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Thread: England's Green and Pleasant Land - BROADBAND RECOMMENDED

  1. #51

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    Quote Originally posted by jimi_d

    If we look at the six objectives of green belt land use (PPG2 1.6), 2,000-acre plus packets of truly useful green space seem a far better idea than a belt of poor quality countryside. These are

    1 - to provide opportunities for access to the open countryside for the urban population;
    2 - to provide opportunities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation near urban areas;
    3 - to retain attractive landscapes, and enhance landscapes, near to where people live;

    All of which are equally fulfilled by large green spaces inside towns to a greater extent than a remote belt.

    4 - to improve damaged and derelict land around towns;

    Really contradicts the idea of the green belt - green belts allow wasteful dereliction as demand for agriculture falls and demand for urbanism increases.

    5 - to secure nature conservation interest; and

    Again, equally compatible with bringing the green space within the urban fabric.
    The San Francisco Bay Area has regional park districts that attempt to meet many of these goals. For example, the entire ridgeline in the East Bay hills (Oakland/Berkeley) is one continuous park strip (over 25 miles). Of course, if the Hayward Fault jumps by nine feet during a particularly dry and windy October day, all of the hills may become (well-charred) open space, but them's the breaks living on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" (My townhouse is a "soft structure, with living space above a garage, so can you say "pancake")

    As for agricultural preservation, the Bay Area tries to do that, too. Less through "green belts" (although many cities, including my employer, are quite rigid now about further expansion), but definitely through conservation easements and the like. The only saving grace is the growth of specialty agriculture (there are dairies and cheese making operations in Sonoma County now that give European cheesmakers a run for their money-at Euro prices!)

  2. #52
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    BKM, Would that every state had Californiaís enlightened land-use policies. My kids,who are well-traveled and familiar with Europe, declared: ďItís like a foreign country.Ē

    More closely than any other state California resembles England or France, though the Los Angeles area is an exception. Elsewhere California shares with England large swathes of undevelopable and well-kept countryside immediately accessible to dense population centers.

    As in England, there is some sprawl, but not enough to form the dominant impression. Consequently California is dazzlingly scenic; most places, you know what the land looks like, because it hasnít been carpeted with the inane and uniform dvelopment patterns that you might find in interchangeable Memphis, Charlotte or Indianapolis. Consequently California retains a pungent sense of place.

    Satellite photo of San Francisco Bay area reveals sharp line between dense urban development and immediately adjacent, largely unspoiled land, mostly government-owned:



    Rectangular form at peninsulaís end is city of San Francisco, forming a compact, 47 sq. mi. square, into which are packed about 700,000 connoisseurs of urban living who have bid housing prices to dizzying levels.



    This is almost exactly the same as the city-limit area of Boston (about 600,000 pop.), and Paris (a bit over two million).

    Just across the narrow straits of the Golden Gate, and linked by bridge (walking distance from the city!!) lie the wild and windswept Marin headlands, like the moors of Devon.



    Visible from the city (foreground), the picturesque waterside town of Sausalito (far right) clambers part way up a mountainside, halted by the imposed limits of development:



    You can drive for literally hundreds of miles along the coast without seeing a billboard, a convenience store, or any other kind of roadside junk:



    The livelong day you can choose the company of scenery that looks like this:



    And Californiaís the most populous state. You donít know how lucky you are, boy.

    .

  3. #53

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    Of course, this all comes at a cost ($400,000 for a 1956 1100 square foot rancher-in "less desirable" inland Solano County)

    It's not all nirvanna, though. The Central Valley is exploding with population growth. Throw in "country" living increasingly scattered through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Land use planning-or lack thereof-alone cannot save us when the state is growing so fast.

    Plus, Californians are spinning off into places like "The Utopia of Clowns" (Las Vegas)

  4. #54
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    Is rural England really that quaint and picturesque across the board, or are we seeing pix here of the best little villiages and countryside landscapes?

  5. #55
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Definitely not that quaint and picturesque across the board. But there's plenty enough to say definitively that they do a better job of conserving the beauty and character of the land than we do. Remember, England has eight times the population density of the U.S.

    The best landscape conservation we have is in California, which shares some policies with England; even in states like Wyoming the overwhelming impression is raunchy a dismaying percent of the time. And Wyoming isn't very near a major population center.

