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Smart Growth: Lower Carbon Footprint Not

By Randal O'Toole -- December 15, 2009

Recent reports from the Urban Land Institute and other planning advocates insist that so-called smart growth—a term meaning more compact urban development, combined with heavy investments in mass transit as an alternative to driving—is an essential tool in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In heeding this call, the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress want to impose a national land-use planning policy that threatens the property rights of every landowner in the country.

Smart-growth advocates project that miles of driving over the next forty years will grow faster than improvements in fuel economy or development of alternative fuels, so it will be impossible to meet GHG reduction targets unless we coerce people out of their cars. Based on this, they argue that Americans must drive less to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets.…