Paranoia strikes deep in the heartland. And also on the coast. I rode on an elevator with Matt Kennell of City Center Partnership this morning, and he was marveling at the credulity of those in Charleston who believe that “smart growth” is some sort of U.N. plot to undermine the American Way.
Where builders and planners see combining high-density housing, retail and offices as the wave of the future, residents from Mount Pleasant to James Island see problems – crowded schools, lack of parking and an end to small-town lifestyles.
Now, they also have complaints that high-density residential developments, bicycle lanes, mass transit and “sustainable” or “smart” growth are part of a 22-year-old United Nations plot to undermine the American way of life.
“It’s all a part of this Agenda 21,” said Mount Pleasant native Cindy Anderson, referring to the Coleman Boulevard Plan. “They will push us all into these urban centers – that’s the plan.”
Bill Eubanks, the creative director of Urban Edge Studio at Seamon, Whiteside & Associates, who authored Mount Pleasant’s Coleman Boulevard master plan, said he’s heard concerns about Agenda 21, a 351-page document outlining ideas to address poverty, housing and environmental problems, including climate change.
“I have looked into the Agenda 21 conspiracy theory claims and not only do I think they are unfounded, I think they are absolutely ludicrous,” he said. “Worse than that, buying into this ridiculous fear-mongering can stand in the way of both sustainability and smart growth – something our communities really need.”…
Apparently, “Agenda 21″ is to development what “Common Core” is to education standards — some sort of dog-whistle thing that only the conspiracy-sensitive can hear.
Those who fear this supposed agenda say it could lead to people getting out of their cars and riding mass transit. Which, of course, sounds awesome. I don’t know whether the U.N. has a plan for that, but I do. Alas, I don’t think any of us will live to see it where we live…