  6. #56
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    I read there is now talk of relaxing restrictions on development to make more land available for development in Cali. People are starting to think that all that scenic beauty is putting home ownership out of reach for many. It will be interesting to see how the debate develops. BKM, do you see a lot of griping about high home costs, e.g. letters to the editor, that sort of thing? Is the consensus that it is environmental regulations causing the trouble?
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  7. #57
    Member Nor Cal Planner Girl's avatar
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    Well Ablarc- I have certainly enjoyed this 'three & a half' month old thread! Your photos of England were absolutely fabulous!!!! I loved, loved, loved looking at them! I am positive I lived in a thatched-roof cottage in Europe in a previous life- I have always been drawn to them. It's funny -I grew up in the East Bay (east-across the bay from San Francisco... a concrete jungle from hell)- I hated it- and didn't even know why.... I moved north- to Santa Rosa (1 hour from San Francisco)- and my living experience has improved by light years! You're right- we've got lots'o beautiful open space and the local tax payers voted several years ago to support a local Agricultural Preserve & Open Space District- the result (at least partially) are beautifully preserved areas- some required to remain in a 'Forever Wild" state. The other factor is that I'm a planner there- on a mission to protect the hillsides from un-ruly development

  8. #58
    Is the consensus that it is environmental regulations causing the trouble?
    I can speak for SoCal which is very different from NoCal. Every election season the developers go nuts with blaming "enviromentalist" for traffic and inadequate schools. If we just develop farther out everything will eventually fit into place. I'd say it hightime for building up and offering new choices for people.

  9. #59

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    Quote Originally posted by boilerplater
    I read there is now talk of relaxing restrictions on development to make more land available for development in Cali. People are starting to think that all that scenic beauty is putting home ownership out of reach for many. It will be interesting to see how the debate develops. BKM, do you see a lot of griping about high home costs, e.g. letters to the editor, that sort of thing? Is the consensus that it is environmental regulations causing the trouble?
    No. Because most people who write letters to the editor are, to put it bluntly, ancient curmudgeons who got theirs years ago and whose main fear is "high density" housing. There is talk all the time, around the water coolers etc. But, that talk leads to Nevada, or Oregon. Is that bad? Shouldn't the population be spread out a bit more rather than concentrated in a few major metropolitan regions?

    I see no interest in allowing development in the Bay Area's regional parks or agricultural preserve areas (like western Marin County or the San Mateo Coast). The reality is, the pent up demand, plus impact fees, mean any new housing will be expensive, anyway. It would take years and years of unrestrained development to overcome the shortfall. And, another real difficulty is that housing does not pay for itself. Property taxes do not pay for the costs of services. (I know there are indirect revenues from the accompanying commercial development, but is that enough?)

    Should California even BE cheap, anyway? This is a state that faces serious long term water shortages. Facilitating population growth in an area that WILL have a major seismic event within my lifetime seems shortsighted. Should the State (or the country) be encouraging suburbanization in some of the most productive farmland in the country? There ARE other places where people can easily afford their dream suburban house on a 1/4 acre. Am I selfish? Maybe. But, the reality is that I, too am limited by the market. I would much rather live in San Francisco, but I can't afford homeownership there. Them's the breaks.

  10. #60

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    Quote Originally posted by Nor Cal Planner Girl
    Well Ablarc- I have certainly enjoyed this 'three & a half' month old thread! Your photos of England were absolutely fabulous!!!! I loved, loved, loved looking at them! I am positive I lived in a thatched-roof cottage in Europe in a previous life- I have always been drawn to them. It's funny -I grew up in the East Bay (east-across the bay from San Francisco... a concrete jungle from hell)- I hated it- and didn't even know why.... I moved north- to Santa Rosa (1 hour from San Francisco)- and my living experience has improved by light years! You're right- we've got lots'o beautiful open space and the local tax payers voted several years ago to support a local Agricultural Preserve & Open Space District- the result (at least partially) are beautifully preserved areas- some required to remain in a 'Forever Wild" state. The other factor is that I'm a planner there- on a mission to protect the hillsides from un-ruly development
    One word, fellow California Planner: Fountaingrove

  11. #61
    Member Nor Cal Planner Girl's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    One word, fellow California Planner: Fountaingrove
    Ahhhh-ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha!!!!! You're absolutely right!!!!! Fountaingrove is awful! However, I'm a County planner- not a city planner. If we approved crap like that.... there would be a lynch mob! We get to see the lovely results of Fountaingrove everyday out of our windows... Really though- besides that- and, compared to the East Bay- Sonoma County is a major improvement... lets hope it doesn't get ruined

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally posted by The Irish One
    I can speak for SoCal which is very different from NoCal. Every election season the developers go nuts with blaming "enviromentalist" for traffic and inadequate schools. If we just develop farther out everything will eventually fit into place. I'd say it hightime for building up and offering new choices for people.
    I agree 100%. The City of San Diego is trying with the City of Villages strategy. There are infill developments all over the place and as you know, a gazillion condos going up downtown. The devlopers and politicians are quite good at playing people though.....they blame environmentalists and tough restrictions on our housing shortage and skyrocketing housing costs. Thats how prop x in Santee just allowed massive sprawl development on over 2,000 acres of land.
    But, lets face it, this is California. You can build homes all the way to the Imperial county line and all through Camp Pendleton and you'd sell every single one of them. Imperial County now, is another thing. They are just repeating the mistakes made in Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties. And the Sprawl goes on........when will we ever learn.

