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Poll results: What is your position on traditional style planning/development?

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Thread: "New Urbanism", Traditional Neighborhood Development, Smart Growth etc...

  1. #76
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    This thread is THE example of why professional planners can't get anything accomplished in the "real world".
    Agreed. Some of us wouldn't know where to draw a line or a target.
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  2. #77
    Where do I start?

    In the developed western world...

    Historically, New York's Lower East Side had a population of about 500,000 around the first decade of the 20th century, but even there, ti dropped in half by the end of the 1920s

    Of contemporary Western cities, Paris has the highest population density with about 50,000 per square mile.

    In the US, the Upper East Side of Manhattan has a population density of over 100,000 per square mile, but obviously, that's not in four story buildings.

    Boston's South End has a population density of about 30,000 per square mile in four story buildings. That's about the maximum one could get in the US with this building type.

    (Sometimes I feel like a college professor)
    Last edited by Gotta Speakup; 02 Jun 2011 at 5:39 PM.

  3. #78
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    This thread is THE example of why professional planners can't get anything accomplished in the "real world".
    I would argue this is an Ivory Tower situation that has ballooned into a logic battle.

    Since Seaside isn't an example - I would like a list of cities that are below 150k that meet your criteria for NU. They must all contain at least a 10 story building, a monument in the center city, modified grid, and use the transect correctly - which seems to be your criteria for a NU city done right. Alexandria doesn't meet those standards...

    Let me think.... I can't think of one.

    Now why is this? Is it because us planners can't get our ideas out there? Nope. It is because in the end, politicians and citizens make the decisions. These decisions are based on what works for each community.

    The only NU that will ever work is new development. You cannot adopt the SmartCode or use NU principles in a developed community without large amounts of demolition of existing structures, infrastructure, and moving of people. The cost of which is beyond unreasonable.

    Seaside is a community that is NU to a tee - pretentious urbanism that is pushed by a group of people that feel they know better then those that live there and bought houses there because of how it is.

    I like the concept of New Urbanism. Going back to Urbanism is great. But pretending like the last 50 years didn't happen is counterproductive.

    Trying to change peoples perceptions on urban life = good
    Trying to force people into an unproven "new" urbanist concept = bad


    I would love to see the meeting though where you talk with the public about what they "should" be doing in the home they bought/pay taxes on/have lived their whole lives....

    Wow....
    Last edited by Hink; 02 Jun 2011 at 5:23 PM. Reason: Geez I wonder...
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  4. #79
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    This thread is THE example of why professional planners can't get anything accomplished in the "real world".
    I should've explained further...

    Normal planners get lumped into the "nutjob planner group" because of the Ivory Tower bullshit being spewed in this thread. Therefore, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to make the incremental changes that are needed in our land use policies.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  5. #80
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    One item neglected from this thread is the underlying economics of land development. Sprawl is the result of cheap land and the desire of people to live in an area. Infill occurs when the land is constrained to a point where it becomes more cost effective to go vertical and we get redevelopment. In the US we have tons of land thus we build out and not up.

    Outside of PHoenix a developer built a NU development called Verrado in Buckeye, AZ which is 30 miles from Phoenix. There are countless other NU inspired neighborhoods that are created under the banner of NU far from employment centers.

  6. #81
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    I don't suggest that we speak the same way to the public. But we must emphasize and convince them that this must be done for the betterment of their communities.

    Also, we are racing against the clock. Peak oil (and it's decline) is coming up fast. The automobile is going to be on the decline and we will eventually (moreso than already) have large tracts of suburbs that will be abandoned. These abandoned suburbs will need to go away and return to undeveloped farmland.

    There are certain areas that will need to be retrofitted. If they cannot be, then they have to be abandoned. We will also need laws that will prohibit any new development that goes against New Urbanist ideas.

    Yes, I know it is "scare" tactics, but people don't just change for no reason, and even when dIsaster is imminent, they still have a reluctance to change. We know that because of suburbia and because of sprawl, peak oil is going to have a trndous effect on us.

    That doesn't evn include the international implications of declining oil supplies. I would argue that if the United States wants to continue being a major world power in the next 100-200 years, we are going to have to change significantly. Unfortunately I don't see that happening and another country that is able to adapt and change faster than us will overtake us.

    With peak oil, with pollution and sprawl, with the increasing isolation of our people, with increasing reliance on the government and medicine to sustain us, we will run out of money, and fast. We won't be able to continue to upkeep our massive transportation and sewer systems...

    In short, if we don't voluntarily change; our situation in the future is going to drag us into it kicking and screaming. We won't collapse, but things will become much harder than they are now.

    The very least we could do is get individual communities to change so they don't have to suffer so bad.

  7. #82
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TradArch12 View post
    I don't suggest that we speak the same way to the public. But we must emphasize and convince them that this must be done for the betterment of their communities.

