The Planning Penalty

How Smart Growth Makes Housing Unaffordable

American Dream Coalition news service

Why We Defend the American Dream

Coalition Plans and Activities

Invitation to Join

Coalition Governance

Links to members

Membership brochure (296 kb pdf)

On-line membership form

Coalition by laws

The Journalists' Guide to the American Dream (html)

The Journalists' Guide to the American Dream (pdf, 2.2 mb)

Fact Sheet on Rail Transit (80-KB pdf file)

Rail Disasters 2005 (2.5 MB pdf file)
Report by Randal O'Toole finds rail transit strongly associated with reduced transit ridership

Welcome to the American Dream Coalition

2006 Preserving the American Dream Conference

The 2006 Preserving the American Dream conference will take place in Atlanta at the Crowne Plaza-Buckhead Hotel on September 15-17. Some of the confirmed speakers include:

and many others. More information about registration will be posted here soon.

Guide to the American Dream

Many of the presentations given at the 2005 Preserving the American Dream conference, along with scores of papers, data files, and PowerPoint presentations on the importance of freedom, mobility, and affordable homeownership, are on a new Guide to the American Dream CD, which you can order from our order form for $5 each.

The Coalition also has a Rail Disasters 2005 CD that has a fully narrated, 25-minute PowerPoint show about the problems with rail transit. This CD is $10. Quantity discounts for both CDs are also available. To order either CD, use the order form; to find out about quantity discounts, send an email to the American Dream Coalition.

Why We Defend the American Dream

The American dream of freedom, mobility, and affordable homeownership has produced enormous benefits for Americans:

  • Homeownership -- More than 80 percent of Americans say their ideal home is a single-family house with a yard. Homes are one of the best investments a young family can make. The most important source of funds for new businesses in the U.S. is mortgages on the businessowner's homes.
  • Mobility -- Automobiles give Americans access to better and higher paying jobs, lower-cost consumer goods, rapid-response emergency services, distant friends and relatives, and all sorts of recreation opportunities.
  • Freedom -- According to the Heritage Foundation's 2002 Index of Economic Freedom, nations that protect property rights and other forms of economic freedom have per capita incomes at least six times greater than nations will little or no economic freedom. Higher incomes mean higher environmental quality as well.

Despite these benefits, this dream is being challenged by a new planning doctrine known as smart growth, which calls for dense urban development, restrictions on rural development, rail transit boondoggles, and barriers to auto driving. Despite its attractive name, smart growth is one of the greatest threats to American mobility, affordable housing, and freedom today.

  • Homeownership -- Smart growth's urban-growth boundaries and regulation of home construction make housing unaffordable to most families. Housing in San Jose, Portland, and other smart-growth cities is far less affordable than housing in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and other less-regulated cities.
  • Mobility -- Though traffic congestion costs Americans more than $60 billion a year, smart growth actually seeks to increase congestion in order to discourage people from driving.
  • Freedom -- Smart growth requires draconian restrictions on property owners and businesses. Limits on rural development, minimum-density zoning in urban areas, and strict rules for retailers and other businesses all impede economic freedom and increase costs to homebuyers and consumers.

Invitation to Join

The Coalition is currently seeking members and pledges of support. Membership fees range from $25 for individuals to $250 for full group membership. We also encourage people to pledge additional support. The Coalition has been given a challenge grant, so every $2 you contribute will be joined by $1 in additional funds.

You can join the Coalition using the on-line membership form. You may also download and print out a membership brochure (296 KB pdf). More information about member groups can be found in these links.

Coalition Governance

As described in the Coalition's by laws, the Coalition will be overseen by a steering committee made up of representatives of all full group members as well as people elected by individual members. A seven-member executive committee will be elected by the steering committee to oversee month-to-month operations. Members who join by May 1, 2003, will elect the Coalition's first officers and executive committee. If you would be willing to serve on the Coalition's initial steering committee or executive committee, please make a note of it on your membership form.