Single-family homeownership is under siege by green-minded leftists who claim the suburbs are a threat to the environment as well as sanctuaries of social inequality. It sounds far-fetched, but progressives are making inroads in their quest to change the American way of life into a socialist utopia. And they are having a great deal of success under the radar by effectively altering local zoning laws.
Newly elected Delegate Ibraheem Samirah (D-VA 86) introduced a bill that would “allow development or redevelopment of ‘middle housing’ residential units upon each lot zoned for single-family residential use. Middle housing is defined as two-family residential units, including duplexes, townhouses, cottages, and any similar structure …”
Samirah takes a page out of the radical left’s playbook, calling suburbs “mostly white and wealthy” places that discriminate against the poor. Is this just a pipe dream by a young, green Virginia delegate? It is not. There is precedent for such measures that have already been enacted in Austin, Seattle, and Minneapolis.
Legislators like the 27-year-old Virginia dentist view the suburbs as nothing more than bastions of elitism that should be eliminated – and locations ripe for the resettling of low-income urbanites.
The End of the Suburbs?
These zoning changes are part of a strategic and systematic plan to change the way Americans live. In Oregon, Democrat Governor Kate Brown signed legislation that “requires most Oregon cities with more than 1,000 residents to allow duplexes in areas previously zoned exclusively for single-family homes,” according to Pew Research. In California – where the cost of housing is high – Governor Gavin Newsom is a fervent advocate of these zoning changes. The people of California, however, remain stubborn and unconvinced as most of these rezoning efforts have been held up in local cities and towns.
The bottom line is that homeowners worry that playing around with zoning laws could negatively impact the value of their houses. Traditionally, suburbs full of single-family homes are far less densely populated than cities. Altering the population density is likely to lower the value of properties. These affluent neighborhoods are an affront to social justice warriors, who see them as economically and racially discriminatory. As Gov. Brown put it, “One of the ways we are going to solve both our environmental problems and our economic justice issues around housing [is] to increase density.”
Changing the American Dream
Ironically, the suburb mainly came about as a place for post-World War II veterans to find affordable housing. Its archetype, built in 1946 by William Levitt in Long Island, New York, is known as Levittown. Between 1940 and 1960, homeownership in the U.S. grew from 44% to 62%. These planned communities became a non-nuclear mushroom cloud that enticed millions to move to a place where they could have some space. By 1970 an estimated 74 million Americans lived in the suburbs.
This movement fed the economy not just in the areas of construction but with new-fangled suburban luxuries, such as electric garage door openers. The massive movement of humanity is what upsets socialists, who maintain that the suburbs are nothing more than places of racial and economic inequality.
This mindset of creating places of utopian egalitarianism is at the heart of socialism and has historically been antithetical to the American dream. As such, one wonders if that dream is undergoing an overhaul in the 21st century without so much as a whimper or cry from those who believe in the classic capitalist model.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.