THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Paul McMorrow

A frugal answer to zoning pitfalls, needlessly slashed

Sprawl isn’t so much a deliberate choice as it is a product of bureaucratic inertia.

By Paul McMorrow
November 29, 2011
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In Washington, DC, there’s a vast difference between the way things should work and the way things do work. There’s no logical reason why Sustainable Communities, a modest Obama administration effort to encourage efficient patterns of real estate development, should be a political lightning rod. There isn’t anything political about smart growth. The program was nevertheless shredded to appease the Tea Party. The Sustainable Communities program should have been a chance for tree huggers and budget hawks to hold hands and play nicely together. The program broke down bureaucratic silos and coordinated policies across federal environmental, housing and transportation agencies. It doled out small grants to municipalities, regional planners and nonprofits engaged in anti-sprawl planning. Before having its funding rescinded by Congress earlier this month, it was operating on a $100 million budget - a pile of crumbs, by federal standards.

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