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Thread: Myths embraced by armchair planners

  1. #26
    Cyburbian
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    . . . or even better – "Building denser communities means completely obliterating all existing low-density suburbs."

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally posted by Howl View post
    . . . or even better – "Building denser communities means completely obliterating all existing low-density suburbs."
    "Because low density suburbs are the most evil force in the universe. Only cruel conservatives that actively promote global warming live there."
    My favorites:
    "Everyone would take public transportation given the chance."
    "The real estate market simply will not produce affordable housing. We must manipulate the tax code and heavily subsidize, managing it with an army of highly-paid government bureaucrats."
    This is fun.

    Quote Originally posted by Howl View post
    . . . or even better – "Building denser communities means completely obliterating all existing low-density suburbs."
    "Planners can control the flow of food into their communities. They shoud immediately wrestle with Wal-mart, Albertson's etc. to improve that market."

  3. #28
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I don't know if everyone is an armchair planner but everyone at a planning or zoning board meeting is suddenly a traffic engineer.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BurntPlanner View post
    How about myths believed by APA?
    "Everyone wants to live in dense communities with ethnic diversity, they just don't know it."
    Appropriate name is appropriate
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  5. #30
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    Appropriate name is appropriate
    People self-sort to be around people they are comfortable with. I'm stuck out here in the McSuburb as a function of marital negotiation. The better half could care less that the entire neighborhood never leaves their house except to have the dog cr*p. Were I to draw a bullseye on the map around me of people who don't want to see their neighbors, I could hit a couple thousand houses. Not everyone wants to be around people. That is how reality works.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  6. #31
    Quote Originally posted by BurntPlanner View post
    How about myths believed by APA?
    "Everyone wants to live in dense communities with ethnic diversity, they just don't know it."
    APA membership is optional. Don't pay membership dues if you don't want to drink their kool-aid.

  7. #32
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    People self-sort to be around people they are comfortable with. I'm stuck out here in the McSuburb as a function of marital negotiation. The better half could care less that the entire neighborhood never leaves their house except to have the dog cr*p. Were I to draw a bullseye on the map around me of people who don't want to see their neighbors, I could hit a couple thousand houses. Not everyone wants to be around people. That is how reality works.
    I wasn't really disagreeing; the name just seemed appropriate with the tone of his posts. I can empathize with that view since I play drums: I need some space so the neighbors don't get mad.
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  8. #33
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Sidewalks and bus routes bring home invasions.

    How many times you see a guy walking down the sidewalk or on the bus carrying a TV or safe?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  9. #34
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    -'Smaller minimum single-family residential lot sizes and more multi-family residential allowed in the local municipal zoning law' = 'more sprawl'
    while
    -'Larger minimum single-family residential lot sizes and less multi-family residential allowed in the local municipal zoning law' = 'less sprawl'.



    Mike

  10. #35
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    People self-sort to be around people they are comfortable with. I'm stuck out here in the McSuburb as a function of marital negotiation. The better half could care less that the entire neighborhood never leaves their house except to have the dog cr*p. Were I to draw a bullseye on the map around me of people who don't want to see their neighbors, I could hit a couple thousand houses. Not everyone wants to be around people. That is how reality works.
    True enough. Just let the would-be-hermits pay for the full cost of living in sylvan fastness.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  11. #36
    Cyburbian
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    That the characteristics they like about cities/neighborhoods/places are the result of "good planning" and characteristics they don't like about places are the result of "bad planning."

  12. #37
    Quote Originally posted by bentobox34 View post
    That the characteristics they like about cities/neighborhoods/places are the result of "good planning" and characteristics they don't like about places are the result of "bad planning."
    I might be guilty of this one!

  13. #38
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    That is a very valid point IMHO.
    The deterministic ascribing of urban or even broader social outcoems to architecture or plannign is often a stretch.
    That said, it must matter a little, otherwise why do it?
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  14. #39
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    * Urban downtowns and/or waterfronts are the ideal location for large football stadiums.
    ...
    We know football stadiums -- the American football kind -- are massive, space-hogging facilities that see only infrequent use, with vast seas of parking that remain empty throughout most of the year; and not a contributor to the day-to-day vibrancy of a neighborhood or downtown.
    I'm going to have to argue with you on this point. Stadiums can be a great catalyst for revitalizing a neighborhood. If you look at the Staples Center (basketball/hockey) or PetCo Park (Baseball) you can see what the development has done for the Downtown Los Angeles and San Diego areas, respectively. The problem is when you create the traditional stadium with the sweeping acres of surface parking and no other development comes along with it. I think developing a stadium needs to be part of a long term strategy for redevelopment. When done responsibly it can make a huge difference and be a wonderful tool for redevelopment(i.e. tax increment dollars).

    The problem, in my opinion, comes when you have a municipality construct a use that doesn't fit and they take no consideration of how to make it fit. Yes, putting a stadium in a downtown district that only gets use 8 days out of the year is a horrible land use. However, when you construct the stadium in a manner that allows multiple uses (concerts, conventions, other sports activities), now you've created an attraction. Get a developer on board to construct some housing units in close proximity and you've got a targeted audience to cater to. Now other commercial uses can be introduced, or ever light industrial. Add in a decent transportation system (light rail), and make parking so expensive that it discourages single occupancy vehicles...and you're on your way to a solid redevelopment strategy.

    Granted, this takes a lot of time and money, but hey, what doesn't.

