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Is Urban Sprawl Really A Problem?

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statler

Cyburbian
Messages
447
Points
14
I just came across this. (Those of you who read Fark.com probably saw it too.) Although the article has a very heavy conservitive bias, there are a few good points in here. (I think, being one of the few non-planning professionals in here I'm not sure) I'm really just curious to hear what you all have to say about it as it seems to contradict most of what I've read on this site.


Urban Sprawl
 

troy

Member
Messages
68
Points
4
I read a bit of it, but lost interest about halfway through... I'll give my feeback anyway.

The article says that only 5% of the land in the US is developed, and therefore, there is no crisis.

I have a feeling, that if you just look at the east coast, the percentage of developed land in those states would be very high...

I know that when I drove from San Diego to Las Angeles (west coast) a couple of years ago, we saw development along either side of the freeway all along that route...

Here in Texas, there is plenty of open land.

In Alaska, there is plenty of open land.

In the midwest, there is plenty of open land.

However, I would prefer that there be some open land within an hour's drive of everyone in the country...in almost any direction.

I think that the crisis of sprawl is not one of "all of the land is being consumed!", but rather "all of the land in the county is being consumed!" That is the level where we need to look at things.

My other issue, and this one is very important to me, is the loss of good farmland. Most communities in the US are located where they are because of quality of the land for agriculture. Yet it is this "first choice" arable land that is the first to be paved over and subdivided for housing. To me, that is foolish.

I would like to see a statewide and national policy for the preservation of existing farmland, ranchland, and timberland, and for the conversion of suitable wilderness areas to agricultural uses when the need for additional farmland arises... The amount of land needed should be determined by "build out" projections for land that isn't designated for agricultural or "open space" uses.

I don't want our nation to be short on farmland and become dependent on others for food (though if we ceased to be the breadbasket of the world, I think the whole world would be in trouble).

If it's not under the plow, or going to be under the plow, then it doesn't matter that much to me whether we build on it or not.
 

GeekyBoy

Cyburbian
Messages
41
Points
2
In addition to the forementioned...

The paper blames Smart Growth for burdening those with modest income - but what it didn't emphasize is that such a policy only burdens them only if they chose to live in/owning large houses. The benefits of large houses, however is never justified, other than the use of flowery rhetoric as "...single-family, detached, suburban-style housing on lots large enough to ensure some measure of privacy and easy access to green grass and nature's blessings.", while ignoring the infrastructural and transportation savings by implementation of densified housing, which in this paper, is equated to "neighborhood crowding". And needless to say, there was absolutely NO mentioning of the social cost of suburbanism as is.

The paper also lays blame on density being a factor against racial integration, particularly, by pointing out a higher rate of house ownership by blacks in sprawled areas. However, it never pointed out 1. the mechanism by which those blacks move from high to lower density areas, 2. the nature of those high density areas (inner city neighbourhoods with low income/rents, perhaps?) and 3. the percentage of blacks in high-density new developments. There is also the problem of equating home ownership to progress, without any sort of rational debate on the merit of such, under the guise of "the American Dream"

So what we basically have here, in the paper, is a rant drawing from limited statistics, and using them without an understanding of the underlying sociological conditions. It was being intellectually ignorant (and indeed, dishonest) about the benefits of high density developments (and its' subsequents savings), while promoting unproven, qualitative advantages of suburbanism, but ignoring destructive influences of which has been categorized and illustrated with a far larger number of studies (and indeed, experiments) over the years.

My critique? Worthless.

GB
 
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perryair

Cyburbian
Messages
41
Points
2
I couldn't pull up the article over here, but I do have something to say about generalized statements such as "only 5% of America is developed". There seem to be a lot of institutions and researchers who like to just throw out these simple one line measurements to tell us how good or bad something is.

I know that down here in So. Fla, over 50% of the total landmass is proably the Everglades National Preserve. Then there are various wetlands, parks, undevelopable parcels and etc etc etc. The amount of undeveloped land as a percentage of feasibly developable land would be a much better gauge of sprawl. Of course, this would totally kill the shock value of making a blanket statement such as "only 5% of our land is developed".

This also reminds me about an article I read on Planetizen where someone said that San Jose was a successful example of suburbia because it was more dense than New York. Only that New York actually meant New York State, not the City, which clearly he was trying to make the readers think of.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
I have always held the belief that people should be able to live wherever they choose. If someone's ideal home is on a 5-acre lot in the suburbs, who in the hell are we planners to tell them that they can't.

