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War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life

Recorded on May 22, 2007

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Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

People around the world associate the "universal dream of home ownership" with an unprecedented improvement in quality of life.  Wendell Cox argues, however, that there is a war on this dream, the result of policies that seek to control urban sprawl or suburbanization.  The proponents and governments that implement such anti-suburban policies do so with little debate and virtually without any serious analysis of the consequences. 


Anti-suburban policies outlaw development on large swaths of land, creating scarcity and increasing housing prices.  Such policies also hopelessly seek to force people to use mass transit instead of cars, while failing to build roadway capacity to accommodate rising demand.  The result is more intense traffic congestion, air pollution, and less productive urban areas.


With most of the world still living in relative poverty, it is clear that neither economic growth nor wealth creation can be taken for granted.  Only by rejecting and repealing anti-suburban policies, in Wendell Cox's view, can national economies and their urban areas be positioned to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to achieve a better quality of life.


Wendell Cox is an international demographic, urban policy, and transport consultant.  A Visiting Professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris, he also served terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission and the Amtrak Reform Council.  Cox lives in the metropolitan St. Louis area.