  13. #63

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    Quote Originally posted by Nor Cal Planner Girl
    Ahhhh-ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha!!!!! You're absolutely right!!!!! Fountaingrove is awful! However, I'm a County planner- not a city planner. If we approved crap like that.... there would be a lynch mob! We get to see the lovely results of Fountaingrove everyday out of our windows... Really though- besides that- and, compared to the East Bay- Sonoma County is a major improvement... lets hope it doesn't get ruined
    Regarding the East Bay: I would agree with you 100% vis a vis the southern portion from the Oakland City Limit south. (Fremont? Ugh) And, most of Contra Costa County. I would defend Berkeley and Oakland, though. The quality of the pre-war architecture and development. Lush overgrown gardens (no parched little square of lawn allowed to die by homeowners and renters who just have to have a single family home even though they have no real pride of ownership or funds for upkeep). A regional park system that preserves the entire ridgeline in public parks. Real walkable neighborhood shopping districts. I love the character of the older development in Berkeley and parts of Oakland. Where I work (Solano County) I will say no more.

    Even southern Alameda County is changing, though. Infill condos in Hayward. Old strip malls in Fremont being gussied up a little.

  14. #64
    Member Nor Cal Planner Girl's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Regarding the East Bay: I would agree with you 100% vis a vis the southern portion from the Oakland City Limit south. (Fremont? Ugh) And, most of Contra Costa County. I would defend Berkeley and Oakland, though. The quality of the pre-war architecture and development. Lush overgrown gardens (no parched little square of lawn allowed to die by homeowners and renters who just have to have a single family home even though they have no real pride of ownership or funds for upkeep). A regional park system that preserves the entire ridgeline in public parks. Real walkable neighborhood shopping districts. I love the character of the older development in Berkeley and parts of Oakland. Where I work (Solano County) I will say no more.

    Even southern Alameda County is changing, though. Infill condos in Hayward. Old strip malls in Fremont being gussied up a little.
    Yup- I've actually always loved Berkelely and the Oakland Hills... the lower portions of Oakland are becoming discovered (more affordable to middle-incomers). I grew up in Alameda.... Alameda!- you might say, ."...but its such a cute little place with Victorians and Craftsman homes!" Bah!- it still feels yucky to me. The only time I ever felt like I was in nature was when my family took some day trips to the Oakland Hills in the summer... I knew I needed to leave the windy, cold, overly congested, no-sense-of-place-place.... at least- that's what it was for me

  15. #65
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    I too am limited by the market. I would much rather live in San Francisco, but I can't afford homeownership there.
    Youíre not so much a victim of the market, BKM; the market left to its own devices would have coughed up a city dwelling for you by now; developers arenít fools and they know you want one. In an unregulated market your unit would probably inhabit a pretty uninspiring building that would block some NIMBYís view, but it would have your name on the mailbox.

    BKM, youíre actually a victim of the NIMBYs and the review process that makes everything so hard to build in San Francisco.

  16. #66
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    England's Green and Pleasant Land - photos

    Hi

    Having just completed some research on social care services for people living in rural areas, very interested in this article, highlighted some of the issues we came across in the research in terms of the tensions of living in ruiral areas and the difference between image and reality, and also the changing reality for many...


    Am currently planning a presentation, mainly to people in Devon, England, but possibly to others and wanted to use one or two images to illustrate points. Not sure aboiut the copyright situation - I see some have copy right owners on them on but some don't is it ok to use in the presentation, with the source referenced?

    Not sure also whether this is an appropriate medium, for contacting, but couldn't see any other - Reposted on right page now, hence previous response...

  17. #67
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    Late response....sorry!

    It's mystifying as to why 'ablarc' thinks that we are a country "poorer" in many respects than the US, I can only guess that he has never been here.

    Quote Originally posted by BKM View post
    ablarc: I think you've outdone yourself again.

    It is sad that a country "poorer" in many respects than us can clearly outdo us in the realm of the built environment.
    Mr Mendelman on the other hand is a little off with his historical timescale, the earliest stone built structure is 'Stonehenge' at about 4,000 bc (6,000 years ago) and what may be called "civilised culture" since the second Roman invasion 2,000 years ago

    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    Well, England has about 1,000 years of precedent on the U.S., so that helps.
    Trinity Moses, yes most of rural England has beautiful little towns and villages as well as a few downright ugly ones.

    Noj...you might want to rethink!

  18. #68
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Buster View post
    Mr Mendelman on the other hand is a little off with his historical timescale, the earliest stone built structure is 'Stonehenge' at about 4,000 bc (6,000 years ago) and what may be called "civilised culture" since the second Roman invasion 2,000 years ago
    True...hence the 'about'.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

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