That being said, I think that development in rural areas needs to be done the right way, hence the term "Smart Growth. If you drive around most of suburban America you will notice that a lot of it was poorly planned. I think the thing in this article that I disagree with most is the author's criticism of Impact Fees. He makes it seem like impact fees are imposed for the sole purpose of discouraging residential development by increasing the cost of a home, when their purpose (by law) is to pay for the additional cost of services and infrastructure that will result as a result of that home being built. Impact fees go towards sewer upgrades and extensions, libraries, police, fire, ems. They are not intended to stop development or increase the cost so it it out of the price range of the average homebuyer.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
ya but

people should be allowed to live in the environment they want, however i believe mililons are being tricked into purchasing too much home, too much land, etc for their needs. I'm in a 2-bedroom 1000 sq ft home, i have a kid. some people cringe at the idea of having 1 bathroom.
C'mon, it teaches you family togetherness and how to share and time manage.

Plus i don't have to own a lawn tractor to mow my lawn, and I don't have any unused rooms in the house.

sprawl is a problem to me, it is a situtation developed with the car in mind. Sprawl should be contained and farmland (some of the most productive in the world in Illinois) should be presereved to feed our increasing populations.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
But, of course, JTFortin, you can't deny that impact fees do have that very effect (driving the costs of housing beyond the range of many Americans)

I'm not sure that this is a bad thing. In California, impact fees are the only way to fund public (and private) infrastructure. The biggest problem is that those who have use the political and environmental review process to keep out those who have not. We are neither building affordable single family housing nor affordable multifamily projects.

Questions about the efficiency of the fees, whether they are too high, etc. etc. still have to be resolved in the political arena. The purist would argue that everything should be privatized, but I remain unconvinced that this is ever possible.
 

GeekyBoy

Cyburbian
Messages
41
Points
2
choice vs. societal good

"I have always held the belief that people should be able to live wherever they choose. If someone's ideal home is on a 5-acre lot in the suburbs, who in the hell are we planners to tell them that they can't."

They can, of course - but there has to be a price to be exacted for such a choice. One has to ask the question - is it realistic for everyone to have their "ideal" home - when the various costs to the society is accounted for? Probably not.

GB
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
BKM said:
But, of course, JTFortin, you can't deny that impact fees do have that very effect (driving the costs of housing beyond the range of many Americans)
But why should other people have their taxes raised so more people can move in and a developer can make money? It only makes sense to charge the people who are creating the additional strain on public services. Also, impact fees are not charged to people moving into "used" houses, just new construction.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,890
Points
26
argue

i would argue that community zoning codes, the way they are assemebled are also the reason the developer is putting this additional strain on resources. If narrow-lot or more dense developments were encouraged, the developer would surely follow it.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,903
Points
35
Re: argue

boiker said:
If narrow-lot or more dense developments were encouraged, the developer would surely follow it.
Hmmm...I'm not so sure - a lot of municipalities have adopted plans, etc. to limit sprawl, encourage mixed-use development, etc. - but the developers will oftentimes say that they can't or won't build that way because "that's not what the market wants"
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
It seems like there is a fine line that developers walk. They like larger lots because that it what the market supports however, they also like smaller lot zoning ordinances because they can cram more lots into a development, thus making more money.
 

GeekyBoy

Cyburbian
Messages
41
Points
2
Having smart growth plans by itself might not be enough - especially in cases where the region consists of a series of municipalities, each with their own plans. The developer can always sprawl in 'rogue' communities, thus putting pressure onto anti-sprawl ones to conform (or otherwise lose valuable development charges and tax-base)

GB
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Sure jFortin. I agree, why should newcomers get a free ride (although some argue that the earlier residents who bought pre-Impact fees got a free ride, but hey, life is unfair). I was just commenting that the fees do raise prices-and in California pretty significantly.
 

troy

Member
Messages
68
Points
4
Re: Re: argue

Tranplanner said:


. - but the developers will oftentimes say that they can't or won't build that way because "that's not what the market wants"
I think that the vast majority of developers, like most businessmen, are very conservative in terms of their product. They will say "that's not what the market wants" only because they haven't seen it succeed before.

Nobody knows whether the market wants a given product or not until that product is offered to the public.

Back in High School, I had this idea that you should be able to get a can of cold water out of a soda machine that you could carry with you to class or wherever, but I figured that, since water is "free" from a tap, nobody would ever pay for it.

A few years later, bottled water was for sale in vending machines everywhere. If I'd had a bit of money and taken a leap of faith, I'd be rich! Instead, I laugh at people buying bottled water and secretly wish that I'd been able to tap that market.

While the developer may feel that the market won't support a given product, I think it would be prudent for our profession to encourage experimentation in housing types wherever possible.

