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Thread: Do planners want to end sprawl?

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Dude, I'm afraid you're going to get ganged up on after that paragraph. I see so many contradictions in your posts. A few thoughts and I'm done here.

    - Your religious views are irrelevant to becoming a professional planner.
    - Cities are "sin" ...does that mean there is no "sin" in the suburbs and rural patterns of development?
    more in big cities and how rude of you not to read to read all of my posts as i did mention this already
    - Suburbs "...not take over the environment." Oh my....
    some suburbs do, and also remember people have to live some where. there needs to be a limit on suburban development. LA is a perfect example of too many suburbs.
    - Your God was the first to employ the use of urban renewal? That's a good one.
    when did I say this? don't add untrue information
    - You condemn cities but your signature line is......
    I am going to change this. It was before I returned to the suburbs.
    - Greed only occurs in cities? What a concept!!!
    Sin and greed is everywhere. Just more in the cities. suburbs tend to have more middle class, and help out folks more.
    - Porn is everywhere. What's wrong with that?
    There is too much porn in the SF Valley. Man is not supposed to lust or use a girl in immoral ways.

    The rest of you responders, I recommend you be kind. I can't read this anymore.
    It would be nice to hear some good points about my thinking, but obviously I'm going against some worldy self-minded people.

    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    And I guess the suburban and rural meth labs don't cause any environmental degradation.

    Off-topic:
    Linda D, if I wasn't married to the most wonderful crazy about woman I've ever met, I'd be hitting on you. That was a great post.
    They do, but you see more damage done in cities. Drugs are everywhere, and there is just more in cities because of gangs. At least the meth labs happen away from people, so people aren't hurt by fires from out of control meth labs.

  2. #52
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Wow, this thread took a...erm...Right turn.

    Nonetheless, all the good planners I know don't take this stuff and their job personally, don't inject their fundie views into their job analysis, and don't get huffy if they find out what they learned in Uni doesn't always work out here in reality. But maybe there's a job in the ether sector for a planner in a bigbox for-profit church in Colorado Springs that would accommodate such views. Plenty of cheap housing there right now needing to be filled.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    I do agree with my professor and I disagree with you posters. He has a top notch job, and is one of the universities most well-known professors. The company he works is doing planning research for the bullet train in California, so I would not downplay my professor.
    Ok. Fair enough. Your professor teaches you, most of us practice, He is doing "planning research" on the CA HSR while i sit in meetings and perform site design for stations, heavy maintenance facilities and track location/placement for a critical segment of the proposed HSR. Who has more cred? The professor doing "research" or the person working in the trenches? Don't down play us posters.

    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    The public and city council members makes the decisions.
    The public does not make decisions (unless it is a ballot box initiative). They provide input, but in no way, shape or form make a decision.

    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    Cities of modern time are based on greed. Cities are money making machines that suck the life out of the natural environment.
    Wow. Simply wow. Ok, and suburbs aren't? For Instance, in a real life scenario (this took place 4 years ago). Developer A purchases an option for land $100K an acre, a total of 10 acres. A project gets entitled for LDR/SFR development. The developer than purchases the 10 acres for $1M. He than develops said property with 50 5,000 sf lots that retail at around $400K. Subtract the 1M for the land, the cost of construction/permitting at $200K. So how much profit is left for said developer? $9 Million. Said homebuyers 4 years later are underwater, and many homes are foreclosed. Home values in the neighborhood are now only around the high 180K. The neighborhood is basically abandoned. The original 10 acres? Productive almond fields that produced all types of products for consumption at home and abroad. The suburbs are just as greedy, if not more and suck way more out of the natural environment as the suburb grows, enlarges and encroaches on valuable ag land, wetlands, and natural open space.

    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    The suburbs are safer and are built in the environment, and not take over the environment.
    Safer? Depends. Maybe on crime, but there are just as many auto collisions, citations, etc. It is all a perception. The suburbs aren't compton, so yes it is safer, but is it as safe as say the outter richmond in San Francisco? probably not.


