The problem is that 'development' is grey goo: it inexorably destroys whatever was there and reorders it according to the architectural fashions and commercial imperatives of the day. Fifty years ago that meant bulldozing charming old neighborhoods to build freeways and brutalist tower blocks, or paving over forests and meadows in favor of Wal-Marts and Taco Bells. Now it often means infill building in SFH suburbs of preposterously oversized, hideously expensive 7,000-sqft monstrosities built right to the edge of the lot. In all these cases there's no undo button, and the changes are for all intents and purposes irreversible; see your recent article on the difficulty of retrofitting car suburbs. All it takes is one building permit.

I see "historic preservation" as not so much about the value (or lack thereof) of what is preserved, but as a highly effective albeit blunt instrument to prevent the grey-gooification of one's neighborhood. Zoning laws and similar methods don't work well; developers are the classic single-issue special interest who use every conceivable means of attack, and they only need to win once. It's also much easier to organize people around the "historic preservation" catch-all than around the arcana of zoning or building codes.

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I lived in Boulder, Colorado for three years in the mid 90's. It was such an artificially maintained small town that I couldn't wait to leave. Housing was ridiculously expensive, and this meant it automatically was uninviting to young families like myself then.

The consequences of tight/no growth were many, as is most likely the case elsewhere in the country. People had to commute thus contributing to traffic congestion of which the Denver area is notorious for. While I lived there, I saw few families with children, but it did seem that every adult had a dog. There was a meanness in the population that was not natural, the same coldness I've encountered over the years in liberals who likely are the believers in climate oncoming disaster and the evils of too many people in the world. These are the type who despite their effusive claims of compassionate concerns of all things lately declared of concern, are the least equipped with kindness and generosity. The rules you write about here are a means to keep themselves enclosed in protected exclusive little kingdoms inhabited by others like themselves. As you write, it is not conducive to growth and as such is unnatural and stale. It's about the people in control keeping their control.

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