    Also, we are racing against the clock. Peak oil (and it's decline) is coming up fast. The automobile is going to be on the decline and we will eventually (moreso than already) have large tracts of suburbs that will be abandoned. These abandoned suburbs will need to go away and return to undeveloped farmland.

    There are certain areas that will need to be retrofitted. If they cannot be, then they have to be abandoned. We will also need laws that will prohibit any new development that goes against New Urbanist ideas.

    Yes, I know it is "scare" tactics, but people don't just change for no reason, and even when dIsaster is imminent, they still have a reluctance to change. We know that because of suburbia and because of sprawl, peak oil is going to have a trndous effect on us.

    That doesn't evn include the international implications of declining oil supplies. I would argue that if the United States wants to continue being a major world power in the next 100-200 years, we are going to have to change significantly. Unfortunately I don't see that happening and another country that is able to adapt and change faster than us will overtake us.

    With peak oil, with pollution and sprawl, with the increasing isolation of our people, with increasing reliance on the government and medicine to sustain us, we will run out of money, and fast. We won't be able to continue to upkeep our massive transportation and sewer systems...

    In short, if we don't voluntarily change; our situation in the future is going to drag us into it kicking and screaming. We won't collapse, but things will become much harder than they are now.

    The very least we could do is get individual communities to change so they don't have to suffer so bad.
    barf. double barf

  8. #83
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    barf. double barf
    I think most everyone recognizes that peak oil is going to happen. It isn't quite like "Global Warming" and other ideas that are contested. I think peak oil is generally accepted, and that they predict it is coming relatively soon.

  9. #84
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TradArch12 View post
    I don't suggest that we speak the same way to the public. But we must emphasize and convince them that this must be done for the betterment of their communities.

    Also, we are racing against the clock. Peak oil (and it's decline) is coming up fast. The automobile is going to be on the decline and we will eventually (moreso than already) have large tracts of suburbs that will be abandoned. These abandoned suburbs will need to go away and return to undeveloped farmland.

    There are certain areas that will need to be retrofitted. If they cannot be, then they have to be abandoned. We will also need laws that will prohibit any new development that goes against New Urbanist ideas.

    Yes, I know it is "scare" tactics, but people don't just change for no reason, and even when dIsaster is imminent, they still have a reluctance to change. We know that because of suburbia and because of sprawl, peak oil is going to have a trndous effect on us.

    That doesn't evn include the international implications of declining oil supplies. I would argue that if the United States wants to continue being a major world power in the next 100-200 years, we are going to have to change significantly. Unfortunately I don't see that happening and another country that is able to adapt and change faster than us will overtake us.

    With peak oil, with pollution and sprawl, with the increasing isolation of our people, with increasing reliance on the government and medicine to sustain us, we will run out of money, and fast. We won't be able to continue to upkeep our massive transportation and sewer systems...

    In short, if we don't voluntarily change; our situation in the future is going to drag us into it kicking and screaming. We won't collapse, but things will become much harder than they are now.

    The very least we could do is get individual communities to change so they don't have to suffer so bad.

    High gas prices and dwindling supplies of crude oil will have an impact on our society, but will it greatly change the way Americans move about and where they live? I doubt it.

    We will simply find ourselves in a tight spot. Then we will find a technological solution. Not a cultural solution. That is what we do. We are not going to greatly change our society. We will find new ways to do the same things we find we like.

    People like their cars. I like mine (though I wish it had four wheel drive).

    I must state, however, that I am not an urban guy. I live in a sparsely-populated Western state in a small city. We sometimes have people touted New Urbanism and Smart Growth ideas. They are good concepts, but most of the people who live here could care less, and business and political leaders are often against them. The last thing many of the people in my county want is government regulating them and especially telling them how and where they should live.

    As singer/songwriter Al Stewart said: "The more it changes, the more it stays the same."
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  10. #85
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TradArch12 View post
    I don't suggest that we speak the same way to the public. But we must emphasize and convince them that this must be done for the betterment of their communities.

    Also, we are racing against the clock. Peak oil (and it's decline) is coming up fast. The automobile is going to be on the decline and we will eventually (moreso than already) have large tracts of suburbs that will be abandoned. These abandoned suburbs will need to go away and return to undeveloped farmland.

    There are certain areas that will need to be retrofitted. If they cannot be, then they have to be abandoned. We will also need laws that will prohibit any new development that goes against New Urbanist ideas.

    Yes, I know it is "scare" tactics, but people don't just change for no reason, and even when dIsaster is imminent, they still have a reluctance to change. We know that because of suburbia and because of sprawl, peak oil is going to have a trndous effect on us.

