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Thread: The front yard

  1. #76
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    I think that you've hit on the fundamental problem with all the plans that individuals with urbanist agendas spin: they aren't couched in reality because the urbanists don't understand people. They assume that most people want what they want: walk to work, proximity to restaurants and bars, little or no outdoor maintenance.
    I agree, and I don't think this phenomenon is restricted to urbanists. It is very common across all SES groups. And docwatson has nailed it: remove Euclidean zoning and allow more choice, and see what happens. I'll wager you'll see much more argy-bargy then, with folk coming out of the woodwork defending their little reality via interesting power relations.

  2. #77
    Cyburbian
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    A while ago, I posted a link to ESRI's Tapestry system of population segmentation. And, the clear fact is that different people like different kinds of places: urban, rural, and everything in between. The problem is that the cars, oil, and freeways, along with Euclidean zoning, create endless and homogeneous suburban sprawl. For people who want that kind of place, the United States is full of it. But, for people who want anything different, they have to pay a premium for that way of life because the Linda_D's and PennPlanners of the world are here to ensure that the supply is artificially limited and that the oil companies stay fat and happy.

    Setbacks are one more way to keep people auto-dependent. They, along with maximum lot coverage, parking ratios, F.A.R.(.... by God, the list goes on and on)... are all designed to force people into cars and to make them good little American slaves handing their cash over to their masters even in the face of gas prices upwards of $5 per gallon. So, when are planners and politicians going to realize that, over the last 50 years, these special interests, through think tanks and other apparatuses, have been methodically using the power of law to lock American citizens into a built environment that can't be changed very easily, quickly, or cheaply?

  3. #78
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    So, when are planners and politicians going to realize that, over the last 50 years, these special interests, through think tanks and other apparatuses, have been methodically using the power of law to lock American citizens into a built environment that can't be changed very easily, quickly, or cheaply?
    You mention planners... let's be simplistic here, but...who pays planners? Cities.
    Who runs cities? Politicians? Who elects politicians? Residents? What do most residents want? Single family Euclidean zoning districts which force us into our cars.

    In theory planners should create great societies of the fossil fuel free but in reality we are told what to do by people without planning knowledge elected by people without planning knowledge.

    I hate to say it but if YOU (the proverbial you) wants to change this you need to become a developer.

  4. #79
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    You mention planners... let's be simplistic here, but...who pays planners? Cities.
    Who runs cities? Politicians? Who elects politicians? Residents? What do most residents want? Single family Euclidean zoning districts which force us into our cars.

    In theory planners should create great societies of the fossil fuel free but in reality we are told what to do by people without planning knowledge elected by people without planning knowledge.

    I hate to say it but if YOU (the proverbial you) wants to change this you need to become a developer.
    stroskey, FTW.

  5. #80
    Cyburbian
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    What do most residents want? Single family Euclidean zoning districts which force us into our cars.
    I think this is where one of the tenets of planning ethics that is often overlooked comes in - our duty to inform and meaningfully involve the public and decision makers, particularly informing them of the consequences of choices. I won't repeat my earlier comment, but choosing strict largish-lot Euclidian zoning and cul-de-sacs also means choosing more VMT, more congestion, less walking, and potentially more chronic illness (according to recent studies), while consuming more land over time. Scenario planning and other tools can address this. I think a recent survey showed that 58% of homebuyers want walkability to shopping and other destinations, although they may not understand how this works (i.e. 4 du/ac, arranged in an unconnected street network, does not support the neighborhood bakery they all want!).

    I think there are also politicians at a higher and less parochial level who are recognizing this. Obviously one leader is Oregon, among others, where local Comp Plans must be approved by the state for conformance with the state Planning Act. The HUD-USDOT-EPA planning grants have provided funding for many regions to plan for sustainability. Virginia's legislature has outlawed the cul-de-sac. Etc. Even around here, we have health districts and other governments and foundations interjecting public health and walkability concepts into planning.

    Although intriguing, I am not sure simply becoming a developer will further the cause, because a developer could potentially go bankrupt fighting against low-density, single use zoning and NIMBY's. Perhaps starting a YIMBY movement or working in another capacity to reform planning would be more effective?

  6. #81
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    You mention planners... let's be simplistic here, but...who pays planners? Cities.
    Who runs cities? Politicians? Who elects politicians? Residents? What do most residents want? Single family Euclidean zoning districts which force us into our cars.

    In theory planners should create great societies of the fossil fuel free but in reality we are told what to do by people without planning knowledge elected by people without planning knowledge.

    I hate to say it but if YOU (the proverbial you) wants to change this you need to become a developer.
    I don't agree that most citizens want single-family Euclidean zoning districts that force these same people to use cars. Most people want private areas that restrict regional traffic and public areas with an intensity and diversity of land uses. Moreover, these people want both the private and public areas near each other and close to nature and open space, as well as high-quality transit.

    Why can't mixed-use corridors and districts be placed adjacent to single-family neighborhoods with appropriate buffers, traffic-calming, fused street grids, etc.?

  7. #82
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    I don't agree that most citizens want single-family Euclidean zoning districts that force these same people to use cars. Most people want private areas that restrict regional traffic and public areas with an intensity and diversity of land uses. Moreover, these people want both the private and public areas near each other and close to nature and open space, as well as high-quality transit.

    Why can't mixed-use corridors and districts be placed adjacent to single-family neighborhoods with appropriate buffers, traffic-calming, fused street grids, etc.?

    This is simply untrue. Americans love their cars and they love to drive them. Americans care primarily about their private space, and most would consider being near a park much more advantageous than being near a busy commercial/retail area. "Most people" don't really care about transit, high-quality or otherwise, because they don't use it or only use it under duress. Stop assuming that your views are representative of the majority of Americans' views.

    "Mixed-use corridors and districts" aren't placed adjacent to single-family neighborhoods because so many people don't want to live close to convenience stores, bars or restaurants. The prices of SFDs in/adjacent to "mixed-use corridors" are considerably less than similar homes on side streets in residential neighborhoods.

  8. #83
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    Moderator note:
    Very interesting and lively discussion...but we're getting a bit off the topic of the 'front yard'.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  9. #84
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    The prices of SFDs in/adjacent to "mixed-use corridors" are considerably less than similar homes on side streets in residential neighborhoods.
    I can point to hundreds of examples that, not surprisingly, contradict your statement. A mixed-use corridor with a sufficient intensity and diversity of land uses, slow automobile traffic, and on-street parking thrives. Single-family homes with front yards in lower-density private neighborhoods that are located within walking distance of these places have much higher values. These lower-density places, though, always work best when regional automobile traffic is restricted.

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