Whether it’s Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue or a tenement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, there are several things city residents — compared with residents of single, detached suburban homes — generally do not have: lawns, gardens, more space, and possibly swimming pools.
After World War II, millions of Americans decided to abandon such places as Manhattan, Chicago, and San Francisco for suburbia.
Suburbia generally offered better schools and lower crime rates. One could own a car and have a garage. Parking was easy. So was shopping. There was the virtue of owning a home, rather than renting an apartment.
Government even offered an incentive to buy a home. The interest paid on a home mortgage would be deductible from the personal income tax.
For 50 years, from 1945 to 1995, suburbia just kept growing. Many Americans seemed happy to live somewhere other than in big cities.
Then, in 1992, thinking started to change. A group of nations — in conjunction with the United Nations — gathered in Rio De Janeiro to promulgate Agenda 21. The “21” in Agenda 21 refers to the twenty-first century.
Agenda 21’s goal is to promote “sustainable” communities, in which thousands, perhaps millions, of people would live and work together. The advocates of sustainable communities argue that such communities will relieve traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, and promote “harmony” among different ethnic groups.
Agenda 21 was supposed to be voluntary. But in California, what was supposed to be voluntary is becoming mandatory.
In California, there is a movement to create what are called Transit Villages.
In Pleasant Hill, California, a suburban community about 30 miles east of San Francisco, there is a Transit Village that has 2,700 residents, 6,000 employees, and 84 companies.
The Transit Village in Pleasant Hill is near a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train station. BART transports people to different parts of the Bay Area. BART serves such places as Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland Airport, and San Francisco International Airport.
How well are Transit Villages working out?
Usually, there are three complaints. One, there is a lack of ample parking at BART parking lots after 7:00 A.M. on workdays. Two, BART trains are so full that a passenger cannot find a seat. Three, BART has experienced a 45 percent rise in crime over last year.
The East Bay Business News reported on May 1, 2017, that robberies on BART trains and at BART stations are up 45 percent between January 1, 2017, and March 31, 2017, compared with all of 2016.
At 9:20 P.M. on April 22, 2017, 40 to 60 youths at BART’s Coliseum station in Oakland boarded a train and robbed and beat passengers. The assailants left before police arrived.
Undaunted, governmental agencies in California are going ahead with plans to create more Transit Villages. The California Department of Housing and Community Development is telling local communities, including communities that have no space for additional housing, to build hundreds of new residences. Many, perhaps most, of these residences are to be high-rise, high-density dwellings.
In addition, in July 2013, two regional Bay Area governmental agencies, MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) and ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments) voted to adopt Plan Bay Area, a scheme to encourage the construction of high-rise, high-density housing in the Bay Area’s 101 cities. The directors of MTC and ABAG are not directly elected by voters. Thus, these directors are not accountable to voters on election day.
Citizens of the United States are free people. However, Transit Villages are being created without the consent of the governed.
In 1776, The United Stares declared itself independent of Great Britain. In 2017, Californians may have to decide if they need to declare themselves independent of the forces creating Transit Villages — villages being established by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.
If Californians do not take command of out-of-control government, suburban residents may find that they will be living in what could be called Manhattan 2.0.