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Thread: Do planners want to end sprawl?

  1. #126
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    You are obviously a very young, somewhat ignorant young person to say something like that.



    You seem to have difficulty comprehending that we Americans have these strange ideas that people ought to be able to live where they want and how they want without some bureaucrat telling them they have to live in high rise apartment building in a large city when they want to live in a single family house with a yard in a smaller town.



    Very well said. Americans have always been in love with the idea of land and space. The American dream has long been a house in the country not a penthouse apartment. Our national mythic heroes are frontiersmen and cowboys or some variation of them not lawyers or industrialists. Probably 90% or more of our ancestors came to this country seeking land, and although most didn't actually acquire any, that idea remains lodged in our collective consciousness.

    We are who we are. We like to sprawl because we prefer low density, and that tendency long predates the advent of the automobile. Americans who could afford to do so were living in the country and commuting to their jobs in cities by the 1850s.
    You are obviously a small-minded hypocrite who does not understand the damage that cars, oil, and freeways have had on the United States and on the rest of the world. The paradigm of ghettos and enclaves is neither healthy nor sustainable, but a planner worth his or her salt should already know that fact.

    You contradicted yourself by setting forth your own delusions of what all Americans want and what all Americans are in love with and what the American dream is. So, you are in fact a BUREAUCRAT telling everyone how he or she should live! Do you ever even listen to yourself? Or, has the kneejerk rejection of anything coming from the Brookings Institution and the slavish devotion to the well-financed lies of the Fox News crowd prevented you from seeing your own lack of logical consistency?

    I am surprised by the deep ignorance and gall that some planners have about the New Urbanism, which attempts to give everyone a choice by providing as many Transect Zones (Urban Core; Urban Center; General Urban; Sub-urban; Rural; and, Natural Zones) as possible within a single pedestrian-shed! The New Urbanism, as such, has more in common with Garden Cities, but, that's alright. Keep thinking the same way you always have. Those students out there who know where the world is headed will have your job soon enough.
    Last edited by Pragmatic Idealist; 19 Aug 2010 at 8:00 PM.

  2. #127
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    Watch it!

    OK folks lets not make the mod hat come out, we are all adults here so watch the direct attacks
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  3. #128
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    You are obviously a small-minded hypocrite who does not understand the damage that cars, oil, and freeways have had on the United States and on the rest of the world. The paradigm of ghettos and enclaves is neither healthy nor sustainable, but a planner worth his or her salt should already know that fact.

    You contradicted yourself by setting forth your own delusions of what all Americans want and what all Americans are in love with and what the American dream is. So, you are in fact a BUREAUCRAT telling everyone how he or she should live! Do you ever even listen to yourself? Or, has the kneejerk rejection of anything coming from the Brookings Institution and the slavish devotion to the well-financed lies of the Fox News crowd prevented you from seeing your own lack of logical consistency?

    I am surprised by the deep ignorance and gall that some planners have about the New Urbanism, which attempts to give everyone a choice by providing as many Transect Zones (Urban Core; Urban Center; General Urban; Sub-urban; Rural; and, Natural Zones) as possible within a single pedestrian-shed! The New Urbanism, as such, has more in common with Garden Cities, but, that's alright. Keep thinking the same way you always have. Those students out there who know where the world is headed will have your job soon enough.
    I am NOT a planner or a bureaucrat. I was originally an historian. I later switched careers, and now work in a college enabling students like yourself to register for classes. You made a broad generalization that isn't supported by facts. Maybe that flies in your Urban Planning classes but it wouldn't in any history class I taught. Moreover, the world is more than middle class urban/suburban America.

    The fact of the matter is that the automobile, oil and freeways didn't cause either World War. They didn't cause the Great Depression, the rise of Communism,the Cold War or the Cultural Revolution. The automobile , oil, and freeways didn't cause famine in sub-Sahara Africa or religious/ethnic strife in the Middle East, India or Indonesia. They are not the cause of rainforest destruction in Latin America, Africa, and Asia nor the growing xenophobia in this country nor many other problems that plague this world. Yeah, they are the cause of some problems but certainly not all of them.

