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Thread: Article: The Suburban War on Walkability

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Article: The Suburban War on Walkability

    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Walkability demands flexibility : new approach to neighborhood planning. There has be different available exit choices for people, to make any pedestrian or walkable plan successful whether its planning of park or commercial complex or mega exhibition pavilion.http://planningurbanoregional.blogsp...ility-new.html

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    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    Here is an aerial photo of a "NU" development in Ankeny Iowa. Is it just me or do those alleys serve no purpose because the houses are set so far apart?
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Here is an aerial photo of a "NU" development in Ankeny Iowa. Is it just me or do those alleys serve no purpose because the houses are set so far apart?
    Seems like the label New Urbanist is just becoming a tag line with no meaning whatsoever. Makes me wonder what contemporary development looks like in those parts.

    You are absolutely right. No one is going to walk in this community.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    You are absolutely right. No one is going to walk in this community.
    I agree. This development looks like so many suburban developments NU is supposedly trying to get away from. Ok, there are numerous connections to the adjacent streets, but the place is completely surrounded by undeveloped land. Where would someone even walk to? The dynamic we have here is similar in that many of the superblock suburban developments (first ring - they are now part of the city) center around parks and schools, but there is absolutely no retail or commercial activity except along the arterials that form the superblock boundaries. And you can't easily walk from one superblock subdivision to another because you have to cross 4-6 lane arterials that have crossings only every 1/4 mile where the lights are (and even those crossings feel dangerous). Same in this example. So, people are left to only walk as a recreational activity - walking just to walk. Which is good and people should do that, but to be a walkable area, there should be a multitude of reasons to walk or bike, not just to go around in a big circle and feel like you got some exercise... I don't see that any of this will be improved if the surrounding areas fill in.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Seems like the label New Urbanist is just becoming a tag line with no meaning whatsoever. Makes me wonder what contemporary development looks like in those parts.

    You are absolutely right. No one is going to walk in this community.
    Mee three. Speaking of tag lines, what should we call these sorts of projects that are NU in name only, NU being simply ad copy or greenwash? NUINO? Phew Urbanist? Faux Urbanist? Wannabe Duany-be?
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Wannabe Duany-be?
    Nice one! We can just call them Duany-bes for short.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    What is the greatest "walkability" distance most tolerated while carrying a quart of milk, a loaf of bread, a jar of mayonaise, and a dozen eggs?

    Maybe a pull cart would be practical, but I don't see anybody pulling empty carts to the grocery store to load them up.

    I see some walking to the store in our area, but rarely more than two or three blocks.

    I hate to think that we might need a grocery store every six blocks. Seems like this would put a lot of 18 wheelers in residential areas trying to make the route for frequent deliveries for small stores.

    I see some people riding bikes in the street occassionally, but it makes me very nervous every time I have to pass one of those wobbly things!

    Nostalgia for things long past sometimes just needs to be left as familiar rememberances.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=west+d...a&t=k&z=19Here is an aerial photo of a "NU" development in Ankeny Iowa. Is it just me or do those alleys serve no purpose because the houses are set so far apart?
    Is this an example of what not to do?

    The alley, while perhaps a way to get garage doors and driveways away from facing the street, and providing a place for garbage cans if garbage trucks are allowed to use the alley, practically doubles the amount of paving in the area. And look at the size of the driveways! What back yard is possible for letting your kids and pets play in a protected fenced care-free area? The lots seem awfully deep.

    A better solution might have been to require garages to be placed for side entry. This would get driveways and garage doors off the front of the houses. It would also allow for turn around space so that you would not have to back onto the street. This also provides a space for a basketball goal over paving at the rear of the driveway. It provides for wider lots to allow for major trees between houses for shading while maintaining "tree shaded" appearance, and more separation between houses. It also preserves space for a better back yard. It would also reduce the amount of paving required for the area by eliminating the "alley." I notice that the street was not reduced in size even though an alley had been added. (And the alley would have to be strong enough for garbage and recycling trucks or you still have the garbage left in front of the house on the street, and the question of who maintains the alley - subdivision homeowners?) This would also allow for reducing the amount of hard-scape to provide for a higher percentage of natural ground surface for recharging the aquifer, and placing less demand on storm water detainage/retainage areas. Removal of the alley also reduces the concern about "Who is driving along our alley at this time of night?"! Does the city provide street lighting and alley lighting?

    The subject was "walkability." There appears to be plenty of opportunity for walking around the neighborhood for exercise, even if there is no apparent "destination" such as a store in the area.

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