  15. #40
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    That is a very valid point IMHO.
    The deterministic ascribing of urban or even broader social outcoems to architecture or plannign is often a stretch.
    That said, it must matter a little, otherwise why do it?
    True, my comment was perhaps overstated. To rephrase, it would be a general misunderstanding of how complicated the development process is and how planning fits into the picture. Also, a general failure to acknowledge the role of history and economics in shaping cities. For example, wishing a new neighborhood looked exactly like neighborhoods built in the 1920s, or 19th century without appreciating the extent to which the features they like about those neighborhoods reflect the economy of the city at the time they were built. Or conversely, going on about how the traffic congestion, infrequent transit, or ugly buildings in their city must be because of the "stupid planners," as if planning is an IQ test that yields better or worse cities depending on how many boxes you check correctly...

  16. #41
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bentobox34 View post
    ...wishing a new neighborhood looked exactly like neighborhoods built in the 1920s, or 19th century without appreciating the extent to which the features they like about those neighborhoods reflect the economy of the city at the time they were built...
    Indeed; though, again, that is not to say that some of those considerations cannot be reflected in current design.

    Quote Originally posted by bentobox34 View post
    traffic congestion, infrequent transit, or ugly buildings in their city must be because of the "stupid planners,"
    I would guess traffic congestion is a function of capacity vs. demand, given the urban form and population demographics. Infrequent transit would be a function of budgets vs. demand (again, given density and other such characteristics). Ugly buildings, though, reflect a more general lack of taste on the part of the general population. As long as people will drive 10 miles to a plastic shed to save 5% on a purchase there's nothign "planners" can do, short of draconian powers.

    My impression is that the problem most thoughtful people have regarding built space, especially in the US, is with a failure of design in which most planners have relatively little input. Day-to-day 'planning' , judging form what I read here, seems to entails the careful application of microrules; not planning in the general meaning of the word. This would explain some of the defensiveness exhibited by some of the professional planners vs. the armchair critics.
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  17. #42
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    My most hated term used by armchair planners: "built to the curb" to mean "built to the sidewalk" or "built to the right-of-way". A favorite among urban bloggers in Buffalo, for some reason.

    "That building shouldn't have a parking lot in front of it. It should be built to the curb!" Yeah, right. Out the door and right into traffic. You sound like an idiot if you say "built to the curb".
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  18. #43
    Dan, is that pet peeve really that bad? If someone told me "build to the curve," I would translate that as no ground-level setbacks from the right-of-way without even giving it a second thought.

    Off-topic:
    This was my hood growing up. As a result, I probably have a strong bias against structures set (far) back from the street.

  19. #44
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    Dan, is that pet peeve really that bad? If someone told me "build to the curve," I would translate that as no ground-level setbacks from the right-of-way without even giving it a second thought.

    Off-topic:
    This was my hood growing up. As a result, I probably have a strong bias against structures set (far) back from the street.
    You can get enclosure with trees, and have many more benefits besides. 'Build-to' lines are just faddish things that everyone thinks they should copy. IMHO.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  20. #45
    I disagree that it is "faddish" since many older and historic neighborhoods have the characteristic of being built to the right-of-way. From a pedestrian perspective, I strongly prefer it over a built environment with buildings far setback from the street. Enclosure is only part of the experience as retail and other uses add pedestrian traffic and help animate the street. Obviously, It doesn't make sense for all communities. It would be most appropriate as infill development in existing commercial and mixed-use neighborhoods that are already built to the street. If it's part of a new urbanism-type deal that's completely out of context with its surroundings, then I agree in that sense it's a fad that will hopefully soon go away. I'm guessing the latter is what you are talking about.

  21. #46
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    I'm guessing the latter is what you are talking about.
    I'm thinking I can't take any armchair planner in Buffalo seriously when they've have universally embraced "built to the curb" as a term meaning "built to the right-of-way."

    That's a curb.



    Here's "built to the curb."

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

  22. #47
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    I disagree that it is "faddish" since many older and historic neighborhoods have the characteristic of being built to the right-of-way. From a pedestrian perspective, I strongly prefer it over a built environment with buildings far setback from the street. Enclosure is only part of the experience as retail and other uses add pedestrian traffic and help animate the street. Obviously, It doesn't make sense for all communities. It would be most appropriate as infill development in existing commercial and mixed-use neighborhoods that are already built to the street. If it's part of a new urbanism-type deal that's completely out of context with its surroundings, then I agree in that sense it's a fad that will hopefully soon go away. I'm guessing the latter is what you are talking about.
    I'm confused. Are you saying that as a pedestrian you prefer to not have a place to walk?

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    My most hated term used by armchair planners: "built to the curb" to mean "built to the sidewalk" or "built to the right-of-way". A favorite among urban bloggers in Buffalo, for some reason.

    "That building shouldn't have a parking lot in front of it. It should be built to the curb!" Yeah, right. Out the door and right into traffic. You sound like an idiot if you say "built to the curb".
    I think "build to the curb" is a phrase limited to the comment section of Buffalo Rising articles. That's the only place I've seen it used. From what I've read, 'curb seems like a way for some of that board's anti-urban crowd to mock walkable streets than an actual construction method.

  24. #49
    Quote Originally posted by Huck View post
    I'm confused. Are you saying that as a pedestrian you prefer to not have a place to walk?
    The operative word in that section is "far." Nice try though.

  25. #50
    Cyburbian
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    Do you think there is a diversity limit? If a neighborhood becomes too diverse the property values will decline (and then raise problems by arm chair/lay planners)?

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