A module from M. Gaffney, “Containment Policies for Urban Sprawl”
From Richard Stauber (ed.) Approaches to the Study of Urbanization
Research Center, The University of Kansas, 1964, Chapter X, pp. 115-33.
distributed by The State Printer, Topeka KS, rather than the University which published
Reprints were distributed by The Brookings Instn., 1775 Mass. Ave. N.W., Washington
D.C.; and The Robert Schalkenbach Fdtn., now at 41 E. 72nd St., New York, N.Y. 10021 --
both now out of stock.
Republished in Compact Cities: a Neglected Way of Conserving
, Joint Hearings, Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs; and
Committee on Interstate and Foreign commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, 96th
Congress 1st Sess.
Washington: USGPO, 1980, pp. 283-312 (Congressman Henry Reuss).
Republished in The Congressional Record
, March 16, 1972 (Congressman Les Aspin).
Objections to Negative
Containment. There are several legitimate
objections to negative containment policies. Some are of a
distributive nature. Containment, which grants high-density to
some and denies it to others, is discriminatory. A favored area
selected by the planner for a new shopping center would become
worth some $100,000 an acre, while land reserved for open space or
five-acre lots won't be worth a twentieth part of that. That may
please half the owners, who are not interested in early resale, but
only in low taxes. But the other half will wax full wroth. When
the planning commission and the zoning board flit about sprinkling
little golden showers here rather than there, they make
millionaires of some and social reformers of others. How anyone
could ever expect the losers to accept their fate philosophically is
something that occasionally makes me wonder-even though some of my
best friends are planners-if they have any idea what they are doing.
The fatuity of exhorting those whose lands have been reserved for
open space to forego their capital gains out of enthusiasm for the
Director of Planning's vision of the "county beautiful" simply
staggers one's credulity. Several landowners already have gone to
court protesting that low-density zoning was depriving them of
property without due process.
Low-density zoning also discriminates among buyers. It is widely
observed today that large-lot zoning has proceeded to such extremes
that most suburban land is reserved for a tiny fraction of the