Urban planning community

Poll results: What direction is your neighborhood going?

Voters
33. You may not vote on this poll
  • Urban Neighborhood – Getting Better

    8 24.24%
  • Urban Neighborhood – Staying the Same

    7 21.21%
  • Urban Neighborhood – Getting Worse

    1 3.03%
  • Suburban Neighborhood – Getting Better

    1 3.03%
  • Suburban Neighborhood – Staying the Same

    7 21.21%
  • Suburban Neighborhood – Getting Worse

    5 15.15%
  • Rural Neighborhood – Getting Better

    3 9.09%
  • Rural Neighborhood – Staying the Same

    1 3.03%
  • Rural Neighborhood – Getting Worse

    0 0%
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Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Conditions and Directions of your Neighborhood and Community.

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Conditions and Directions of your Neighborhood and Community.

    I recently had a discussion about the condition of many urban and suburban neighborhoods. The person that I was talking to sated that Urban Neighborhoods have no hope because of the stigma that is often associated with “THE CITY”

    While I agreed that there is a stereotype, it is not true in many cases. He persisted to say that urban neighborhoods are going to continue to spiral out of control over the next several decades because people educated and upper income people want more space than an urban environment can allow.

    What direction is your neighborhood going? Why has it been going that direction?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Our community - by which I mean not only the city but the hinterland adjacent to it - has gone through different cycles in the past six years. When I came back to this place the development pattern was largely suburban. People were buying cheaper land, subdividing it into parcels of one acre or greater (one acre being the minimum for the placement of individual on-site wastewater treatment systems), usually in subdivisions of five lots or less (minor subdivisions) and selling the lots to people that didn't want to live in town.

    In the past two years this trend has changed. Now we are seeing more and more major subdivisions of 50+ lots. These subdivisions are located closer or adjacent to the city. Many request annexationto get the city services. The lots are less than a quarter acre and they are served by community water and wastewater. Mom and pop subdivisions had been the rule and now are the exception.

    We are seeing an influx of people who want good roads, and city-style services. Developers are beginning to stress more creating subdivisions that are communities. They want more and more to provide walking trails and open space and other amenities.

    Here I think the more educated people tend to want to live in the city or at least in urban-style developments. The population in the hinterland tends to be more working class.

    The City of Helena expects to grow fifty percent in the next twenty years. Part of that growth will be annexing existing development now in the county.

    I believe our valley will become urban in nature more sooner than later. Most of the county will remain rural, though the one -acre parcel may go the way of the dinosaur. Development here, as in much of the West, will be dependent on the availability of water, the transfer of water rights and water quantity issue. We have oodles of land to develop but not so much water.

    "Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over." Mark Twain.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    In my streetcar suburb of Chicago, the neighborhood is pretty much staying the same, which for my locale means pretty nice.

    There are concerns about the continued loss of affordable rental apartments in my neighborhood due to condo conversions of 1920s courtyard apartment buildings.

    The nearby commercial corridor could use some redevelopment for more intensive use of the properties, because right now the corridor is semi-auto-oriented, but could be very nice with multi-story mixed use developments.
    Last edited by mendelman; 05 Dec 2006 at 2:49 PM.
    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!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    After extensive decline in the 1970s and 1980s, the downtown (where I live) of my small city (c. 100,000) is improving rapidly. There is a new 2,000-employee corporate headquarters under construction along with a large number of condos and single- and multi-family homes. There are plans to build a new convention center, multi-modal transportation center, parks, and mixed-use waterfront developments. There are also plenty of streetscape inprovements in the works.
    Last edited by jmello; 05 Dec 2006 at 3:20 PM.

  5. #5

    Registered
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    I voted for urban neighborhood, getting worse.

