But a taco truck is an entrepreneurial venture serving food. That means it must be taxed and regulated.
In both Texas and California, street vendors found themselves increasingly popular with the city, but struggling to fend off concerted attacks from the city government. The San Antonio city fathers restricted hours of sale and then finally ejected chili stands from Alamo Plaza near the turn of the century, but met resistance when chili queens continued to set up stands in defiance of the law.Instead, the Wise Experts prescribed the commercial strip, with its strip malls and nationally franchised bun-'n-runs.
Major roadways turn into strip malls fronted with parking lots and endless stretches of chain retail. These strip-mall arterials exist nationwide, robbing cities of their appeal. The common wisdom is that they result from “the market,” as monuments to American capitalism and consumerism. But that is a big fat myth—they have been forced into existence by government regulations.In addition to being aesthetically deadening, the strip malls and the zoning by Wise Experts are tax syphons.
Indeed, many of the regulations that prevent livelier downtown areas also harm the potential of low-density, outlying, suburban ones, by mandating that retail stay confined into this strip mall model. Below is a list of these regulations, which are enforced to various degrees across America, explaining the uniform look of our municipalities from coast to coast.
At Strong Towns, we see that our cities, towns and neighborhoods are dripping with opportunity. These opportunities are not of the mega-project variety. They don't come with ribbon cuttings, press releases and legislative approvals. They are small -- seemingly beneath us, perhaps -- but they can positively transform everything about how we live our lives. A row of trees here. A bike lane there. A crosswalk. A street light. A sidewalk. Some benches. In the nation we've built, the high returning infrastructure investments are now of the details, details, details variety.Put another way, public capital that might be complemented by a taco truck or a popcorn wagon.