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Sunday, April 30, 2006


I've got more questions than when I started

National Geographic says that, "most people agree that unchecked development is a bad deal." This is the assumption that I think most people have. It's a springboard for discussing how horrible it is that people move outside of cities and all this "sprawl" happens. If people evaluated their assumptions more, there would probably be a lot more cohesive, clear arguments about policy issues than there are now.

Our discussion of sprawl has been such a whirlwind, information packed, assumption driven discussion that it's become really clear that for government (especially Portland) to make the decisions it's made something has to be seriously wrong with it's decision making process.

Why is unchecked development a bad idea? We explored it a little in class, but the option at the other end of the spectrum obviously has serious drawbacks. I'd rather have unchecked development than development based on tax advantages, political action committees, and local government. My utility function for housing has lots of things in it, and it's impossible to measure lots of the preferences I have in a way that would let people examine mine alongside theirs. So why not let people make their own decisions. It's like the government is a bad parent that refuses to let people make their own choices. We're adults right? People can handle location decisions on their own.

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