    That doesn't evn include the international implications of declining oil supplies. I would argue that if the United States wants to continue being a major world power in the next 100-200 years, we are going to have to change significantly. Unfortunately I don't see that happening and another country that is able to adapt and change faster than us will overtake us.

    With peak oil, with pollution and sprawl, with the increasing isolation of our people, with increasing reliance on the government and medicine to sustain us, we will run out of money, and fast. We won't be able to continue to upkeep our massive transportation and sewer systems...

    In short, if we don't voluntarily change; our situation in the future is going to drag us into it kicking and screaming. We won't collapse, but things will become much harder than they are now.

    The very least we could do is get individual communities to change so they don't have to suffer so bad.
    In the late 1830's there was the same peak oil arguments being made...but the oil came from whales.

    Your argument is predicated on the fact that people need to be close to where they work...again ignoring the underlying economics of the decision process.

    Then what is stop jobs from moving from city centers to where the workforce is which is the suburbs?

    In fact, many metro areas have more jobs in the 'burbs than they do in the central cities. The migration of jobs to the 'burbs has been steady and could become more pronounced. Available workforce is always in the top 5 of a companyís location decision.

    What do Exxon, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, Dell and Best Buy have in common besides being Fortune 50 companies?...they are all headquartered in suburbs. If peak oil is real then it is just as possible for the center cities to rot and everything shift to the 'burbs.

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    In the late 1830's there was the same peak oil arguments being made...but the oil came from whales.

    Your argument is predicated on the fact that people need to be close to where they work...again ignoring the underlying economics of the decision process.

    Then what is stop jobs from moving from city centers to where the workforce is which is the suburbs?

    In fact, many metro areas have more jobs in the 'burbs than they do in the central cities. The migration of jobs to the 'burbs has been steady and could become more pronounced. Available workforce is always in the top 5 of a company’s location decision.

    What do Exxon, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, Dell and Best Buy have in common besides being Fortune 50 companies?...they are all headquartered in suburbs. If peak oil is real then it is just as possible for the center cities to rot and everything shift to the 'burbs.
    The suburbs are still auto oriented. Automobiles will absolutely have to switch to other fuels. Until all cars switch, people will be paying A LOT more for driving their cars. Right now we are whining about $3.6 per gallon. People need to realize that some Europeans are paying upwards of $5-7 a gallon for their gas.

    It is definitely going to force people to change. It really irritates me when people think that the way things have been for only 30-50 years is how they are going to be for the next 500 years. We are a tiny, tiny dot when it comes to the length of human history. If we refuse to change, circumstances are going to force us to. We can't rebel against human nature and expect that we can do what we want forever.

    Also, who is to say many of those companies are going to be here in 100 years? We need to start considering, not the baby boomer's future, nor my generations future. We need to start thinking about my children's future, and their children's future. Personally, I'm angry that the baby boomers have messed things up so bad for my generation, and I don't want the same to happen to my children. It's my generations job to reverse what the baby boomers did and to set things right.
    Thankfully, my generation, and newer generations are already rejecting the baby-boomer generation and their decisions, and thankfully younger generations are already becoming more and more interested in "tradition".

  12. #87
    I'm going to parrot a couple of ideas, then add my own two cents worth. First, we should be all about revitalizing existing urban areas and inner ring suburbs. One of my critisms of NU it that it tends to be just another high end, greenfield development. And don't get me started about how ther was supposed to be a mix of incomes. That simply has not happened. Evidently poor and working class people don't count.

    Second, most planners not acdemia pick up on the fact that we are dependant on the market. We can nudge it, do education and make sure basic services get provided, but that's it. People vote with their feet, like it or not. We live in a democracy, they have that right, as well they should.

    Third, we should encourage it, and make it an option for developers. We should not force it.

    Fourth, NU isn't for every jurisdiction or area. NU does not work in rural areas, where I have worked frequently. There distinction between city and county planning, between city and rural planning. This sort of echos the place specific ideas that have been mentioned before.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  13. #88
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    I'm going to parrot a couple of ideas, then add my own two cents worth. First, we should be all about revitalizing existing urban areas and inner ring suburbs. One of my critisms of NU it that it tends to be just another high end, greenfield development. And don't get me started about how ther was supposed to be a mix of incomes. That simply has not happened. Evidently poor and working class people don't count.

    Second, most planners not acdemia pick up on the fact that we are dependant on the market. We can nudge it, do education and make sure basic services get provided, but that's it. People vote with their feet, like it or not. We live in a democracy, they have that right, as well they should.

    Third, we should encourage it, and make it an option for developers. We should not force it.

    Fourth, NU isn't for every jurisdiction or area. NU does not work in rural areas, where I have worked frequently. There distinction between city and county planning, between city and rural planning. This sort of echos the place specific ideas that have been mentioned before.
    I would argue that we need to change our economy, and we need to start adapting and changing the way we run things.