    Finally, people who know me would ROTFL at the idea of me buying anything that FAUX NEWS is selling. You should learn NOT to make assumptions about people just because their ideas differ from yours.

  4. #129
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    I am NOT a planner or a bureaucrat. I was originally an historian. I later switched careers, and now work in a college enabling students like yourself to register for classes. You made a broad generalization that isn't supported by facts. Maybe that flies in your Urban Planning classes but it wouldn't in any history class I taught. Moreover, the world is more than middle class urban/suburban America.

    The fact of the matter is that the automobile, oil and freeways didn't cause either World War. They didn't cause the Great Depression, the rise of Communism,the Cold War or the Cultural Revolution. The automobile , oil, and freeways didn't cause famine in sub-Sahara Africa or religious/ethnic strife in the Middle East, India or Indonesia. They are not the cause of rainforest destruction in Latin America, Africa, and Asia nor the growing xenophobia in this country nor many other problems that plague this world. Yeah, they are the cause of some problems but certainly not all of them.
    Lists that are fascinating in what they leave out notwithstanding,

    There is an excellent lesson in here that NU and other schemes to "solve" "problems" do not resonate with everyone, and simply stating a rational argument why such schemes sound efficient isn't going to make people move. Humans don't work that way.

    When gasoline is $6.00/gal, there will be a certain %age that will give up their received American Dream and move to more efficient envelopes and locations. Not everyone though. But some will. In the location-inefficient places that people won't move from (because of nearby family, memories, friends, nostalgia, beautiful location, etc), there will be more space for local gardens and I'm counting on this as an income source for my semi-retirement (teaching folks how to grow more veggies), as gas prices will limit travel, esp in location-inefficient places. Anyways,

    Looking at the built environment issue from 30,000 feet, it is clear and obvious that overpopulation and overconsumption are far more destructive than sprawl.

    Sprawl is an indicator of a part of human nature that ignores effects of actions. We can eliminate sprawl but it will not change human nature. The problem is our very nature.

    Sprawl is a symptom of that problem, not the problem itself. We will not reverse the widespread and ubiquitous environmental destruction arising from our overpopulating and overconsuming earth's resources by changing our land use patterns, unless by some miracle people see the changed patterns and suddenly wake up to our destructive nature.

  5. #130
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    I am NOT a planner or a bureaucrat. I was originally an historian. I later switched careers, and now work in a college enabling students like yourself to register for classes. You made a broad generalization that isn't supported by facts. Maybe that flies in your Urban Planning classes but it wouldn't in any history class I taught. Moreover, the world is more than middle class urban/suburban America.

    The fact of the matter is that the automobile, oil and freeways didn't cause either World War. They didn't cause the Great Depression, the rise of Communism,the Cold War or the Cultural Revolution. The automobile , oil, and freeways didn't cause famine in sub-Sahara Africa or religious/ethnic strife in the Middle East, India or Indonesia. They are not the cause of rainforest destruction in Latin America, Africa, and Asia nor the growing xenophobia in this country nor many other problems that plague this world. Yeah, they are the cause of some problems but certainly not all of them.

    Finally, people who know me would ROTFL at the idea of me buying anything that FAUX NEWS is selling. You should learn NOT to make assumptions about people just because their ideas differ from yours.
    I never said that I am a student. I said that the current crop of students who virtually all subscribe to New Urbanist principles will eventually replace the malpracticers in the planning profession.

    I also never said that cars, oil, and freeways caused World War II. I alluded to the widely-recognized fact that World War II helped lead to our current auto-dependent urban form.

    The New Urbanism is a movement to understand the reasons that pre-war cities worked and to apply those same ideas to contemporary planning. If you don't want to live in a high-rise, no one is forcing you to do so. But, you sound like someone on Fox News when you say such asinine things. And, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the oil industry, the Republican Party, and similar interests to keep most Americans trapped in car-dependent suburbs with provincial monocultures.

