Maybe the new civil war is preservation vs. sprawl.
Four notable Civil War battlefields were added to the Civil War Preservation Trust's yearly list of sites threatened with destruction. Like many on the list, these sites will disappear or be irrevocably changed by the encroachment of new cul-de-sacs and rows of suburban homes.
Hey people have to live, right? And folks gotta make money building and selling homes, after all.
The question is where the new homes ought to be built. The fight over the past 15 years, particularly, has been over the sprawling development out of cities and first-tier suburbs into the so-called exurbs, those distant bedroom communities far from jobs, schools and shopping, overly reliant on automobiles and isolated enough that commutes replace leisure time and civic volunteerism alike.
The alternative is to rebuild aging downtowns, cluster development around existing villages and cities, and preserve the outlying open space.
Whether it's a pristine forest, a working farm or a Civil War battlefield, sprawl is the chief threat. Now that the housing market has slowed down, communities facing this kind of rapid population growth can take a breather and set some rules so that they preserve the best of their community, and plan for a future that may be more constrained by fuel cost and availability.
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