The Economist reviews housing prices in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world, and what do you know, it finds that high housing prices are due to urban planning. “The biggest constraint on development in London is the Green Belt,” says the magazine that calls itself a newspaper. “Tt runs (with perforations) all around London, to a depth of up to 50 miles, and bans almost all building on half a million hectares of land around the city.”I'm sure that you're shocked that Progressives' "Smart" vision amounts to nothing more than seizing a lot of money from other people to enforce their SWPL preferences, resulting in higher social inequality and increasing poverty in the working classes that cannot escape their "Smart" plans.
Ah, but Britain has 62 million people in an area slightly smaller than the state of Oregon (94,000 vs. 98,000 square miles), so those greenbelts are needed to preserve farms, forests, and open space, right? Not really.
As a BBC writer points out, urban areas cover just 6.8 percent of the United Kingdom (10.6 percent of England, 1.3 percent of Scotland, 3.6 percent of Northern Ireland, and 4.1 percent of Wales). Moreover, much of the land inside those urban areas is open space, so less than 2.3 percent of England, and even smaller proportions of the rest of the kingdom, have been “paved over.”
If Britain had been allowed to grow unimpeded by greenbelts and planners, urban areas might have spread out to, perhaps, 15 or 20 percent of the country (more of England, less of the other countries), and probably would have included a higher percentage of green spaces within them. This hardly sounds like a disaster and is far from “paving over the nation.”
The latest mantra is that dense cities are more sustainable. Four British urban analysts reviewed this idea in no less than the Journal of the American Planning Association. “The current planning policy strategies for land use and transport have virtually no impact on the major long-term increases in resource and energy consumption,” they found. Instead of being sustainable, these policies “generally tend to increase costs and reduce economic competitiveness.” Moreover, “the potential socioeconomic consequences of less housing choice, crowding, and congestion may outweigh its very modest CO2 reduction benefits.”
As these analysts hint, people who support Britain’s land-use policies are largely unaware of (or don’t care about) the huge social impacts of their programs: inferior housing, limited social mobility, and a business-hostile environment. Meanwhile, the benefits they claim for their policies are almost purely fantasy.