Mini-Book Review: Regional Planning can be Pro-Sprawl Too

MLewyn's picture

I have written about how local comprehensive plans sometimes favor sprawl over urbanism.  But a recent book by planning scholar Carlton Basmajian, Atlanta Unbound, shows that regional planning can suffer from similar defects. 

Basmajian's book discusses the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), the regional planning agency for metropolitan Atlanta.  While other planning agencies have focused on environmental protection, ARC has until recently been focused on economic development, especially suburban development.   So throughout the late 20th century, ARC and its predecessor agencies favored building highways further and further out into suburbia, and used its computer models to generate predictions of continued sprawl.  These models in turn justified additional highways, thus creating additional sprawl. 


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