Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1 2 3 ... LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 86

Thread: Has the phrase "New Urbanism" lost meaning?

  1. #26
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    611
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    This statement simply underscores the truth of Cismontane's statement. Not everybody wants to live the way YOU think that they should. IT'S NOT UP TO YOU TO DECIDE HOW THEY LIVE! Capiche?

    What would make me happy is to live on a 1,000 acre tract at the end of some gravel road where my dogs could safely sleep in the road all day and where I could wander around naked if I was so inclined because there'd be no neighbors and no traffic. The only time I like crowds is when I go to a football game, a NASCAR race or some other event. I sure as hell don't enjoy listening to my neighbors' music, kids, arguments or hotrods.

    As for "walkabity" in urban neighborhoods, it's highly over-rated. I'll do my walking on hiking trails, thank you very much. Less chance of getting mugged or tripping over an uneven sidewalk.

    Unlike you, however, I recognize that what makes ME happy wouldn't appeal to everybody else -- or probably even very many other people.

    Just because YOU want to live cheek-to-jowl with strangers whom you can pretend to know doesn't mean everybody else does.
    Despite your vehemence, you have no idea what you are talking about. The whole point of this thread is that your ideal of a Thoreauean existence is compatible with the New Urbanism since the rural-to-urban Transect has natural and rural zones. The term, "urbanism," describes the relationship of buildings to each other. Those buildings can be combined in the ways they have been assembled for millenia before the advent of the car and the freeway, or we can have the 60-year-old status quo that has demonstrably failed as one of the worst experiments in human history.
    Last edited by Pragmatic Idealist; 08 Aug 2011 at 12:31 PM.

  2. #27
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    611
    I'd once again like to remind you, Linda_D, that you are the only person in these discussions who is arguing to force everyone to live a particular way. Automobile dependency is what you advocate in all contexts. Human-scaled transportation isn't even a choice in the world you are here everyday trying to impose on all the rest of us. And, your authoritarianism in this regard is the height of hypocrisy.

  3. #28
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    771
    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    I can objectively
    With all due respect, you cannot. Until you show us the numbers, tied to the formal biases you advocate, you have only conjecture. Conjecture is, by definition, NOT objective.

    There are (culturally and climatically differentiated) rules of thumb born of empirical research, about how far people are willing to walk to certain types of destinations that should provide guidance for design, and about how mixed-use services should be.. assuming that walkable access is, in fact, an objective of design, which it may or may not be. These rules of thumb have nothing to do with other "new urbanist" theories of formal design.

    Remember, your objective (the problem your stakeholders or clients have "hired" you to solve and which you arrived at with them through a process of discovery.. whether achieved through surveys, fieldwork, workshops, charettes, interviews, whatever), determines the strategies you use to achieve that objective, not the other way around. If your objective is to promote walkability - because that is what your stakeholders want and not just beceause it's what you want - then some strategies such as distance, sidewalk width, climate-based protection, distance of entrances, etc, come into play. If, on the other hand, your objective is vehicular carpool facilitation, then other strategies come into play. Without knowing what your objective is, you cannot tell me (like the New Urbanists try to do) what the appropriate strategies are. There is no such thing as a universal set of objectives dictated by Duany Plater-Zyberk, PJ Solomon or the CNU. When they say "we know what people want" exogenous of an open, truly non-determined stakeholder process, they throw all of this process out the window in favor of simple dictat. Dictat is not good planning.

    In my humble opinion, physical planning requirements should be (i) determined bottom-up through stakeholder input, (ii) performance-based - they should be based on measurable criteria, and (iii) informed by best practice, in that order, not the other way around.

    Once again, my suspicion is that you're long on rhetoric and short on facts.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 08 Aug 2011 at 12:49 PM.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Colo Front Range
    Posts
    2,471
    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    Once again, my suspicion is that you're long on rhetoric and short on facts.
    Not just you - I suspect the list is rather long. When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  5. #30
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    771
    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    your authoritarianism in this regard is the height of hypocrisy.
    PI, again with respect, you do realize that you come off to me as being, by far, the most authoritarian and dogmatic personality here, by a long shot, don't you?
    Last edited by Cismontane; 08 Aug 2011 at 12:52 PM.

