Urban planners are eagerly anticipating the next step in their efforts to take control over the lives of unsuspecting Americans: megaregional planning. Last September, the Department of Transportation published a report on “the implications” of megaregions “for infrastructure and transportation planning.” Now there is a group calling itself America 2050 that thinks we need a “third century vision” for the eleven megaregions it claims are emerging across the nation.
From the America 2050 web site. Click for a larger view.
Jane Jacobs once defined a “region” as “an area safely larger than the last one to whose problems we found no solution.” The Antiplanner would go further and say that, now that urban planners have totally screwed up many metropolitan regions, they want the power to screw up even larger areas of land — in the guise, of course, of fixing the problems that the won’t admit they created at the metropolitan level.
Planners assume that local governments and property owners cannot possibly cooperate with one another without some sort of supergovernment planning agency forcing them to do so. This is ridiculous. On important things — such as making sure that roads and other infrastructure connect with one another — local agencies and landowners have never had a problem with cooperation. On things that planners think are important but are not — such as regulating lot sizes or directing where transportation dollars go — diversity should be encouraged so that government agencies and developers can find innovative solutions.
The best thing that can be said about megaregional proposals is that there is a lot of blank space on the map that is not in one of the megaregions. Those of us who don’t believe in big government will at least have plenty of room to escape those of you who do.