    There is a surplus of that lifestyle available in the United States. So, really, who are you to tell other people that want to live in walkable cities that have an interesting and active street life that such a desire is wrong or un-American? There is a huge pent-up demand for that way of life that is not being met, and the current expensiveness of walkable neighborhoods reflects this imbalance.

    Cars, oil, and freeways do directly and indirectly create most of the world's problems, which never existed when trains, trams, and trolleys were the norm. And, the only way those issues are going to be resolved is by moving to a model where bicycles and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles in walkable places, along with car sharing and transit-oriented development, will keep the standard-size automobile from dominating our lives.

  6. #131
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    I never said that I am a student. I said that the current crop of students who virtually all subscribe to New Urbanist principles will eventually replace the malpracticers in the planning profession.

    I also never said that cars, oil, and freeways caused World War II. I alluded to the widely-recognized fact that World War II helped lead to our current auto-dependent urban form.

    The New Urbanism is a movement to understand the reasons that pre-war cities worked and to apply those same ideas to contemporary planning. If you don't want to live in a high-rise, no one is forcing you to do so. But, you sound like someone on Fox News when you say such asinine things. And, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the oil industry, the Republican Party, and similar interests to keep most Americans trapped in car-dependent suburbs with provincial monocultures.

    There is a surplus of that lifestyle available in the United States. So, really, who are you to tell other people that want to live in walkable cities that have an interesting and active street life that such a desire is wrong or un-American? There is a huge pent-up demand for that way of life that is not being met, and the current expensiveness of walkable neighborhoods reflects this imbalance.

    Cars, oil, and freeways do directly and indirectly create most of the world's problems, which never existed when trains, trams, and trolleys were the norm. And, the only way those issues are going to be resolved is by moving to a model where bicycles and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles in walkable places, along with car sharing and transit-oriented development, will keep the standard-size automobile from dominating our lives.
    You don't get it. You say the "Cars, oil, and freeways do directly and indirectly create most of the world's problems" when what you really mean is that "cars, oil, and freeways directly and indirectly create most of the problems that planning theorists worry about". You may rank "the standard size automobile's" domination as a major world problem, but I doubt you'll find a lot of support for that idea.

  7. #132
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    You may rank "the standard size automobile's" domination as a major world problem, but I doubt you'll find a lot of support for that idea.
    You will in the scientific community, and the community that cares about externalities. And the community that cares about public health outcomes. And the community that cares about...

    And so on.

    There are those, again, who will NOT give up their lifestyles. We can only provide the opportunities for more choice in built environments. We cannot force those who refuse to change into environments they don't want to be in.

    And - most importantly - there is no great conspir'ceh out there trying to force people into dense environments, despite what you read in certain ideological circles. Unless one thinks that offering more choice is a conspiracy.

  8. #133
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    You will in the scientific community, and the community that cares about externalities. And the community that cares about public health outcomes. And the community that cares about...

    And so on.

    There are those, again, who will NOT give up their lifestyles. We can only provide the opportunities for more choice in built environments. We cannot force those who refuse to change into environments they don't want to be in.

    And - most importantly - there is no great conspir'ceh out there trying to force people into dense environments, despite what you read in certain ideological circles. Unless one thinks that offering more choice is a conspiracy.
    I was thinking more along the lines of such major global problems as overpopulation, which you mentioned, as well as racism, ethnic/religious conflicts, nationalism, uneven distribution of wealth and resources, etc. Industrialization and the use of hydrocarbons is a major cause of global warming, and cars are a major part of that problem, but swapping out electric cars, bicycles, and mass transit is not necessarily going to solve all the world's problems, which seems to be Pragmatic Idealist's claim. I thin PI lacks perspective.

  9. #134
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    I was thinking more along the lines of such major global problems as overpopulation, which you mentioned, as well as racism, ethnic/religious conflicts, nationalism, uneven distribution of wealth and resources, etc. Industrialization and the use of hydrocarbons is a major cause of global warming, and cars are a major part of that problem, but swapping out electric cars, bicycles, and mass transit is not necessarily going to solve all the world's problems, which seems to be Pragmatic Idealist's claim. I thin PI lacks perspective.
    Just for fun, let's go down your list.

