Smart Growth Parallels Russian Soviet Planning
by Anne Wilder-Chamberlain
On February 4 - 6, 2010 in Seattle, Washington, SmartGrowth.org held its 9th Annual New Partners for Smart Growth: Building Safe, Healthy and Livable Communities Conference. As I perused the massive amount of information available on this subject, which is being promoted in all fifty states, I noted some interesting correlations to the specific states from which Obama selected his ten governors that are to replace our elected officials for the purpose of turning the U.S. into a soviet-style dictatorship: Maryland, Vermont, Washington, Michigan, Puerto Rico, South Dakota - all are areas where “award-winning” Smart Growth communities have been established. Following is a comparison of Soviet urban-planning and Smart Growth.
What Is Smart Growth?
Smartgrowth.org lists the “Smart Growth Principles” as being:
• Mix land uses
• Take advantage of compact building design
• Create a range of housing opportunities and choices
• Create walkable neighborhoods
• Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place
• Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas
• Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities
• Provide a variety of transportation choices
• Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost effective
• Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions
While this sounds very nice, the pictures attached are a demonstration of what the planners truly have in mind: tight apartment complexes similar to those in inner city districts. Freedomadvocates.org on November 3, 2005: stated, "...A new type of living quarters will be developed along the lines of uniting establishments for public use with residential units. This is the trend in many architectural projects represented at the USSR Exhibition of Urban Construction in the spring of 1960..."
What the Soviets planned
The following is excerpted from The Soviet Review, A Journal of Translations, Volume 2, Number 4, April, 1961 “What Will Our Future Cities Look Like?” written by A. Obraztsov, and researched by Susan O'Donell.
“The residential district is one of the chief components of any city or town. If the system of accommodations and services is well planned, the town's main problem may be considered solved... What are the architects', engineers', and builders' conceptions of new cities?
“They will not build streets bordered on both sides by houses, nor will there be any residential houses with inner yards and passages...
“It is planned to build houses of several types. There will be hotel-type houses designed for bachelors and families of two. Such houses will be integrated with a public service block. Here residents will be able to have their clothes mended and washed; there will be a small club for rest, dancing, etc. Apartment houses of four to five stories for medium-sized families will be the most frequent type built. And last but not least, there will be houses for large families. These will be two-story cottages.
“The USSR Academy of Building Construction and Architecture has worked out a new town building system whose underlying principle is systematic development of all forms of servicing, beginning with the simplest ones located directly on the premises of residential houses or groups of houses and stemming out to public centers designed to service the population of entire districts.
“A system where each district is divided into residential compounds--microdistricts--with a population of 6,000 to 10,000 has proved to be best. Each microdistrict will have one school, two combined pre-school children's establishments (a kindergarten and a nursery), a food shop, a personal service shops, a cafeteria, club, and building maintenance office.
All the residential houses within a microdistrict are to be grouped in smaller compounds with a population of about 2,000 each. Each of these compounds will have its primary servicing post. Delivery services and automatic vending machines will provide the residents with foodstuffs, ready-cooked meals, and semi-prepared food. The residents will be able to relax in the recreation hall, entertain guests and have family affairs and children's celebrations, and do their own work in the house workshops.
“...It will be possible to take care of many chores all at once: to shop, have dinner at the cafeteria, have one's suit mended or pressed--everything will be right at the house.
Besides being convenient, these public and trade centers are also economically efficient both in construction and operation: due to their compactness they involve less of an outlay for communications, roads and other amenities.
There may also be a possibility of combining several institutions in one building. A common assembly hall, common vestibule and cloak room suggest themselves.
“...By applying these new principles for residential district planning and building and by using a multi-stage system of servicing the population we may resolve, to the fullest possible degree, all the contradictions of the contemporary town. Apart from considerable savings in materials and funds in the erection and maintenance of these buildings, savings that may run as high as 20%...more important will be the added comfort, beauty and joy that are to come to each city, town, house and home."
"Old Living Versus New:”
This is an excerpt from The Microdistrict and New Living Conditions, by A. Zhuravlyev and M. Fyodorov:
“To many people in the West the ideal of a comfortable dwelling is a private house with many rooms. ‘My home is my castle,’ says the Englishman. This is an eloquent expression of private-property psychology, of goals in bourgeois society…
“Even in our country some people believe that in the future our individual living quarters will be equally spacious. Those who do think so are greatly mistaken.
No doubt in the future our living quarters will be comfortable, since the development of technology and the general high standard of life in our society will ensure every opportunity for this. But the question arises whether there is any need for such an abundance of rooms in an apartment. After all, not many rooms are required for sleeping, rest and some kind of home occupation during one's free time. And is there any need to preserve in the future all the household functions which we now have? We do not think so.
“How is the problem of future living conditions to be solved? Only by a consistent development of public catering, of cultural and educational services. Large catering establishments, model dining rooms and cafeterias with better food than can be provided at home, various kinds of shops, universal service agencies--all this will replace the home kitchen and do away with petty household chores. Boarding schools, kindergartens and creches will make our life easier in many ways. Thus there will be no need for individual kitchens, storage rooms...
“...The new trend toward organization of services not only leads to the liberation of women from the drudgery of unproductively spent labor; it also greatly helps to improve the conditions for raising our new generation.
“Public education is of special importance in the formation of the man of the future communist society. Under collective methods of upbringing in boarding schools and kindergartens where the children stay all week long except on free days, our children, experiencing the beneficial influence of their coequals, will be brought up from an early age in a spirit of collectivism, receiving at the same time the rudiments of all-sided development of their individual abilities. Extreme individualism and egotism, so frequently characteristic of spoiled children reared in small families, will be eradicated...”
