Urban planning community

Closed thread
Page 1 of 9 1 2 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 217

Thread: Sprawl: how do you stop it?

  1. #1

    Sprawl: how do you stop it?

    How are cities supposed to stop suburban sprawl when all the sprawl is occuring in suburbs which aren't hemmed in and compete against each other and the city? Especially when the state doesn't care and the suburbs keep growing and keep getting richer?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2001
    Location
    West Valley, AZ
    Posts
    3,895
    Sprawl only gets stopped by policy and policy makers with conviction to make it the policy work.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  3. #3
    There is demand and there is supply. The government controls the supply side. If it releases it, sprawl will stop.

  4. #4
    Here in Kansas City, we have many suburbs that have over 100,000 people:
    -Overland Park (the king of anti-urban, pro-sprawl suburbs) - 167,000
    -Olathe (adjacent to Overland Park, almost as controllable and not as close to being hemmed in) - 111,000
    -Independence (not really concentrated on the suburban, but more concentrated on it's urban area) - 113,000
    -Kansas City (KS) (has ignored it's urban area for a long time, letting it decay and become one of the most dangerous areas in the city crime wise. It has been focusing on sprawling out to it's west) -150,000

    Then we have several suburbs of about 50,000 or more:
    -Blue Springs (has plenty of room to sprawl out, and has been doing it gradually) 50,000
    -Lee's Summit (has been sprawling out for a while, almost half it's annexed land is unnoccupied) - 70,000
    -Shawnee (not a big factor, but it is sprawling out west) - 50,000
    -Lenexa (same as Shawnee, but it is growing as a suburban town) - 40,000

    Then there are the dozens of smaller suburbs that keep sprawling outward...

    Kansas City, MO could stop it's annexation and sprawl, however the suburbs would keep sprawling out uncontrollably, and many of the suburbs refuse to have anything to do with KCMO (such as Overland Park, which has always refused any talks with the city to try and stop the fighting back and forth between the two)

    How can you stop these suburbs which won't even listen to any negotiations to stop their competition with the inner city (which they sometimes seem to directly target)?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    -Kansas City (KS) (has ignored it's urban area for a long time, letting it decay and become one of the most dangerous areas in the city crime wise. It has been focusing on sprawling out to it's west)

    Kansas City, MO could stop it's annexation and sprawl, however the suburbs would keep sprawling out uncontrollably, and many of the suburbs refuse to have anything to do with KCMO (such as Overland Park, which has always refused any talks with the city to try and stop the fighting back and forth between the two)

    How can you stop these suburbs which won't even listen to any negotiations to stop their competition with the inner city (which they sometimes seem to directly target)?
    You identified the cause of sprawl, but failed to identify the correct remedy.

  6. #6
    Well i mean, some do it because of urban areas, and other do it to compete with each other, and others just feel they can only grow by going outward. But there are suburbs like Overland Park which just don't care and will do anything to make themselves better than the inner city. (Overland Park and Olathe not only seem to reject any negotiations with the city, but also try to copy and duplicate anything the city does that is attractive)

    Our city also seems to be in a pretty bad situation because even our TV stations seem more geared to the suburbs and only cover crime in the city, and the newspaper seems to be more attracted to the suburbs and cares less about anything in the city.

  7. #7
    That is called competition my friend. If you kill it in Kansas City, people will move to Dallas or Atlanta. If you kill it in America, people will move to Canada, Australia and Europe, and all that you will have to show for it is a ruined country with ruined cities.

    The only way to stop sprawl is to encourage the central cities to be the most competitive that they can be, such that the suburbs will simply not be able to compete.

  8. #8
    But how would you get the suburbs to stop sprawling? Sprawl is unhealthy and it wastes resources, and hurts the inner city.

    We are also in a situation where we keep adjusting our city to the growing suburbs so people can get to work faster without much of a traffic problem, yet also if we turn around and begin to stop accomodating vehicles to get people to move closer to the inner city, then some of us (that are interested in the area) are concerned about the feds saying "screw you" and ordering us legally to expand our highways.


    I just keep listening and reading different things, such as Jane Jacob's book and I listen to City Talks from Sydney, and recognize how great cities like NYC and Sydney (along with other cities like Barcelona, Copenhagen, etc...) whereas our medium-sized city can't even get the smallest things right. We have been trying to revive our Downtown, but the Power and Light District (a 1,200 unit project that also has lots of entertainment, a new arena and brought H&R Block's world HQ to Downtown) while good, also destroyed over 20 buildings for the construction of an entirely new project.

