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Thread: Methods to end various aspects of sprawl?

  1. #101
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Well then, HCB, I wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors.
    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

  2. #102
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    We as planners and those in the development community can certainly do a better job managing growth. That said, if a person working in the parameters of laws and regulations wishes to develop their land, we cannot say "no", unless we are willing to pull out our checkbook and buy that land at the fair market value. For those of us who are in the public sector, that means convincing the taxpayers that the purchase of that land and its perpetual preservation as open space is in the public good. That can be a very hard sell.

    Due to the corporatization of agriculture, the family farm is hard to maintain and often unprofitable. We cannot expect a family to bankrupt themselves for the sake of the public good alone. We cannot force charity.

    There is a perception that farmland is environmentally friendly. That is not always the case. Animal waste is not properly treated and this pollution fouls our surface and ground water supplies. Agricultural chemicals do the same. Millions of acre-feet of water is used annually to provide hay for horses. Is this a good use of a precious commodity? Cattle and horses cause a great deal of erosion and riparian damage every year in the West.

    That is not to say the residential development is not a major threat to the environment. It is. The only real aspect of maintaining the family farm versus residential or commercial development is that development can be required to mitigate some of its impact. The family farm is largely unregulated and at times subsidized in regards to environmental impacts.

    I am not in favor of development of open or agricultural land. I wish there was more of it, and less people in this country for that matter. Wilderness and wildlands are a diminishing value in this country. I am saddened by that.

    Sprawl is such an undefined term. People throw it around. If you are in favor of a project, it is development. If you are opposed to it, it is sprawl. William Travis, in his book New geographies of the American West points out the nebulousness of the concept of "sprawl."

    Every city I am aware of is a product of sprawl. At its origin, New Orleans was a small city by the Mississippi River. Then the Americans came and the city "sprawled" into the American Quarter, in contrast to the French Quarter, then street cars allowed the city to "sprawl" to include plantations (Audubon Park was a part of a former farm), then the city "sprawled" into Carrollton, and essentially out of Orleans Parish and into Jefferson Parish. Then it in essence jumped across Lake Ponchatrain, where many commuters (my parents included) reside. A hurricane has opened the possibility of infill redevelopment.

    Sprawl is a bugbear word. Like the boogeyman.

    We can provide incentives for infill and redevelopment. We cannot legally in most cases prevent development of undeveloped lands. We have to use the carrot, not the stick. Much of what HCB is proposing sounds like the stick and the stick does not work.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  3. #103
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I would say that most people here are both pro-urban and pro-rural, in the sense that we want both strong urban cores and viable farmland/rural areas. However, most people would agree that you can't simply draw a line in the sand and say "The city ends here, and now the farmland begins."
    Unless you are creating an Urban Growth Boundary, which essentially IS a line in the sand.

    Have you ever seen pics from the outskirts of Portland where the last subdivision abuts farmland? Interesting stuff (http://www.livingonearth.org/thisweek/030516oregon.jpg). But, UGBs can't work everywhere and, in fact, I think they are only viable where the state actually mandates them as they do in Oregon (otherwise, the next municipality over - the county, for example - and you end up with leapfrog development). Anyway, HCB, you might want to research Urban Growth Boundaries in some more depth.

    From the Metro website: Under Oregon law, each city or metropolitan area in the state has an urban growth boundary. The boundary controls urban expansion onto farm and forest lands. Land inside the UGB supports urban services such as roads, water and sewer systems, parks, schools and fire and police protection that create thriving places to live, work and play. The UGB is one of the tools used to protect farms and forests from urban sprawl and to promote the efficient use of land, public facilities and services inside the boundary.
    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    There has to be a natural progression from the city to the rural land and that is where suburban development come into play.
    This, HCB, is also called a "transect" approach in the form-based code school of planning - creating gradations of density as one move away from the urban core. You might check this out as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form-based_codes

    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    I can't wait to see how much HCB thinks I love sprawl.
    How does that bumper sticker go? - "You can't be both pro-suburbia and and anti-Sprawl"? I love uncompromising points of view...

    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    There is a perception that farmland is environmentally friendly. That is not always the case. Animal waste is not properly treated and this pollution fouls our surface and ground water supplies. Agricultural chemicals do the same. Millions of acre-feet of water is used annually to provide hay for horses. Is this a good use of a precious commodity? Cattle and horses cause a great deal of erosion and riparian damage every year in the West.
    Amen to that. I can't tell you how many overgrazed lands I come across just on a casual summer of camping. And groundwater contamination from pesticides and fertilizers is definitely an issue of concern here as well. I also read an article some months ago talking about the unbelievable amount of clearcutting that took place from the 18th century to now to result in all the open farmland we have in the US. Its astounding. Some have even called for the reforestation of some of these lands to help mitigate air pollution and other global warming factors.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  4. #104
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    So how many of you are fans of sprawl, how many are opposed and how many are neutral?
    I probably in the minority but I have no problem with sprawl. I live in the Phoenix metro region and work for a city with a 220 square mile planning area which is one of the smaller jurisdictions in the MSA. By allowing the Phoenix area to sprawl it has resulted in the destruction of farmland in desert, which consumes 80% of the states water resources but contributes .8% of the GDP.
    "You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it,..." -Bane

  5. #105
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Well, that's less about sprawl and more about appropriate land use. Really, land out there should be required to be on huge lots since there isn't enough water for all those people.

