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The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths: How Smart Growth Will Harm American Cities

3.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0970643902
ISBN-10: 097064390X
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Thoreau Inst (December 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097064390X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970643902
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,634,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James M. Flint on August 5, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As with any book, the data is somewhat outdated by the time the manuscript is published. That said I enjoyed the book overall and it helped provide some data in a local special election. But, after reading this book one has to ask what is wrong with those people in Portland, Oregon?
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Format: Paperback
I hate cars. They're dangerous, they're dirty, I don't think we pay the "real" cost given the environmental and safety hazards. I have a feeling that if we weren't building giant, ugly freeways, we'd have small neighborhoods with businesses more intermixed with our houses, and wouldn't be trying to commute such long distances in the first place. Who knows.

I bike to work, or walk/take public transportation. The health and psychological benefits are immense, plus I don't have to buy a gym membership. I love my bike.

There are some very good arguments why "urban planning" is for wealthy white people in ivory towers only. Urban planning often leaves poor people with fewer economic opportunities, is disproportionately expensive to taxpayers for the benefit to the community, and is extremely controversial. If nothing else, it's very important to understand why so many people disagree with the concept.

If you're a liberal interested in challenging your preconceived notions, read this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
O'Toole breaks down the ridiculousness of "smart growth" initiatives and shows that it not only produces the opposite effects than intended, it also cannot stand up to logic. I applaud the author for taking this controversial stand in a time when the "greens" are under every rock.
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If you have read Andres Duany's SUBURBAN NATION or one of the similar 'smart growth' books, or if you are simply interested in land use issues from an environmental or planning and zoning perspective, this book is a fact filled MUST READ -- unless of course you are the sort who says, "my mind's made up, don't confuse me with the facts."
Though I've seen the uglification of much of the area in which I grew up due to dumb growth, I've also experienced the carefully contrived charettes and public meetings designed to manufacture a facade of 'public support' for heavy handed 'planning' intended to impose 'smart growth' on a community in violation of property rights, common sense and community desires.
While elements of "smart growth' can make sense when implemented via incentives for voluntary action, Mr. O'Toole's thorough analysis backed by statistics drawn largely from government sources (all well footnoted for those interested in tracking them down) punctures both the exaggerated conceits used to sell the smart growth agenda and the overwrought fears used to herd unsuspecting environmentalists into supporting an agenda with few, if any, environmental benefits.
This book is an encyclopedic collection of most every argument against 'smart growth.' If you are a smart growth advocate, you need this book to familiarize yourself with the arguments against your position and the facts that your opponents will use to back them up. If you are feeling steamrolled by a 'smart growth' crusade in your area, you'll go to this book time after time for the ammunition you're looking for to support your cause. Of all the 'anti'-'smart growth' books out there that I've come across, this is the most comprehensive and well organized.
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Format: Paperback
Light rail carries a tiny fraction of the people that a highway carries and if you take construction into account it wastes more fuel as well. This is just one of dozens of PC myths that are refuted in this unique, well written book.
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San Jose is the number two city to institute Smart Growth Planning after Portland. Our housing prices are up 10 times in the last 25 years because of the Urban Growth Boundary. We spend 80% of transportaion funds on transit which provides 1.1% of passenger miles and roads are planned to come to a stop. Our transportation plan reports that 90,000 auto trips will not be possible to be made because of road congestion. Our industrial and office buildings are 20% vacant. We are #2 behind Portland in Urban Joblesness.

In regard to running out of Oil. As a student at SJSU 50 years ago we were taught that the world had a 10 year supply of oil. Now it is reported that is some where between 50 and 100 years. I use the book almost every week for references.
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Format: Paperback
This guy is a 'senior fellow' at the Cato institute, the libertarian lobbying group funded by big oil and the notorious Koch Brothers. It would be difficult to find a planner, or anyone who isn't a climate-change denier, that would find anything of value in his writing.
Realistic and informed authors to read on the subject of autos and their impact on the urban environment would be Jane Jacobs, or Donald Shoup. The High Cost of Free Parking, Updated EditionThe Death and Life of Great American Cities (50th Anniversary Edition) (Modern Library)Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics
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