Austin – With mounting concern over urban sprawl, the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a free market state research institute, has endorsed the Lone Mountain Compact which defines principles for preserving freedom and livability in America’s Cities and Suburbs and which is critical of so-called “smart growth” land use regulations.
Signed by more than 100 academics, scholars and public policy officials, the compact expresses that centralized “one size fits all” development plans are incapable of controlling or keeping pace with frequently changing development needs and patterns of modern cities; increase the cost of housing; supercedes the decisions of local neighborhoods and developers who have their hand on the pulse of changing community needs; and eliminates the freedom of choice people currently have to live where and how they wish.
According to the “smart growth” philosophy, increasing population density in metropolitan areas will reduce congestion and air pollution by encouraging people to walk and use mass transit options such as light rail; will save infrastructure costs; and will make communities more “liveable.” However, the data show these to be false premises. “Smart growth is another centralized, big government plan to regulate where and how we live. For every perceived failure of private homeowners and developers with regard to land use, there will be many more failures of central planners to accurately predict future land use needs,” said TPPF President Jeff Judson.
As the guiding principle behind any anti-sprawl agenda, the compact proposes that people should generally be permitted to live and work where and how they like. “There is nothing wrong with efforts to reshape development patterns,” stated Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow Ronald Utt, “as long as communities are not being forced to accept top-down, centralized plans hatched at the state or federal level.” Compact members are resolved that the market will determine the most efficient solution for each city at the least expense to taxpayers.