    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    God created the world so man would live with nature, and destroy his work. God has talked about time to time how cities are condensed sin, and he even went to the point of getting rid of five cities-Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Bela. God can't do much to cities now a days because we have Christians in many cities.
    Wow. So God truly has "chosen" ones. And all this time i thought it was the Mormons. Guess God chose Port-Au-Prince for destruction because its catholic. Well, personally, i would like to choose my own destructor. In the form of a marshmallow man. Can God do this for me?

    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    All though look at where natural disasters have struck....San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans....there is sin in the SF Valley where there is alot of porn. San Francisco has alot of greed going on. New Orleans has had some corrupt mayors.
    Did Jerry Farwell tell ya this?

    As a previous poster has said, your beliefs need to be separated from your professional responses. My boss (a conservative christian, an elder at his Non-Dom Church) does this very well and so do a some of the members of this website. If you can't separate your beliefs from your professional judgment, than well simply put:

    "Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable! You are a poor [planner], urban 19!"

    I think I will be carded for this one.
    Last edited by Raf; 15 Feb 2010 at 12:28 PM.
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  4. #54
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    All though look at where natural disasters have struck....San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans....there is sin in the SF Valley where there is alot of porn. San Francisco has alot of greed going on. New Orleans has had some corrupt mayors.
    Are you serious? You really believe this?

    God doesn't seem to be upset at Canada or many European countries for legalizing gay marriage.

    God doesn't seem to be upset at European cities like Amsterdam (red light district, tolerance of marijuana, legal kiddie porn, etc). Also, He's not very mad at places like Fire Island and Key West, where the percentage of residents that are GLBT is off the charts related to San Francisco.

    The percentage of regular churchgoers and those that believe in God in the US is much higher than in most European countries, yet the US has more natural disasters. The parts of the country that have more hurricanes are generally more religious than the more secular Northeast and Upper Midwest. Explain that. Maybe it's because North America has more active fault lines, the storm factory that is the Gulf of Mexico, and an overall climate that generally exhibits more extremes in temperature and precipitation than Europe.

    Moderator note:
    Anyhow, what does this have to do with the enabling of urban sprawl by planners? NOTHING. Either take it to a new thread in the FAC, or stop it. Stop hijacking threads in the Planning and the Built Environment forums.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  5. #55

    Planners concerned about sprawl are living in the past.

    To solve the problems of urban sprawl this discussion thread should have been pursued in the early 1990's. Twenty years later (coming up on a quarter century) and the old school pundits who've grown up with their eyes in blinders -- still want to resolve this "planning" issue -- with eighty year-old brick and mortar and/or zoning solutions. I feel like I'm reliving a 1975 urban planning school project (is this groundhog day?).

    The solution to urban sprawl "issues" is found in today's technologies. Retail sales and consumption "online" grew by 24% over Q4 2009. Broadband is extending everywhere, and for the first time the Federal Government is thinking about ridding the Washington Beltways of "sprawl issues" by formalizing telepresence and telecommuting capabilities.

    Thus, true urban planners (planner "means forward-looking" -- should anyway) should be recognizing that social habits are changing -- and that within the next five years malls and strips will be driven to remake themselves because the shoppers aren't turning out like they used to. True urban planners should leave these arcane brick and mortar discussions to the financiers and academics -- and rather embrace how they can expand fiber and broadband (while lowering energy demands) and suggest that local governments and non-profits begin the same tele-processes that are becoming a part of the Federal policies this year.

  6. #56
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    LA drains from the Owen Valley River and Colorado River. The water was also turned into a profitting situation. Now these two rivers leave behind chemical run-off and effect many.
    You don't understand what a drainage basin or watershed is or how they work, and you seem not to know the causes of pollution. LA gets its water from the Owens Valley and from the Colorado. That is vastly different from polluting the rivers because of pollution. Taking water from a river or lake doesn't cause pollution. Dumping contaminants into the water or into the ground where it then leaches into the acquifier or the local rivers and lakes is what causes water pollution.