    Also, we have a mayoral election coming up and some of the main issues are neighborhoods, sewer maintenance, light rail, crime and schools. But they are also focused on the more suburban neighborhoods of KCMO, and some are willing to slow down Downtown in order to improve other neighborhoods.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    But how would you get the suburbs to stop sprawling? Sprawl is unhealthy and it wastes resources, and hurts the inner city.
    The inner city hurts the inner city. That is why people want to move away.

    The causation runs the other way. Sprawl happens because the inner city is unhealthy and wastes resources.

  10. #10
    How are city's turned around if you have citizens and city leaders that don't know much about urban development (other than what has been done in the past)?

    I want to see our city start to make a turn in the right direction, and the only part of our city that this has occured in is our Downtown, and it seems some of our city is still focused on adjusting to the suburbs instead of making suburbs adjust to the city.

    Even our city thinks of itself as being more western than eastern, and visitors agree to this. But if we start modeling ourselves more like western cities like Los Angeles, we will begin to go downhill fast...

    What can be done to help this?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    How are city's turned around if you have citizens and city leaders that don't know much about urban development (other than what has been done in the past)?
    Don't let them decide on development.

  12. #12
    Well how do you convince other people to do this? I personally won't be out of college for about 5-6 years, and it won't be till about 10 years till I become an urban planner.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Machesney Park, IL
    Posts
    1,437
    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    How are cities supposed to stop suburban sprawl...?
    Ideally, a community adopts a sensible land use plan that takes into account population growth, housing needs, etc, and... (here's the key)... ADHERES TO IT!

    But, when the elected officials who ultimately make the decisions on what gets rezoned and what gets subidivided, have their campaigns significantly funded by contributions from developers, and they seem to think that rooftops equal taxes and jobs, then getting elected officials to adhere to a land use plan is easier said than done. (Sorry, I know I ramble when I get worked up )

  14. #14
    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    Well how do you convince other people to do this? I personally won't be out of college for about 5-6 years, and it won't be till about 10 years till I become an urban planner.
    I'm still working this part out. There might not be a solution in our lifetimes.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Downtown Atlanta
    Posts
    894
    1) Stop using taxpayer money to subsidize mega highways and all other roads. This subsidy benefits the suburbs much more than the city. Without it, most suburbs and rural communities would have muddy cow paths. You would likely still have some suburbs but they would be only inhabited by the wealthier citizens who are able to afford to pay to have roads built to their homes. As an aside, I've noticed that almost every rich person I've known that has had a huge house on a large ranch type property in which they have to maintain the driveway themselves, ends up using gravel.

    2) Stop allowing the government to take land from an unwilling seller in order to ram mega highways down everyone's throats. In many places transit services are at a severe disadvantage because roads get to use emient domain to aquire cheap right of ways whereas the transit service must pay whatever it takes to get the seller to part with their land. While both transit and highways can enable sprawl, they do so in different forms and with different consequences and costs.

    3) Make transportation pay for the external cost, or better yet, make energy producers pay for the external costs of producing and consuming their products. Cheap energy is only cheap because the public is forced to accept noxious chemicals spewed by burning of fossil fuels and because we will pay for military adventures all over the globe to enforce our access to said fuels. Without them, the suburbs are not possible.
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

  16. #16
    One of the most likely candidates for mayor seems to be against TIFs (tax incremental financing) and is in favor of turning DT development to the private sector instead of involving the city, is this a good or bad thing?

  17. #17
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Middle of a Dusty Street
    Posts
    6,415
    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    I'm still working this part out. There might not be a solution in our lifetimes.

    But, regardless of having a solution or not... Jaws will never stop talking about it.


    (Sorry Jaws, you put one right in my wheelhouse, and I just had to swing! )
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by AubieTurtle View post
    1) Stop using taxpayer money to subsidize mega highways and all other roads. This subsidy benefits the suburbs much more than the city. Without it, most suburbs and rural communities would have muddy cow paths. You would likely still have some suburbs but they would be only inhabited by the wealthier citizens who are able to afford to pay to have roads built to their homes. As an aside, I've noticed that almost every rich person I've known that has had a huge house on a large ranch type property in which they have to maintain the driveway themselves, ends up using gravel.

