Upper East Side of Manhattan

Should government planners decide where and how you should live? Photo: Flickr/hotdogger13

In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development adopted Agenda 21, an initiative that seeks to preserve the environment by regulating where individuals can live and what they can produce. Though it is a non-binding plan, its policies are harmful to prosperity and freedom.

The driving force behind Agenda 21 is a form of government central planning called “smart growth.” The idea is that by condensing the population into more compact urban areas, humanity can reduce its impact on the environment.

Advocates of these policies “work to impose land use regulations that would force Americans into denser living arrangements, curtail freedom of choice in housing, discriminate against lower-income Americans, and compel people to pay more for their houses and give up their cars in favor of subways, trolleys, buses, and bicycles,” according to a new Heritage Foundation report.

But Agenda 21 is only a small part of the larger central planning movement, explain Heritage’s Wendell Cox, Ron Utt and Brett Schaefer. They warn that undue focus on this one plan could allow

homegrown smart-growth policies that date to the early 1970s and undermine the quality of life, personal choice, and property rights in American communities [to] be implemented by local, state, and federal authorities at the behest of environmental groups and other vested interests.

These policies, the report explains, have already contributed to America’s economic situation. “While recklessness was certainly a factor in the U.S. housing bubble, smart growth policies played a major role in creating and exacerbating the bubble and the subsequent recession,” the authors say.

Equally harmful are the limits smart-growth policies impose on the freedom of lower-income families to live in an area of their own choosing:

An explosion of exclusionary zoning throughout the U.S. encouraged many communities to adopt zoning policies to ensure that they maintained a certain demographic “profile.” Such zoning limited real estate development to higher-cost homes in order to “price out” moderate-income households, which included a disproportionate share of minorities.

Moreover, Heritage’s Cox has already demonstrated that smart growth does not solve environmental issues, and in fact makes polution worse.

What do you think? Is smart growth the smart choice?

Comments (4)

Joseph McKennan - December 7, 2011

What I think this controversy entails is the move to a central world government. I dislike the idea intensely. I am proud to be an AMERICAN. I do not want to be told what I can eat, what I must wear, how or if I can travel.
I imagine that the tv will be propaganda programming with no real entertainment value. The notion of zero population growth will be encouraged and deviant practices proposed as acceptable– to prevent pregnancies. Abortions and female sterilization will be widespread. It all started with the scare tactic of global climate change and environmental catastrophe. The sheep… I mean people…. will (are) not be able to escape the onslaught of endless propaganda about the disastrous state of the world’s environment.

Okay — I give up– tell me what to do, what to believe, Is it okay if I wear the yellow shirt today? May I change my bathroom use from 5:30 to 6:15?

Elaine - February 6, 2012

The Heritage Foundation should immediately conduct
a meeting in Wash. DC to take a position on the
Agenda 21 and the Smart Growth Program chaired by
UN. This agenda has been in the works, I believe, since
early 80’s and before that point in time! It appears that
personal rights and choices of where one lives and if
they can afford it is throw out and everyone has a right
to live in affordable housing with the citizens funding
the effort! What I am talking about is our personal rights
are being taken away by the many Executive Orders
by USA President with no review by Congress/Senate!!
It’s time to stand up for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

Elainee P. - February 29, 2012

The Heritage Foundation along with All other Conservative groups should file class action lawsuits against the Government. Writing one little Article on Agenda 21 does no good. You should have an Article on Agenda 21 on your first page every day and you should with your words, draw a picture for the American sheep who will not or maybe are not intelligent enough or do not care enough to research the info for themselves. You should put Tom DeWeese’s website http://www.AmericanPolicy.org somewhere in every Article. Agenda 21 will take every freedom we have away. Heritage Foundation should be ashamed of themselves that they have not educated the American people about Agenda 21.

Elaine - April 26, 2012

Agenda 21: Please post RESOLUTION by Heritage
Foundation to STOP Agenda 21 — Need a statement
resolution to have our leadership remove themselves
from this Agenda /ICLEI membership. Urgent, today
if possible. Thank You!!

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