“Smart Growth” A Euphemism for Gentrification

The Coalition for Smarter Growth supports the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan, adopted by County Board on July 23, claiming that it will save 4,500 affordable housing units. What the Coalition doesn’t tell you is that there are currently 7,300 affordable units on the Pike right now. So implementation of the plan will mean the loss of about 2,800 affordable units right off the bat.

Of the projected 4,500 affordable units on the Pike, 1,200 will be created by providing developers with on site bonus density. Transfer of Development Rights (TDRs) and significant financial incentives from the county will be needed to preserve the rest. According to the County Manager, the subsidy needed to preserve the remaining 3,300 units would approximate $297 million over the 30 year life of the plan.

Obviously the County can’t afford to do this. So it wants to give developers additional bonus density in exchange for conserving existing units in the Fillmore Gardens and Barcroft apartment complexes. Using TDRs, developers would transfer their bonus density from conserved sites to other neighborhoods along the Pike. Specifically the plan proposes the construction of massive residential towers off the Pike near the Army Navy Golf Course. The net result will be an increase in the number of rental units along the Pike from 9,000 today to 23,000 in 2040, 15,000 of which will be market rate.

Whereas 80 percent of the apartments on the Pike are affordable today, only 35 percent will be affordable once the Pike is redeveloped. The massive influx of high income renters into the county and corresponding outflow of low income renters is a phenomenon known as gentrification. A concept that is well documented in planning literature, it is somehow missing from the Coalition’s lexicon. Instead the Coalition has coined a euphemism for gentrification called “Smart Growth”.

I hate sluburbia myself, but I fail to see how it can be ended by recycling the poor out and the yuppies in. What’s needed is a comprehensive national policy to constrain population growth. Until the federal government develops the will to do this, Arlington needs to rethink the meaning of Smart Growth.

25 thoughts on ““Smart Growth” A Euphemism for Gentrification

  1. DS July 26, 2012 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    What would this national policy entail? Restrictions on children and immigration?

  2. admin July 27, 2012 at 4:36 am - Reply

    A national population policy would entail strict enforcement of immigration laws and incentives for married couples to reduce family size.

  3. Julie August 31, 2012 at 10:37 am - Reply

    But the Green Party’s national platform calls for unrestricted immigration and open borders.

  4. Barry August 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    Sustainability? Not with open borders. Do you support the Green Party’s platform?

  5. Julie August 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    It’s a cafeteria political party.

  6. Audrey Clement August 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    Needless to say I oppose open borders, and I reject the racism argument upon which it is premised, not because British colonialism wasn’t racist, but because Spanish colonialism was considerably worse.

  7. Barry September 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    I guess that means she opposes the Green Party’s immigration platform, which she implies is racist ;~}

  8. Julie September 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Greens are to Liberalism as Christian Science is to Protestantism. Most Greens exploit third world immigrants as much or worse as the limo liberal Democrats.

  9. Audrey Clement September 3, 2012 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    People refuse to change their lifestyles to promote a more sustainable planet, regardless of party affiliation. One way to silence those who argue for reduced levels of consumption–including procreation–is to label them racists.

  10. barry September 23, 2012 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Green Party are limo liberals and wannabes. Heard on a talk show: their presidential candidate talks green but lives like her country club Republican neighbors. What a hypocrite.

  11. Paula September 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Jill Stein is conducting a classic Limo Liberal campaign. I wonder if the working class women who clean her home in Upscale Massachusetts are unpaid interns?

  12. Audrey Clement September 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm - Reply


    I live in a one bedroom apartment, dont’ own a car and bike and Metro around town. So if I’m a wannabe, I’d sure like to know the rich and famous person I aspire to be.

  13. barry September 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Probably Ralph Nader. He constantly claimed to be impoverished but is spending his retirement years on millionaires row in Kalorama D.C.

    Your presidential candidate is having a wonderful time in California with her fellow Limo Libs, BTW.

  14. Audrey Clement September 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    In 2008 Nader recruited the male co-chair of the state Green Party to coordinate his campaign as an independent for President in Virginia. I was the Green Party co-chair left holding the bag, and I’m supposed to believe that I envy Ralph Nader? I’d sooner envy Mitt Romney!

  15. barry September 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Greens are a hoot. When they aren’t claiming dire poverty while laughing all the way to the bank they’re major leaguers at playing the blame game.

  16. Audrey Clement September 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    Barry, you are short on specifics. Which Green do you know that claims dire poverty? And who’s blaming whom for what? I think you should look in the mirror.

  17. barry September 24, 2012 at 5:26 am - Reply

    Oh, never mind.

  18. Julie September 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    BTW, who controls the Green Party of the United States? I understand that Ralph Nader does, as he’s done from the beginning, including the state party organizations.

  19. barry September 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    Nader may be retired from running for political office but he still controls the Green Party and the USPIRGs.

  20. Paula September 25, 2012 at 4:41 am - Reply

    Audrey Clement is a Ralph Nader clone. You saw it here first. And Nader does control the Green Party of the United States.

  21. julie September 25, 2012 at 7:27 am - Reply

    The idea that Nader is behind anyone but Jill Stein for President is someone’s bad fiction.

    Speaking of her – I don’t know anything about her except what the Greens tell me.

  22. barry October 1, 2012 at 9:31 am - Reply

    The more I learn about Jill Stein the more I’m convinced she’s a former Sierra Club Democrat who became disenchanted with the Sierra Club and the Democratic Party. Elizabeth May in Canada is much the same, upscale Baby Boomer who connects with upscale Baby Boomers and their frequently unemployed and struggling children. However both live like upscale limousine liberals.

  23. julie October 5, 2012 at 8:31 am - Reply

    I think you are correct about Jill Stein. As for the Green Party, it’s owned by Nader, the people who run the Green Party are Nader loyalists who worked for Nader at some point, as volunteers or paid employees, and they report to Ralph.

  24. barry October 11, 2012 at 10:03 am - Reply

    Greens are all elitists. Clement among them.

  25. barry October 12, 2012 at 10:23 am - Reply

    After watching Audrey debate I have to ask why she doesn’t join the Republican Party as a Progressive? She is not a Green anymore.

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