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Thread: Cherry Hill Village: new urbanism in Canton, Michigan

  1. #26
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis

    I know that this is not going to help things... but here is the Arial Photo from a few years back. The “A” indicator is Cold Stone, and that intersection is the “Urban” corner.

    In this photo, it shows how green field it is. I would not be surprised of they have a problem with driveways sinking because of organic material still in the ground.
    Six years ago, the subdivision south of your arrow wasn't even there. I wonder if they kept the cute little church at least?

  2. #27
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Canton is one of the best public school districts in the state, so that is a plus.
    God save Michigan! I can remember my inner-city high school used to be full of kids from Canton because the schools there sucked so badly.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner
    Six years ago, the subdivision south of your arrow wasn't even there. I wonder if they kept the cute little church at least?
    Yes. the church is located on the NW corner and is still in operation.
    If you want different results in your life, you need to do different things than you have done in the past. Change is that simple.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    This here is an interesting blog entry mirroring our own discussion:

    ...looking at the photos of Cherry Hill Village, it seems so artificial and contrived. Granted they have pursued the admirable aims of trying to create a community by rigidly specifying design elements such as front porches, sidewalks and street trees. But where is the architectural imagination and daring?

    Turns out it may have to do with the corporate polling methods that were used to determine what potential buyers “like”:

    “Before sticking a shovel in the ground, Biltmore Properties used a visual preference survey to help them determine the overall architectural style of the Cherry Hill Development. Traditional Victorian architecture common to southeast Michigan was preferred and is therefore consistent throughout Cherry Hill Village.”

    Can you picture where our cities would be if every building, bridge or public sculpture were held up for vote before creation? Imagine if Toll Brothers, the house factory corporation, designed one model called "The Lamont" and another called, "The Lieberman"? Which one might win?

    As we seek to modify our city in more humane ways, we might be aware that popularity contests are not always the way to build better and more aesthetic towns. Cherry Hill Village is better than sprawl, but way less engaging, authentic and lovely than old Glencoe, IL, Ridgewood, NJ or Concord, MA.
    Good points!

  5. #30
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    But Toll Brothers surely understands what the new house buying public wants or will buy. They may not be actual surveys, but marketing studys probably show that people love their usually supply of bloated, over-sentimentialized dreck.

    Although, Cherry Hill Village is 'santiary' and 'uniform' now, that may diminish with age and ownership changes.

    Plus, this is really no different than any massed produced housing development. There are seldom more than 4-5 models (with detailing variations) in new subdivisions, and large-scale speculative housing development never has "architectural imagination and daring".

    The architecture of the development is fine and actually well done Neo-Victorian. My main beef is the size and design of the lots and it disconnectedness from existing developed areas.
    Last edited by mendelman; 29 Aug 2006 at 10:59 AM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

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

    You know...for kids.

  6. #31
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    I've stated before I like those houses. More diversity could avhe been itnrpoduced by ahving some in a more 'prairie' style (stripped-dpown/cape cod wibut with proch) and soem mroe onrate 'gingerbread' Victorian ones. Alsoa few brick buildings would not have hurt and I'm sure they'd have sold well in Tornado Alley.

    I do wish there was more infill development but I guess that's adding another difficulty.Some of the crappy apartment complex strips in many suburbs could be a good cnadidate for a sort of 'instant mixed-use downtown'. I guess for it to be truly mixed-use you'd want one to four 'anchor' employers.

  7. #32
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Off-topic:
    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    I'm sure they'd have sold well in Tornado Alley.
    Southeast Michigan is nowhere near Tornado Alley. The Alley is about 500 miles south and going west to east.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

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

    You know...for kids.

  8. #33
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Not too many tornados here, but when they hit.. youch!

    I suppose what bothers me most about this development is the fact that it is sucking up prime farmland while other parts of metro Detroit empty out. It makes little sense, but hey its based on the priniple of reducing the risk of your return when you sell your home, not based in creating a real livable area where people will live for years to come. Every five years properties on the fringe turn over like clockwork.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    I suppose what bothers me most about this development is the fact that it is sucking up prime farmland while other parts of metro Detroit empty out. It makes little sense, but hey its based on the priniple of reducing the risk of your return when you sell your home, not based in creating a real livable area where people will live for years to come. Every five years properties on the fringe turn over like clockwork.
    ...and for that one can hardly blame the developer. It seems to me that it would amke sense to limit greenfield permits until more infill is built.

