Jeff Speck The Mobility Divide Analysis

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Large cities that promote “green” transportation do not improve the lives of their dwellers. In “The Walkability Dividend” Jeff Speck presents his views of beneficial effects caused by alternative transportation in cities. He argues that cities can benefit better from investments in sidewalks and public transportation rather than building better roads and highways for automobiles. Speck says that suburbs are not beneficial for the economy and decrease the quality of life for individuals. His argument for more compact, integrated cities and smaller freeways is exactly why people are moving to suburbs in what is popularly called “Urban Sprawl.”
Speck argues that Portland, Oregon is the model, which cities should look up to when designing expansions
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He rationalizes many of his claims and does not address the main reason for which people leave the main city. He claims that suburbs are not the solution, but rather urban development. First, when he promotes boundaries to a city, he is saying that the city government should have the right to prevent a private individual, company, or other entity from expanding its realm. This sounds like something out of communist China. The government should not have a say in where a person or business decides to move. Ronald D. Utt from The Heritage Foundation says in his article “Government Should Not Coerce Housing and Transportation Choices” “Enhanced central planning by government exhibits childlike faith, a concept that half the world quickly abandoned in the late 1980s when all of the formerly soviet socialist countries rejected state planning in favor of private sector initiatives.”(Utt, 2014) Second, He claims that transit, bikeways and sidewalks are more beneficial to the environment and reduce carbon emissions. However, he does not realize why people prefer automobiles and larger living areas. He overlooks the fact that majorities of Americans prefer driving a personal car rather than other means of transportation and prefer living in a house rather than an apartment. People move to suburbs not because of the lack of green housing or transportation. Robert Brugmann a professor of architecture and urban planning says in his article, “Stopping Urban Sprawl will not help the Environment” “…packing more people into existing cities won’t solve anything.” What speck does not understand is that people are fleeing the cities to live in more spread out areas where they can have a backyard and a street where they can park their SUV on the curb. His ideology of compacting and controlling cities is not one of capitalism but one that leans toward socialism. He believes that the government should determine what type of industries develop

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