  6. #31
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    611
    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    With all due respect, you cannot. Until you show us the numbers, tied to the formal biases you advocate, you have only conjecture. Conjecture is, by definition, NOT objective.

    There are (culturally and climatically differentiated) rules of thumb born of empirical research, about how far people are willing to walk to certain types of destinations that should provide guidance for design, and about how mixed-use services should be.. assuming that walkable access is, in fact, an objective of design, which it may or may not be. These rules of thumb have nothing to do with other "new urbanist" theories of formal design.

    Remember, your objective (the problem your stakeholders or clients have "hired" you to solve and which you arrived at with them through a process of discovery.. whether achieved through surveys, fieldwork, workshops, charettes, interviews, whatever), determines the strategies you use to achieve that objective, not the other way around. If your objective is to promote walkability - because that is what your stakeholders want and not just beceause it's what you want - then some strategies such as distance, sidewwalk width, climate-based protection, distance of entrances, etc, come into play. If, on the other hand, your objective is vehicular carpool facilitation, then other strategies come into play. Without knowing what your objective is, you cannot tell me (like the Nuew Urbanists try to do) what the appropriate strategies are. There is no such thing as a universal set of objectives dictated by Duany Plater-Zyberk, PJ Solomon or the CNU.

    Once again, my suspicion is that you're long on rhetoric and short on facts.
    I hit a nerve with you regarding the Apple spaceship, but I like the example because it illustrates so many of the failures of late 20th Century planning. Steve Jobs will probably access the site by private car and helicopter. But, any one of the 14,000 others who wish to work for Apple there has to either drive or vanpool. There are no other options. Given the scale of the office building, that design is simply irresponsible and ineffective if the goal for Apple is to attract and retain the best people and to present itself as a good steward of the social and natural environments.
    Last edited by Pragmatic Idealist; 08 Aug 2011 at 1:27 PM.

  7. #32
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2010
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    218
    As for "walkabity" in urban neighborhoods, it's highly over-rated. I'll do my walking on hiking trails, thank you very much.
    This statement I think shows much of what went wrong with our planning of cities. No one here has anything against hiking trails - I love to hike and indeed think one of the blind spots of SOME urbanists is not to include enough close-in natural space in cities - great cities to me have nature (i.e. Golden Gate Rec Area in San Francisco or Forest Park in Portland or our sort-of-nice creekside greenbelts in the Denver metro).

    But walkability in cities is a key to livability OF CITIES. When we plan for cities (20% of Americans live in center cities, and about 50% live in major metros), we cannot simply dream of a hiking trail, create a crappy city environment, and say, "well, what do you expect, its a city. Of course it's going to be crappy. Go hiking on the weekend." (I've heard this one a few times before in my fair city). Within a city, planners are tasked with creating a livable physical environment.

    And while I do not believe there is one-size fits all method of urban design, I do believe, as Cismontane says, that trained urban designers can look at various urban areas to know what are the ELEMENTS that lead to walkability - i.e. a pleasant place to walk, visual interest, a sense of safety, and destinations within walking distance. Not to mention, THERE IS statistical evidence that the "conventional" street design combined with convention land use results in arterial streets with higher rates of accidents and pedestrian deaths than more traditional streets. I could look back at the CNU 202 sessions where these papers were presented.

    Please keep in mind the transect includes every environment from predominantly single-family urban neighborhoods, to suburbs, to tracts of 1000 acres of farms and woodland. It does not tell people where to live - only is a tool to think about planning for the various environments. Indeed, in growing areas like mine, if one expects to preserve nature nearby, it means growing smarter.
    Last edited by docwatson; 08 Aug 2011 at 1:46 PM.

  8. #33
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    611
    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Not just you - I suspect the list is rather long. When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
    The original hammers were the massive public investment in freeways, the minimum setbacks, the maximum building heights, the separated-use zoning, the minimum parking ratios, the maximum F.A.R.'s, etc. Shall government fiat remain exclusively the tool of the advocates for automobile dependency?