  10. #35
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    I suppose what bothers me most about this development is the fact that it is sucking up prime farmland while other parts of metro Detroit empty out. It makes little sense, but hey its based on the priniple of reducing the risk of your return when you sell your home, not based in creating a real livable area where people will live for years to come. Every five years properties on the fringe turn over like clockwork.
    If metro Detroit is being outcompeted by empty farmland, then it has a severe institutional problem. It is not the farmer's problem or the developer's problem if metro Detroit can't accumulate capital. Though by now you should know what it is and how to fix it. (Hint: see signature links)

    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    ...and for that one can hardly blame the developer. It seems to me that it would amke sense to limit greenfield permits until more infill is built.
    Maybe more infill would be built if the established cities welcomed and promoted infill. Outlawing their only source of competition is not going to force them to improve.

  11. #36
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    [QUOTE=jaws;339043]If metro Detroit is being outcompeted by empty farmland, then it has a severe institutional problem.[QUOTE]

    As indeed is the case. The thing that gets me is that we're not even talking rocket science here. I reckon that if you have passable infrastructure already in place, all you need is low crime (good policing) and decent schools. it';s not liek Detorit doe snot ahve an economy. AFAIK, the metro arrea overall is ok (otherwise you couldn't succesfully build new subdivisions).

    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    Maybe more infill would be built if the established cities welcomed and promoted infill. Outlawing their only source of competition is not going to force them to improve.
    A fair point; unfortunately even with competition (which they've been losing since the 1960s) they're still not improving - at least not enough. I think that's one issue with public ownership: short of armageddon, it cannot go entirely bust/disappear so if the political process does not deliver improvement it does not go away, like a bad company. In Italy, really disfunctional municipalities can be taken over and administered (typcially for a limited period) by the central govt. (mixed results, but rarely worse than they were before). In Britain this is sometimes done with specific aspects of a municipality (esp. education, which is provided on a 'council' (municipality/county) basis).

  12. #37
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    This may come as a shock to many people, but Detroit has doing quite a bit in the way of neighborhood revitalization, and is at the very beginning of what may appear to be a significant turnaround for many of Detroit’s Older Historic districts.

    I assure you that more money has been spend in Neighborhood revitalization in Detroit than this development in Canton.

    Detroit’s biggest hurdle the reputation and peoples perception of its neighborhoods. It is very true that there are many very bad parts of the city, but it would not be difficult for someone to pick up one of these older homes being used as rentals, rehab it and create a terrific community.

    Oh, and just about everyone in Canton has a car and commutes to work.
    If you want different results in your life, you need to do different things than you have done in the past. Change is that simple.

  13. #38
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    If metro Detroit is being outcompeted by empty farmland, then it has a severe institutional problem. It is not the farmer's problem or the developer's problem if metro Detroit can't accumulate capital. Though by now you should know what it is and how to fix it. (Hint: see signature links)
    You don't have to tell me about that, unfortunately in Michigan there is a strong home rule which helps to fragment the economy. Detroit is leading Michigan in new home permits, there is quite a bit of infil going on here (as M'skis indicated). Unfortunately folks are still moving out and selecting these places (where transit is unavailable and Canton refuses to join a regional transit program). Places such as Canton really stand in the way of implememnting your vision of a libratarian govt by refusing even private transit options. Farmland is irreplacable, once the infrastructure is built, it is there, and it exists for those travelling by car, and only short distances can be done through walking. Incidentally, you are starting to see population decreases in places like Warren, Livonia, and most inner ring suburbs where transit is available.

    Economic models work only if people make logical choices as provided by the models path. Those models don't work when the large majority of the local economy is still dependant upon selling autos.

  14. #39
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    This may come as a shock to many people, but Detroit has doing quite a bit in the way of neighborhood revitalization, and is at the very beginning of what may appear to be a significant turnaround for many of Detroit’s Older Historic districts.
    You've never really been in Detroit, have you? I like your positive attitude, but it's not enough to overcome Detroit's very real and serious neighborhood blight and continual decline. Sure, there are pockets of improvement, funded both through public and private investments, and yes those areas are rays of hope, but if you've been following the news over the past couple of years, you know the headcounts in Detroit schools are in a massive downward spiral, which can only mean more folks are leaving the City. And recent Census numbers don't help either.

