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Thread: "Hayek's View of New Urbanism" Responses

  1. #1

    "Hayek's View of New Urbanism" Responses

    I just got done reading "Hayek's View on New Urbanism," and I thought it was interesting some of his points on the forcing of a new way of life by "THEM!"...

    "Therein lies the problem with the new urbanists. They don't trust people making their own choices with their own money. They want to make the decisions for us on how and where we should live our lives, and no matter how pure their motivations may be, their methods are simply atrocious. Only I know what's best for me. They only know what's best for themselves."

    I find these comments interesting since new urbanists are not forcing anything upon anyone. Currently this movement is attempting to educate people on the unhealthy lifestyle choices that "ARE" being forced upon us because of the style of development "SPRAWL" that has been occurring for the past 50 years. America has gotten caught up in living the cheapest way possible, but in contrast turns out to be the most unhealthy and costly way of all. We wake up, drive through the golden arches for breakfast, drive 1 hour to work. Sit in front of a computer for 8 hours. Drive 1 hour home and usually end up eating out due to the fact that by the time we commute home its already 6 or 7pm at night and we are exhausted. Why do we live this way? Because the cost of a 3,000 square foot house is 1/3 of the price 45 miles away form where we work. America's thinking is completely idiotic. We are not weighing the right benefits and costs associated with our decisions. New urbanism is an attempt to educate and restructure the way we and our government spends its money.

    Anyone have any further applause or critiques of new urbanism...please post them.

  2. #2
    I think New Urbanism is blah when it designs commuinties like seaside (no offense to Seasiders), but I think it's great when it goes for projects like Providence, R.I. The emphasis should be on making existing communities more livable by whatever might be appropriate for that place. Second, a major offensive on the legal side of development and zoning issues, lobby for the way you want things to be.

  3. #3

    Seaside

    Quote Originally posted by The Irish One
    I think New Urbanism is blah when it designs commuinties like seaside (no offense to Seasiders), but I think it's great when it goes for projects like Providence, R.I. The emphasis should be on making existing communities more livable by whatever might be appropriate for that place. Second, a major offensive on the legal side of development and zoning issues, lobby for the way you want things to be.

    From what I understand Seaside along with several other gated/restricted communities have been taken off the recognized New Urbanist Communites. At least this is the case by the Congress For New Urbanism www.cnu.org

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    From reading Kunstlers books I've always associated Seaside with NU. You've brought good news. Now alll that should be done is to change the name to something more industrious, less new age. The Redevelopment Corporation and have a full blown legal team to tackle zoning laws where they want changes. More Lawyers, less Architects.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Utopia or Elite Housing?

    Yes I think (new urbanism "neighborhoods"):
    New Urbanism looks beautiful (most of the time)
    New Urbanism is located close to major employment centers :-P (most of the time)
    New Urbanism is located close to mass transit :-} (some of the time)
    New Urbanism is Environment Friendly (some of the time)
    New Urbanism replaces decay (much of the time)

    The reality of many new urbanism neighborhoods is that they are only attainable by the wealthy . This is fine, as long as they are not sold as the liberator of us poor slobs living in the "burbs" because we may have children and can't afford to send them to private schools, prefer lower crime rates, like open spaces to ride or play in, must have two incomes to live......

    New urbanist neighborhoods seem to be designed for anyone that can afford them.

    Having said all of that, I think new urbanist designs/density/neighborhoods are needed to balance the sprawl/density scale all over the country.

  6. #6

    Good Points

    Quote Originally posted by The One
    Yes I think (new urbanism "neighborhoods"):
    New Urbanism looks beautiful (most of the time)
    New Urbanism is located close to major employment centers :-P (most of the time)
    New Urbanism is located close to mass transit :-} (some of the time)
    New Urbanism is Environment Friendly (some of the time)
    New Urbanism replaces decay (much of the time)

    The reality of many new urbanism neighborhoods is that they are only attainable by the wealthy . This is fine, as long as they are not sold as the liberator of us poor slobs living in the "burbs" because we may have children and can't afford to send them to private schools, prefer lower crime rates, like open spaces to ride or play in, must have two incomes to live......

    New urbanist neighborhoods seem to be designed for anyone that can afford them.

    Having said all of that, I think new urbanist designs/density/neighborhoods are needed to balance the sprawl/density scale all over the country.