    Do you think racism is worse in auto-dependent places or in those areas that have walkability? A big tenet of the New Urbanism is that, by getting people out of their cars, citizens build community, and I can assure you that the "White Flight" phenomenon would not have occurred over the last half-century had cars and freeways not been available. Sociologists say the only thing that reduces racism, which is the irrational belief in the superiority of one superficially-organized group of Homo sapiens over another, is through the process of working together toward common goals. And, neither enclaves nor ghettos permit such interactions.

    The same could be said about the interactions of people belonging to other subcultures, including those organized by: religion; nationality; national origin; sex; gender; sexual orientation; etc. There is a reason that cities without monocultures tend to thrive on these differences when, as the New Urbanism proposes, the physical environment permits greater interactions within geographically-organized communities. These interconnected networks ensure, for example, one doesn't join a nationalistic call to hastily bomb another country when one happens to have neighbors and friends who have family living in said country.

    Another major tenet of the New Urbanism is that a mixture of incomes is absolutely natural and necessary for every place. For instance, teachers who teach in public schools in the most affluent enclaves should not have to commute an hour each day to work. And, income diversity is partly that, which makes real cities interesting and vibrant so that everyone can enjoy them.

    For years, inner cities have experienced the steady push of public disinvestment due to deliberate policies that favored suburbs. And, the result has been a failure to realize America's full potential and to optimize use of existing assets. No one should be satisfied with those outcomes.

    Down the list.... from our reliance on petrol-dictators to our trade deficit (due to both imported oil and to the cheap shipping of goods produced by forced labor in China) to our obesity and cancer and heart disease.... Pick a topic. And, you'll find that cars, oil, or freeways are an underlying cause.

  10. #135
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    THis is one of the craziest threads I've read. Racism, classism, what have you is not because of the car. It is a tool used by those in power to stay in power. Do you honestly think that Hitler came to power because of Mercedes Benz or VW?? History is full of 'They' VS 'Us'. When 9/11 happened, they used airplanes, which are a sophisticated form of mass transit as bombs. Bombs are used today to terrorize the bus stations and train stations throughout Europe. Belfast has transit, but they still have Orangeman parades through the Catholic slums. New York has transit, but the mention of a Bill of Rights protected Community Center by Wall Street has set the whole country screaming that Muslims should have no rights.

    Sprawl sucks. I have yet to see any NU movement that is not sprawl and dependant upon the automobile. Sure you can walk to Coldstone or Starbucks, but you can't get to work, and most of these places are far out enough in which transit does not reach it. Thats the way most who live in NU areas like it too, so they don't have to deal with 'those' poor people. Lets face it, you don't see a lot of Section 8 housing going into these places. In case you have not realized it, teachers are well paid professionals compared to most of the working class. If it is in the City core, it cannot be NU but it can be a well developed infil project.
    Last edited by DetroitPlanner; 24 Aug 2010 at 9:02 AM.
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  11. #136
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    Just for fun, let's go down your list.

    Do you think racism is worse in auto-dependent places or in those areas that have walkability? A big tenet of the New Urbanism is that, by getting people out of their cars, citizens build community, and I can assure you that the "White Flight" phenomenon would not have occurred over the last half-century had cars and freeways not been available. Sociologists say the only thing that reduces racism, which is the irrational belief in the superiority of one superficially-organized group of Homo sapiens over another, is through the process of working together toward common goals. And, neither enclaves nor ghettos permit such interactions.

    The same could be said about the interactions of people belonging to other subcultures, including those organized by: religion; nationality; national origin; sex; gender; sexual orientation; etc. There is a reason that cities without monocultures tend to thrive on these differences when, as the New Urbanism proposes, the physical environment permits greater interactions within geographically-organized communities. These interconnected networks ensure, for example, one doesn't join a nationalistic call to hastily bomb another country when one happens to have neighbors and friends who have family living in said country.