  9. #34
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,698
    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    I'd once again like to remind you, Linda_D, that you are the only person in these discussions who is arguing to force everyone to live a particular way. Automobile dependency is what you advocate in all contexts. Human-scaled transportation isn't even a choice in the world you are here everyday trying to impose on all the rest of us. And, your authoritarianism in this regard is the height of hypocrisy.
    I consider ideologies to be bunk, and doctrinaire adherents of said ideologies to be either fools or charlatans, be that ideology of the political, philosophical, religious, social, economic or planning variety. I'm somebody who doesn't feel that I should dictate to other people how they should live because I sure wouldn't want somebody telling me how I should live.

    If you want to delude yourself into believing that there's this huge groundswell of anti-automobile feeling among the American populace who are just aching to embrace mass transit and walking back and forth to the supermarket every day, you're welcome to believe it. Just don't make the claim that it's "objective" because it's NOT. It's just as objective as believing the Earth is flat.

    PS -- I'd much rather drive a horse and buggy than a car, but the City of Jamestown won't allow me to keep a horse on my lot.

  10. #35
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hang on Sloopy...land
    Posts
    10,090
    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    Shall government fiat remain exclusively the tool of the advocates for automobile dependency?
    To me, the way you phrase this sentence tells me a lot about your perspective. Personally, I think that we can incorporate mixed-use and other NU principles into our existing developments, but I am not pompous enough to believe that it is what is "best" for our country or its people. These things work in certain areas, just as TOD, large lot zoning, or Euclidian zoning works (I know it is hard for you to believe that it works, but it does).

    The government fiat that created highways and Euclidian zoning also helps to create the environments that you so desire. Why haven't NU worlds evolved over the last 20 years? Is it because planners aren't pushing hard enough for them? Or is it because most people don't want them?

    I think we both know the real answer.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  11. #36
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    611
    It's important to remember that "walkability" is a catch-all term that encompasses all human-scaled transportation, including Neighborhood Electric Vehicles and bicycles, as well as standard-size car sharing.

  12. #37
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    771
    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    It does not tell people where to live - only is a tool to think about planning for the various environments. .
    Exactly.

    There are also plenty of ways to facilitate walkability where it is practicable and possible because (1) increasing the viability/count of possible access modes increases the viability of the design and its ability to service diverse populations .. if you provide for walkability, as well as driveability, then you accommodate both the person who needs or wants to walk and the person who needs or wants to drive or hop on transit and (2) parking is a huge constraint on urban form and a huge cost. If you can, in dense urban contexts, decrease parking requirements by increasing use of non-vehicular modes, then you decrease the amount of valuable land that has to be set aside for parking as well as resolve the various design constraints that inevitably emerge in accommodating vast amounts of parking.

    I think a key difference in the places I work in as opposed to where Linda works is just density. My work tends to occur in central cities where vehicle-centric accommodation is just not possible. If you had to park and drive two cars per household in Midtown Manhattan or even Centre City San Diego or central London or Beijing, you're pretty much just out of luck. If somebody had the choice in those places to drive from the garage under their apartment building to the nearby grocery or convenience store, for example, you'd need to create parking not only for the unit, but also for the services. That would very quickly get out of control and become totally unpracticable. Thus, you don't really have any choice: you need to design for walkability or the overall design objectives of your project area will fail.

    Of course, Linda or PI might conceivably wish to argue for fixing density at their respective personal preferences, but, for me, in the places I work, density is pretty much determined by the bid-rent curve (generally, what the developer wants or what the tax-base demands) and not by the dictation of planners. The economics of the place dictates how dense it will be.. you're simply providing a planning solution to accommodate that density. As a planner, I might be able to tweak that a little bit (bid-rent predicts average FAR 3.0, but I can push that through clever design to 3.25 or 3.50 and still sell the homes.. giving my client a little better return or giving the city a little more tax base) or change the distribution of it (bid-rent predicts average FAR 3.0 but thousing market dynamics demand that 3/4th of that is in single family homes at a maximum of FAR 1.0, so the balance of the development has to, by definition, take place at FAR 9.0)!

