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Poll results: Your personal attitude, as a planner (real or 'armchair'), towards ever-expanding suburban areas

Voters
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  • Suburbs rule!

    1 0.93%
  • It doesn't matter; my role in a free society is to advise on tech aspects not influence urban form

    7 6.48%
  • My role is to help shape the built environment, but I can't really stop people wanting suburbs

    49 45.37%
  • Planners should actively discourage sprawl and encourage denser forms

    47 43.52%
  • Low-density suburbs are a plague upon the earth; in a perfect world they would be banned entirely

    11 10.19%
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Thread: Your personal attitude, as a planner (real or 'armchair'), towards ever-expanding suburban areas

  1. #151
    BWharrie's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Cross Country Skiing, Australia
    Posts
    74

    Consequential Planning

    High density with no cars, yeah but we all like our independent moving device. But it is such a space sucker those cars. And the more detached houses, the more cars, the more roads/freeways, more cloverleaf interchanges and therefore more locations for homeless people under the flyovers and bridges. I think the ants/termites have got it worked out. Go big and tall.

  2. #152
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    775
    Quote Originally posted by BWharrie View post
    the more detached houses, the more cars, the more roads/freeways, more cloverleaf interchanges and therefore more locations for homeless people under the flyovers and bridges. I think the ants/termites have got it worked out. Go big and tall.
    Generally this is true but it all depends on modal share. If you are developing a culture with a high transit affinity or modal share, higher density detached homes can support a great deal of transit.. as was obviously the case in the US by 1910 or so.. and those streetcar operators were all private operators. Row houses and other configurations were present back then, of course, but the vast majority of what are now inner city areas successfully served by tolleys had detached homes. A quarter mile radius equates to 124 acres worth of footprint - and enough net parcelizable area for roughly 1,000 detached homes, at urban densities (patio homes and urban bungalows at an average of 8 units per gross acre.. to evoke the early 20th century meme. Each of those homes generates some 5 trips a day. If 50% of those trips require some form of mechanized transport, and 50% of that 50% (25% transit modal share) are taken up by bus/streetcar, that's 1,250 trips per day, or around an average of 30 passenger per car over a 12 hour standard peak operating cycle, operating atan average 15 minute headway (even today, a streetcar or on-tire bus network could, theoretically, break even at 20 passengers per car).

    The trick, of course, is to make sure that both the places people live and where their destinations - where they work, shop, school, recreate and worship - are all accessible by transit. If this is true, modal modal shares above the 5-7% frictional base you see in many US cities becomes possible.

    The problem for transit isn't really density.. it's low modal share. Get people out of their cars (usually be limiting available parking), then transit use at much lower densities becomes possible. There are plenty of primarily single family home neighborhoods - whether attached or detached - in Queens or Brooklyn NY that have 30-40%+ transit modal shares. To get higher modal share, you need to have realistic parking rationing/pricing, land-use-based transit mapping and coordination of destinations and decent service. Low modal share can be a self fulfilling prophecy. Yes, San Diego is a typically low transit modal share city, but I every time I take an MTS train there, it's full. I can't count the number of times when I sat on a platform for a ridiculously overdue train along with literally scores of passengers. The problem is that transit only goes to and from destinations frequented by a small portion of the city's population, not that people choose to drive.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 04 Jun 2012 at 2:49 PM.

  3. #153
    Member
    Registered
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    13

    Even in a democracy - choices decline as population grows

    As I sit on my two acres with horses, chickens, garden ponds and gardens on the edge of Fort Collins, CO, I am aware I would not want to live in a high-density community. I think the choices are reduced as population grows and we still have a growing population in the world, nation, state and county. Giving up all open space to sprawl is a poor choice for society, while many of us want these ranchettes. It's a touch set of choices.

    We are heritage interpretive planners which focus on telling the story of communities while trying to achieve logic model objectives developed with the voice of local people. We wrote a book, Put the HEART Back In Your Community, that gives 19 case studies of communities grappling with these issues in varied ways while protecting heritage, natural and cultural.

    Tim Merriman
    Heartfelt Associates

  4. #154
    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Northern Utah
    Posts
    3,986
    I read this post wrong, wrote a big scathing reply and am now supremely embarrassed. Please move along. Nothing to see here. - ursus.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

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