In response to: Citizen's effort to control sprawl and maintain rural character--HELP! posted by Earl Finkler on 05 February 1999 at 19:47:55:
I think Daniel Z. covered this in his post. Take a look at it again -- he specifically says: "When I mentioned high density you probably pictured innercity project housing, slum housing, and gigantic freeway interchanges."Mr. Zack makes some points worthy of a professional planner.....out of the textbook. I have worked in some higher density communities that are very livable ---like Toronto. And I also worked hard on a comprehensive plan for the Tucson, Ariz. area to increased inner density and prevent sprawl at the edge.
But I respectfully think that in your case you should avoice the idea that density and higher density will solve all your concerns. High density can be like a loaded gun ---if it is not handled very well, it can explode. Witness the high rise public housing that we are demolishing.
And in your case, Earl, he was right: you did.
I think he is arguing for something a little more in-between, a return to typical small-town and/or urban densities. Particularly in small towns, densities don't have to be very high at all to provide the sense of order and enclosure that many people associate with a "real" town. The trick, as I see it, is to avoid the "there's no there there" feeling that pervades many existing suburbs.
I also think Daniel is right in pointing out the importance of mixed uses. Part of the problem with the project housing you refer to is, of course, that you typically have monolithic blocks of housing and nothing but, which creates a lot of dead space around the buildings with very little pedestrian activity = reduced safety. (That's far from the only problem with these projects, but IMO it is a significant one.)
I snipped the rest of what you said, Earl, because I agreed with it and didn't see a need to comment on it.
To the original poster I would just say: If you can't resist development pressure effectively -- i.e., if the development is coming no matter what you do -- then you are probably best armed with a vision of what kind of community you want to live in. The more people you can get to stand behind this vision, the better.
Sundbyberg (småstan i storstan), Sweden