    Also, New Urbanism, at least the ideas proposed in the last few years, is for rural areas. The problem is, I think most of you are thinking of the 1980s/1990s version of New Urbanism.

    Andres Duany on Agricultural Urbanism:
    http://youtu.be/Sfx4QnmTFZM

    Andres Duany on Agrarian Urbanism:
    http://youtu.be/czHQERc8OiM

    Duany again:
    http://youtu.be/c6n7scI7snM

  14. #89
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    The problem is those ideas are just that, ideas. They've never been implemented anywhere beyond transects. Not to mention Duany makes a ton of money selling his ideas about new urbanism.

    Planners are unable to pull off what you want. You have to convince developers, architects, financiers, engineers, elected officials, and of course the public that your idea is worthwhile. A lot of those groups are familiar with new urbanism and they don't like it for a number of different reasons. You're not going to be able to overcome these differences just by "educating" them. Things have to be done incrementally which can be very difficult in some locations. Planning is often a very slow process and you're not going to have an easy time speeding it up.

  15. #90
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Has anyone made a succinct list of wht this wing nut wants to do? Ban frame housing, Ban cities over 150,000. Ban cars from the urban core. Retro the suburbs to farm land. What else lurks in the triades. Oh, the 'scale' formula hits the spot. Me thinks there is a future Nobel Prize winner here.

  16. #91
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    High gas prices and dwindling supplies of crude oil will have an impact on our society, but will it greatly change the way Americans move about and where they live? I doubt it.

    We will simply find ourselves in a tight spot. Then we will find a technological solution. Not a cultural solution. That is what we do. We are not going to greatly change our society. We will find new ways to do the same things we find we like.

    People like their cars. I like mine (though I wish it had four wheel drive).

    I must state, however, that I am not an urban guy. I live in a sparsely-populated Western state in a small city. We sometimes have people touted New Urbanism and Smart Growth ideas. They are good concepts, but most of the people who live here could care less, and business and political leaders are often against them. The last thing many of the people in my county want is government regulating them and especially telling them how and where they should live.

    As singer/songwriter Al Stewart said: "The more it changes, the more it stays the same."
    I agree. It was love at first sight between Americans and their cars. In 1915, cars were still pretty much only for the wealthy, but when Henry Ford figured out how to make them cheap enough for even prosperous working men to buy, car ownership soared almost instantly. Moreover, Americans repeatedly demonstrate remarkable ingenuity when faced with challenges. We already know how to make decent hybrid cars. Now we need to make them larger and affordable and do more with all electric cars, which will likely happen sooner than later.

    When I was in college in the late 1960s/early 1970s, Lake Erie was declared "dead" because of pollution. The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire. The Buffalo River was too toxic to support fish. Smart people didn't swim on the beaches. Today, Lake Erie is one of the major recreation areas and sport fisheries in the nation, and its tributaries like the Cattaraugus Creek see larger salmon runs every fall than many of the rivers in the Pacific Northwest where dams, development, and over fishing have depleted the fish. That's happened in less than 40 years, so I'm amongst those who are confident that we will find solutions.

    Quote Originally posted by Brocktoon View post
    In the late 1830's there was the same peak oil arguments being made...but the oil came from whales.

    Your argument is predicated on the fact that people need to be close to where they work...again ignoring the underlying economics of the decision process.

    Then what is stop jobs from moving from city centers to where the workforce is which is the suburbs?

    In fact, many metro areas have more jobs in the 'burbs than they do in the central cities. The migration of jobs to the 'burbs has been steady and could become more pronounced. Available workforce is always in the top 5 of a companyís location decision.

    What do Exxon, Microsoft, Kraft Foods, Dell and Best Buy have in common besides being Fortune 50 companies?...they are all headquartered in suburbs. If peak oil is real then it is just as possible for the center cities to rot and everything shift to the 'burbs.
    This is actually happening in many Rust Belt cities. Cities like Detroit, Buffalo, and Youngstown have large areas that have been abandoned. Where the cities haven't taken on demolition, entire neighborhoods are just left to rot, as in Buffalo. The real problem here is getting urban politicians to buy into the idea of demo'ing these abandoned areas and land banking them for future development.

    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    I'm going to parrot a couple of ideas, then add my own two cents worth. First, we should be all about revitalizing existing urban areas and inner ring suburbs. One of my critisms of NU it that it tends to be just another high end, greenfield development. And don't get me started about how ther was supposed to be a mix of incomes. That simply has not happened. Evidently poor and working class people don't count.

    Second, most planners not acdemia pick up on the fact that we are dependant on the market. We can nudge it, do education and make sure basic services get provided, but that's it. People vote with their feet, like it or not. We live in a democracy, they have that right, as well they should.

    Third, we should encourage it, and make it an option for developers. We should not force it.