  15. #40
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    I assure you that more money has been spend in Neighborhood revitalization in Detroit than this development in Canton.
    It doesn't matter what you put in, it's what you get out of it that counts. I wouldn't be surprised if Detroit is weighed down by hordes of parasites. It isn't all that different in my hometown. That's what gives suburban development the advantage to new homebuyers, despite the fact that more has to be spent to build infrastructure that is still working perfectly right elsewhere.

    Economy means putting little in and getting more out.

    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    You don't have to tell me about that, unfortunately in Michigan there is a strong home rule which helps to fragment the economy. Detroit is leading Michigan in new home permits, there is quite a bit of infil going on here (as M'skis indicated). Unfortunately folks are still moving out and selecting these places (where transit is unavailable and Canton refuses to join a regional transit program). Places such as Canton really stand in the way of implememnting your vision of a libratarian govt by refusing even private transit options.
    How so? As long as the city isn't a private property, it won't work efficiently.
    Economic models work only if people make logical choices as provided by the models path. Those models don't work when the large majority of the local economy is still dependant upon selling autos.
    Choices are always logical to people. If the economic models fail, they need to be adjusted. It's time we rethought the system of political democracy, it is clearly not working.

  16. #41
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    How so? As long as the city isn't a private property, it won't work efficiently.

    Choices are always logical to people. If the economic models fail, they need to be adjusted. It's time we rethought the system of political democracy, it is clearly not working.
    Try running your sewers and local roads as privately run corporations. These are money losing ventures. Govt provides these mainly as a service to its citizens, and more importantly private development. Without acccess to these things development would stifle. Under privte control, the only way to provide the service is through a monopoly, which is also not a very effective way of running things (for the guy who owns it it is, but for everyone else they are screwed).

    Economic models fail because people do as they are told. They are told to buy these homes on the fringe to make the most money. They are told to fear the inner city or poor as if it is some sort of inheirent evil. How do you readjust the mindset without government intervention? Surely the private developers are not going to do this, they make money off of peoples dreams of prosperity and fears of the poor.

    I fully agree that the model is broke and needs to be fixed. What can we as planner do to fix this model?

  17. #42
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas? View post
    You've never really been in Detroit, have you? I like your positive attitude, but it's not enough to overcome Detroit's very real and serious neighborhood blight and continual decline. Sure, there are pockets of improvement, funded both through public and private investments, and yes those areas are rays of hope, but if you've been following the news over the past couple of years, you know the headcounts in Detroit schools are in a massive downward spiral, which can only mean more folks are leaving the City. And recent Census numbers don't help either.
    Yes, I have been “in” Detroit last fall I went over there for a weekend to visit some friends. We drove down the street that my Mom use to live on not too far from City Airport, and several areas closer to downtown. As for downtown it’s self, there has been quite a bit going on the past few years. Schools and census may show that people are moving out (which they are) but there are also people moving in. These people are helping to begin the revitalization process. www.mlui.org has several articles showing the slow but notable progress in Detroit.
    If you want different results in your life, you need to do different things than you have done in the past. Change is that simple.

  18. #43
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    These people are helping to begin the revitalization process. www.mlui.org has several articles showing the slow but notable progress in Detroit.
    I don't doubt the facts of your post, but I am skeptical. A quick look at www.housingmaps.com shows there aren't too many homes available in the price range for average Michiganders in Detroit. There's practically nothing in the $150k-$300k range.



    Yes, the above information is biased toward craiglist users, but contrast that to the Royal Oak and Ferndale area.



    I do hope there is some progress in Detroit, but man, from what I've seen, the most optimistic I can get is "five steps foward, five steps backward." I hope I am wrong.

