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Steve Belmont All Planned Out? - The Worldwide Impact of the British Town and Country Planning System
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All Planned Out?
The Worldwide Impact of the British Town and Country Planning System

18 and 19 May 2007

Steve Belmont

Steve is the author of Cities in Full: Recognizing and Realizing the Great Potential of Urban America, listed as one of the "Top Ten Urban Design Books" on the Walkable Streets website www.walkablestreets.com.

He co-founded the urban advocacy organization Great Cities Alliance, and authored the two treatises that define the organization's mission: The Truth about Smart Growth: A Critique of the Agenda that Undermines America's Urban Future, and Lethal Agenda: The Politics of Death in Urban America. He has practiced architecture for 30 years in New York City and Minneapolis, where he has worked with planners, developers, and community development agencies in a commitment to recapture the rich life of city neighborhoods.

Steve is a member of the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Architects, New York City chapter.

Website: www.greatcitiesalliance.org

e-mail: sb@greatcitiesalliance.org

click here for the Great Cities Alliance

9.30 to 11.00 on Saturday 19 May 2007

The social, environmental, and economic costs of urban land underutilization

Summary

Healthy cities are products of an evolutionary process that elevates housing densities in response to market demand and technological innovation.

This natural process of urban evolution is stymied today by political arrangements that subjugate the best interests of cities to the preferences of activists who represent not the city but its various subdivisions and narrow interests.

Cities that fail to evolve radiate dysfunction - in transportation, employment access, and housing costs - throughout their metropolitan regions. The metropolitan populace pays enormous social, environmental, and economic costs for the political strangulation of urban evolution.

The social, environmental, and economic costs of urban land underutilization

In support of his presentation in the Saturday morning plenary session Who is the town and the countryside for? Steve has provided the following paper to download:

clickMetropolitan Recentralization: An Agenda for a Better Urban Future (February 2007) 6.88MB

Summary

The social, environmental, and economic health of the metropolis can be optimized only by revitalizing the core, a process that usually entails redevelopment at higher densities.

Housing densities in most core cities are no longer sufficient to sustain the essential urban amenities that, until the post-industrial era, allowed residents to live life fully, independent of automobile ownership.

The essential ingredients of urban life can be restored by allowing housing markets to replace aging low-density housing with better housing at densities appropriate to the heart of the post-industrial metropolis.

A healthy high-density core is a precondition to any significant reduction of automobile dependence, not only in the core, but throughout the metropolis. Our metropolitan cores would revitalize quite naturally if left to market forces, but activists and policymakers resist and prevent the kinds of redevelopment necessary to revitalize cities. Growth is then forced to the suburban fringe.

“Smart Growth” advocates imagine, against all evidence, that suburbs can be “urbanized” in ways that will meaningfully reduce the automobile’s role in metropolitan life.

Nowhere in the developed world does there exist a transit-rich metropolis anchored to a low-density core city.

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