  13. #38
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    771
    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    It's important to remember that "walkability" is a catch-all term that encompasses all human-scaled transportation, including Neighborhood Electric Vehicles and bicycles, as well as standard-size car sharing.
    No it most certainly does not. If I said what you just said to my transport planners, they'd literally laught in my face. Walkability refers only to ped. Bike/ped or Bike/walkability is different. Just bike is possible. You can coin a term like "alternative transport" to refer to bike/ped/ev/transit, but that is NOT walkability.

  14. #39
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    611
    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    To me, the way you phrase this sentence tells me a lot about your perspective. Personally, I think that we can incorporate mixed-use and other NU principles into our existing developments, but I am not pompous enough to believe that it is what is "best" for our country or its people. These things work in certain areas, just as TOD, large lot zoning, or Euclidian zoning works (I know it is hard for you to believe that it works, but it does).
    I have nothing against large lot residences in the right places just as I have nothing against single-use low-density residential neighborhoods in the right places. I object, though, to placing the large lot zones and the low-density single-use neighborhoods in giant pods that are completely divorced from employment, retail, and other uses and from other housing typologies. You're making all sorts of incorrect assumptions about me, and my positions. Personally, I think the guideline of three transect zones in each pedestrian shed makes sense. More importantly, had the freeways and other infrastructures not been built in the way they were, the three-transect-zone-per-pedestrian-shed development pattern would occur organically in most situations. New Urbanism is new because it attempts to reestablish the transects in the face of this car- and freeway-dominated reality.

  15. #40
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    611
    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    No it most certainly does not. If I said what you just said to my transport planners, they'd literally laught in my face. Walkability refers only to ped. Bike/ped or Bike/walkability is different. Just bike is possible. You can coin a term like "alternative transport" to refer to bike/ped/ev/transit, but that is NOT walkability.
    That's because they are transport planners. The urban form that encourages people to walk and to spend time also promotes cycling and N.E.V. use. My point is that, in creating "walkable" environments, the objective is to design more for human-scaled transportation, in general, as well as for car sharing and transit.
    Last edited by Pragmatic Idealist; 08 Aug 2011 at 2:57 PM.

  16. #41
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hang on Sloopy...land
    Posts
    10,090
    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    I have nothing against large lot residences in the right places just as I have nothing against single-use low-density residential neighborhoods in the right places. I object, though, to placing the large lot zones and the low-density single-use neighborhoods in giant pods that are completely divorced from employment, retail, and other uses and from other housing typologies. You're making all sorts of incorrect assumptions about me, and my positions. Personally, I think the guideline of three transect zones in each pedestrian shed makes sense. More importantly, had the freeways and other infrastructures not been built in the way they were, the three-transect-zone-per-pedestrian-shed development pattern would occur organically in most situations. New Urbanism is new because it attempts to reestablish the transects in the face of this car- and freeway-dominated reality.
    I like that you seemed to cut out the second part of my post. I will repost it again for you.

    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner
    Why haven't NU worlds evolved over the last 20 years? Is it because planners aren't pushing hard enough for them? Or is it because most people don't want them?

    I think we both know the real answer.
    I have no reason to try and reason with you, because in the end the truth is that people do not want what you are advocating for. And even if they are "wrong" and should want more density, or to walk more, they don't. And in they end that is what shapes policy.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  17. #42
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    611
    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    Exactly.

    There are also plenty of ways to facilitate walkability where it is practicable and possible because (1) increasing the viability/count of possible access modes increases the viability of the design and its ability to service diverse populations .. if you provide for walkability, as well as driveability, then you accommodate both the person who needs or wants to walk and the person who needs or wants to drive or hop on transit and (2) parking is a huge constraint on urban form and a huge cost. If you can, in dense urban contexts, decrease parking requirements by increasing use of non-vehicular modes, then you decrease the amount of valuable land that has to be set aside for parking as well as resolve the various design constraints that inevitably emerge in accommodating vast amounts of parking.