    Fourth, NU isn't for every jurisdiction or area. NU does not work in rural areas, where I have worked frequently. There distinction between city and county planning, between city and rural planning. This sort of echos the place specific ideas that have been mentioned before.
    I would agree that NU has failed to support a mix of incomes. I will also add that there is absolutely no indication that NU does anything to build a sense of community as its advocates claim it does. In fact, I will argue that large, dense neighborhoods with fairly transient populations allow for anonymity that works against creating strong community feeling. The strongest communities in most of the US are often in rural areas or in very small towns where "everybody knows everybody else" and people share common values, deep roots, and similar backgrounds and frequently rely on one another because they don't have any other resources. Amish communities, which are just about 100% rural, are a perfect example of people who form strong communities in rural areas. Proximity doesn't make good neighbors. Good people do.

  17. #92
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TradArch12 View post
    The suburbs are still auto oriented. Automobiles will absolutely have to switch to other fuels. Until all cars switch, people will be paying A LOT more for driving their cars. Right now we are whining about $3.6 per gallon. People need to realize that some Europeans are paying upwards of $5-7 a gallon for their gas.

    It is definitely going to force people to change. It really irritates me when people think that the way things have been for only 30-50 years is how they are going to be for the next 500 years. We are a tiny, tiny dot when it comes to the length of human history. If we refuse to change, circumstances are going to force us to. We can't rebel against human nature and expect that we can do what we want forever.

    Also, who is to say many of those companies are going to be here in 100 years? We need to start considering, not the baby boomer's future, nor my generations future. We need to start thinking about my children's future, and their children's future. Personally, I'm angry that the baby boomers have messed things up so bad for my generation, and I don't want the same to happen to my children. It's my generations job to reverse what the baby boomers did and to set things right.
    Thankfully, my generation, and newer generations are already rejecting the baby-boomer generation and their decisions, and thankfully younger generations are already becoming more and more interested in "tradition".
    I agree that as the world changes that people's habits will change. Hence my premise that companies will continue to moving out to the suburbs and leaving the central city. You think the only answer to high transportation costs is for everyone to live in a dense urban environment. I am saying there are more options than that.
    500 years ago people walked or if they had the means used a beast of burden to move themselves and their goods.

    10 years ago people fretted about $3 for a gallon of gas...now we hope to only pay $3 a gallon. If you look at the history of transportation there have been innovations to allow people to travel farther, faster and for less money per mile traveled. I have no doubt that the vehicle I drive in 30 years will be powered by something other than by 100% petrol. The 'burbs sprung up because people love their car, their space and their privacy. In the US people equate cars with freedom. There will always be a demand for large lot housing on the fringe of a city regardless of the price of gas. You could see more commuter rail, express buses etc. Assuming the 'burbs will crumble like Detroit (sorry to pick on your city, DP) is just wrong...you are not accounting for many of the other variables in the equation, the underlying economics of land use or the value people assign to cars and having yards.

    The companies today might or might not be around in 100 years. 100 years ago Woolworths was the largest retailer and WalMart did not exist. Today Woolworths is gone. Itís all about creative destruction...the car replaced the horse and buggy. You are forgetting that people are highly adaptable and creative.

    If you look at the history of sprawl in the US it started with the baby boomers parents. They and the generations after them have voted with their feet. Look at those returning to the cities in the NU "style of living" that you love so much. Itís the baby boomers and not the Gen Y's moving to city centers in droves. The hipsters and DINK's live in the city until they have kids then they flock to the suburbs, buy an SUV and get a 2500 sqft home with a yard. Not many 25 year olds can afford $400k for a condo downtown but a couple married for 30 years with no kids can.

    On a personal note, I loved living in DC but when it was time to start a family I returned to the Phoenix area, bought a car, a house, got a dog and had a kid. I miss the Metro, great food, good theater, an apt the size of my closet, and $6 beers but there is no way I was going to raise my child in DC. I know I made the right decision for my family.

    To go back to the original premise of this thread is that NU is highly overrated and has not properly accounted for the desires of the population.

  18. #93
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Cities like Detroit, Buffalo, and Youngstown have large areas that have been abandoned. Where the cities haven't taken on demolition, entire neighborhoods are just left to rot, as in Buffalo. The real problem here is getting urban politicians to buy into the idea of demo'ing these abandoned areas and land banking them for future development.
    I was under the impression that this was caused by all their tax base moving to the suburbs. So the city with the abandoned area has no money to even accomplish demolishing as it is extremely costly when you consider things like filling basements and asbestos clean up. The suburbs have the money but are usual unwilling to share it with the urban core. That type of scenario really shows the need as to why municipalities need to cooperate on a regional level.

    Anyway, planners need to promote cooperation instead of pushing a single idea like NU in order to improve things.

