Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sprawl: A symptom of the common code

Responding to the Hartford Courant's series of articles on sprawl that I mentioned last week, a Connecticut architect points out that sprawl isn't always, or even mostly, the fault of evil developers. Zoning codes, frequently created by one-size-fits-all code publishers and then adopted all over the country, almost uniformly require development that is too low in density, and too high in streets and parking, to allow the low-energy, pedestrian- and transit-friendly development that we really need and lots of people want.

Unfortunately, given the existing politcal climate and the fast-approaching energy crisis (Kunstler's "Long Emergency"), I'd say that the chances of an orderly transition to sensibly dense urban environments are slim. People are too invested and addicted to sprawl, and will hold on until it is far too late (which may be the case now). I don't really expect many of us to see the day when millions of Americans are living like this:


Instead, I suspect it's going to look more like this:

Or maybe a distinctly American form of slum: