Jonesboro MPO Director Touts Soviet Style Housing

The Director of the Jonesboro MPO, Muhammad Ulkarim, recently emailed an article that was filled with deceitful information in an effort to promote  more bikeways, walkable neighborhoods, and cramped, crowded housing.  The article Ulkarim sent out actually touts housing  as small as 350 to 400 square feet. Articles like this can be frequently found indicating that young people of today want smaller housing.   Following quotes exemplify the content of the article: 


In Amsterdam, for example, many urban dwellers live well in several hundred square feet of space, at densities that are 50, 70, or even 100 units to the acre...Now it's time to clean out and clean up our land-use regulations to open the way to alternative forms of housing. A good first step would be to disaggregate housing from parking. Right now, people without cars are subsidizing those who have them, through higher rents. Is that socially just or appropriate as a public policy objective?


Parking is kept to a bare minimum and the apartments are spare — just 350 to 400 square feet. The rents range from less than $400 to $900 a month...The housing group also provides free transit passes to residents, so they need not have a car...They [people in their 20's] are basically looking for a safe place to sleep that has a private bath and is located reasonably close to all the other places they go. Link to the full article:


[I don't know any young people that desire this type of housing, do you?  Be sure to note the last excepts of this email & compare the quotes from Ulkarim's email to the the style of housing the Soviets promoted and built that were abandoned as soon as the people were free to move.]


The article, of course gives good reason for this smaller housing - to make it affordable in our hard economic times;  that approach allows the left  to never waste a crisis - a crisis that they created.  A quote I recently came across in an email describes this situation: “Government is good at one thing: It knows how to break your legs, hand you a crutch, and say, ‘See, if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk.’"


Smart-Growth is one of the main organizations pushing Agenda 21, Sustainable Development, and  walkable neighborhoods. At the Jonesboro MPO meeting we attended,  videos about Smart-Growth and produced by Smart-Growth  were shown.  (MPO stands for Metropolitan Planning Organization  -  "An  MPO is a transportation policy-making organization made up of representatives from local governments and transportation authorities.   Federal legislation requires the formation of an MPO for any urbanized area with a population greater than 50,000")


"Though they publicly claim they want to reduce congestion, most Smart-Growth  plans admit they seek to increase congestion to encourage people to use transit [rather than cars.]. Though they publicly claim to worry about affordable housing, smart-growth plans drive up land and housing costs with the hidden agenda of encouraging people to live in multifamily housing or at least on tiny lots." 


The following quote is found on Smart Start's own website under Principles of Smart Growth: Note how these experts want to plan people's lives for them with their Utopian fantasies.  In our society today, walking is not even safe, especially after dark.  And how much money will it cost to  to relocate all these places to put them within walking distance, and whose property will they have to take to implement their plans?


 "Walkable communities are desirable places to live, work, learn, worship and play, and therefore a key component of smart growth.  [Meaning they live close enough to their work, school, and church, etc. to walk to these places so there is little or  no need for cars]  Their desirability comes from two factors. First, walkable communities locate within an easy and safe walk goods such as housing, offices, and retail and services (such as transportation, schools, libraries) that a community resident or employee needs on a regular basis. Second, by definition, walkable communities make pedestrian activity possible, thus expanding transportation options, and creating a streetscape that better serves a range of users -  pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and automobiles. To foster walkability, communities must mix land uses and build compactly, and ensure safe and inviting pedestrian corridors...Land use and community design plays a pivotal role in encouraging [forcing] pedestrian environments." Taken from  "Principles of Smart Growth-Create Walkable Neighborhoods" at this link.


Below are just a few quotes from the Jonesboro Metropolitan Plan adopted in 2010 that reflect the Smart Growth principle above:

Under Goals and Objectives: 


1.  Adopt and maintain policies, codes, and land-use patterns that promote walking.


4.  Promote and facilitate the effective use of non-motorized transportation


7.  Develop a regional pedestrian and bicycle transportation plan for a safe and connective non-motorized transportation system.


9.  Develop partnerships with transit providers to implement projects providing neighborhood-to-transit links that improve pedestrian and bicycle access to transit services and facilities.


The city codes and policies are the means the government  plans to use to accomplish their goals. Mixed land use is a term often used  in all the articles related to doing away with cars and developing more density and multi-family housing with less suburban sprawl.  The following is a quote from advocates of walkable cities: "Mixed-use development is currently in vogue among planners because the compact, efficient land use offers an excellent opportunity for short commutes to work and convenience shopping. Biking, walking, or short trips both benefit individual lifestyles and reduce traffic congestion and energy consumption for transportation."  In other words,  mixed-land use allows the government to channel growth into the areas the government wants rather than allowing a city to grow based on people's choices of where and how they want to live. Greater density (people crowded into smaller areas) is the only way the government can reduce and/or do away with cars to save the planet from global warming.


Dan Burden, the extreme radical transportation expert now working in Arkansas had this to say in his video:


"We have lots of built infrastructure already in place. When landscape architects, planning engineers, economic developers start working together as a team we can change the whole image of the city and the whole design...We have to write the code so that we put all developers on the same equal footing if we are going to get this as a fairly universal practice.