  19. #44
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Try running your sewers and local roads as privately run corporations. These are money losing ventures. Govt provides these mainly as a service to its citizens, and more importantly private development. Without acccess to these things development would stifle. Under privte control, the only way to provide the service is through a monopoly, which is also not a very effective way of running things (for the guy who owns it it is, but for everyone else they are screwed).
    I think you have a confused perception of what a monopoly is. Running the only bakery in town does not make you a monopoly. Obviously it is not a money losing venture to run sewers and roads, there are a lot of people in government who get paid handsomely to do it, not even counting all the parasites extracting taxes from the process.
    Economic models fail because people do as they are told. They are told to buy these homes on the fringe to make the most money. They are told to fear the inner city or poor as if it is some sort of inheirent evil. How do you readjust the mindset without government intervention? Surely the private developers are not going to do this, they make money off of peoples dreams of prosperity and fears of the poor.
    What if they don't like living in rundown, poverty-afflicted areas? Have they simply been brainwashed to dislike this kind of environment? As so many metropolitan cities have shown, bourgeois people will live in bourgeois neighborhoods of the inner city. To make it that attractive is the city's job, and no one else's. If the city fails, don't blame the people looking for alternatives.
    I fully agree that the model is broke and needs to be fixed. What can we as planner do to fix this model?
    Privatize, it is the only way. Socialism has never successfully produced any capital. It is only a fool that believes it can be fixed in this situation.

  20. #45
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    So it is the City's job to make things look attractive, but the city should be powerless? If we cannot have a government to take control of the situation, then how are we going to make a city more attractive than a greenspace to this segment of the population. Not everyone wants a house out there, just too many people do. Just a circular logic check. I guess I'm not getting the whole concept.

    Your friendly neighborhood parasite

  21. #46
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    I'm a Planning Director in Howell, MIchigan and we also have neo-traditional development called Town Commons (I can't post a URL until I"ve had more posts!! Sorry). I lived in Town Commons for a year until moving to a condo in downtown. There's lots of wonderful things andmany negative aspects to the development.

    Home sales have been completely disappointing in Town Commons. Houses start at $250,000 -- which is the same price as the Pulte schmalz in the Townships where you can get 50% more house because you pay less in taxes. [until you get the special assessment bill for your roads and sewers] Roads are too wide (thanks Fire Department), there are drainage issues with the small lots, they are separated from the City proper by M-59 - a four lane highlway, they have trouble keeping retailers and blame the lack of signage for the problem, and the apartments are mismanaged.

    But I have to say that I've never seen such a vibrant neighborhood in terms of neighbor to neighbor connections and community spirit -- they play sports together, have once a month parties, and seem to enjoy the proximity. I have a few friends that have homes in Town commons and they enjoy the neighborhood more than they enjoy their homes.

    I'm not sure what the long term will hold for the development. Rumor has it that the development is up for sale. The Michigan economy, which is impacting Cherry Hill Village, is also sluggish here in Livingston County.

  22. #47
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    So it is the City's job to make things look attractive, but the city should be powerless?
    Separate the government from the city. Make the city a private enterprise. It will be significantly more powerful and more efficient than before. Then it will naturally try to improve its environment and lure back residents.

  23. #48
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    Separate the government from the city. Make the city a private enterprise. It will be significantly more powerful and more efficient than before. Then it will naturally try to improve its environment and lure back residents.
    How is this different from the representative democracy we have now? The citizens for on their leadership. If they do not like the way things are going they can be voted out.

  24. #49
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    How is this different from the representative democracy we have now? The citizens for on their leadership. If they do not like the way things are going they can be voted out.
    There's a different between a horribly poor mayor that finally gets voted out and an enterprising competitive mayor that runs the city productively. Representative democracy will never get you the latter.

    Please read my essay, I already explained all the details.

  25. #50
    Cyburbian Big Red's avatar
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    3). A few miles from this location are naturally occuring historic downtowns including Belleville, Ypsilanti and Plymouth. These areas have real character and charm. The cost of the housing is less to boot, and the materials used far better.

    http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y21...hAvatar_18.gif

    Yes, Please folks let's not trample each other on the way up to the alter of the new golden calf. TND, New Urban, Smart Growth Greenfield developments are not helping the already declining suburbs, they simply seek to replace them with a new vernacular much as the suburbs replaced urban centers 40 years ago. The smart money is headed back into real places like the aforementioned Plymouth, Ypsi, etc. This souless pastel crap will be the bane of future planners as tract housing and cul-de-sacs are to us today. This sort of design is more appropriate as re-development for existing suburban regional shopping mall areas. If it's built on a farm or agricultural land that provides current benefit to the community how do you reconcile that loss against what you have "gained"???
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 02 Nov 2006 at 11:56 AM.

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