State of sprawl: Florida masks costs of growth, dares to celebrate results

June 23, 2004

The upcoming elections provide an excellent opportunity for a debate on whether or not to fully account for the costs of growth in Florida. Those costs, as in other fast-growing states, have been accumulating for decades and are now impossible to ignore—suburban sprawl is a white elephant in the living room whose appetite has busted through the walls.

Sprawl boosters argue that regulations and impact fees cover the costs of growth, and when they don’t, its advocates cite the priorities of jobs, affordable housing and expanded tax base (to pay for what limps behind like bad roads, environmental protection and underfunded schools). When those points crumble—as they do—they then default to indignation: that any restrictions of the free market providing what consumers want is greater than any harm—for instance, drowning. Read the rest of this entry »

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Florida Hometown Democracy: Just deserts

June 17, 2004

Back in 1909, the Florida Legislature designated the orange blossom as the state’s sweet image to the world. In recognition of the important role of conversion of farmland to suburbia to the state’s economy, the Legislature ought to consider renaming the state flower, “runaway sprawl.” Read the rest of this entry »