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Poll results: Would you live in a new urbanist neighborhood?

Voters
101. You may not vote on this poll
  • Absolutely!

    19 18.81%
  • Yes, but only if I can paint my garage neon orange

    11 10.89%
  • Yes, but only if it was more affordable

    22 21.78%
  • Yes, but only if it was an infill development

    26 25.74%
  • No way! New urbanism... it's not new and it's not urban!

    23 22.77%
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Thread: Would you want to live in an new urbanist neighborhood?

  1. #51
    Member green lizard's avatar
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    Originally posted by japrovo
    I don't doubt that your assessment of market trends in FL has some validity there and elsewhere. But can we be intellectually honest if we don't think about the generation or more of infrastructure subsidies and code writing favoring certain design types and its influence on the existing market conditions?

    So what are all these planners up to? .
    Infrastructure subsidies and code writing favoring certain
    design types....

    There were other reasons those design types occured. Your
    father probably wanted his own house and peice of land, no
    matter how small. The favoring may have more to do with
    the type of deep rooted attachments that our society
    has cultivated.

    As for infrastructure subsidies.... the transportation of goods in
    this country is what allows our strong (yes strong compared
    to many) economy to thrive. Most of the 'subsidised
    infrasturcture' keeps those fresh veges at your grocer and the
    latest planning mag on your desk.

    Some of the result is not the wanted outcome... we have sprawl
    and nowhere places, but do not condem out of hand.

    After all remmber that planners were all for Urban Renewal and
    we know what a great idea that became.
    Last edited by green lizard; 21 May 2003 at 3:31 PM.

  2. #52
    Member japrovo's avatar
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    Originally posted by green lizard

    There were other reasons those design types occured. Your
    father probably wanted his own house and peice of land, no
    matter how small. The favoring may have more to do with
    the type of deep rooted attachments that our society
    has cultivated.
    Maybe, but if you go back as far as the origins of the FHA loan guarantee programs in the 30s my grandfather's choices were limited by the fact that as a matter of policy the government underwrote greenfield single-family construction and not loans for rehabbing existing homes or the construction of multifamily housing. This went on for decades and also with a stated preference for projects that were in neighborhoods that were racially exclusive. I certainly wouldn't condemn those who choose that lifestyle today, but the sad truth is that to the extent we can credit cultural values with shaping the postwar urban form we take on some pretty negative baggage.


    As for infrastructure subsidies.... the transportation of goods in
    this country is what allows our strong (yes strong compared
    to many) economy to thrive. Most of the 'subsidised
    infrasturcture' keeps those fresh veges at your grocer and the
    latest planning mag on your desk.
    True enough, but roads serving inter-city commerce are not necessarily the same thing as intra-city roads that underwrite the feasibility of decentralized forms of urban development.


    Some of the result is not the wanted outcome... we have sprawl
    and nowhere places, but do not condem out of hand.
    I don't think I've condemned anything out of hand. I am very concerned however when these discussions mythologize rather than analyze markets and the economic, political, and social forces that shape them. Nothing takes place in a vacuum.

  3. #53
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Originally posted by green lizard
    Infrastructure subsidies and code writing favoring certain
    design types....

    There were other reasons those design types occured. Your
    father probably wanted his own house and peice of land, no
    matter how small. The favoring may have more to do with
    the type of deep rooted attachments that our society
    has cultivated.

    As for infrastructure subsidies.... the transportation of goods in
    this country is what allows our strong (yes strong compared
    to many) economy to thrive. Most of the 'subsidised
    infrasturcture' keeps those fresh veges at your grocer and the
    latest planning mag on your desk.

    Some of the result is not the wanted outcome... we have sprawl
    and nowhere places, but do not condem out of hand.

    After all remmber that planners were all for Urban Renewal and
    we know what a great idea that became.
    First off i don't know any planners who thought urban renewal was a good idea. I only know engineers who call themselves planners that thought urban renewal was a good idea.

    The produce my grandparents ate was much fresher than what i eat today because it didn't have to travel 2,000 miles to get to my fridge. It was grown locally and it was harvested when it was ripe not two weeks before hand.

    Choice? what percentage of new development even tries to call itself "new urbanist" ?! 3% of the market? How is that choice?
    The problem with most suburban development is not that it's suburban. Surburbs have been growing in this country for 150 years. It's only in the last 50 that they've taken a turn for the worse. That turn has been their auto-only orientation. Period.

    No one is saying suburbs are bad they're saying the design is bad.

  4. #54

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    Yeah, the "2000 mile Caesar salad" harvested by undocumented workers are a big improvement.

