By Robert Dietz | Builder
Over the past few decades, the cry of “urban sprawl” was popular for activists who favored using government fiat to force Americans to live in dense neighborhoods within the largest metropolitan areas. Whether motivated by environmental politics or self-serving not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) motives related to traffic or other issues, attacking the suburban single-family neighborhood has been a popular tactic for academics, journalists, and think-tankers who sought to use government power to overrule market preferences for housing.
Please note my emphasis on government mandates for density. Where the market seeks denser housing in the form of multifamily rental or medium-density townhouse construction, government planners should also step out of the way and avoid the other regulatory error of exclusionary zoning.