City planning New Speak

George Orwell used examples of political language, called New Speak, in his prophetic novel 1984: War is peace. Freedom is slavery. New speak is also spoken locally.  The John Locke Foundation just published a New Speak glossary for anyone who wants to understand the consultant’s report Raleigh city planners paid for to help implement the city’s new 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

Here are some key translations:

Affordable housing: an extortion scheme to force home builders to sell their houses at below market prices.

Auto-dependent: people who prefer to drive automobiles and communities that fit that preference. The antonym is walkability (or bikeability), which means: designed to discourage driving.

Community: depending on use either (a) a narrow set of citizens, special-interest groups and city planners, (b) only city planners, or (c) a vision based on nostalgia.

Growth: city development that satisfies the whims of planners and special interests.

Incentives: legal extortion systems operated by the city. See also density bonus system: legal extortion schemes operated by the city to secure funds from home buyers to pay for politically determined (rather than market determined) “amenities.”

Stakeholders: special-interest groups consulted in the development of land-use plans and regulations.

Trees: a valuable natural resource that planners (1) assume benefit everyone (2) want planted and protected for everyone’s benefit, and (3) want the costs of the forced planting and protecting borne solely by the affected landowners.

And my favorite:

Public realm: anything which can be seen from a street.

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