    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    These are suburbs fuelling a big city. They are trying to add more commuting suburbs for a big city. That metro has already been maxed out. There is needs to be a cap on how big suburbs can get. We need to get people to want to move to areas like Montana, Texas, and parts of the state that have less people. There are still areas in the nation where we can build, but people don't want to be around bad weather.
    Cities are not suburbs. If you want to talk about cities and suburbs together, then you call them a "metropolitan area", not "the city", but as a planner-in-training, you should know that already. I'm just an old techie with a passion for history and geography.

    As for putting a "cap" on how many people can live in suburbs, how is that any different from forcing people to live in cities? You've at least got the coercive nature of planning zealotry going for you. As Americans, we want to live where we want to live, not where somebody else thinks we ought to live to fulfill some grand design.

    The American passion for moving is more than just trying to get away from bad weather. Otherwise, why has California suffered a noticeable outflow in the last couple of years? Much of American mobility has to do with seeking economic opportunity. Some of it has to do with "quality of life" issues, including but not limited to, weather. People aren't going to move to Eastern Montana or to Western New York unless there are lots of jobs there.

    FTR, has it ever occurred to you that maybe the people who live out in the "wide open spaces" of West Texas and eastern Montana (or any other rural area) live there because there aren't a lot of people crowding into those places? Not everybody thinks moving a hundred thousand folks from LA, Atlanta, and NYC into their little corner of the world would be a good thing.

    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    Sin is everywhere. But there is more in cities, and when you have sin condensed together it's harder to regulate because everyone is doing it.


    There are Christians in all cities, and I mentioned that. The SF Valley is apart of LA (Northridge, Sylmar, Reseda, etc..) There is porn everywhere, but it's the porn capital. Not something I'd want my area to be a capital of. The Bay area has a huge homeless problem, and with all the rich there I think they can do more. And from my knowledge, there tends to be more homeless in big cities.
    When you write stuff like this, I figure you've probably never, ever actually been in a rural area other than to drive through it from one big metro to another. I doubt that the "sin rate" in a large urban metro is significantly different from that of most rural areas. There's more "sin" in bigger areas because there's more people. Hence, more "opportunity", but don't let that fool you. We hillbillies can sin with the best the big cities have to offer. We have our killers and our dope dealers and our porn sellers as well as crooked cops and politicians. We also have homelessness. It's just that homeless people in rural areas set up their cardboard shelters in woods, so they're usually "invisible".

    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    You guys are obviously not Christian and didn't not hear about the Christian missionaries who were thrown in jail for adopting children that needed help. Sure it was partly their fault for not having adoption papers, but to treat them so horrible in jail is un-called for.
    Kidnapping is kidnapping.

    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    I promote smart growth, and fixing new urbanism. Man's population keeps growing, so I think we need to build more sprawl in areas that don't have alot of sprawl. Perhaps cap each suburban city to 100,000 population.
    I don't pretend to be particularly knowledgeable about planning concepts, but your idea seems to be the antithesis of smart growth and new urbanism.

    Quote Originally posted by specfx View post
    To solve the problems of urban sprawl this discussion thread should have been pursued in the early 1990's. Twenty years later (coming up on a quarter century) and the old school pundits who've grown up with their eyes in blinders -- still want to resolve this "planning" issue -- with eighty year-old brick and mortar and/or zoning solutions. I feel like I'm reliving a 1975 urban planning school project (is this groundhog day?).

    The solution to urban sprawl "issues" is found in today's technologies. Retail sales and consumption "online" grew by 24% over Q4 2009. Broadband is extending everywhere, and for the first time the Federal Government is thinking about ridding the Washington Beltways of "sprawl issues" by formalizing telepresence and telecommuting capabilities.

    Thus, true urban planners (planner "means forward-looking" -- should anyway) should be recognizing that social habits are changing -- and that within the next five years malls and strips will be driven to remake themselves because the shoppers aren't turning out like they used to. True urban planners should leave these arcane brick and mortar discussions to the financiers and academics -- and rather embrace how they can expand fiber and broadband (while lowering energy demands) and suggest that local governments and non-profits begin the same tele-processes that are becoming a part of the Federal policies this year.
    This is an excellent first post! I think that coming up with viable, wide-spread telecommuting options and expanded on-line shopping would significantly cut energy consumption and pollution as well as lower the need for road-building, parking, etc. It would also enable more people to live where they want rather than where their job dictates that they live. It should certainly be "in the mix" when it comes to planners considering "the big picture".