    I think a key difference in the places I work in as opposed to where Linda works is just density. My work tends to occur in central cities where vehicle-centric accommodation is just not possible. If you had to park and drive two cars per household in Midtown Manhattan or even Centre City San Diego or central London or Beijing, you're pretty much just out of luck. If somebody had the choice in those places to drive from the garage under their apartment building to the nearby grocery or convenience store, for example, you'd need to create parking not only for the unit, but also for the services. That would very quickly get out of control and become totally unpracticable. Thus, you don't really have any choice: you need to design for walkability or the overall design objectives of your project area will fail.

    Of course, Linda or PI might conceivably wish to argue for fixing density at their respective personal preferences, but, for me, in the places I work, density is pretty much determined by the bid-rent curve (generally, what the developer wants or what the tax-base demands) and not by the dictation of planners. The economics of the place dictates how dense it will be.. you're simply providing a planning solution to accommodate that density. As a planner, I might be able to tweak that a little bit (bid-rent predicts average FAR 3.0, but I can push that through clever design to 3.25 or 3.50 and still sell the homes.. giving my client a little better return or giving the city a little more tax base) or change the distribution of it (bid-rent predicts average FAR 3.0 but thousing market dynamics demand that 3/4th of that is in single family homes at a maximum of FAR 1.0, so the balance of the development has to, by definition, take place at FAR 9.0)!
    Some of this needs to be addressed at the regional scale. In southern California, the peak land-value intersections are, despite the effects of the automobile, still occurring, for the most part, in the city centers of Los Angeles and San Diego. SCAG and SanDAG, the two M.P.O.'s, are evidently cooperating to create a third in San Bernardino, which would effectively modulate intensities in a way that will fix southern California's economy and keep it sustainable since more affordable housing is needed in the coastal counties and more high-paying jobs are needed inland. Beyond lower-order transit investments, airports and regional rail improvements, including high-speed trains, will have the greatest effect.

  18. #43
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2010
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    218
    The government fiat that created highways and Euclidian zoning also helps to create the environments that you so desire. Why haven't NU worlds evolved over the last 20 years? Is it because planners aren't pushing hard enough for them? Or is it because most people don't want them?
    I like to go back to what I think are some well-designed surveys that show a reasonable view on this subject. CNU found about ten years ago, I think ("The Coming Demand" that about 1/3 of people want to live in a walkable, urban area. Add to this the reality of where/how we live at any given point in our life - I worked in a small, growing city that embraced the suburbanism of which you speak, yet market demand resulted in about 20% of new development being mutli-family, and 20% being townhomes - roughly reflecting previous patterns with a move to attached product of about 10 percentage points. Actually, a fair amount of development in my region is pseudo-new-urban now that it is permitted in more and more cities.

    More broadly, recent research shows that over 50% want their suburban homes to have features of walkability including both trails/parks and commercial areas within walking distance. People simply don't want to fight traffic - I would rephrase your question and ask if you really think we're entering a period where people embrace an ideology of wanting to sit in a parking lot of a freeway each day or fight traffic on a 6-8 lane arterial each day to get to work - because this is the reality of a metro area. A majority of our metro residents, and 38 mayors, supported a 0.6 percent sales tax to build a rail system, and the mayor who led the charge was elected Governor of our light-red state.

    If you want to delude yourself into believing that there's this huge groundswell of anti-automobile feeling among the American populace who are just aching to embrace mass transit and walking back and forth to the supermarket every day, you're welcome to believe it.
    I think a mistake you make is to ascribe transit use to ideology. It has much more to do with what works for people. I used to drive and carpool to work because my drive was 30 minutes, bike ride was 75 min and bus ride was 90 min with 2 transfers (from one downtown (140,000 pop) to another (65,000 pop)). I now work downtown in a metro of 2 million, live in a closer-in suburb, and I embrace the bus because a) it is faster than driving (HOV lanes); b) it is cheaper than parking. Of course I prefer not to drive and chose a location based on this, but I can tell you demand for these locations far outstrips supply. Even larger rental buildings had waitlists - whereas the more suburban apartment complexes would have been much easier to get into. Our primary city has thankfully responded by updating the zoning code so that new apartments can be built within the central city without fighting the suburban zoning overlaid on the entire city in the 1950s.
    Last edited by docwatson; 08 Aug 2011 at 3:06 PM.