    I live on the southwest side of Chicago, in an area that has long been a stable, middle-class community of small and tidy bungalows on narrow lots. For most of its existence, my neighborhood was one of the first stops for immigrant families who have been in the city for awhile, achieved some success and financial stability, and could buy a small home at an affordable price. Blacks replaced Irish and Polish homeowners in the '60s and '70s, but there has been no subsequent group that has come in to fuel the succession, except for one -- displaced public housing residents with Section 8 vouchers looking to rent homes. There has been a huge increase in that in the last five years, and it's the primary reason I voted for "getting worse".

    As far as urban neighborhoods having no hope because of the stigma of "THE CITY", that varies by state and region. As a native Michigander, I'd say that is largely true there -- the stigma of "THE CITY" throughout the state of Michigan looms so large that many neighborhoods in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, and other places will have a hard time rebounding. In Michigan, there is a wide cultural gulf between city, suburbs and rural areas.

    But that's certainly not the case here in Chicago. I started out in neighborhood redevelopment in Chicago in the late '80s, and my first project was a neighborhood plan for Chicago's near south side (aka "Bronzeville"). Residents at the time were very skeptical about what a plan could do for the neighborhood, but I told them that the city was being redeveloped from the inside-out -- growth from Loop office towers would fuel residential development nearby, which would push growth even further out. In the nearly 20 years I've been in Chicago, that is exactly what's happened, and the transformation in Bronzeville has been mind-boggling. I don't think it's far-fetched to say that within the next 10-15 years, Chicago's south lakefront will be the equal of the north lakefront in terms of real estate demand and values, its retail offerings, and its diversity.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    I voted for Rural Neighborhood, getting better.
    It is a good place to live, and new development is ensuring that we'll be somewhat self-contained. Of course, having me on the Econ Development Board will help make sure we do not sell our soul to make things better.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    My neighborhood is urban and getting better. A lot of private investment has been made into the individual homes, many have been restored to bring back some of the original architecture. A lot of investment has been made into the commercial district up the street from me. The City recently replaced the sidewalk along the busiest road (a two lane collector, noturning lane) and striped in more crosswalks and bike lanes. The park has had some improvements as well, including a pretty cool picnic pavilion and improved playground for the kids.
    This is my street. Pretty narrow, great tree canopy. Notice the blue garbage cans (recycling) and the lack of green garbage cans (for garbage).

    Last edited by cololi; 05 Dec 2006 at 2:45 PM. Reason: image way too big

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I live in an older (platted 1930's) neighborhood. Most of the homes are from the '50's. I've been here 9 years and it's staying the same. But I think whenever I sell, my house will be a teardown. The area within a mile or two of me has gone from older suburbs and acreage to commercial, apartments, and McMansions.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    We rent in an urban neighborhood that is definitely improving. In fact, house prices have gone up so much that we can't actually afford to buy here (if we had moved on something 5 years ago, perhaps, but not now). The neighborhood we rent in is largely considered one of the nicest in the city - nice historic architecture, very walkable (small square blocks) and close to many amenities like parks, essential retail, movie theater, restaurants, etc. Its downtown and the wealthy are certainly not fleeing - in fact, so many are here now and have improved their properties to such a degree that the property values have gone through the roof. The average price in a 3 block radius from my house is in excess of $400k - this in a city where the median household income is around $45k. This is up from about $150-200k 5 years ago.

    We have certainly been impacted by the national housing boom-come-bust as things have slowed considerably in the last few months, but Albuquerque has also instituted a "Smart Growth" policy which has encouraged some nice infill in the city core. This has been coupled with some good investments in infrastructure improvement for the downtown area that has made it function much better. Light rail will be coming in the next few years as well (there is a visioning meeting for the project tonight).