    One of the exciting and growing areas of higher education is the growth of on-line education and distance learning. The technology is growing exponentially. I work at a community college that serves a primarily rural and impoverished area, and communications technology allows our students to participate in national and international events that they never could afford to do if they had to travel to NYC or Washington, DC. We also have students from all over the world taking our on-line courses.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 19 Feb 2010 at 1:36 PM. Reason: double reply

  7. #57
    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Again, millions of people live in urban areas, by choice. Very wealthy people, too, who could pretty much live where ever they like. Why should your personal preferences dictate how other people live?

    I don't like single family homes and rural communities, but I don't say that therefore they should be discouraged. Or that no one likes them. Our country is a better place for having them as part of the landscape (I just think we'd be a better country if there was a smaller percentage of them)

    Choice! Choice! Choice!
    Except the people who choose sprawl for a lifestyle don't pay its true cost. I wonder what their choice would be if they did.

  8. #58
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    Sin is everywhere. But there is more in cities, and when you have sin condensed together it's harder to regulate because everyone is doing it.

    Then I guess I am living in Sin, population 1
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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  9. #59
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by steel View post
    Except the people who choose sprawl for a lifestyle don't pay its true cost. I wonder what their choice would be if they did.
    This is a question I've struggled with for years. While I agree that, in theory, sprawl has externalities that cost society money, it's pretty difficult to prove.

    About the only part of sprawl that I have been able to prove increases costs beyond a shadow of a doubt is in the area of school transportation. It is obvious that more spread out areas have higher pupil transportaton costs.

    Many other costs, however, are either borne by individuals (i.e. commuting costs) or are subsumed into initial construction costs that are paid for by developers and passed on to homebuyers (roads, water system connections, etc). The expense incurred by utilities like telephone, cable, and electric for longer stretches of infrastructure between connections are also hidden (and may not add up to much in the long run).

    Social costs, like the exclusion of lower-income people from suburban sprawl, are notoriously difficult to quantify. Society as a whole is harmed (economically as well as morally) by concentrating poverty into depressed urban areas, but suburban areas don't care because they get to have lower taxes by avoiding paying for social ills and instead pushing those costs on urban areas. Also, it's hard to quantify the damage done to the environment by habitat destruction, even though it is a real issue.

    In past research, I have seen a general trend towards higher costs for urban residents vs. suburban residents, generally due to higher fire and police protection costs. Urban areas also generally have lots of costly older and poorly maintained infrastructure (though that problem is starting to affect suburbs, too). Plus, concentrated social problems tend to drive up the cost of education in urban areas. Add all of this together, and the tax receipts required to support cities are generally higher per capita than those needed to support suburbs.

    In short, it's hard to demonstrate the "true cost" of sprawl, so it's almost impossible to price it and to make people pay. That's too bad, because I think it's there and it's substantial.

  10. #60
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JimPlans View post
    Social costs, like the exclusion of lower-income people from suburban sprawl, are notoriously difficult to quantify. Society as a whole is harmed (economically as well as morally) by concentrating poverty into depressed urban areas, but suburban areas don't care because they get to have lower taxes by avoiding paying for social ills and instead pushing those costs on urban areas. Also, it's hard to quantify the damage done to the environment by habitat destruction, even though it is a real issue.
    I generally agree that the "cost" of sprawl is not that clear-cut. For example, on social costs, suburbs aren't the only entities that exclude lower-income people. Gentrification effectively forces low and moderate income people out of their former neighborhoods and creates wealthy enclaves in their place. Of course, some wealthy enclaves have always been that. Various downtown "renewal" projects are only affordable for the wealthy, and cities give these green lights because the new housing projects add to the tax base.

    Habitat destruction as well as air and water pollution aren't just the result of sprawl, but of economic activity general. In Upstate New York most of the land was deforested either for agriculture or logging in the 19th century. In the Great Plains, the prairie ecosystem was destroyed not by "sprawl" but by agriculture. In the Appalachians and in the Rockies, mining and drilling for oil and natural gas seriously degraded the environment before 1900 -- and still continues to do so in many places.