    The one negative that I do not like is the overall increased cost for housing. However, when it is in a highly dense urban area I think the cost justifies itself since you then should be relying on public transit and personal transit (your own 2 feet). But yes, I think there needs to be further investigation into why the costs are so high. One point I have heard is that this type of development is so popular but only between 1-3% of current develpoment is new urbanist (traditional development) in nature. So in theory if we increase this type of development as you are saying, I think the overall costs will be reduced...at least in theory????

  7. #7
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    In the article, comments are made that new urbanists force density which, ultimately forces up real estate prices, which causes things to get more expensive.

    The article fails to mention that as much as new urbanism may put maximum lot size restrictions on property, encourages use integration and limits unnecessary buffering, suburban zoning establishes minimum lot size restrictions and forcibly separates uses to create substantial buffering zones. In both situations, this is not allowing the market or personal decisions to dictate development.

    Also, suburbanization lowers property prices by expanding outward. Urbanization lowers property prices by expanding upward.

    I agree that if everyone likes chocolate we shouldn't be forced to eat vanilla. On the same token, if suburban style development is the only new and fresh style of development offered, why should urban dwellers be forced to live in dis-invested, scraps of urban form? If development styles were ice cream, suburbia would be the 1-gallon pail of vanilla. It's plain, most everyone likes it and you can find it anywhere. Urban development is usually found in smaller, quart or pint containers, costs significantly more, and comes in more eclectic or unusual flavors. Some who try these flavors are hooked for life and feel their palettes fulfilled beyond what vanilla would offer. Those who stick with vanilla may feel satisfied, but may always wonder what they are missing out on if they had took a chance to eat 'Cherry Garcia.'

    The author also quotes a Madison, Wi official as stating that $100 monthly parking fees would 'force' greater mass transit usage. What should be noted is that an increased parking fee would help to balance the benefits and inconveniences offered by different forms of transportation. The answer is probably always encouraging alternative transportation, but not forcing and then waiting for the market for mass transit to increase as automobile transport becomes more and more expensive and problematic.

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Yum....Ice Cream Analogy....

    You just made me want ice-cream, maybe I'll buy some on my 1 hour commute home....ha ha ha....

  9. #9

    Ice Cream

    Yeah I loved the whole ice cream comparison in the article. Especially since I skipped breakfast this morning and it was approaching lunch-time.

  10. #10
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    "Therein lies the problem with the new urbanists. They don't trust people making their own choices with their own money. They want to make the decisions for us on how and where we should live our lives, and no matter how pure their motivations may be, their methods are simply atrocious. Only I know what's best for me. They only know what's best for themselves."


    I suppose that being able to choose either model 1, 2, 3, or 4 in a 463 unit subdivision is allowing people to make their own "choice."

  11. #11
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wulf9
    I suppose that being able to choose either model 1, 2, 3, or 4 in a 463 unit subdivision is allowing people to make their own "choice."
    Don't forget to choose between the beige or blue and the popular lots on the end of the cul-de-saq with the rear yard facing a mitigated wetland vs. the "economy lots"

    We have choices all right. :-P

  12. #12

    Honestly

    That is my whole point. There are so many subdivisions going up with such a limit on the type/model of homes.... sometimes you are lucky to see even 3 completely different types of homes. And if you want to talk about options, most NU developments have multiple housing types besides just models. I quess I remember the philosophy my mother taught me which is...."if it is something you really need (like a place to live close to work, the store, bank, entertainment...) then make the sacrifice of paying more for what you need." I think she intended it for less expensive purchases in life such as shoes or a nice bike, but I think it is applicable to housing!!

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by salomondesignboarder
    The one negative that I do not like is the overall increased cost for housing. However, when it is in a highly dense urban area I think the cost justifies itself since you then should be relying on public transit and personal transit (your own 2 feet).
    I don't remember what I was reading recently, probably an article, but the point was made that folks screach endlessly about "the cost of HOUSING" when that hasn't gone up all that much as a percentage of income. Meanwhile, they seem to not notice how transportation consumes so much more of our income than it used to.

