Totalizing solutions

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Houses on farmland in Virginia

Houses on farmland in Wisconsin

Too many critics claim that the only solution is to ban completely all development on farmland, stop building highways, and other all-or-nothing, make-the-government-do-it measures. People already live in sprawling suburbs that are not going to be rebuilt. To my mind, demanding a total change resembles too closely those who opposed attempts to lessen the misery of industrial workers in the hope that increased suffering would push them towards total revolution. If we are looking for new concepts that might improve current sprawl and guide future construction, demands to destroy the all current patterns and practices offer little but a feeling of moral superiority on the part of the critic.

Which is not to say that current practices cannot be questioned, just that it is all right to proceed in a piecemeal way.