    2) Stop allowing the government to take land from an unwilling seller in order to ram mega highways down everyone's throats. In many places transit services are at a severe disadvantage because roads get to use emient domain to aquire cheap right of ways whereas the transit service must pay whatever it takes to get the seller to part with their land. While both transit and highways can enable sprawl, they do so in different forms and with different consequences and costs.

    3) Make transportation pay for the external cost, or better yet, make energy producers pay for the external costs of producing and consuming their products. Cheap energy is only cheap because the public is forced to accept noxious chemicals spewed by burning of fossil fuels and because we will pay for military adventures all over the globe to enforce our access to said fuels. Without them, the suburbs are not possible.
    1 - People will move to the suburbs no matter how hellish the transportation is. The absence of highways is not going to stop the construction of new subdivisions, no less than Los Angeles traffic stops people from commuting from Orange County and the Inland Empire. People will only complain louder and louder that their elected officials are not doing anything about the traffic, until you get thrown out of office and replaced by someone who builds highways.

    Sprawl doesn't just "happen." It is purposefully built by developers following the government's rules. No matter how many highways there aren't, subdivisions will get built. The rules are the problem, not the developers.

    2 - See number one.

    3 - People will drive in scooters before they move back to the city. See number two.

    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    But, regardless of having a solution or not... Jaws will never stop talking about it.


    (Sorry Jaws, you put one right in my wheelhouse, and I just had to swing! )
    I don't have a solution to the problem of abolishing communism, that is a socially-alien concept at the present time. However, it is and will always be the only solution to sprawl, as communism is the only cause of sprawl, and every other half-measure to stop it will fail.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Trying to get out of the icebox....
    Posts
    13,336
    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    There is demand and there is supply. The government controls the supply side. If it releases it, sprawl will stop.
    No, Jaws, it will get worse.

    Over the years, sprawl has been created because some developers have taken advantage of newer communities. In an effort to get as many people as possible, these communities have requested that things be reactive (with the suburbs) and not proactive.

    Now that controls are being put in place and society has changed its media driven view, thanks to TV shows like Friends, Frasier, Sex and the City, living "downtown" is once again becoming the place to be, so many downtowns are beginning the process of revitalization and rehabitation.

    The biggest thing that a community can do now is support regional control regulations, maintain and enhance the urban cores with strict property maintenance standards, and work to reverse the negative perception of downtowns being dark and dangerous places.

    Once you get the big 5 (Office, Retail including groceries, Residential, Cultural, and Institutional) downtown will begin to become sustainable.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    No, Jaws, it will get worse.

    Over the years, sprawl has been created because some developers have taken advantage of newer communities. In an effort to get as many people as possible, these communities have requested that things be reactive (with the suburbs) and not proactive.
    Like I said, it's the government's fault.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Downtown Atlanta
    Posts
    894
    Sorry Jaws but I have to respectfully disagree. People will always have a desire to have more room but without the government creating a subsidized oversupply of it through road building, HUD policies, and tax depreciation rules, it could not exist in the quantity that we have it now. People will not drive motor scooters over mountain bike trails for sixty miles each way to work like they do today with their SUVs over billions of dollars of road infrastructure from a McMansion in one far flung suburb to an office park in another suburb on the opposite side of their sprawlapolitan area. One only has to look at any metro in the US to see that there are pockets of land all over the place that remain undeveloped because there is no transportation infrastructure in place. While people will engage in wishful thinking and move into the Twin Pines Goose Glenn by Centrex subdivision down a narrow two lane road that won't be able to handle all of the new traffic, they won't move into a field that requires an overland trek of five miles to the nearest road (after all, their SUV might be dirty in the process).

    And yes, I do agree with you that it is the government's fault and I do agree that the public will continue to elect those who are like poor parents that are more concerned with being cool friends with their children instead of parents. While the government shouldn't be in a parent-child relationship with the public, the refusal of either party to engage in education on the economics of the layout of our physical environment does resemble that of an absentee parent more than anything else.

    Yes, anyone who stands up and says that what we have been doing is government induced madness is likely to not get voted into office. To that extent, my suggestions are politically unrealistic given the voting patterns of the populous. But if somehow those policies and subsidies were taken away, it is very unlikely that the masses would continue to live in the suburbs because even though they may have lower taxes, they would blow the money on American Idol DVDs and (sorry to invoke Kunstler here) cheese doodles. Suburbs wouldn't cease to exist, but they would exist in much smaller quantiles and be inhabited only by those who can engage in long term planning in accomplishing their goals.