  6. #106
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by KSharpe View post
    Well, that's less about sprawl and more about appropriate land use. Really, land out there should be required to be on huge lots since there isn't enough water for all those people.
    It's more about appropriate water use. As Brocktoon mentioned, agriculture is using far, far more water than the sprawl that replaces it - so large lots only work if there is absolutely NO greenery allowed (besides cacti, of course). In Phoenix, a 10' by 10' patch of grass will use more water in a year than a family of four. Most of the ex-urban development in Phoenix doesn't have much yard space to speak of and is it fairly high densities - you replace an acre of farmland in the desert with 12 units of housing and you're going to see a net drop in water usage - a very large one, actually.

  7. #107
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    It's more about appropriate water use. As Brocktoon mentioned, agriculture is using far, far more water than the sprawl that replaces it - so large lots only work if there is absolutely NO greenery allowed (besides cacti, of course). In Phoenix, a 10' by 10' patch of grass will use more water in a year than a family of four. Most of the ex-urban development in Phoenix doesn't have much yard space to speak of and is it fairly high densities - you replace an acre of farmland in the desert with 12 units of housing and you're going to see a net drop in water usage - a very large one, actually.
    You are correct about the drop in water usage. The state has seen its water usage decline as farm land becomes rooftops. Most of the large developments are on 6,000sqft lots and after you figure in roads, open, space, washes etc it works out to 3 1/2 homes per acre. Unfortunately all the cities in the Phoenix area have not restricted the type of yards people have. Most new developments are not putting grass in the front yard.
    "You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it,..." -Bane

  8. #108
    Cyburbian vagaplanner's avatar
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    HCB,

    I find myself agreeing with a lot of what you say. I wish more people thought like you. Your issues always generate a lot of dialogue, which is what we need. I hope you are pursuing a career in planning...or better yet, eventually running for office. However, when people get in a position of power (i.e. elected officials) their backbone seems to disintegrate. I'd be intersted to see if you were in office, would it have an effect on your "backbone". I think most of the Cyburbians think you're young and naive. Maybe you are, but that's no crime! ROCK ON!

    As for an answer to sprawl, that's a tough question, but maybe two words..."growth boundaries!"

  9. #109
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    You don't get into office when you never compromise...that's kind of the point the rest of us our making. No one gets to be king in america.

  10. #110
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    this is a really interesting thread. it is a hard issue to tackle but i do believe public awareness is very important. My M.Arch class started a project tackling this..if you interested in it you should check it out. http://www.theslowhome.com/blog/outrage/

  11. #111
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    CJC, if you remember what I said earlier, I don't care as much about what is going on outside of KC... I want to know how to fix what is going on in KC... Someone else can deal with the whole country or their specific city. For me, I would be happy with my life if I simply helped fix what is going on in KC and Missouri.
    You can't fix it, so stop worrying about it and move on. No one is that all powerful nor should they be.

    All anyone in the city can do is focus on making the city as desirable as possible - that means good schools, low crime, functioning infrastructure, etc. The problem with many planners and government, in general, is that we actually believe that we have to and actually can solve every problem, whether percieved or imagined. We can't and we won't. Focus on the small things that you can do that can make life better for each individual you encounter - like helping to improve the site design for an individual development. We can accomplish micro planning; but we can not do macro planning well because we are not omnipotent or omniscient as we are wont to believe.

  12. #112
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    Streetcar sprawl & Agriculture

    "Streetcar Subburbs" were not necessarly sprawl. They often took the form of small towns or villages with with a mixed use flavor connected to the major urban center with a right-of-way 50 to 100 fteet wide and very low impervious surface that could move as many people an hour as could a major arterial with 48 feet wide impervious surface. When the streetcar line was pulled up then sprawl really took off. REA provided subsidized electric service to the rural land between the towns. The very affordable automobile finished off the job.

    As to Agriculture. I agree that conventional agrabusiness is often (typically?) not very environmentally frendly. Organic tends to be better, but there is the issue of manure.

    Local production (say within 100 miles of consumption) is, IMHO, a far better option for both consumer and producer. If you have decent soil and the ability to sell at retail or close to retail, smaller farms growing high value crops can reduce overhead greatly and thrive.

    Perhaps this is a new thread. I'm new to Cyburbia, but I'll attempt to start a new thread on local agriculture.

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