  11. #61
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Very nicely said, JimPlans!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    Ok. Fair enough. Your professor teaches you, most of us practice, He is doing "planning research" on the CA HSR while i sit in meetings and perform site design for stations, heavy maintenance facilities and track location/placement for a critical segment of the proposed HSR. Who has more cred? The professor doing "research" or the person working in the trenches? Don't down play us posters.
    So don't down play me either.


    The public does not make decisions (unless it is a ballot box initiative). They provide input, but in no way, shape or form make a decision.
    The Planning Commission and city council make decisions. Planning Commission and planners are more so for guidance of development and preservation of ag land.


    Wow. Simply wow. Ok, and suburbs aren't? For Instance, in a real life scenario (this took place 4 years ago). Developer A purchases an option for land $100K an acre, a total of 10 acres. A project gets entitled for LDR/SFR development. The developer than purchases the 10 acres for $1M. He than develops said property with 50 5,000 sf lots that retail at around $400K. Subtract the 1M for the land, the cost of construction/permitting at $200K. So how much profit is left for said developer? $9 Million. Said homebuyers 4 years later are underwater, and many homes are foreclosed. Home values in the neighborhood are now only around the high 180K. The neighborhood is basically abandoned. The original 10 acres? Productive almond fields that produced all types of products for consumption at home and abroad. The suburbs are just as greedy, if not more and suck way more out of the natural environment as the suburb grows, enlarges and encroaches on valuable ag land, wetlands, and natural open space.
    True, I will give you this. The high density developments and suburbs both suck up money and land. That's why we need to limit how large suburbs can grow. Perhaps, start by finding people who can pay for homes with not just loans but with money and then build. Also, cap out how high populations can get in a city.


    Safer? Depends. Maybe on crime, but there are just as many auto collisions, citations, etc. It is all a perception. The suburbs aren't compton, so yes it is safer, but is it as safe as say the outter richmond in San Francisco? probably not.
    yes i meant crime wise. and good point




    Wow. So God truly has "chosen" ones. And all this time i thought it was the Mormons. Guess God chose Port-Au-Prince for destruction because its catholic. Well, personally, i would like to choose my own destructor. In the form of a marshmallow man. Can God do this for me?
    catholics, mormons, and christians all believe in God...



    Did Jerry Farwell tell ya this?

    As a previous poster has said, your beliefs need to be separated from your professional responses. My boss (a conservative christian, an elder at his Non-Dom Church) does this very well and so do a some of the members of this website. If you can't separate your beliefs from your professional judgment, than well simply put:

    "Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable! You are a poor [planner], urban 19!"

    I think I will be carded for this one.
    No need for personal attacks. First, I'm a student planner and have different views than most planners. So cut me some slack. and i agree i should not have posted my religous views into planning
    Linda D-cities are suburbs in most cases! Depends on if a suburb is a community within a larger city (SF Valley in LA), a seperate city like most of the OC, or like a suburban/low-density city in the central coast like paso robles, san luis obispo, arroyo grande, etc...

    Second, it was not kidnapping and they just got released. They were helping out children in need, and their parents gave them permission to take their kids. That is why they were released.

    Dan-don't talk to me about hijacking a thread when you can't address the posters here who are giving me personal attacks.

    Lastly I want to say suburban and urban both have problems. I just think suburban has less problems. Here is an article about why people are liking the burbs:

    http://sanfranciscoschtuff.com/2007/...r-the-suburbs/

    I am done with this thread now.

  13. #63
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    Linda D-cities are suburbs in most cases! Depends on if a suburb is a community within a larger city (SF Valley in LA), a seperate city like most of the OC, or like a suburban/low-density city in the central coast like paso robles, san luis obispo, arroyo grande, etc...
    Not every place is like California. In fact, I would argue that most of the country is NOT like California. Sometimes cities are suburbs, but mostly they stand pretty independently. Jamestown, NY, where I live, only has about 30,000 people, but it's a city by any definition, and nobody would confuse it with suburbia. In fact, it has several suburbs of its own. Nobody would consider Jamestown to be a suburb of Buffalo, NY or even Erie, PA (which is actually closer).