    My sister and I have talked about this a fair amount: I chose an apartment that allows me to take the bus sometimes and my husband to take his bike to work. A few years ago, my sister chose a more expensive rent that allowed a short commute. She ran the numbers and concluded that it wasn't really any "cheaper" to live further out. The money just got spent differently: more on gas, wear and tear on the car, and toll roads, less on rent. And it has a huge impact on quality of life to live farther out -- sometimes a very negative impact. One week when her husband had to work late every night, a coworker of his with a long commute didn't see his young kids at all that week because they were in bed by the time he got home at night. You cannot go home at lunch. You are not very available in the event of a family emergency. That last one gives me the willies. I cannot imagine driving 45 minutes or an hour one way, given that I have special needs kids.

    In the county I live in, some military families rent homes in a small town that is 20 or so minutes away from the base. It is basically a two-car lifestyle. They move there for the cheap rent but then they MUST have a second car. I just do not understand that. I have lived a very old-fashioned lifestyle for a long time because when the kids were little, I just could not see getting a job knowing that having a job would mean needing a second car. I felt that I would be working to pay for daycare and a second car and that, in fact, our quality of life would go down. So I found many creative ways to add to our bottom line -- like rehabbing furniture, being a landlord for our house when we moved to another state, and cooking from scratch. We had one car and mom stayed home with the kids. People who have seen the interior of my home sometimes think we are wealthy because of the great furniture/decor. I guess they don't realize that our car is the worst one in the parking lot, with no hubcaps and missing most of the paint (thanks to living in the Mojave Desert for a time). We have a had a very high quality of life for our income because we did NOT go along with living in the 'burbs and owning two cars. I just can't see parting with that kind money for a CAR/transportation. It galls me.

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    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Wages Are Stagnate

    but the point was made that folks screach endlessly about "the cost of HOUSING" when that hasn't gone up all that much as a percentage of income.

    Well, one point I didn't make earlier is that wages sure haven't kept up with housing cost The only reason that people haven't noticed the "stagnate" wages is that inflation has been fairly low and the FED has kept interest rates so low that we all can (barely) afford to buy a house. Not to mention all of the "creative" financing options out there (remember when all of the big accounting firms used to boast about "CREATIVE" Accounting.....hmm....I wonder if history will repeat itself...

    Even so, I doubt wages have increased much or any above inflation over the last several years or so... Not to mention that asside from the midwest (rust belt) and parts of the deep south and North Dakota, everywhere else seems to be a hot market with accompanying astronomical housing costs (certainly in the sub-urban & urban areas)

    As far as the automobile is concerned, unless you live within 100 yards of the day care, spouses workplace B-) and school, you probably will need a second car. This is in my opinion the result of the required (for the vast majority) two income family. I do agree that the cars we choose to buy should and could be much more economical ($10,000 disposable KIA or new cheapy Electric).

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    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    As far as the automobile is concerned, unless you live within 100 yards of the day care, spouses workplace B-) and school, you probably will need a second car. This is in my opinion the result of the required (for the vast majority) two income family. I do agree that the cars we choose to buy should and could be much more economical ($10,000 disposable KIA or new cheapy Electric).
    100 yards?? I can walk 100 yards in 2.5 minutes. How about if you can walk to a day care, school, or a workplace (or transit to get you there) within 10-15 minutes (1/2 mile) - your ok with 1 car.

  16. #16

    Main Problem

    My sister and I have talked about this a fair amount: I chose an apartment that allows me to take the bus sometimes and my husband to take his bike to work. A few years ago, my sister chose a more expensive rent that allowed a short commute. She ran the numbers and concluded that it wasn't really any "cheaper" to live further out. The money just got spent differently: more on gas, wear and tear on the car, and toll roads, less on rent. And it has a huge impact on quality of life to live farther out -- sometimes a very negative impact. One week when her husband had to work late every night, a coworker of his with a long commute didn't see his young kids at all that week because they were in bed by the time he got home at night. You cannot go home at lunch. You are not very available in the event of a family emergency. That last one gives me the willies. I cannot imagine driving 45 minutes or an hour one way, given that I have special needs kids.





    I think you bring up many points on the shortcomings of Americans really planning out their lifestyle. I feel people need to determine what type of family they want, the types of activities they love to do, and then they need to start looking for a job and community that matches there needs. I sometimes feel like many people think of "The House" as the only important factor in their lives. Peopel need to start evaluating the costs and benifits of living and working here versus living and working there and the enjoyment they will get out of living in a community.

