The Washington Post

Urban planning for and by the people

If you want to get cable TV, an expert cable installer knows which pieces of equipment you need and how to set them up. But the cable guy shouldn’t decide how many premium channels you want. That’s your choice. The reasons to get certain channels are about what kind of TV you like and how much time you want to spend watching it, not the technical issues.

The same goes for transportation and development. Our nation decided to aggressively build a car-oriented, suburban society after World War II. We created engineering and scientific disciplines around figuring out how to do that: roads of a certain size, freeways spaced a certain distance, cookie-cutter houses and shopping centers that were easy to build quickly in any town anywhere.

If someone has been building these elements of infrastructure for 30 years, we could call them an “expert” on building that stuff. But should they alone decide what kind of towns we should build?

[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.


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