The Journalists' Guide to the American Dream




Land Use

Open Space


Smart-Growth Disasters



The term "American dream" conveys many different images: raising a family, owning your own home, traveling to new adventures on the open road, starting a successful business. All of these images depend on the personal and economic freedom that Americans take for granted.

When government interferes with our freedom, it makes the American dream less attainable for some or all Americans. "The American government is excellent," wrote Henry David Thoreau, "yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way."

To protect everyone's American dream, the American Dream Coalition supports giving people freedom of choice in how they use their land and what forms of transportation they use, provided only that people pay the full costs of their choices. We do not advocate that people drive everywhere or live in low-density suburbs, but we believe these are legitimate choices. We do not oppose high-density housing or public transit, but we do oppose planning efforts that attempt to force high-density housing on people or to build wildly expensive rail transit lines that few people will ride.

This Journalists' Guide to the American Dream will examine seven important topics: automobility, congestion, housing, land use, open space, air pollution, and transit. As appropriate for each topic, the guide will:

  • Present our positions;
  • Demystify popular myths;
  • Analyze the best available data;
  • Provide access to experts and recent publications; and
  • Show how journalists (or anyone) can get more information about their local areas.