  17. #17
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    100 yards?? I can walk 100 yards in 2.5 minutes. How about if you can walk to a day care, school, or a workplace (or transit to get you there) within 10-15 minutes (1/2 mile) - your ok with 1 car.
    yep...that's my experience.

    My wife and I absolutely refuse to get a second car, and will be going the family structure route that MZ describes - One full-time worker parent and one stay-at-home parent.
    ____________

    Back-on-topic: The essay in question from Planetizen is a pile of uninformed hyperbole. The author is being reactionary and divisive. The real benefit that the New Urbanists may have is getting bankers, elected officials and the public to understand that choices and options need to be much more broad than they currently are.

    I love walking to do my daily chores. Unfortunately, I'm currently stuck in long distance commuter hell.
    Last edited by mendelman; 16 Jun 2004 at 9:34 AM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

    You know...for kids.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    This Courreges fella is downright dopey. What an oversimplified, Reaganistic view of the problem. If you think of a house as just another consumer product like ice cream and you analyze it just for how it tastes, then the decision making process is easy. If you look at how the ice cream was made, transported, the labor conditions of those who made it, the potential effects on your health, the waste products produced in its manufacture, then you are more qualified to make a decision. If you think of a house as a place to live that is part of the web of life, as part of your social network, as a component of a community, as an influencing factor in America's dependence on car-oriented lifestyles, then you begin to see the need to alternatives to the suburban paradigm. His argument can only appeal to those who are in love with the conspicuous consumption lifestyle and want to halt any perceived threat against it. Suburban life is a great dulling force on the American psyche. It cause people to build their lives around stuff-material possessions, and not experiences or people.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    The Walk...

    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    100 yards?? I can walk 100 yards in 2.5 minutes. How about if you can walk to a day care, school, or a workplace (or transit to get you there) within 10-15 minutes (1/2 mile) - your ok with 1 car.
    While I agree that we should all do more walking Try doing this in weather (maybe 100 degrees or zero degrees take your pick/ rain/ snow....) with young children that you need to take to day care/school on inadequate sidewalks (attached) immediately next to a major arterial Depending on where you live, this could be a joy (rural areas of my youth :-} ) or a complete nightmare....say phoenix in summer or anchorage in winter....or Bismarck at any time.....ha ha ha just kidding, I love North Dakota On the other hand, some of us send our teenagers on the long walk to schools and friends houses (in blizzards/rain/heat/cold) yet, don't do the same on our own......

  20. #20
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One
    While I agree that we should all do more walking Try doing this in weather (maybe 100 degrees or zero degrees take your pick/ rain/ snow....) with young children that you need to take to day care/school on inadequate sidewalks (attached) immediately next to a major arterial Depending on where you live, this could be a joy (rural areas of my youth :-} ) or a complete nightmare....say phoenix in summer or anchorage in winter....or Bismarck at any time.....ha ha ha just kidding, I love North Dakota On the other hand, most of us send our teenagers on the long walk to schools and friends houses (in blizzards/rain/heat/cold) yet, don't do the same on our own......
    Funny you should mention this. Last evening it was in the mid-80s with a heat index in the 90s. My wife and I put the kids 4 yrs and 18 month into a stroller and walked around for a good while. We decided to walk to the local grocery store, 1/2 mile away in a sea of parking along a 5 lane state highway with 3.5 ft wide sidewalks adjacent to the pavement. The cars were zipping by litterally at arms length. The biggest inconvience is drivers seeing pedestrians as intruders on the public way. The speed limit on this road is 40 mph. I enjoyed walking to the store. It was much more relaxing and casual than driving.

    I'll admit that I'm learning to wean myself off my car and utilize my feet... mostly for the health benefits and good feeling of being socially responsible..not because driving is more inconvienent (which it isn't). So, the weather conditions will dictate to some extent if I walk or if I drive.

    I try to be prepared for the weather. I walk 3 blocks from my parking lot to city hall in downtown daily. I almost always tote the umbrella, it provides rain shelter and instant shade. As opposed to 60 years ago, we can generally predict the weather and having to be ready for anything when walking is not entirely true.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I lived in Germany for nearly 4 years. I arrived with a child who was about 8 months old. I had another baby when my first was 2 1/2. I did a LOT of walking in Germany, or I took my bike. Germans generally do a lot more walking than Americans. They wear leather boots ("winter shuhe") and short, heavy coats. They also have gloves and stuff.