  19. #44
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    771
    Quote Originally posted by Hink_Planner View post
    And even if they are "wrong" and should want more density, or to walk more, they don't. And in they end that is what shapes policy.
    All true, and to reiterate a point I made earlier, the reality is that we, as planners or urban designers, very seldomly have any say about average densities. We can tweak densities - or, more likely - their distribution, and come up with clever alternatives to facilitate the appearance of higher or lower densities but, in reality, in a free society, density is determined by the bid-rent curve. To give the most extreme examples: you would not build single family detached homes in midtown manhattan because their cost would outprice most all buyers, at hundreds of millions per unit, you would not build a 30 story tower in Millbrook because the tiny units in that tower would be nearly valueless (nobody would want them).. or certainly of insufficient value to justify their construction cost.

    Where we try to force density beyond a reasonable point, we either crater the market (by requiring too high densities) or we create an affordability crisis (by requiring too low densities). This is precisely why I despise GSE mortgage guarantees as much as I do: they're market distortions that let people buy more than they should be able to afford, which thereby creates an artificial bias in favor of lower densities and bigger homes which, in turn, has virtually destroyed the US economy.. and also endangered the American dream for all. Planning exists within harsh limits set by the market,and unless we live within them, we risk doing a lot of damage.
    Last edited by Cismontane; 08 Aug 2011 at 3:15 PM.

  20. #45
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2010
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    218
    Where we try to force density beyond a reasonable point, we either crater the market (by requiring too high densities) or we create an affordability crisis (by requiring too low densities).
    Well-said!

  21. #46
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
    Registered
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Hang on Sloopy...land
    Posts
    10,090
    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    I like to go back to what I think are some well-designed surveys that show a reasonable view on this subject. CNU found about ten years ago, I think ("The Coming Demand" that about 1/3 of people want to live in a walkable, urban area. Add to this the reality of where/how we live at any given point in our life - I worked in a small, growing city that embraced the suburbanism of which you speak, yet market demand resulted in about 20% of new development being mutli-family, and 20% being townhomes - roughly reflecting previous patterns with a move to attached product of about 10 percentage points. Actually, a fair amount of development in my region is pseudo-new-urban now that it is permitted in more and more cities.

    More broadly, recent research shows that over 50% want their suburban homes to have features of walkability including both trails/parks and commercial areas within walking distance. People simply don't want to fight traffic - I would rephrase your question and ask if you really think we're entering a period where people embrace an ideology of wanting to sit in a parking lot of a freeway each day or fight traffic on a 6-8 lane arterial each day to get to work - because this is the reality of a metro area. A majority of our metro residents, and 38 mayors, supported a 0.6 percent sales tax to build a rail system, and the mayor who led the charge was elected Governor of our light-red state.
    Using studies by CNU for walkability or mixed-use land uses is like me asking who likes the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio. I don't exactly think the study would hold the same amount as it would if you held it in Gainesville or if the FHWA found the same things...

    Quote Originally posted by docwatson View post
    I think a mistake you make is to ascribe transit use to ideology. It has much more to do with what works for people. I now work downtown in a metro of 2 million, live in a closer-in suburb, and I embrace the bus because a) it is faster than driving (HOV lanes); b) it is cheaper than parking. Of course I prefer not to drive and chose a location based on this, but I can tell you demand for these locations far outstrips supply. Even larger rental buildings had waitlists - whereas the more suburban apartment complexes would have been much easier to get into. Our primary city has thankfully responded by updating the zoning code so that new apartments can be built within the central city without fighting the suburban zoning overlaid on the entire city in the 1950s.
    The part that is funny to me is that you say for you it is about the easy of transit and your ability to get around "faster". The point is that lots of people don't care about that. They would rather be alone in their car then to ride the bus. They would rather wait in traffic than pay to ride a train. It isn't because they couldn't, it is because they don't want to. They are willing to move outside of cities and into these evil suburbs to get what they want. They commute and sit in a car, because that is worth it for them to get the land use pattern they want.

