First, Safety Neal posts on a Joel Kotkin piece in the Wall Street Journal. The author specifically discusses sprawl in Portland, Oregon, a city that enacted legislation to halt sprawl. Apparently it backfired in Portland by pushing development even further out from the city. Kotkin goes on to quote statistics that confirm what pretty much everybody knows: people like the suburbs.
Basically Kotkin indicates that sprawl continues unabated, despite widespread criticism of it and legislation against it. Neal asserts "our current patterns of consumption and overpopulation cannot continue unabated," even though "we will continue to see the growth of suburbia into farmland, wetlands, and wilderness areas." Climate change, dwindling resources, and soil erosion - among other concerns - will eventually steer us away from sprawl and its harmful ways. But, like Neal, I can't raise a toast to suburbia and its decedent ways.
Second, Mr. Massengale posts a link to "A Car in Every Garage" by Margy Waller, who states,
To be a fully functioning citizen in this country today, a car is a virtual necessity; so the federal government should subsidize a set of wheels and the commute to work.This position is completely uncritical of the suburbs and sprawl, much like other proponents of these non-urban conditions. There's a pervasive confidence in the market, that people voice their opinions not only by voting but by spending money. Hence the rise in popularity of hybrid cars and the dip in SUV sales; people are saying they want fuel efficient cars. But this belief system only goes so far, most noticeably because it is myopic and unconcerned with environmental and other negative, long-term impacts. To have the government give subsidize driving would speed up many of the concerns mentioned in regards to Neal's post above, while also creating even more dependence upon automobiles at a time when we should be finding ways to broaden transportation options.
Waller's argument is ultimately liberal, focused on low-income families and individuals. She's trying to find a way to bring more and better job opportunities to those who can't afford automobiles. She admits her plan is costly ($100 billion/yr) and argues that it would be better than programs to increase public transportation, though she doesn't seem to address the discrepancy between where low-income people live and where they work, nor the displacement of the same people from the cities to peripheral suburbs. These are part of the problem, too, though her solution is more of a short-term, band-aid solution than a long-term one.