Monday, December 13, 2010
I'm a Communist and I'm okay
NEW URBANISTS ARE ALL COMMUNISTS. Even worse, we're United Nationtonians, secretly promoting the evil Agenda 21. That's what Tea Partiers hear from Exxon-Mobil, which funds many efforts to promote expanded auto use.
I've been around New Urbanism since the beginning, and I've watched the birth of many New Urban ideas, including the first mention of "Smart Growth." I was even once the Co-Chair of a New Urban delegation to a Habitat conference at the UN - where they paid very little attention to New Urbanism. The primary topic of the five days was abandoned land mines in Third World countries, and the only mention of what the UN calls "physical planning" was when we introduced a motion to have a Physical Planning Committee.
The idea that we've been following Agenda 21 for the New World Order: LOL.
But it's a sign of the times that Exxon-Mobil can successfully spread that self-serving propaganda.
After the jump, two quotes from the article:
And the Florida tea partiers are just getting started. The Tampa 912 project, which often works in tandem with tea party groups, organized members over the summer to attend project briefings on another transportation plan for high-speed rail in the state. After a July meeting, the group's chairman reported back on the powwow with great skepticism. She said supporters claimed that: "the high speed rail project will conserve 1 million acres of environmental lands and cause 44% less land to be consumed. How does a train running down the middle of I-4 do all that? The answer is by 'compact development' aka 'smart growth', aka 'New Urbanism', aka 'Traditional Neighborhood Design', aka 'Transit Oriented Development', aka 'Livable Communities', aka 'Sustainable Development.' These are all names meaning the same thing: they are anti-suburban, high-density dwelling design concepts that are part of the UN's Agenda 21 and will make single family home ownership for our posterity unattainable."
In Florida, the tea partiers have had some help in such fights from Ed Braddy, the executive director of the American Dream Coalition, which opposes smart growth and other standard components of modern land-use planning. Braddy, who has dubbed cars "personal mobility machines," has become a popular speaker on the tea party circuit. A former Gainesville city commissioner, he believes the rail fight in Florida, along with the involvement of the tea partiers on sustainable development issues, is the wave of the future.
"The tea party is receptive to our argument," he says. Regardless of whether people believe that Agenda 21 is a UN plot (he doesn't), tea partiers recognize the evils of sustainable development. "It's almost an instinctive thing," he says. "People know that living in a suburban development and driving to work is not an inherently bad thing. Living in tiny cramped apartment surrounded by noises, so you can hop a bus is not intrinsically superior."
When the tea partiers bring that perspective to local government, they have the potential to make a significant impact—far more than they might have on, say, a congressional health care bill where high-paid lobbyists dominate. It’s clear that they are starting to realize that, too.
The local planning fights reveal a little-understood characteristic of the tea party movement: its inherently suburban nature. Not only does the movement's agenda derive from a hostility to what it sees as elites, but it's also hostile to the places those elites live—namely, cities and more densely populated areas—which makes sustainable development a natural issue for activists. Call them the newest pro-sprawl lobby.
We should frequent the Tea partiers with your average modernist academic who revels in conflating new urbanism with fascism. Politics will always be part of architecture as the line between propaganda and artistic statement is subjective, but the Tea Partiers are taking it to a whole new level. Some of this may be latent racism by the old association of cities with minorities. Unfortunatley for them, cities are on their way back and the true minority in this argument is increasingly the ones that resort to fear to divide people.
Posted by: Thayer-D at Dec 14, 2010 7:28:26 AM
I love this new word "anti-suburban." Stand Jane Jacobs on her head, and oppose anyone who interferes with the right to sprawl!
Posted by: Mary Campbell Gallagher at Dec 14, 2010 9:28:22 AM
I remember once hearing a radio talk-show host deriding the conversion of our freeway fast-lane into a carpool lane as "social engineering".
Now, I tend to be politically conservative, but I couldn't help call out that EVERY freeway and road is in itself a remarkable feat of social engineering!, from where it connects, to whose land it disrupts, etc.
So the question about suburbia and freeways isn't a question about socialism: yes or no?, it's merely about which kind of socialism we want to have.
Lastly, there's more than a little irony that 150 years ago in the good ol' days, railroads were the ultimate capitalist enterprise, with the Big Four controlling 1/3 of our GDP. Now it's considered "communist" to build a railraod in America?
Posted by: Steve at Dec 14, 2010 2:48:08 PM
Well, if we are being called commies from one side, and Nazis from the other, that means we are just about dead centre doesn't it?
Posted by: Matthew at Dec 16, 2010 11:05:39 AM
As someone who's generally conservative and small-government in values, I've just about abandoned the organized Right over this one. I can't believe the level of ignorance out there. Or maybe I can. And that's the problem.
I simply fail to see how massive subsidies for sprawl and socialized highway infrastructure is in any way conservative. I simply don't possess a brain capable of that kind of doublethink.
Posted by: Reid Davis at Dec 30, 2010 2:22:15 PM
FYI Please google Gehry UTS sydney
this abomination has attracted NO negative comment from the profession or the media in australia
Posted by: peter annand at Jan 30, 2011 11:29:51 PM