  19. #94
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    So wait, are you guys arguing that suburbs are okay and we should allow people to have their cars, allow suburbs & sprawl to continue?
    (i'm not opposed to cars, but cities shouldn't be designed for cars)

    What do you say about the mass consumption of farmland and the countryside?
    Should our outward sprawl stop at some point?
    What about the physical state of Americans? More Americans are out of shape and overweight than other countries, diabetes is an epidemic, in addition to heart disease and other problems. Most of this can be connected to our isolationist, suburban lifestyle; which is also connected to high levels of depression among Americans who also spend too much time watching TV, playing games, etc...

    As for peak oil, I think you ignore some important facts...
    1 - electric cars... they still rely on electricity, and essentially on fossil fuels. Coal doesn't seem to be going anywhere, and wind/solar power cannot garner enough energy to makeup for our cars, let alone the rest of our cities.
    2 - ethanol... as we consume more and more farmland, are we still going to be able to feed ourselves, as well as our cars?
    3 - biodiesel... can we possibly produce enough of this to run all of our cars? really?
    4 - natural gas & propane... do we really want our huge cars being drive around by gas that is potentially more flammable than gasoline?
    5 - hydrogen... many of our cities are in a crisis when it comes to water (such as cities in the Southwest). Even Midwestern cities rely on the underground water table which is dwindling and problems are already arising from its overuse...

    How can we possibly sustain 30-40 minute commutes everyday on alternative fuels?

    How about road maintenance? Take KC for example, the whole area has more freeway lane miles per capita than any other metropolitan area in the country. Add to that all of the normal roads over the 600 square mile urbanized area. How can these cities maintain such a vast road network that is constantly expanding due to sprawl?

    Or sewage maintenance? Again take KC for example... KC is facing a sewage maintenance problem in the center-city area that has been estimated to cost it over $3 billion. So, estimate that in the coming decades, it will also have to fix the sewage systems of the inner-core suburbs, all the way extending out to the outer suburbs. How can a city, on top of the other infrastructure problems, maintain itself?

    And public services... It has become increasingly difficult for police (and firemen) to reach their destinations quickly. With more road (and city) area, you need more police officers in more cars patrolling around. With firestations, you need more trucks spread out over a larger area.
    You also will need far more hospitals within a good distance of each part of the city, and it may take longer to get each ambulance to an emergency.
    You can also ask yourself why America has a far higher crime rate (and a far higher arrest/jail rate) than most other civilized countries in the world.

    How about income isolation as well as racial division? That is something the suburbs have always been based upon. We know that whites fled the inner-cities, which caused a demographic shift, causing inner-cities to be comprised mainly of minorities, while the rich suburbs were comprised mainly of rich whites.
    This continues, as the inner suburbs decay and decrease in value, the poorer minorities are able to move in, and the rich whites continue their movement away from the city. If you look at most of the suburbs, they are dominantly white people, and from personal experience, I know that problems arise when minorities move in. There is an animosity in suburbs for minorities. I would go so far as to equate it with racism. The suburban situation has completely stunted our society's advancement. I charge that if it wasn't for the suburbs, we would be a much more integrated, and a much less racist society. When you are allowed/able to isolate yourself from a group, it's much easier for you to demonize and despise them.

    You could even take it as far as politics. (to get the government interested) The suburbs typically area areas that have a much lower impact on elections than cities do. Being in Missouri, there has been many times I've seen one candidate elected over another when the city votes come in. The entire state will be a solid color, and then the three main cities will have swung the opposite direction, and elected the other candidate. So, essentially, I argue that if you want to make an impact on your government, and if you want to get them to pay attention to you, you must be around more people. It is much more difficult for people in suburbs to get organized and send a message. The suburbs have the advantage of money, but the cities have the advantage of numbers.
    Take Greece as an example... The cities not only have the money, but also have the numbers. The citizens use this to their advantage, and you will see hundreds of thousands of people organizing to protest and strike. This doesn't happen in Greece's villages because it wouldn't have any visibility and could be ignored.
    Or look at the recent revolts in the Middle East, it has (almost always) taken place in cities where you have the advantage of numbers.
    So if people really want to participate in a democracy, and really have a say, the suburbs aren't the best place to do it from.

    Or how about the amount of energy we consume with our way of life? Ignoring cars, we require a large amount of lights on our streets to make them safe and drivable. Not only that, but our homes have to be able to run more and more utilities and appliances. Our office buildings have become larger, and it takes more and more interior conditioning units to keep them at an acceptable level. On top of that, if our buildings become either taller or wider, it takes more and more energy to run them efficiently.