    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    [Dan-don't talk to me about hijacking a thread when you can't address the posters here who are giving me personal attacks.
    People are not attacking you personally; they are criticizing your statements. You have made a number of statements that are largely untrue or based on faulty understanding or personal opinion.

    Quote Originally posted by urban19 View post
    Lastly I want to say suburban and urban both have problems. I just think suburban has less problems. Here is an article about why people are liking the burbs:

    http://sanfranciscoschtuff.com/2007/...r-the-suburbs/

    I am done with this thread now.
    I don't think that anybody argued that people don't like the suburbs. It's pretty plain that they do. The original question was, "Do planners want to end sprawl?". Most of the professional planner folk argue that it's not something that they can control. My opinion, being a non-planner, is that planners in the US are Americans, and we Americans have loved sprawl since we first got to these shores in the 17th century. Consequently, no, most professional planners don't want to end sprawl. The anti-sprawl crusade is generally peopled by academicians, students, and city dwellers who think that they can force people to move back into cities.

  14. #64
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post


    I don't think that anybody argued that people don't like the suburbs. It's pretty plain that they do. The original question was, "Do planners want to end sprawl?". Most of the professional planner folk argue that it's not something that they can control. My opinion, being a non-planner, is that planners in the US are Americans, and we Americans have loved sprawl since we first got to these shores in the 17th century. Consequently, no, most professional planners don't want to end sprawl. The anti-sprawl crusade is generally peopled by academicians, students, and city dwellers who think that they can force people to move back into cities.

    No one is talking about forcing anyone to do anything unless you are talking about forcing people to live in sprawl environments who would like not to. The only people who are forcing anyone into unwanted situation is the pro sprawl crowd. The pro sprawl people have dominated the country for 60 years. To make them out as victims of a small minority who are pointing out the destructiveness and massive failure of sprawl is disingenuous.

    Quote Originally posted by JimPlans View post
    This is a question I've struggled with for years. While I agree that, in theory, sprawl has externalities that cost society money, it's pretty difficult to prove.

    About the only part of sprawl that I have been able to prove increases costs beyond a shadow of a doubt is in the area of school transportation. It is obvious that more spread out areas have higher pupil transportaton costs.

    Many other costs, however, are either borne by individuals (i.e. commuting costs) or are subsumed into initial construction costs that are paid for by developers and passed on to homebuyers (roads, water system connections, etc). The expense incurred by utilities like telephone, cable, and electric for longer stretches of infrastructure between connections are also hidden (and may not add up to much in the long run).

    Social costs, like the exclusion of lower-income people from suburban sprawl, are notoriously difficult to quantify. Society as a whole is harmed (economically as well as morally) by concentrating poverty into depressed urban areas, but suburban areas don't care because they get to have lower taxes by avoiding paying for social ills and instead pushing those costs on urban areas. Also, it's hard to quantify the damage done to the environment by habitat destruction, even though it is a real issue.

    In past research, I have seen a general trend towards higher costs for urban residents vs. suburban residents, generally due to higher fire and police protection costs. Urban areas also generally have lots of costly older and poorly maintained infrastructure (though that problem is starting to affect suburbs, too). Plus, concentrated social problems tend to drive up the cost of education in urban areas. Add all of this together, and the tax receipts required to support cities are generally higher per capita than those needed to support suburbs.

    In short, it's hard to demonstrate the "true cost" of sprawl, so it's almost impossible to price it and to make people pay. That's too bad, because I think it's there and it's substantial.

