Fri, 20 Mar 2009 17:00:00 +0000

The title is apparently an acronym from the planning literature: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything. My reading rampage continues with Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dreamby Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck. This excerpt from the introduction should whet your appetite:

The problem is that one cannot easily build Charleston anymore, because it is against the law. Similarly, Boston's Beacon Hill, Nantucket, Santa Fe, Carmel -- all of these well-known places, many of which have become tourist destinations, exist in direct violation of current zoning ordinances. Even the classic American main street, with its mixed-use buildings right up against the sidewalk, is now illegal in most municipalities. Somewhere along the way, through a series of small and well-intentioned steps, traditional towns became a crime in America. At the same time, one of the largest segments of the economy, the homebuilding industry, developed a comprehensive system of land development practices based on sprawl, practices that have become so ingrained as to be second nature. It is these practices, and the laws that encourage them, which must be overcome if good growth is to become a viable alternative.