Smart growth — which we define as coercive land-use planning that attempts to increase urban densities and discourage auto driving — has been applied, in some variation or another, by several cities and regional planning agencies. These plans have received numerous awards from the American Planning Association and other planning advocates and have generated lots of publicity for those cities.
Yet the publicity and awards seem to be more for the plans’ intentions than for their effects. For the effects have been mostly, if not entirely, negative: higher housing prices, more congestion, higher taxes (or lower urban services), higher consumer costs, and less urban open space. This section of the Guide documents the serious problems with plans in Portland, San Jose, and Cincinnati.
The page for each region presents a brief summary of the problems in that region. For more information, go to the References page, which provides links to PowerPoint shows and other documents about each region.