    I picked "rural neighborhood improving" in the poll, though, because we also own a house in the South Valley area, a transitional semi-urban environment that was historically mainly farmland. There they are just completing a road improvement project for a main thoroughfare that has added sidewalks, two parks with playing fields, actual bus stops with shade structures (we did not even have benches before) and storm sewers (which we also did not have before). Heck, when we moved there, they had only instituted trash pickup the previous year. Before that, people had to take their own trash to the dump or, as many did, burn it in the yard. So, yeah, things are definitely looking up in that neighborhood.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  10. #10
    Cyburbian drucee's avatar
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    I'm in an "in-between" neighborhood right at the crossroads of Andersonville, Edgewater, and Uptown on the North Side of Chicago. Put simply (and there's no simple way of putting it) I'm in the part of Uptown that's closer to Andersonville but my backyard is in Edgewater. Or maybe I'm in the part of Andersonville that's politically in Uptown and physically in Edgewater. Who knows. I'm part of the Uptown community area, and vote in the 46th Ward, but the housing stock and income levels are more characteristic of Andersonville (and there is direct road access to Andersonville, whereas Uptown is separated from my neighborhood by a large cemetery and by El tracks) and I have an Andersonville zip code. Think of it like the part of the city of Los Angeles that has a 90210 zip.

    Whatever you call it, I'm in a neighborhood on the upswing. Uptown used to be the most impoverished lakefront North Side neighborhood, but the signs of revitalization are everywhere. There are new condos and "gut rehab" apartments on Winthrop and Kenmore, two streets that used to be known for SRO hotels and a large long-term homeless population. The intersection of Lawrence and Broadway is booming again, thanks to two of Chicago's largest concert venues (the Aragon and the Riviera) and some of its best-known bars and restaurants. My section of Uptown, called Andersonville Terrace, is less "in transition" than the neighborhood as a whole, having started out slightly more upmarket due to its association with Andersonville. However, it is benefiting from both the revitalization of central Uptown to the South and the continued popularity of historic, liberal, friendly, beautiful Andersonville to the north. Real estate agents have even started using the name "SoFo" (for South of Foster) to refer to my neighborhood, and the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce has put up "Andersonville" signs as far south as Winnemac, as if to recognize that the desirability of Andersonville has now spread far south of Foster.

  11. #11
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I'm in a suburban neighborhood that seems to be improving as the landscaping matures.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    What direction is your neighborhood going? Why has it been going that direction?
    I rent a house outside a college campus in a city of approximately 65,000. Our neighborhood is a combination of old homeowners, and middle aged, young adult, and student renters. The housing stock varies widely and some of it, quite frankly, is crap. Our house is a 1930s/1940s bungalow with a fabulous front porch but others look like they were slapped up in a day or two (50 years ago). You can imagine what a 59 year old poorly constructed house looks like when it isn't cared for and is lived in by 6 19 year old boys. I would say the neighborhood is in decline, but it's not unsafe or anything like that. It just isn't well taken care of. There are a few streets several blocks away that are well taken care of, I assume for several reasons. The most important, in my opinion, is that the housing stock is much better. Much more goes into it than that.

    Our whole city has been going downhill because industry left and nothing has taken its place. People can't find work like what they had before. Plus town/gown relations are awful. Locals resent the university's presence and are waiting for factories to come back. People who CAN leave, do. It's impossible to sell a house and make money on it, for all homes in the city.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    I live in one of those inner ring suburbs who's direction could go either way. The city could improve based upon the central city's progress and the "rising tide" of the regional housing market, or it could decline based upon people's desire for more remote "suburban" locations.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
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    Monroe Village neighborhood of Rochester New York (AKA Monroe Ave or Pearl-Meigs)... I checked "urban, going nowhere." It has a high concentration of owner-occupied homes compared to the parts (of the city) that are in worse shape, but it still doesn't see the amount of investment that the South Wedge, Swillburg, and Park Ave districts of Rah-cha-cha are seeing. There are some golden opportunities waiting (a few long-vacant lots, a large hospital facility that closed recently)... it's just a matter of finding someone to pick the low-hanging fruit. And the city is excluded from that list 'cause everything they touch turns to... you know.
    What luck! A random assemblage of words never sounded less intelligent.

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