We have to have the density...There are serious projections that gas will be $10.00 a gallon in a short time." Video  [Note: And if the leftists have their way,  the gas prices will probably go that high in order to create the crisis to reduce automobile transportation and so called global warming. That is probably why they refuse to drill in all the places our country could if the liberals would let us.]  See this link for more information on Dan Burden.


In the Jonesboro Vision booklet, reflecting the Jonesboro MPO's vision,  published this last year is included a page on mixed land use.  Following is just one quote from it.  Jonesboro's future land use plan is the City's guide to form and pattern our city's future development...The land use plan is different from previous plans with unique characteristics such as...promotes a pedestrian-friendly community...Strong guidance for development of city bikeways, greenways, sidewalks, and roads...strong support for transit-friendly development...A  primary focus of the plan is encouragement of private development through public investment in services, facilities, and infrastructure. [In other words the government will fund the projects that will accomplish their goals.]  See this link for the full page.  If you don't know the buzz words associated with Agenda 21 and Sustainability, you won't understand part of it.


Excerpts below are from an article entitled "Smart Growth and the Ideal City" and can be found at this link:


The principles and policies advocated by Smart-Start are very similar to those written nearly forty years ago by University of Moscow planners in a book titled The Ideal Communist City. The principles in their book formed a blueprint for residential construction all across Russia and eastern Europe. With a couple of minor changes, they could also be the blueprint for smart growth.


Mixed-use developments, wrote the Moscow planners, allow people easy access to "public functions and services" such as day care, restaurants, parks, and laundry facilities. This, in turn, would minimize the need for private spaces, and the authors suggest that apartments for a family of four need be no larger than about 600 square feet.


[H]igh-density housing was supposed to allow easy access to public transportation. "Private individual transportation has produced such an overwhelming set of unresolved problems in cities that even planners in bourgeois societies are inclined to limit it," the Russians prophetically observed. With their high-density apartments, as many as 12,000 people could live within 400-yard walking distances of public transit stations. That's about 70,000 people per square mile, slightly greater than the density of Manhattan. "The economic advantages of (public transit) for getting commuters to and from production areas are obvious," says the book, "and it is also an answer to congestion in the central city." [Notice that in American  this would also provide a real economic boon to developers who can take tiny plots of ground to cram as many citizens as possible into microscopic spaces;  and since this will be the only housing available, landlords can still rent them for the same price they would pay for normal size housing.]


Soviet-block countries were building such new cities even as the University of Moscow planners were writing their book. In 1970, East Germany developed a standard building plan known as the WBS 70 (WBS stands for Wohnungsbausystem, literally, "house building system") that was applied to nearly 650,000 apartments in East Berlin and other East German cities. "The WBS 70 was the uniform basis of the accelerated housing construction until the end of the GDR," says a paper titled Architecture as Ideology. According to page 23 of this paper, the WBS 70 offered a generous 700 square feet in its three-room apartments.


They [Stockholm planners] also noted that the government discouraged car ownership by placing most of the parking on the outskirts of the city "at a relatively large distance from the residential houses."


What the Swedish researchers failed to note in their 1998 presentation, but faithfully recorded in their full paper, was that Halle-Neustadt was only "sustainable" during the socialist period. When Germany reunified, many residents moved out, and those who stayed bought cars so that auto ownership "reached nearly the level of western Germany." 


On April 27, 2005, I had the opportunity to join Wendell Cox on a tour of Halle-Neustadt and other formerly East German cities. The first thing we noticed is that the "parking problem" is gone, as are most of the green spaces, which have been turned into parking lots.


The apartment buildings themselves range from reconstructed to totally abandoned.


Where did all the people go? Many found jobs in western Germany; since reunification, east Germany has lost more than 1.25 million people. But many of those who stayed got away from the slabs by moving to suburbs of new duplexes and single-family homes.


In other words, people only live in these cramped, dense area without cars when they are forced to do so!  Articles claiming people want to live like this is just propaganda, Russian style.


Sustainable – J. Gary Lawrence


§        "Participating in a UN advocated planning process would very likely bring out many...who would actively work to defeat any elected official...undertaking Local Agenda 21/Sustainable Development."


§        So we call our process something else such as 'comprehensive planning', 'growth management' or 'smart growth."


          - J. Gary Lawrence, 1998 UNEP Conference U.K.,com_joomgallery/func,detail/id,68/Itemid,25/#joomimg


Other Related Articles:


Obama Mandates Bikeways:


Brummett Says Amen to A World Without Cars


On The Road To A "Carless" Society


The Wrenching Transformation of America


Video by Dan Burden "Building Livable, Walkable Communities    OR 


Lecture by Dan Burden presented to Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C. in 2001. Video: 

 "Building Communities WithTransportation" by Dan Burden


Article by Dan Burden "Stop Sprawl"


More Quotes by Dan Burden -


Posted by Debbie Pelley

December 5, 2011