Essayist (and college instructor) Leonardo Vazquez has written an interesting essay that compares those arch-rivals, New Urbanism and the property rights movements, in this fundamental way: They both draw their power not from clear thinking so much as allegory and myth.
Those movements are effective because they tell effective stories.
Which is why, for example, Measure 37 gripped Oregonians’ imaginations, for good or ill.
Writes Vazquez: “Using architectural images, the New Urbanism movement recounts fuzzy romantic images of a safer, simpler time in promoting compact urban form. The property rights movement offers apocalyptic visions of ravenous governments trying the steal all freedom from property owners. To the New Urbanist, the planner is Prometheus, who brings light and wisdom to the ancient Greeks. To the property rights advocates, the planner is one of those pigs that supports the tyrannical hog Napoleon in George Orwell’s Animal Farm.”