Friday, May 18, 2007

Environmental impact

I spent yesterday morning listening to the Manhattan Institute's latest whining over government process. They want to limit Environmental Impact Statements, the studies that disclose the full impact of out-of-scale developments and new zonings.

There is consensus that the EIS is not the best tool for community planning: it is expensive but it has no teeth, it's time-consuming but it doesn't engage dialogue with community voices or include a broader context of city needs.

Typical of the Manhattan Institute, their solution is to downsize it without actually proposing a replacement mechanism for real community and city planning. And, of course, limiting the application of the EIS would suit developers just fine. The less truth they are required to disclose to the public, the happier they are.

Until we have a mechanism that respects community input, the EIS is all we have to hold onto. And until they can come up with a constructive alternative, the Manhattan Institute might do us the favor of sparing us their whining.

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