    Another major tenet of the New Urbanism is that a mixture of incomes is absolutely natural and necessary for every place. For instance, teachers who teach in public schools in the most affluent enclaves should not have to commute an hour each day to work. And, income diversity is partly that, which makes real cities interesting and vibrant so that everyone can enjoy them.

    For years, inner cities have experienced the steady push of public disinvestment due to deliberate policies that favored suburbs. And, the result has been a failure to realize America's full potential and to optimize use of existing assets. No one should be satisfied with those outcomes.

    Down the list.... from our reliance on petrol-dictators to our trade deficit (due to both imported oil and to the cheap shipping of goods produced by forced labor in China) to our obesity and cancer and heart disease.... Pick a topic. And, you'll find that cars, oil, or freeways are an underlying cause.
    I agree that NU INTENDS to address all of these things, but in its application, has it been successful in doing so? I think that is a criticism many have about NU - what has been built under their model, who can really afford them, and to what degree do they integrate with the existing built landscape to encourage all of these well-meaning principles?

    I also think its important to point out that the New Urbanists are not the only ones promoting the essentially same set of design principles. Its just that the NU folks packaged it and have been rather successful at marketing it. The reality, though, is that compact design, integrative street patterns, porches, public spaces, walkability, shared streets, etc. are all things that the APA promoted in its official platform before the New Urbanism ever organized itself.

    There is a demographic (and generally speaking, Gen Xers exhibit this sensibility to a high degree) that really recoil at things that are pre-packaged like NU. I'm not saying its bad outright, but it can feel like you are being marketed to, reduced to a demographic or asked to generally buy into to consumer society the way this stuff is often pitched. This can kill a sense of local ownership and in my experience with the process, the charrettes performed, at least in my experiences, amounted largely to window dressing - informing people of what was going on, but not really collecting any substantial input that influenced design.

    Lastly, my main concern with things like NU is that it lays TOO much emphasis on design as the solution to social ills and problems. You got it right, I think, when you observed that racism and similar sentiments are reduced when communities work toward common goals. However, walkability does not create the common goal, though it supports interaction. Its the active addressing of community issues that creates the cohesion - making decisions together, cooperating, volunteering time for the common good, etc. This is where the work of community development experts comes in. In my mind, the physical design is only one facet to addressing larger issues. There has to be programming taking place in communities to create the internal cohesion. I get a strong feeling (and I have been in public charrettes and presentations of local work by Duany) of a general discounting of this work by NU folks. My own experience with this one firm has not been a positive one. Community members found them condescending and uninterested in local community discussion beyond a certain level. In many cases, they ignored strong public preferences for ideas they felt were superior, only to find out later that their ideas were not implementable because of very real and obvious physical constraints.
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  12. #137
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    I agree that NU INTENDS to address all of these things, but in its application, has it been successful in doing so? I think that is a criticism many have about NU - what has been built under their model, who can really afford them, and to what degree do they integrate with the existing built landscape to encourage all of these well-meaning principles?

    I also think its important to point out that the New Urbanists are not the only ones promoting the essentially same set of design principles. Its just that the NU folks packaged it and have been rather successful at marketing it. The reality, though, is that compact design, integrative street patterns, porches, public spaces, walkability, shared streets, etc. are all things that the APA promoted in its official platform before the New Urbanism ever organized itself.

    There is a demographic (and generally speaking, Gen Xers exhibit this sensibility to a high degree) that really recoil at things that are pre-packaged like NU. I'm not saying its bad outright, but it can feel like you are being marketed to, reduced to a demographic or asked to generally buy into to consumer society the way this stuff is often pitched. This can kill a sense of local ownership and in my experience with the process, the charrettes performed, at least in my experiences, amounted largely to window dressing - informing people of what was going on, but not really collecting any substantial input that influenced design.

