Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clearing up something on central planning....

So, Houston's restaurant and inner Loop crowd is up in arms over Houston's (proposed) parking ordinance changes....

As they should be, because big government, central planning diktats are rarely workable in a large, diverse urban setting. One size fits all typically becomes one size fits none and it's typically the small businesses that suffer most.

While I agree with them, I do have one SMALL bone of contention with the way this debate is playing out....

(Notes on Parking Ordinance Changes in Houston, The software agorist)
Let’s not suburban cookie cutter this, but work out collaborative solutions that fits each area of our fine city
The idea that Suburban parking standards, set out by market forces and typically not by a domineering, ham-fisted central government are the City's model here is bunk. Yes, it's a mistake to try and make dense, urban areas into a replication of the suburbs, but to compare the two situations is casting a negative light on Suburbia that it doesn't deserve. NBC has already tried this with that horrid TV show Suburgatory, and look how long that lasted. Plus, the idea that there's something "inferior" about the suburban approach to living undercuts the main argument that the "walkable"* urban living group is making.

Individual choice means just that. If you want to imagine true purgatory on Earth, imagine 7 Million people wedged inside the Loop asshole to elbow. The point here should be that there are a myriad of solutions that could provide Houstonians with the flexibility they say they are after. If you don't think so, go take a look at the many "walkable" neighborhoods that actually DO exists outside of the Loop and Beltway 8.

*As my friend Kevin notes, most of the urbanites in Houston have precious little idea what a "walkable" neighborhood really is.

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