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Thread: Myths embraced by armchair planners

  1. #51
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    The operative word in that section is "far." Nice try though.
    I wasn't "try"ing anything. And I still don't fully understand your point of view. What is far to you? The picture you posted? To me that's not far at all. Far would be residential areas with 100 foot long paths to the main house. 10-15 feet of sidewalk is great, in my opinion. Hell, even 20 feet, where you have space enough to put activities on the sidewalk (cafes, restaurants, vendors, etc.) is awesome to me.

    This:



    As opposed to this:

  2. #52
    Member
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    The reason that people drive cars everywhere (in this sprawling low density city) is because there isn't enough public transport.

  3. #53
    Quote Originally posted by Huck View post
    I wasn't "try"ing anything. And I still don't fully understand your point of view. What is far to you? The picture you posted? To me that's not far at all. Far would be residential areas with 100 foot long paths to the main house. 10-15 feet of sidewalk is great, in my opinion. Hell, even 20 feet, where you have space enough to put activities on the sidewalk (cafes, restaurants, vendors, etc.) is awesome to me.

    This:



    As opposed to this:
    Far from the worst example, but an example of a built-form that I dislike

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=All+Sa...84.39,,0,-3.45

    Contrasted by one of my favriote neighborhoods in the same city, with buildings near the right-of-way.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=All+Sa...92.34,,0,-3.34

    The width of the sidewalk means little without knowing the characteristic of the surrounding land use.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Bay+St...,347.7,,0,7.61

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Queen+...1,43.88,,0,5.9

  4. #54
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Around where I am, there's a strong belief among many in the crunchy crowd that "back to the land" type living is actually greener and more sustainable than denser development. It's more of an aesthetic sense of what's environmentally friendly; four acres of woods, a house built with green-certified and recycled materials, an organic garden, a big compost pile, a Volvo 240 on the permeable driveway, and 3.5 goats. Sure, it may be "green", but it's still auto-dependent sprawl that increases commuting times, fossil fuse usage, conversation of farmland and environmentally sensitive areas to residential uses, and the cost of providing municipal services..

    It makes planning for TND/NU a challenge, because the people who advocate what I call "green sprawl" generally have very strong ideological beliefs. Many feel it's the only ideal way for people to live, just as some at the other end of the spectrum believe everybody should live in a McMansion on a cul-de-sac.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  5. #55
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    * Colleges, universities, and medical centers are always catalysts for growth in the surrounding neighborhood.
    * Neighborhoods near urban downtowns are always prime areas for gentrification.
    I wanted to expound on this a bit. Armchair planners in my hometown think the next hot neighborhoods will be those east of Main Street; in recent history the dividing line between affluent white neighborhoods to the west, and Detroit-like 'hoods across the street. They point to a booming biomed corridor with expanding hospitals, an influx of biotech- and medical-related companies, and the pending relocation of the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Downtown Buffalo, also experiencing a rebirth, straddles Main Street, so areas to the east are just as prime for gentrification as those to the west, right?

    Wrong.

    In cities where one-marginal neighborhoods are gentrifying, the transition is driven by high real estate prices. Middle-class homebuyers that want to live in an urban neighborhood, but can't afford more desirable areas, "pioneer" marginal areas at the fringes. In the Buffalo area, where decent houses in desirable, walkable, and safe neighborhoods are still very affordable, the market forces that would otherwise drive gentrification of the 'hood just don't exist. Why settle on the urban prairie of Cold Spring or Masten Park, when $180K will still get land you in North Buffalo, $150K will get you a nice bungalow in South Buffalo or Kenmore, and $50K a cottage in up-and-coming Black Rock?

    Gentrification is also driven in part by an interesting housing stock and urban fabric, both of which are rare on the East Side. The urban prairie east of Main is spreading, and the housing stock is dominated by modest telescoping houses and worker's cottages. Outside of certain pockets like Hamlin Park, the East Side was historically a working- and lower-middle class neighborhood, and the remaining housing stock reflects it.

    "But the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus ..." Nope. on the East Side of Cleveland, the presence of Cleveland Clinic spurred some redevelopment on the fringes of the Hough neighborhoods, but not enough to slow the spread of an encroaching urban prairie. New residents are largely African--American, many drawn by a 15 year tax abatement for new houses, others that are either required or feel a sense of obligation to live in the city limits. Doctors and nurses aren't flocking to the area just because it's close to work. Why would it be any different in Buffalo?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #56
    Cyburbian Faust_Motel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Around where I am, there's a strong belief among many in the crunchy crowd that "back to the land" type living is actually greener and more sustainable than denser development. It's more of an aesthetic sense of what's environmentally friendly; four acres of woods, a house built with green-certified and recycled materials, an organic garden, a big compost pile, a Volvo 240 on the permeable driveway, and 3.5 goats. Sure, it may be "green", but it's still auto-dependent sprawl that increases commuting times, fossil fuse usage, conversation of farmland and environmentally sensitive areas to residential uses, and the cost of providing municipal services..

    It makes planning for TND/NU a challenge, because the people who advocate what I call "green sprawl" generally have very strong ideological beliefs. Many feel it's the only ideal way for people to live, just as some at the other end of the spectrum believe everybody should live in a McMansion on a cul-de-sac.
    So, so much of this where I am. And then they all need to drive their single-occupant vehicle into and out of town because there are no dang jobs (or stores or services or really even schools) whatsoever out in their rural paradise and having a couple of chickens and a Pinterest-worth craft hobby isn't exactly paying the $3/4 million mortgage. But the solar panel in the backyard is such a nice green bandaid on the 4000 SF house with the 10-foot ceilings.

  7. #57
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Sacha View post
    The reason that people drive cars everywhere (in this sprawling low density city) is because there isn't enough public transport.
    Have you looked at alternative transportation, specifically, bikes and bike paths? The City that I went to college in had just this side of no public transit. The campus was a few miles from downtown, and it was a bit on the side of sprawling. However, they used a rails to trails program to build bike paths and because of a few vocal early adopters, there is a growing bike culture of people who don't own cars. To make matters more intense, it is Marquette Michigan where they get more than 12 feet of snow every year.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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