    I walked to the grocery store 4 to 6 days per week. One year, we got more snow than usual for that region of Germany. That same winter, I had my second child. Two days before he was born, my husband and I stood with our 2 1/2 year old between us on the sidewalk, on our way to the grocery store, each of us holding his hands. We told him to not cross without us. Naturally, for this child, that meant it was imperative in his mind that he manage to pull away from both of us and dart out into the street as an Experiment to find out what would happen if he defied us. He came so close to getting run over that he cut his finger on the car that drove past him. He then spent the next year refusing to cross the street until there were no moving vehicles within his sight -- in 2 blocks or so in all directions. I spent that year standing on the curb for 20 minutes, regardless of the weather and with his infant brother strapped to my chest, waiting for him to determine that it was SAFE to cross. I wasn't about to veto him and undo the lesson he learned by so narrowly escaping being run over by a car.

    Sorry, weather is not really a great excuse much of the time. Neither are kids. Those excuses occur to the minds of folks who have never done much walking and who can't imagine making the lifestyle changes necessary to make walking a success. However, it is a very good argument that more Americans would walk if the built environment were more pedestrian friendly. But there are cultural factors involved here. Part of it is that Americans generally don't "know" how to make a pedestrian lifestyle work. And part of it is how squeamish middle class Americans are about being "clean". We get all weird if someone has done any sweating, if they smell at all, or if their hair isn't perfectly coiffed because they have been out in the wind for 20 minutes of walking. Europeans aren't so squeamish.

    It also creates class issues in America that I think are less problematic in countries where "cleanliness" is less of a big deal. Because we are squeamish about such things, we shun the immigrants who do the hard physical labor that we are unwilling to do, generally speaking. We think we aren't classist, it is just that they smell. But it is classist to act like only super-clean people are "good enough". You have to have a rather pampered life to be "clean" like that all the time -- and having a car-based lifestyle is intricately interrelated with that American foible. Cultures that use more public transit and do more walking simply don't have the means to get to a psychological place where that degree of isolation and "cleanliness" seems "normal" and reasonable.

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    And part of it is how squeamish middle class Americans are about being "clean". We get all weird if someone has done any sweating, if they smell at all, or if their hair isn't perfectly coiffed because they have been out in the wind for 20 minutes of walking. Europeans aren't so squeamish.
    How dare you, Michelle! We have no social classes in the United States! Everybody is MIDDLE CLASS, except for a few deserving professional athletes, movie stars, and hard-chargin' manly CEOs, who we elect to rule us! LOL!

    Seriously, the whole cleanliness thing, when combined with laziness, is why I never ride my bicycle to work. Its only 10 miles, but its hot, windy, and hilly, and I tend to sweat too much, so I find myself turning that ignition switch every morning.

    On another note, we may be cleanliness obsessed, but do ADULT Americans really think that dressing in an obscene tee shirt and short shorts is an appropriate way to dress?

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    How dare you, Michelle! We have no social classes in the United States! Everybody is MIDDLE CLASS, except for a few deserving professional athletes, movie stars, and hard-chargin' manly CEOs, who we elect to rule us! LOL!
    [elitist snob] That should say "...WHOM we elect..." [/elitist snob] :-P

    I don't know where your obscene t-shirt question is coming from. I don't own any. But, based on how often I get mistaken for being European, I don't think I dress like "an American".

  24. #24
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Its all good.....

    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    We get all weird if someone has done any sweating, if they smell at all, or if their hair isn't perfectly coiffed because they have been out in the wind for 20 minutes of walking. Europeans aren't so squeamish.
    You make a clean point
    Lets not let the secret out beyond this forum about how much better it is to walk places. Otherwise, next thing you know, thousands of people will start walking everywhere and those little sidewalks will start to get congested and then we'll have planners that specialize in sidewalk congestion management and a whole new area of lawsuits revolving around sidewalk collisions then before you know it, we'll have special bicylce insurance and pedestrian insurance......

  25. #25
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    [personal attack]The author of the article looks like an over zealous high school newspaper editor with more intelligence than experience or sense.[/personal attack]
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

    You know...for kids.

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