There's Something About South Jersey

Seven Controversial Theses about South Jersey

  1. Although some planners believe that suburbs like those in South Jersey were "designed according to failed principles with flawed implementation,"1 most South Jerseyans live here because the suburbs are a comfortable, convenient, pleasant place to live.
  2. Many South Jerseyans simply don't want to to live in the compact communities the planners want to squeeze them into, that's what they left Philadelphia and Camden to get away from.
  3. Like suburbanites everywhere, South Jerseyans don't want to give up the convenience and comfort of their automobiles, although they'd be glad if other people used public transit (see Jim Dunn's brilliant new book Driving Forces).
  4. Much of the support for "anti-sprawl" measures is just a desire to preserve the the benefits of "sprawl" for the current residents - closeness to the city without congestion or crowding.  This, of course, is typical of "anti-sprawl" sentiment throughout the country, see "Suburban Myth" by Esterbrook.
  5. Once South Jerseyans have their piece of the American Dream, they would like to protect the open space around them by stopping further development.   This is the NIMBY syndrome - Not in My Back Yard.
  6. NIMBY may be our best source of political clout for limiting growth, but growth can't realistically be stopped.  Nor can much of it be channeled into more compact housing in communities picked out by planners.  Property rights groups have a point:  it is unfair to deny some people the right to develop their property, while forcing other communities to accept more than their share of growth.  Not only is it unfair, it's often politically impossible because the losers in this scheme are often powerful and willing to  fight back.
  7. We should look at the "Broadacre City" model as alternative to unrealistic "anti-sprawl" measures....