As you might know, BRA is anxiously awaiting the results of the TPUDC’s rewrite of Bedford’s “Master Plan”. We have been advised that the people, the majority of whom expressed strong opposition to new urbanism at the TPUDC listening sessions, would have their concerns addressed.

While we are hopeful, we are not entirely confident that those objections will be honored, and fear that the jargon and terminology of the new urbanist “movement”, a movement in which TPUDC is fully invested, (yes Virginia there IS an “agenda”) will again be expressed in a plan that is supposed to represent all of Bedford’s residents.

Not only do we insist that the Master Plan is doing something that needn’t have been done in the first place, if we are at loss to stop its existence, it should only be a blueprint for “needs vs wants”, and as such, we demand that the “new urbanist” jargon and terminology be stricken from it entirely.

Please read this excellent article from 2000 that describes the problems with urbanist mandates and the hypocrisy of the idea that this type of planning conserves anything or solves traffic problems.

“The suburbs are still misunderstood” is an article that was written in September of 2000 by Randal O’Toole

Some excerpts:

“Architect Andres Duany is one of the leading gurus of smart growth, the movement seeking to replace low-density suburbs with high-density “traditional” neighborhoods that promote walking and transit riding instead of driving cars. Like many gurus, Duany spouts soothing platitudes like a suburban garden sprouts daffodils. But Duany’s analysis is usually wrong, and even when right he fails to get the real point.

Duany explains sprawl as “an invention, conceived by architects, engineers, and planners, and promoted by developers . . . after the Second World War.” What Duany calls “sprawl” consists of housing, shopping, and work that are “strictly segregated” from one another, thus forcing people to drive between them. He blames this segregation on urban planners who saw the benefits of segregating nineteenth-century factories from housing and went overboard “by separating everything from everything else.”

And didn’t this seem like it was the case when you heard W. Brian Wright from TPUDC claim that our cul-de-sacs were causing traffic issues and that we lacked a “town center” where people could gather and socialize? What gives them the idea that government should control where we live, work, play, how we travel, communicate and SOCIALIZE???

To wit…

“What annoys Duany most about the suburbs is that people spend much of their time in private backyards instead of public parks, private living rooms instead of community centers, and private autos instead of transit vehicles. While others dislike the auto because it pollutes, Duany dislikes it because it is a “private space as well as a potentially sociopathic device.” Since “we shape our cities and then our cities shape us,” Duany prescribes neighborhoods with more “communal space” to “nurture sociability” rather than “debase the human spirit.””


Continue reading….

Related article where Duany is again mentioned: “New Mixed-Use Developments are Cropping Up All Over South Florida. While Proponents Promise Decreased Traffic, Others Argue It’s Exclusionary.”