  5. #55
    Member green lizard's avatar
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    Originally posted by jresta
    First off i don't know any planners who thought urban renewal was a good idea. I only know engineers who call themselves planners that thought urban renewal was a good idea.
    .
    Urban renewal was accepted planning practice...
    Read up on the history. We don't like to admit it,
    but there it is....

    As for 3%.. NU marketing is doing well... the demand is high.
    Choice is there for some urban markets.

    2000 mile salad... thats good.
    I guess we could all start our own truck gardens out back.

  6. #56
    Member green lizard's avatar
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    Originally posted by japrovo
    Maybe, but if you go back as far as the origins of the FHA loan guarantee programs in the 30s my grandfather's choices were limited by the fact that as a matter of policy the government underwrote greenfield single-family construction and not loans for rehabbing existing homes or the construction of multifamily housing. This went on for decades and also with a stated preference for projects that were in neighborhoods that were racially exclusive. I certainly wouldn't condemn those who choose that lifestyle today, but the sad truth is that to the extent we can credit cultural values with shaping the postwar urban form we take on some pretty negative baggage.
    .
    I knew you would bring up FHA loans. It was one of the biggest
    factors shaping American development. But did FHA policy
    get that way because of the choice of the majority, or because
    we did not know any better? It was an economic choice. New
    housing meant new jobs in post war America.

    Your knowledge on this is sharp.

  7. #57

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    I'll give the lizard that one (Urban Renewal as accepted planning practice).

    We can't blame the engineers for that one-there is plenty of blame to go around. Modern Movement architects, welfare ureaucrats and the poverty industry, the highway industry, and real estate investment interests share at least as much blame as planners for the horriors of the urban renewal program. But, I think many of us would overlook the gentrification and other issues if the architecture was just a little better.


    As for truck gardens out back, thats what cities always had for generations. Its probably better than the "out of sight, out of mind" realities of modern agro-chemico-business. Like all free marketers, Green Lizard forgets that our "free market system" as currently constituted exists because the beneficiaries don't really pay the full externalities of the system-the migrant farm workers living under the culverts, the 50% toxic contamination of Iowa drinking water wells, the air quality impacts of large trucks idling in big city traffic jams. And, as discussed exhaustively on this board a few months ago, I'm not sure it is really possible to fully quantify or even define such impacts. So, appeals to the purity of market values as a reason for not guiding the market through programs, policies, and standards don't convince me.

    Still, we need to be constantly reminded of market realities, so I am enjoying this debate a great deal.

  8. #58
    Member green lizard's avatar
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    I am sorry to be the 'bad guy',
    but it is fun, and it is the aurguments I
    hear.

    The truth may lie somewhere in bettween.

  9. #59
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Originally posted by green lizard
    Urban renewal was accepted planning practice...
    Read up on the history. We don't like to admit it,
    but there it is....

    As for 3%.. NU marketing is doing well... the demand is high.
    Choice is there for some urban markets.

    2000 mile salad... thats good.
    I guess we could all start our own truck gardens out back.
    when developers have to sue to build their NU projects - that's not choice in the marketplace.

    3 out of 100 new homes are NU (and obviously more expensive) is also not choice in the marketplace.

    Government dictates - like the terms of FHA loans - or the highway/transit funding imbalance does not represent choice in the marketplace. Subsidizing one housing style or mode of transport and/or penalizing another is not a free market. It's a distortion of the market that will have an obvious outcome.

    Suburbia was the largest social engineering project this country has ever seen and no matter how hard they tried they still didn't succeed in destroying cities with strong histories.

  10. #60

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    "Social engineering project"-that's a good term.

    Wasn't one of the reasons for the whole push for single family homes to prevent the growth of European-style "socialist"parties. It certainly "worked," for good and bad.

  11. #61
    Member japrovo's avatar
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    Originally posted by green lizard
    But did FHA policy
    get that way because of the choice of the majority, or because
    we did not know any better? It was an economic choice. New
    housing meant new jobs in post war America.

    Your knowledge on this is sharp.
    Certainly suburban development was the cheapest and quickest way to meet the postwar demand for housing and employ a lot of people in construction jobs, but was it the only choice? The best choice? And how in the world is it right that this economic choice came with first de jure and then de facto racial segregation? Were the short term costs efficiencies produced by Levittowns the only value that should have been considered? There is a long run economic costs in a degraded environment and extreme inequities in the distribution of the wealth that accrued exclusively to the home owning generation of all-white postwar suburbanites. (Thank you home mortgage interest deduction our nation's largest housing policy! I bet the Lizard was waiting for me to slip that in too!)