    Then you have the additional issue of heat bubbles. The more area we develop, the bigger the heat bubble becomes. Now, I would argue that I've seen storms weaken over a city, and then re-emerge on the other side due to the heat bubble. But is it really an environmentally friendly thing? Especially if you live in an area that gets higher temperatures, the temperature could be even higher within the city itself, making it pretty unpleasant, as a result, people will probably be utilizing their air conditioners more, using more energy on hot days. Are we going to be able to continue to sustain that energy usage in the future?

    You do have the community aspect as well. In suburbs, your community is typically your neighborhood, and sometimes simply just the community center you might go to. Or any other community function you voluntarily attend. The neighborhood typically has less people, and you aren't able to interact with them regularly.
    Not only that, but suburbanites are much less willing to pay for improvements to other parts of the suburbs. This includes public buildings and other features that should be there to serve and help the public.
    Take another example from KC... Back in the early 1900s, after WWI, the citizens of Kansas City came out and raised enough money to build a prominent, expensive monument to be placed across from the city's Union Station, it was to be dedicated to WWI and the veterans that fought in that war. At it's opening, hundreds of thousands of people attended, at that time, KC only had about 330,000 people (and 400,000 in 1940) and was actually in a much smaller area. Everyone was willing to pay for something that would be for the community. They raised the money, and came out largely in support of the monument.
    Today, you have many suburbs surrounding Kansas City, and instead of having everyone come together, you will have suburbs trying to mimick what one another, and what the downtown area is trying to do. You get the exact same envy, "keeping up with the Johnsons" mentality that we promote to our suburbanites. So in reality, you don't get great monuments like Liberty Memorial. The best they've been able to come up with are small-medium sized arenas and other such things.

    Along with suburbia, we've promoted a "throw away" attitude, and we have also become very focused on an "iconoclastic" attitude when it comes to architecture and other things. We build our buildings to only last maybe 50 years at most. That, at best, is if they are relatively well maintained. This has even transferred to our homes, which we may occupy for a few years, then move to a new house, which we will also only occupy for a few years, causing neighborhood dynamics to constantly shift around. This is reflected on many levels, on homes built with plastic siding that pretends to be wood, to "churches" that are built like large sheds or arenas. (and they would be if they didn't have a cross on top) They often look bland, and have no real substance or aesthetic aspect to them.
    Last edited by TradArch12; 02 Jun 2011 at 11:52 PM.

  20. #95
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    This thread is THE example of why professional planners can't get anything accomplished in the "real world".
    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    Agreed. Some of us wouldn't know where to draw a line or a target.
    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    Normal planners get lumped into the "nutjob planner group" because of the Ivory Tower bullshit being spewed in this thread. .
    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    Anyway, planners need to promote cooperation instead of pushing a single idea like NU in order to improve things.
    Whose fault is it that fringe incompetence is introduced to the public?

    But srsly, maybe we are witnessing performance art. We should acknowledge the talent of the artist.

  21. #96
    Cyburbian
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    And then you have the fact that American families are spending less and less time with one another. We only see each other from the end of our commute times to bedtime. Oftentimes the children have to have some other form of entertainment while both their parents are at work. So children end up being taken care of by people that aren't their parents, or TV serves as their babysitter, or kids find other forms of entertainment (sometimes illegal and often harmful to them) to occupy them. On top of that, it is becoming less and less common for extended families to meet together. You also have less and less people having kids, even though the homes they buy could fit more than 1 or 2. The elderly are also being increasingly isolated. They get less interaction with the youth, and often are being restricted to nursing homes and senior centers until their deaths. Is this really good for us on a social level?
    Often the only interaction with other people our children have is at school, which will often be a very harsh environment for them.

    On that subject, because our kids are so overweight and out of shape, we have to pay our government more and more money to be able to provide extracurricular activities for them at school, not only to keep them occupied before & after school, but also to try to keep them in shape.

    Once kids get the freedom that is given to them with the automobile, they can find their own entertainment, which as previously mentioned, it sometimes dangerous and illegal. Add to that the fact that automobile-related deaths is the number one cause of death among our youth; is this really a smart decision? To base our entire society around the automobile?

    Or the number three cause of death being suicide... I would argue that this is a result of increasing isolation and the individualistic attitude we promote. Because our kids' social interaction is mostly at school, and since they see their parents less and less, their parents aren't as involved in their school life (being more focused on their work), so tortured kids don't get the help they need. Add to that the fact that kids watch more and more TV, and play more and more video games each year, it's easy to see why kids seem to get so desperate, depressed and isolated. Is this really the best for them?

    I know at least 3 kids who during high school, or soon after, died of automobile accidents. Yet alcohol wasn't involved in either case. (two from drowning, one from being thrown from the car) In fact, two of my cousins were almost killed almost 10 years ago (they were in their early 20s) in a horrible car accident where alcohol wasn't involved. I'm not against cars, but to be so reliant on it is literally killing our youth. We can see way to many signs & crosses on the side of our roads...