From SmartGrowth.org: Focus Study on the Environment - 2010
“The prevalence of many of our current environmental challenges -- air and water pollution; global warming, habitat fragmentation and conversion -- is in part due to the way in which we have built our neighborhoods, communities and metropolitan areas during the past half-century -- dispersed, inaccessible, and automobile-oriented -- in a word, sprawling.
“The farther we have to travel between home and work, work and play, the more likely it is that we will drive. Thus it should not be surprising that as the distances between trip origins and destinations has increased so has the amount of driving we have done. The end result of all of this driving is that the nation's air quality has suffered. Research has shown that compact, pedestrian and transit friendly communities have a positive impact on air quality by improving travel alternatives.
“As we build, we replace our natural landscape -- forests, wetlands, grasslands -- with streets, parking lots, rooftops, and other impervious surfaces. The effect of this conversion is that stormwater runoff, which prior to development was filtered and captured by natural landscape, is trapped above impervious surfaces and accumulates and runs off into streams, lakes, and estuaries, picking up pollutants along the way. Runoff can be reduced through clustering of development, thereby leaving larger open spaces and buffers. Although compact development generates higher runoff and pollutant loads within a development, total runoff and pollutant loads are offset by reductions in surrounding undeveloped areas...
“Smart growth enables communities to pursue open space protection and development objectives through the clustering of development activity away from sensitive natural areas.”
Smart Growth, which sounds good on the surface, becomes uglier the deeper one digs. Subscribing heavily to the United Nations promoted concept of carbon-caused “climate change,” it is also totally dependent on the debt-creating “stimulus” bills passed by Congress in 2009 as well as other grants. Smart Growth capitalizes on the housing collapse as an opportunity to build compact housing in economically depressed areas such as Detroit. The Detroit News reported that a local City Manager stated ''I think there's a silver lining in all this'' slowdown which opened reinvestment opportunities for his first-ring suburb just nine miles northwest of central Detroit. ''There's a movement back to mature communities,'' he added.
Similar tax-funded developments are planned in Hawaii and are being built in California.
Smart Growth America complained in January that the Jobs for Main Street Act (H.R. 2847), passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in December, missed an opportunity to create additional jobs where they are needed most. “The Jobs for Main Street Act” provides $27.1 billion for the Surface Transportation Program (STP) versus just $8.4 billion for Public Transportation even though public transportation investments under ARRA created twice as many jobs per dollar of investment,” it wrote in a January 5, 2010 report. “The data compiled by the states shows that every billion dollars spent on public transportation produced 16,419 job-months, compared to 8,781 job-months for every billion spent on highway infrastructure.”
But are jobs more important than infrastructure? Does Smart Growth not remember the collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis in August ‘07? Or is it anticipating that the Spanish firm Cintra/Zachry and other foreign investors in toll roads will cover the costs of our infrastructure so the federal government can use taxpayer debt to create Smart Growth jobs?
The New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
The Seattle Smart Growth Conference planned to “spotlight Equitable Development and Environmental Justice and underscore the connections between smart growth, equitable development and environmental justice.” A day-long pre-conference workshop on “Working Together for Equitable Development: Voices and Lessons from Environmental Justice and Smart Growth” was held prior to the conference to complement the sessions. A 50-page schedule of events was available at www.newpartners.org/program.html.
“A plenary on ‘Smart Growth at the Intersection of Environmental Justice and Green Jobs’ will also articulate how smart growth can foster green jobs, social equity and affordable housing, as our nation moves towards a more sustainable, green economy,” stated the document.
A limited number of Diversity Scholarships and travel stipends were available to leaders from lower-income and minority communities, as well as representatives from organizations whose work is focused on “social equity and environment.”
The Smart Growth Network's (SGN) partners include the following:
American Farmland Trust; American Institute of Architects Center for Communities by Design; American Planning; Association American Society of Landscape Architects;Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations; Association of State and Territorial Health Officials; Cascade Land Conservancy Center for Neighborhood Technology; Congress for the New Urbanism; Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance Enterprise; Environmental Finance Center Network; Environmental Law Institute; Fannie Mae; Florida Department of Health; Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities; Institute of Transportation Engineers; International City/County Management Association (ICMA); Local Government Commission; Local Initiatives Support Corporation; NACo Center for Sustainable Communities; National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals; National Association of Realtors; National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education; National Multi-Housing Council; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Trust for Historic Preservation; Natural Resources Defense Council; Northeast-Midwest Institute Project for Public Spaces; Rails to Trails Conservancy; Scenic America; Smart Growth America;State of Maryland Surface Transportation Policy Project; Sustainable Communities Network; The Conservation Fund Trust for Public Land; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); U.S. Forest Service Urban Land Institute; Virginia Tech Metropolitan Institute and Urban Affairs & Planning Program.
Smart Growth Online, a service of the Smart Growth Network, is developed and maintained by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and supported with funding from the EPA. NCAT is financed in part by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Sustainable Development Department; Global Warming Campaign of the National Wildlife Federation; the Pew Center on Global Climate Change; the Global Carbon Measurement Program of the William J Clinton Foundation; University of Colorado, Denver; Ella Baker Center for Human Rights; and the United Nations Environmental Programme.
Blue Print America, Beyond the Motor City, a Jan/Feb PBS series that is looking at the impact of national planning, is recommended by SmartGrowth.org and funded by the Rockefeller foundation. Archives can be found at www.pbs.org/wnet/blueprintamerica.
The I.O. is seeking stories from readers outlining their own experiences with Smart Growth. In order to counter the United Nations takeover of the United States of America, we must first be able to recognize it.