    This has been interesting. For anyone who hasn't read it Gwendolyn Wright wrote a great book called Building the Dream, which is very good one volume history of housing in America.

    I feel that we've drifted off topic. My connection back to the thread would be this, that no one form of development has a special provenance that deserves a privileged place in policy. As much as possible there should be a full menu of choices from new urbanism to older close in neighborhoods to traditional suburban development. And despite what you may read I think that what the Portland region has done is level of the playing field. (And please lets save the cost of housing in Portland for another thread because I have answers but I've got to get some work done today.)

    Regards,

  12. #62
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    does anyone have any numbers for Spec building as a percentage of the new home market?

    The point being that homebuyers aren't going out, hiring an architect, and telling a builder - "This is what i want."

    The "choices" being offered homebuyers are about as varied as coke and pepsi. Most people looking to buy a new house are walking into a sales office housed in a trailer somewhere (if they're lucky it's in the model house) and get to choose between a 3 or 4 bedroom and with or without the subzero fridge.

    That's what i would call an incredibly narrow market constrained for obvious reasons.

  13. #63
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Great discussion! This has been a fabulous read.

    Regarding this quote...

    Originally posted by japrovo
    My connection back to the thread would be this, that no one form of development has a special provenance that deserves a privileged place in policy. As much as possible there should be a full menu of choices from new urbanism to older close in neighborhoods to traditional suburban development.
    ...try telling that to the risk-averse banks.

  14. #64
    Member green lizard's avatar
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    Originally posted by japrovo
    . (Thank you home mortgage interest deduction our nation's largest housing policy! I bet the Lizard was waiting for me to slip that in too!)
    No, you go way beyond my knowledge on the topic.
    You sound like a proffesor i had....

  15. #65
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Originally posted by green lizard
    I would love to agree... however I can not.

    I belive that the market trends STILL show a
    significant number of folks want to live on a
    cul-de-sac. It is about choice. If you work in the
    city and enjoy that, great. If you are more rural
    and enjoy that, be happy.

    We all have read Jane J. and understand some
    sustainability concepts.... but the market (what people
    wil pay for) still supports both NU developments,
    traditional developments and subdivisions (sprawl?).

    NU developments are selling like crazy in South Florida.
    But large homes in gated subdivisions are selling
    even BETTER.

    Sorry
    but do those individual want to live in a cul-de-sac or do they just believe they want to live in a cul-de-sac. Over the last 40-50 years, builders have defined the ideal housing situtation.. you are successfull and doing the best thing for your family when you live in your house on the quiet cul-de-sac in an area with good schools and no surprises. You can be 99% that the person moving in next to you is just like you, your house is an investment, your property holds value....you can shelter your 2.5 cars! you have a double wide driveway for them! isn't this what you want?!

    why did the cities loose population to the suburbs? transit and fear.

    There is still a deep rooted fear in most...not all..superfically observant and intelligent people of what they do not know. The migration to the suburbs tended to surround those people with who and what they do know. People like themselves. (granted this is changing).

    Also, where in the city could you house your car and your wifes car and your childrens car? on the street!? the auto helped kill the city. Suburban devlepment is great for the car.

    The auto manufactures and the builders have convinced the american population that they want nice cars, multiple cars, and they want their suburban house.

    incomplete thought here.. probably pointless.. but i gotta go.. be back later to finish later...maybe. Just flame me. i'd like to hear other observations or rational thought about what i said.

  16. #66
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by boiker
    but do those individual want to live in a cul-de-sac or do they just believe they want to live in a cul-de-sac.
    But do you want to be a planner or do you just believe you want to be a planner?

    But do you want to own a home, raise a family, have a good job, or just believe that you want to own a home, raise a family, and have a good job?

    But do you want to live in a free country or do you just believe you want to live in a free country?

    Are we going to start making decisions for people based on our superior knowledge that what they believe they want is not what they actually want? That seems a bit egotistical. Don't mis-understand me, I am not advocating for cu-de-sacs, but I won't use the reasoning that I know what people want better than they do.

    [i]The auto manufactures and the builders have convinced the american population that they want nice cars, multiple cars, and they want their suburban house. [/B]
    Auto makers do sell cars. It sometimes seems like their reason for being is to manufacture and sell cars. But I only believe this.

    As for the suburban home, I think I would have to dispute your statement. There are still many people (a majority, really) who have chosen cities, older neighborhoods, small towns, and rural areas in which to live.