  22. #97
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    I was under the impression that this was caused by all their tax base moving to the suburbs. So the city with the abandoned area has no money to even accomplish demolishing as it is extremely costly when you consider things like filling basements and asbestos clean up. The suburbs have the money but are usual unwilling to share it with the urban core. That type of scenario really shows the need as to why municipalities need to cooperate on a regional level.

    Anyway, planners need to promote cooperation instead of pushing a single idea like NU in order to improve things.
    I can't speak for Detroit or Youngstown. I can only speak for Buffalo where I lived for 20 years. In 1950, the city had a population of nearly 600,000. Today it's population is closer to 250,000 than 300,000. A lot of that is because of the loss of jobs in manufacturing and transportation, either because of automation or the relocation of jobs to other parts of the country or now to other countries. Much of the population loss, however, can be attributed to the fact that Buffalo has been run for decades, since at least the late 1960s, much like a poverbial banana republic where the mayors and their friends feather their nests while the city rots. It has become a city largely without a middle class because of policies emanating from City Hall not from suburban town halls. The city has wasted billions of dollars on economic development schemes for downtown and neglected to take care of its real business of providing services to its residents: namely, safety, schools, and snowplowing. Neighborhoods that used to be safe are now becoming overrun with meth labs and drug killings. Just about the only people who live in Buffalo if they can afford to live elsewhere are people without kids or people who can afford to send their kids to private schools. Snowplowing in a snowy area like WNY is a big deal, and Buffalo long ago abandoned the plowing of most residential streets, except in the neighborhoods where the politically connected live.

    I would NEVER live in Buffalo ever again. Ever. Under any circumstances. I would NEVER even live in Erie County, which is the county that the city is in, because too much of that banana republic mentality has seeped into the county government as well.

  23. #98
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Whose fault is it that fringe incompetence is introduced to the public?

    But srsly, maybe we are witnessing performance art. We should acknowledge the talent of the artist.
    The fault lies with academia, especially the top planning schools. The paradigm shifts they call for will not happen at the snap of a finger. Incremental change is required, especially because of the politcal atmosphere of the United States.

    Performance art? Again, I would argue Ivory Tower bullshit. This scares people. And people do not respond rationally to fear.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  24. #99
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    The fault lies with academia, especially the top planning schools. The paradigm shifts they call for will not happen at the snap of a finger. Incremental change is required, especially because of the politcal atmosphere of the United States.

    Performance art? Again, I would argue Ivory Tower bullshit. This scares people. And people do not respond rationally to fear.
    I understand your position, but what about the issues I raised in the two posts just above? Those are real, concrete issues.

  25. #100
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TradArch12 View post
    And then you have the fact that American families are spending less and less time with one another. We only see each other from the end of our commute times to bedtime. Oftentimes the children have to have some other form of entertainment while both their parents are at work. So children end up being taken care of by people that aren't their parents, or TV serves as their babysitter, or kids find other forms of entertainment (sometimes illegal and often harmful to them) to occupy them. On top of that, it is becoming less and less common for extended families to meet together. You also have less and less people having kids, even though the homes they buy could fit more than 1 or 2. The elderly are also being increasingly isolated. They get less interaction with the youth, and often are being restricted to nursing homes and senior centers until their deaths. Is this really good for us on a social level?
    Often the only interaction with other people our children have is at school, which will often be a very harsh environment for them.

    On that subject, because our kids are so overweight and out of shape, we have to pay our government more and more money to be able to provide extracurricular activities for them at school, not only to keep them occupied before & after school, but also to try to keep them in shape.

    Once kids get the freedom that is given to them with the automobile, they can find their own entertainment, which as previously mentioned, it sometimes dangerous and illegal. Add to that the fact that automobile-related deaths is the number one cause of death among our youth; is this really a smart decision? To base our entire society around the automobile?

    Or the number three cause of death being suicide... I would argue that this is a result of increasing isolation and the individualistic attitude we promote. Because our kids' social interaction is mostly at school, and since they see their parents less and less, their parents aren't as involved in their school life (being more focused on their work), so tortured kids don't get the help they need. Add to that the fact that kids watch more and more TV, and play more and more video games each year, it's easy to see why kids seem to get so desperate, depressed and isolated. Is this really the best for them?

    I know at least 3 kids who during high school, or soon after, died of automobile accidents. Yet alcohol wasn't involved in either case. (two from drowning, one from being thrown from the car) In fact, two of my cousins were almost killed almost 10 years ago (they were in their early 20s) in a horrible car accident where alcohol wasn't involved. I'm not against cars, but to be so reliant on it is literally killing our youth. We can see way to many signs & crosses on the side of our roads...
    You have a complete lack of understanding of the human condition. You need to stop reading so many books, and instead interact with people, and experience life. I was once headed down your path, but soon realized I wasn't that important.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

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