Monday, June 16, 2014

Non-Progressives Prefer Suburban Sprawl

elpasonaturally readers, please read: Pew Poll: More Americans Are Political Purists | KSMU.

Let me point out one paragraph in particular:

"Blue house, red house: Cities have long been liberal bastions while suburbs and rural areas have been more conservative. Pew asked a question that got at that dynamic in a fascinating way. It asked those surveyed whether they would rather live in a community with larger houses that are farther apart and driving is essential to get practically anywhere or would prefer smaller houses that were closer with stores and schools within walking distance. Seventy-five percent of those whose survey answers identified them as consistent conservatives said they preferred the large house, car-dependent community. By contrast, 77 percent of consistent liberals liked the more urban scenario."

My assumption is (and I'll bet mucho that I'm correct) the builders, the sprawlers, their lackeys on City Council, etc. are all what I call "non-progressives" - the "conservatives" in the Frank James NPR report. 

The Pew Poll may explain why we conservationists find it so hard to find common ground or compromise with El Pasoans who are bent on sprawl, concrete, more and bigger freeways, no transportation policy that considers bicycling and walking, and no smart code/smart growth/green infrastructure-low impact development.

In 2011 after a successful petition drive, we compromised and came up with a pretty good win-win solution and a new NW Master Plan. As recently as this year, an attempt was made to ditch smart code as developers such as Doug Schwartz want a piece of the action in the NW. (Keep in mind that Schwartz, Rubin - aka "demolish historic buildings downtown" Rubin - were major players along with Mayor Leeser in the selection of the new City Manager - a selection process that we know now was tainted. Read also the El Paso Inc. article.)

Again, I'm assuming that most builders and developers in El Paso are non-progressives. They argue that everyone wants a house with a yard on the outskirts of the City. If those they market to understood that the homes that they are buying are not the most energy-efficient and that they will spend most of their disposable income driving to work or the store, they probably might prefer other alternatives. Unfortunately the non-progressives believe that people want the larger footprint for a home. I know. I've heard them to a person tell me so.

1 comment:

  1. When I was ED for the Housing Finance Corporation, we had set asides with extra incentives for buyers who purchased inner city homes. No takers. I found that, when first time buyers qualified for a mortgage, they wanted what you describe as sprawl, i.e., one of those Desert View/Tropicana homes in the 36 and 38 Zips with a fence and new or newer school in the area for the kids. No one wants to send their kids to Jefferson or El Paso HS and, in El Paso, kids are everything.

    I wish it worked as you so eloquently outline, but it doesn't and I certainly would not characterize the average family here (34 years old, 2 or 3 kids, $35K combined income)as "non-progressives." More accurately, they are just surviving.

    Jerry Kurtyka