Is Smart Growth a Program or "Programme"?
OPINION— To follow property rights issues, you have to be able to track where these things start and where they end up.
Property rights activists are often accused of being negative about government and non-governmental organization’s (NGO’s) programs. A lot of these “programmes” as they are spelled in the United Nations outline, (www.undp.org) are promoting for the “good of all,” but activists are now exposing their origin and the fact they are not for the good of anyone except a select group.
These “programmes” which originate in the U.N. are most often far different from the way they are represented to the local communities and we can easily be deceived if we don’t take time to take a real close look.
A good example of deception was when a friend from Concerned Women for America (CWA) met a crossdresser at the Capitol in Springfield last week. A small assembly of liberal groups was lobbying in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and SB 99 and SB 101 which would add “sexual orientation” to human rights bills and “give protected class status to people who are sexually attracted to a person of the same sex or who perceive themselves as having a gender identity other than what they were born with.”
For kicks, this crossdresser decided to see if he (she) could “shock” my CWA friend. At first glance, he (she) might have deceived her, but a closer look told the truth. With all respect, that guy can dress like a female all he wants but that won’t make him one, and women don’t want him using the women’s restroom.
Smart Growth, part of the Sustainable Development programme fits into the same category. It comes to your community clothed as something it is not and when you take a closer look, you won’t want it in the personal part of your life, either.
“Smart Growth was an initiative of the American Planning Association (APA), HUD, and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation on the one hand, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Surface Transportation 1 Promoters of the program are highly-trained “facilitators” who will lead local groups into “visioning” for their community. And they are good. While they are using a plan which is a global programme used worldwide, they are creating an illusion with local citizens, making them think they came up a brilliant plan specifically for their community.
Smart Growth (which goes by many other names, as well) and Sustainable Development are sold on the basis of “beauty.” We buy into it because we have an infatuation with beauty. Houses, cars, kids, clothes, scenery, people — all things must be “beautiful and scenic” or they are not acceptable.
This shallow facade should be the first clue that something isn’t quite right. Everything in life is not beautiful, in case you have not noticed, but that does not make it bad. (For a starter, look in the mirror.) Factories may not meet beauty standards, but they provide jobs and products we need.
Houses get old and as people age they cannot afford all the frills required to make the “beauty police” happy. People can be poor and remain proud in their own home even if it is not a mansion and although it may not pass the test for “occupancy,” it beats living on the streets.
We are falling into a serious trap of social engineering. People all across the nation are seeing their communities being changed. They tell us the designs of the 1920s are outdated - God forbid we use anything that is outdated - even if it still works.
Freeways, automobiles, big-box stores, are among things that Smart-Growth planners oppose.
Walkable communities are the design of the future. Walkable communities are desirable places to live, work, learn, worship and play, and therefore a key component of Smart Growth.
Their desirability comes from two factors. First, walkable communities locate within an easy and safe walk for goods (such as housing, offices, and retail) and services (such as transportation, schools, libraries) that a community resident or employee needs on a regular basis.
Second, by definition, walkable communities make pedestrian activity possible, thus expanding transportation options, and creating a streetscape that better serves a range of users —pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and automobiles. To foster walkability, communities must mix land uses and build compactly, and ensure safe and inviting pedestrian corridors. 2
This may sound ideal until on a cold winter day you need to carry groceries with a couple of kids in tow and then have to climb the stairs to your “stacked housing,” while almost being mugged along the way.
There are problems in many municipalities, but there are some common sense planners who have the skills to correct these problems without destroying our whole way of life. Thoreau Institute has excellent information on “Preserving the American Dream” and “The Vanishing Automobile” www.ti.org and Randal O’Toole has excellent information www.ti.orgrot.
We are falling into a serious trap of social engineering. People all across the nation are seeing their communities being changed, and most are doing nothing because they don’t realize the serious nature of these changes.
WASHINGTON, DC (E-Wire) — Two new publications from Scenic America, From Sprawl to Smart Growth: How to Achieve Beautiful Results and Taming Wireless Telecommunications Towers, are now available to help citizens advocate for smart growth that is attractive and the sensitive siting of wireless telecommunications towers. Visual quality is a basic building block for healthy, vibrant, and productive communities. We take pride in where we live and work when these places are attractive and well-designed. One of the problems with sprawl development is that it is ugly. Car-clogged asphalt, faceless cookie-cutter architecture, treeless housing developments, and an expanding network of giant, new telecommunications to rob places of their scenic beauty and distinctive character.
“As Americans across the country search for ‘America the Beautiful,’ they’re encountering a very different reality,” said Meg Maguire, president of Scenic America. “Everywhere is becoming nowhere and it all looks the same. Change is inevitable, but ugliness is not.” www.scenic.org/pr20010201_pubs.htm
If everything is so beautiful because it is planned and regulated, where will the poor people live in a “sustainable community?” Using the excuse of “urban sprawl,” will they (we) be all stacked together in government housing somewhere while taxes sky rocket for those picking up the tab?
It is interesting to follow the tracks of land control and zoning. It is not just for the United States - it is a global plan for every country in the world as we see the “distribution of wealth” in action.
Serious unleashing of the plans occurred at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It was known as Agenda 21, which in turn, is Sustainable Development.
In the U.S., behind the Smart Growth “programmes” in the city and the scenic and heritage rural “programmes,” you will find an organization called the American Planning Association (APA) which is the Trojan horse that brings all the “programmes” to the local level.
“Private groups initiate reform. Private coalition building or consensus building is appropriate when there is little support among legislators or governors for planning law reform or when reform has not been perceived as a statewide issue. Private groups like APA chapters may join with others in the hope of getting agreement on the elements of a bill that could then be introduced by a supportive state legislature.” APA website: www.planning.org
The state of Illinois has made the planners work easy. We have fallen for their “programmes” hook, line and sinker.
(1) Smart Growth, The American Planning Association's Growing Smart and Legislative Guidebook" and "The Community Character Act" by Project Manager Susan F. Boyd.
This article originally published at http://illinoisleader.com/printer/article.asp?c=5097