People should have the freedom to live and work where and how they like. The anti-sprawl movement has not identified any compelling reasons why such freedom should not be allowed.

(c) 2000 --- Wendell Cox Consultancy --- Permission granted to use with attribution.
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