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City Planning

More Parking Puts More Cars On The Road

Do cities create greener lifestyles? Or do they just enable them? It’s very, very, very clear that people who live closer to other people drive less. But how much of this is due to the fact that people who were already predisposed to driving less—those of us who don’t particularly enjoy driving, for example—are deliberately living where parking is scarce and buses are frequent? A forthcoming academic paper finally begins to answer this crucial question. Its “breakthrough” conclusion: Bigger parking lots make us drive more. Even if we ignore the breathtaking economic costs of dedicating scarce urban space to car storage, mandatory parking isn’t an “all of the above” strategy that simply lets people choose their favorite mode of transportation.

Communities Can Take Back Power In City Planning

Although low-to middle-income residents are most affected by zoning and land use decisions in their neighborhoods, they are rarely given real power in the city planning process. Instead, city planning departments and developers rig the process so that their interests are served, at the expense of local residents. The problem is, most times, residents don't know they're getting played. "Throughout the city, community groups tend to be seduced by what city planning claims is an open process," said Tom Angotti, director of the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development. "The truth of the matter is, a lot of communities don't know zoning. [Information] is filtered through planners who have a stake in the game, which is to get the zoning through."
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