  17. #67

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    I agree with you, Micheal AND Boiker (to a certain extent).

    The tragedy is that suburbs were "sold" to the American public as an escape to "the country" "with all of the benefits of the city." Look at the street names and theming-they are very telling. "Villages," "Ranchos," "Estates." An amazing fantasy. When only the upper middle class could afford them, and the population of the country was 75 million, this worked. With 300 million people, how can present patterns of development be anything but destructive? Suburbia works only when it is for the few.

    Today, one could argue (as Boiker does) that "suburbia" does not really fulfill the underlying and contradictory wants of people-many but certainly not all of which are created by the marketing machine which is really America's (evil) genius. But, it is built into our very psyche-and the reality is people generally DO prefer the single family home (I am reading a "tour" of the Paris suburbs. Even in "urban" France, with a stronger tradition of apartment living, working-to-middle-class people want their "pavillions," not the over-planned high density nightmares created by well-meaning functionaries of the French state.)

    I remain skeptical that places like Celebration are really healthy over the long term, because they are so locked into social control. How can they evolve over time?

  18. #68
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Originally posted by BKM
    I agree with you, Micheal AND Boiker (to a certain extent).

    I remain skeptical that places like Celebration are really healthy over the long term, because they are so locked into social control. How can they evolve over time?

    ahhh - the irony. Well meaning people find fault with New Urbanism because it is rigid and contrived. I agree.

    What's different about post-war suburbs?

    The difference is market tyranny over tyranny of regulations. The result is the same. Try painting your house a "different" color in a new suburb. Heck, try leaving your car parked in the street overnight in NJ boroughs.

    My estimation is that Celebration and places like it will be far healthier in the long run than developer driven subdivisions because of what is different about the two places. The things that make them the same make them the same.

    The problem, as i see it, are the regulations that mandate suburban sprawl as the only acceptable lifestyle. People who want to live in an urban environment or a reasonable suburban locale have one choice. The old cities and their inner ring suburbs with their old and/or decaying housing stock. That's not giving people a choice. There's nothing free market about having one choice represented.

    Besides, freedom should mean a lot more than being able to choose between Coke and Pepsi - Suburbanism or New Urbanism. Especially in a country where Habeas Corpus is effectively dead.

  19. #69

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    O/T digression

    Besides, freedom should mean a lot more than being able to choose between Coke and Pepsi - Suburbanism or New Urbanism. Especially in a country where Habeas Corpus is effectively dead.
    You're right. This issue may prove to be pretty trivial.

    I couldn't believe it last night on a radio program (maybe listening to talk radio should be listed on the "Confessions" thread?) a self-styled "libertarian" host was trying to justify holding visa violators for 9 months incommunicado.

    I mean-fighting "terrorism" is one thing. Geez!

  20. #70
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    At this time, I live on roughly 5 acres located 10 miles from the nearest town. For this time in my life, I wouldn't have it any other way....
    Habitual Offender

  21. #71
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    i am faulty

    i by no means claim to have the right answers.
    i do think that development has been manipulated by:

    planners, builders, politicians, auto industry, railroad industry..etc..... on and on and on..

    Is there a philisophical truth to where we live?

    spelling bad.. just spent 3 hours trying to justify banning or not banning PODS (portable on demand storage containers)

    Can't residents self regulate themselves?

  22. #72
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Re: i am faulty

    Originally posted by boiker
    .. just spent 3 hours trying to justify banning or not banning PODS (portable on demand storage containers)


    so? what was the outcome?

  23. #73
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    stupid zba

    because the ZBA is anal... and I work for a suburb....

    i have wrote an amendment that allows them to be located on any lot in the city for a period not to exceed 14 days.. no permit.. no red tape.. i'm hoping that the ZBA is willing to allow the residents to self-regulate.

    I'm not feeling too positive about it.. but I'm getting department directors to testify for approval of my ordinance.

  24. #74
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    I would rather live in a "community" than a new urbanist community.

    The new urbanists are trying to bring back a form of development that existed in the past - thinking that the urban form was the reason the traditional communities were livable.

    However, in those traditional communities, property owners saw it as their duty to support a livable town. They paid for roads, schools, police and fire services, community hospitals, parks, and (usually) some classy public buildings. They also expected everyone needed to run their town to live in town, so there were places for the janitors, field hands, teacher, firemen, etc.

    I think house owners today see their house as a profit center and a reason the government should heap benefits upon them. I suspect that same feudalist mindset is present in those who buy into NU communities, which makes it really hard for them to become "communities."

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