    The costly older infrastructure is that way because it is left behind as new infrastructure is built further out. Highways are only needed because of sprawl. Utility costs per person are much higher in sprawl areas because it takes more infrastructure per person for delivery of service. Roads in general are greatly increased dues to sprawl. The maintenance and construction of new and wicedned bridges and roads is huge. Pollution mitigation costs are increased to to massively increased water runoff from pavement. Flooding and its associated costs are also increased because of this. Our economy is drained due to the huge cost of imported oil needed to make sprawl feasible. Businesses build in the cost of supplying "free" parking into their costs to customers. You could also insert the cost of military protection for our oil supplies.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 19 Feb 2010 at 1:35 PM. Reason: double reply

  15. #65
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by steel View post
    No one is talking about forcing anyone to do anything unless you are talking about forcing people to live in sprawl environments who would like not to. The only people who are forcing anyone into unwanted situation is the pro sprawl crowd. The pro sprawl people have dominated the country for 60 years. To make them out as victims of a small minority who are pointing out the destructiveness and massive failure of sprawl is disingenuous.
    Americans have been into sprawl since the 1700s at least. See my previous posts for a few historical examples.

    Moreover, an examination of the 1894 Buffalo City Atlas (Linky) shows that at least as early as the 1880s, Buffalo, NY demonstrated many of the very characteristics of "sprawl" that you complain about in the post-WW II era. Just because it took place within the city limits doesn't change what it is.

    Sprawl is as American as apple pie. Maybe more so.

  16. #66
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    But what is sprawl?

    Let's back up a bit. We are discussing sprawl, but I have yet to see a definition for it in this thread. That's not surprising, because I have yet to see a definition anywhere that I really agree with. PlannersWeb has a list of definitions that they solicited from the Internet, but none really satisfy me.

    http://www.plannersweb.com/sprawl/define.html

    We also tried to define it in 2005, though we didn't get very far:

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=15496

    I think of sprawl as land waste. I don't think that any development on former farmland, forestland, or undeveloped land is sprawl, just development that disrespects natural processes and doesn't attempt to preserve land that is ecologically valuable.

    An example of what I consider sprawl: A former client wanted to develop former agricultural land outside of, but next to, an urban growth boundary. This land was required to be developed at one unit per five acres due to its "rural" location, though it was located adjacent to the growth boundary to the east and also to an old non-conforming 2-units-per-acre development, also outside the growth boundary. It was also located near a river that had agricultural pollution runoff issues.

    The client wanted to build a conservation-style development, conserving existing ecologically sensitive lands and protecting the nearby river from runoff by using natural buffers. All of the land still in its natural state would be placed in permanent protected status, and house lots would be one-half acre (or so) instead of 5 acres and clustered together. There would have been no more units under this plan than there could have been under one-for-five zoning.

    The plan was denied, because the development was considered too dense for areas outside the growth boundary. So, instead of a "dense" development with its own sewage treatment package plant and water system, the area will have a bunch of 5-acre martini farms with septic systems and wells and no public open space.

    In my opinion, the existing zoning on that particular parcel of rural land is the epitome of sprawl zoning, and the proposed conservation development was a responsible use of land and therefore not sprawl. However, according to many defintions, any development outside a growth boundary is sprawl and any development on farmland is sprawl.

    So what is sprawl? And what are we trying to protect or prevent by stopping it?

  17. #67
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Definitions

    Here are a few I like:

    Urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is a multifaceted concept, which includes the spreading outwards of a city and its suburbs to its outskirts to low-density, auto-dependent development on rural land, with associated design features that encourage car dependency.
    (wikipedia)

    The decentralization of the urban core through the unlimited outward extension of dispersed development beyond the urban fringe where low density residential and commercial development exacerbates fragmentation of powers over land use; also, the consumption of resources and land in excess of what is necessary where development is costly and underutilizes existing infrastructure. (SMARTe)

    I am not too bothered by the difficulty of identifying a completely accurate, foolproof definition, though I think wrestling with it is definitely helpful in thinking things through. There are many terms and concepts that are difficult to define but which are extremely important and widely used. "Culture" for example, is notoriously difficult to define (as an athro major, we read many treatises on how it should, shouldn't, could and couldn't be defined). But its still a powerful and valuable concept in our society.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  18. #68
    Cyburbian
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    To me, the definition of sprawl is auto dependency.

    Any non-agricultural and non-rural place that has no viable transit or walkability is sprawl.

  19. #69
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Americans have been into sprawl since the 1700s at least. See my previous posts for a few historical examples.

    Moreover, an examination of the 1894 Buffalo City Atlas (Linky) shows that at least as early as the 1880s, Buffalo, NY demonstrated many of the very characteristics of "sprawl" that you complain about in the post-WW II era. Just because it took place within the city limits doesn't change what it is.