    The use of taxes to subsidize the suburban lifestyle and create policy that enables it is like a forced savings plan to get people what they want when they wouldn't have the self discipline to do it themselves. Just look at how many people think of their tax refund as a smart savings account because it keeps them from touching the money until they file their tax return. Combine that lack of discipline with a lack of knowledge of how much their choices really cost, and you have a recipe for suburban failure if the government intervention is ever removed.

    And all of this ignores the deficit spending that happens at most levels of government to further subsidize sprawl to make it cheaper than it ever would be in a free market environment. Making future generations pay for a "legacy" of decaying infrastructure and abandoned Wal-Marts is perhaps the worst part of all of this.
    Last edited by AubieTurtle; 13 Feb 2007 at 11:33 PM.
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

  22. #22
    How can you get new urbanism developers and planners to your area? My area seems to lack people in this mindset or that follow new urbanism.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Newcastle, New South Wales
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post

    Sprawl doesn't just "happen." It is purposefully built by developers following the government's rules. No matter how many highways there aren't, subdivisions will get built. The rules are the problem, not the developers.
    I really don't see how 'rules' are the problem. All planning rules do is legitimise sprawl, they donít create it. Developers develop greenfield sites, thereby creating sprawl, if people are willing to live in those areas, and if planning controls permit development (or if not permitted - the developer will lobby a level of government to change the controls). The desirability of greenfield sites for development are also influenced by a number of other factors such as infrastructure (eg transport, water) which can either be funded by government, the private sector or a combination of both. I think the desirability of suburbs for some people are also a factor.

    The problem of sprawl has arisen because the cost of transportation is relatively cheap and is usually subsidised by the government. Itís personally affordable for people to live in the suburbs if an efficient transport system is in place. An efficient transport system gives people more options on where to live, and quite naturally some people are going to choose to live in 'sprawling' areas of a city for whatever reason they choose to do so (i.e. in order to own a large home or to live in an area they perceive as having a better environment). If that transport infrastructure is not in place (i.e. highways, commuter railways) people cannot possible live a normal life away from the areas with a residential and employment density usually only characterised by the inner city.

    I think sprawl will only stop either when the cost of transportation rises to a level where it no longer becomes personally affordable to live too far from the city, or where planning controls which prevent sprawl are adhered to.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally posted by dystopia View post
    I really don't see how 'rules' are the problem. All planning rules do is legitimise sprawl, they donít create it. Developers develop greenfield sites, thereby creating sprawl, if people are willing to live in those areas, and if planning controls permit development (or if not permitted - the developer will lobby a level of government to change the controls). The desirability of greenfield sites for development are also influenced by a number of other factors such as infrastructure (eg transport, water) which can either be funded by government, the private sector or a combination of both. I think the desirability of suburbs for some people are also a factor.
    Local governments are acting as landlords over their area. As landlords, they decide what road goes where, what is allowed to be built where and how it should be built. The developers only supply what the landlord is telling them to.

    I think you are all quite a bit confused over the nature of sprawl. Sprawl is not a where but a how. Greenfield development, in a city with growing population, is perfectly normal. What makes it sprawl is that land is consumed at an unjustifiable rate, and the people responsible for that are local governments acting in their capacity as landlord, because only they can regulate how the land is to be developed.

    Sure, the developers try to pull the government's acts in their directions, but so do you. That's democracy.

    The central city (and inner ring suburbs) could double or triple their population if they transformed themselves to comfortably receive the new inhabitants. Instead they overtax and regulate stupidly, destroying their competitiveness and their capital. No effort at reduced road construction or greenfield development will alter the fact that people want to leave the central city due to its corruption. You can put a draconian urban growth boundary around the worst city on Earth, people will still want to leave. Instead of leaving for the suburbs, they will leave for another region, or another country. It will appear that you have succeeded at stopping sprawl, but in this case sprawl was for people a good thing. It allowed them to protect themselves from corruption.

  25. #25
    Government is not evil and isn't always in favor of sprawl, you may want to take different point of views on the issue, because government again, is not evil or against urban growth.

Closed thread
Page 1 of 9 1 2 ... LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. I need to stop it
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 13
    Last post: 02 Aug 2012, 1:20 PM
  2. Replies: 54
    Last post: 07 Sep 2007, 12:54 PM
  3. Stop Lurking!!
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 21
    Last post: 05 Nov 2005, 9:47 AM
  4. Need to stop a Starbucks
    Economic and Community Development
    Replies: 6
    Last post: 18 Dec 2001, 6:35 PM