    The problem is that you continue to believe that your vision for a city is what people want. I agree that mixed-use is much more preferable than many other development patterns, but to say that people for 50 years are just following the leader because they don't know what is best for them (which I know you didn't directly say, but in essence that is your argument), is just silly.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  22. #47
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Encinitas, CA
    Posts
    705
    Just one point. I don't think it's entirely accurate to say that the lack of new urbanist developments is primarily market driven. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that isn't the case - e.g., the success of developments that incorporate new urbanist principles in the design.

    The problem, in my mind, isn't the market per se - but it's the developers' influence on the market. That is, most developers are not willing to break the mold if you will. If a certain type of development worked well for Mr. Developer in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, why stick your neck out and try something new (e.g., mixed uses, etc.)?

    Slowly over time, more and more developers are seeing examples of where these newer concepts were successful, and slowly they incorporate the concepts in bits and pieces. In some cases, the local agencies also drive this by requiring things like demonstrating walkability or requiring mixed uses. But overall, developers manipulate the market to a large degree by refusing to take the risk that new urbanist concepts represent. Why design something that is so starkly different from the adjacent cookie cutter subdivision next door that was perfectly successful?

    Obviously, this observation is more geared towards suburbia than more urban environments. But I work in CA, where the vast majority of new development is suburbia. For me, clients who want the innovative design are few and far between, while clients who want cookie cutter developments are the norm.

    Also, and perhaps unique to CA, CEQA plays a large role in actually discouraging things like walkability. Just about every development here (again, outside urban areas) is required to incorporate vast amounts of open space (i.e., more than is required just for recreation), as necessary to avoid environmental impacts. The result is massive sprawl with open space interspersed between the sprawl. New Urbanism and CEQA are only sometimes compatible, unfortunately.

  23. #48
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2010
    Location
    BC, Canada
    Posts
    218
    Rather than reply to those making straw men and speaking for "most people," it occurred to me on my lunchtime walk that this has degenerated into the never-ending new urbanism bad vs. new urbanism thread and should probably be moved there, as the original question was actually interesting and one that added some planning value for me.

    But I will repeat my stock thought experiment proposal: remove minimum lot sizes, minimum parking requirements, height limits, even open space requirements (interesting comment on CEQA) and transportation standards that limit connectivity to a 1-mi arterial grid, and let's see what people "want"!

  24. #49
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    611
    Returning to Cismontane's point regarding market demand for density, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Bernardino originally held parity with each other until the streetcars were dismantled, the freeways were built, and the planes replaced the trains. And, many other metropolitan areas in the U.S. experienced similar effects by which the growth of certain urban cores through the design of the transportation system undermined the vitality of others. So, the adverse impacts of cars, oil, and freeways are readily observable, especially in the older cities that were built around the railroads. Moreover, the lack of affordable housing in most major metropolises is a function of a deficiency in the supply of metropolises, themselves. As I've said before, if everyone is clamoring to live in San Francisco, then planners should be making more San Franciscos. Additionally, the metropolis produces the greatest G.D.P. per capita and the most innovation. So, smarter infrastructure investments to create these places are needed around the country. Other nations seemingly understand this concept and are making such things as high-speed rail a priority, but we don't seem to be able to overcome those special interests that have bought our democracy and that profit from the status quo.

  25. #50
    Cyburbian HomerJ's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2010
    Location
    I'm gettin' there
    Posts
    939
    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    then planners should be making more San Franciscos.
    If I told people in KC that they need to be more like San Francisco, well.... I shudder to think of the reaction I would get.

    I admire the tenacity, but this sounds like lobbying more than planning. To echo what others are saying, you can't cram this stuff down people's throats, they'll just spit it back in your face, it doesn't matter if you're "right".
    Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

+ Reply to thread
Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1 2 3 ... LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 1
    Last post: 20 Jul 2007, 4:24 PM
  2. Replies: 3
    Last post: 20 Sep 2006, 1:52 PM
  3. Replies: 10
    Last post: 26 Sep 2005, 6:15 PM
  4. Replies: 4
    Last post: 31 Dec 2004, 1:14 PM
  5. Replies: 18
    Last post: 29 Feb 2004, 4:52 PM