    Sprawl is as American as apple pie. Maybe more so.
    Buffalo now takes up almost 2/3 more built up space for a population that is 200K smaller than it was in 1960. That kind of development should not be defended. To suggest that 1900 Buffalo is equivalent to 2010 Amherst is disingenuous and nonsensical.

  20. #70
    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    To me, the definition of sprawl is auto dependency.

    Any non-agricultural and non-rural place that has no viable transit or walkability is sprawl.
    Exactly right

  21. #71
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    I'm afraid my view may be simplistic, but I'm going to put it out anyway because I think it represents the practical "fix" a lot of us are in all the time. Here goes...I don't hate the suburbs, so I can't really be said to be anti-sprawl. I live in the suburbs, albeit close to downtown. I believe that there ought to be varieties of places and neighborhoods for the population to choose. I advocate for higher densities, even in the redevelopment and infill of older suburbs, because I believe that type of development needs advocates and is needed generally. The suburbs will always have buyers. They'll always grow and exist, and they should not by any means be our only kind of growth. That's what I think anyway.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  22. #72
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by steel View post
    Buffalo now takes up almost 2/3 more built up space for a population that is 200K smaller than it was in 1960. That kind of development should not be defended. To suggest that 1900 Buffalo is equivalent to 2010 Amherst is disingenuous and nonsensical.
    The City of Buffalo takes up the same space today that it did in 1960 and that it has taken up since 1854. Since 1960, the city of Buffalo has lost nearly 300,000 people. What is "disingenous and nonsensical" is your pretense that the city of Buffalo is equivalent to Erie County. It's not. Buffalo is around 42 squire miles in area while Erie County is around 1000 square miles with the southern and eastern areas being rural farming communities. Only about the northwestern third of the county is city or suburban.

  23. #73
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    The City of Buffalo takes up the same space today that it did in 1960 and that it has taken up since 1854. Since 1960, the city of Buffalo has lost nearly 300,000 people. What is "disingenous and nonsensical" is your pretense that the city of Buffalo is equivalent to Erie County. It's not. Buffalo is around 42 squire miles in area while Erie County is around 1000 square miles with the southern and eastern areas being rural farming communities. Only about the northwestern third of the county is city or suburban.
    This is why I like this definition: The decentralization of the urban core through the unlimited outward extension of dispersed development beyond the urban fringe where low density residential and commercial development exacerbates fragmentation of powers over land use

    I think what the last element of "fragmentation of powers over land use" speaks to this issue of sprawl across different municipalities. We have that same issue here in the Albuquerque metro area which encompasses up to 4 counties and several towns, cities and villages.

    Since these municipalities have no real incentive to cooperate with one another (what? you don't want that Walmart? hey, we'll take it over here - and its sales tax revenue to boot!) you get conflicting zoning approaches that in many cases encourage leap frog development.

    This is one reason I feel that statewide or regional planning authorities that have real legal teeth may be one of the only ways to effectively control and direct growth. Its why Portland and other Oregon cities are able to enforce Urban Growth Boundaries - its a state law to maintain one for cities over a certain size.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  24. #74
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    The City of Buffalo takes up the same space today that it did in 1960 and that it has taken up since 1854. Since 1960, the city of Buffalo has lost nearly 300,000 people. What is "disingenous and nonsensical" is your pretense that the city of Buffalo is equivalent to Erie County. It's not. Buffalo is around 42 squire miles in area while Erie County is around 1000 square miles with the southern and eastern areas being rural farming communities. Only about the northwestern third of the county is city or suburban.
    Don't be an ass. You know I was talking about metro Buffalo and the fact that the City of Buffalo has only half its 1950 population porves my point

  25. #75
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by steel View post
    Don't be an ass. You know I was talking about metro Buffalo and the fact that the City of Buffalo has only half its 1950 population porves my point
    IMO, you started this thread so that you could bash planners who don't subscribe to your own narrow ideas.

    The historical fact is that sprawl existed in the US long before there were automobiles. Deal with it.

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