    Lastly, my main concern with things like NU is that it lays TOO much emphasis on design as the solution to social ills and problems. You got it right, I think, when you observed that racism and similar sentiments are reduced when communities work toward common goals. However, walkability does not create the common goal, though it supports interaction. Its the active addressing of community issues that creates the cohesion - making decisions together, cooperating, volunteering time for the common good, etc. This is where the work of community development experts comes in. In my mind, the physical design is only one facet to addressing larger issues. There has to be programming taking place in communities to create the internal cohesion. I get a strong feeling (and I have been in public charrettes and presentations of local work by Duany) of a general discounting of this work by NU folks. My own experience with this one firm has not been a positive one. Community members found them condescending and uninterested in local community discussion beyond a certain level. In many cases, they ignored strong public preferences for ideas they felt were superior, only to find out later that their ideas were not implementable because of very real and obvious physical constraints.
    Many of these issues have surfaced in the thread entitled, "The Failure of New Urbanism." And, I think the consensus we reached there is that the term, "New Urbanism", has been co-opted by developers who seem slow to actually deliver greenfield and infill projects that conform to the New Urbanism, as a whole. In many cases, these projects are just lifestyle centers that builders shifted toward once shopping malls proved unsustainable.

    For the most part, I think Duany has a great understanding of the real-world situation when he attempts to get these ideas reduced to a tidy and convenient package because he realizes that planners are loathe to risk their jobs by appearing to favor one urban form over another.

    He's borne from the architecture world, and his evangelism persuading architects to be more disciplined in their sensitivity to the context in which their work is built I welcome wholeheartedly. We all also know of many real examples of poorly-designed environments that have bred social pathologies, so I appreciate the study he and others have given to these issues that planners can control.

    Approaching the human habitat in the way a scientist would examine the habitats of other species' is also beneficial. Different people are going to thrive in different environments. So, the importance of regulating the rural-to-urban Transect has now never been clearer.

    You mention place-making and programming as areas where you feel the New Urbanism falls short. I agree that place-making is the trickiest part of planning and design, partly because planners seem to have lost their sense of artistry, partly because communities often lack the sophistication to express their respective identities in strong and clear ways, and partly because consultants and other professionals often lack deep understanding of local areas. I'd also argue that the cars and freeways have helped homogenize everything and have led communities to think of themselves in less-cohesive ways. I do disagree with you, though, about the alleged lack of attention New Urbanists pay to programming, at least, nowadays. In many ways, programming is now considered by many prominent practitioners among the most important techniques for achieving the community-building that is at the heart of the New Urbanism.

    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    THis is one of the craziest threads I've read. Racism, classism, what have you is not because of the car. It is a tool used by those in power to stay in power. Do you honestly think that Hitler came to power because of Mercedes Benz or VW?? History is full of 'They' VS 'Us'. When 9/11 happened, they used airplanes, which are a sophisticated form of mass transit as bombs. Bombs are used today to terrorize the bus stations and train stations throughout Europe. Belfast has transit, but they still have Orangeman parades through the Catholic slums. New York has transit, but the mention of a Bill of Rights protected Community Center by Wall Street has set the whole country screaming that Muslims should have no rights.

    Sprawl sucks. I have yet to see any NU movement that is not sprawl and dependant upon the automobile. Sure you can walk to Coldstone or Starbucks, but you can't get to work, and most of these places are far out enough in which transit does not reach it. Thats the way most who live in NU areas like it too, so they don't have to deal with 'those' poor people. Lets face it, you don't see a lot of Section 8 housing going into these places. In case you have not realized it, teachers are well paid professionals compared to most of the working class. If it is in the City core, it cannot be NU but it can be a well developed infil project.
    The New Urbanism is not restricted to greenfield areas. Car-dependency is a disease that has infected previously-walkable, pre-war places, too, and they are usually in need of the kind of New Urbanist redevelopment that attempts to strike the right balance between provisions for cars and accommodations for everyone and everything else.

    Overpopulation I didn't address, but, clearly, most of the issues concern overconsumption that relates in some way to oil, cars, or freeways. One billion less-affluent Chinese on bicycles are not nearly as problematic as a billion belching their way through life by car. Obviously, the state of affairs before World War II wasn't perfect, but the unprecedented challenges that are currently confronting us are due to or are exacerbated by oil, cars, and freeways.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 25 Aug 2010 at 8:38 AM. Reason: double reply

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