John Norquist, the president of the Congress for New Urbanism, has an interview on the PBS Online NewsHour regarding the Kelo decision. While the site notes that Congress took no position in the case, Norquists’ comments do echo many New Urbanist themes.
But his comments also go against the idea of any kind of central planning by major entities, whether they be government or private developers. These large groups just don’t have the foresight or the omniscience to know exactly what will be best for the city or even what will be the best way to promote economic development. A couple of my favorite quotes from Norquist, who’s also the former mayor of Milwaukee:
The key to revitalization of American cities is the complexity of cities, the form of cities…[snip]…The small developer, the small business person, the small property owner, they’re the ones that are the key to urban revitalization — not having some big firms that’s routinely hiring lobbyists and lawyers and goes down to city hall.