Then again...its not my money on the line. Encourage experimentation through incentives, rather than forcing experiments through compulsion.
 

green22

Cyburbian
Messages
101
Points
6
Often developers are merely building what local governments have asked for.Sprawl is not an accident ,it is encoded in municipal law.The laws say that developers have a minimum not max lot size:bigger is better.Laws restrict high density housing forms:density bad.Zoning retricts mixed use developments:separate all uses.There are minimum road widths:wider better.Minimum on site parking requirements:provide for car/ transit unimportant.keep traffic flowing by restricting intersections:Align streets for car travel.Restrict streets from crosing arterials:separate communities from eachother.Retail is zoned in large bands next to arterials:strip malls and shopping centers.
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
As a Planning Commissioner (not a Planner), I remember reading a book by an attorney (that represented both Planning Commissions/Cities and zoning applicants) that explained that in his research he found that Hellenic cities became very deteriorated and over-crowded over the years. In order to protect the growth outside the inner core, planning was better thought out and enforced. This was the beginning of City Planning as we know it. Hellenistic cities became better than the original Hellenic cities.

He went on to state that City Planning in America really got its birth in about 1920 when residents in the "suburbs" sought to protect themselves from the crowded growth patterns of the inner city that was moving toward them. The courts upheld their residential zoning provisions, and this was the beginning of City Planning in America as protected by the courts.

Note that the origins of City Planning apparently was to protect "Suburbia" from the evils of "Urbana". It was to protect liveable residential areas, not to assure that "evil" inner cities could "sprawl" into bucolic residential areas!

It still sounds like the right idea!

Are we getting it backwards today?
 

green22

Cyburbian
Messages
101
Points
6
It may be that although government says it wants smart growth,not strip mall sprawl ,it takes a lot of time to change laws and codes and conservative attitudes to alter the way places are being built.Some places like Oregon and the city of Portland ,instead of complaining about developers ,or the dept of transportation actually altered some of their laws to build what they and their residents say they want.The existing planning laws around the country are basically the same car friendly laws that existed before there was a smart growth movement.I would hope that if laws reflecting the smart growth movement ever came into place that we would not wait 50 years to adapt them to any negative effects that the laws may cause in their real life implementation.Cities and citizens attitudes are dynamic and the laws should better reflect the concerns of inhabitants.
 

El Feo

Cyburbian
Messages
674
Points
19
My two cents - admittedly not thought through all the way...

I believe that to a certain extent, sprawl is not a "problem" of code, tradition, etc., but is due in large part to technology and basic human desires. Frank Lloyd Wright's "Broadacre City" was essentially an effort toward "well-designed" sprawl, based on what he viewed as the decentralizing technologies of his day - the telephone, rural electrification, the automobile. In our time, add high speed internet connectivity and, despite the tech implosion, a continuing upward trend in wireless product use. I know it's still the exception, not the rule, but for over a year I telecommuted from rural Massachusetts to a job in Arlington, Virginia, for a job that required a pretty significant amount of travel. It wasn't necessary that I live in a city, so I didn't.

Wright's point, and I think it's legit to a degree, was that cities arose, and people lived in them, only because they had to in order to access jobs and markets. Throughout history, folks have moved away from cities to the extent that technological developments have allowed. He felt that modern decentralizing technologies held the potential to (in his words) "unlock the door to the urban cage," which in a contemporay context may sound vaguely racist, but I don't take it in that spirit.

We can debate about how to properly assign the costs of the various housing and development choices, but I think the reason we sprawl is a pretty simple one: by and large we want to.
 
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BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
For maybe 90% of the population, I think El Feo is right. There is a minority-and it is only that-that likes "urban" densities and the excitement of city life. For many, it is a lifecycle issue. I think also that our current American development system, for a variety of reasons, does not produce enough urbanity for this minority/the young-leading to overheated markets in the relatively few "urban" environments with much urban and architectural quality (Boston, Manhattan, SF, etc.)

The big questions still remain: we may WANT to live on three acres 75 miles from a job center, and we may WANT to drive the Ford Excursion to the weekly trips to "town." But, there are serious costs to these lifestyle choices-costs that are often not fully paid by those making the choices (and I doubt whether many of these costs can be ever internalized-I ain't no libertarian!). (Just like I cringe when I read about blue collar firefighters losing their lives to protect the homes of yet another foolish family in California who choose to live in a fire-prone wooded dream suburb in the hills).

I don't have a "solution," and I don't see or want a way to eliminate this problem. Its easy to complain/pontificate (something I enjoy too much :) )
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
And the point of what you are showing in all those pictures is?

It seems like those houses are too close together. Needs more "sprawl" space between houses don't you think?

It seems like somebody needs to include more landscaping density in their ordinance.

They need more trees. Seems too "urban" without some bucolic trees and open spaces.

I notice that the golf course is all bunched up too. Think of how many other homes could be fronting on a golf course, if the golf course extended out into those subdivisions. Double loading lots on both sides of a golf course fairway (like double loading parking lanes in a parking lot) could double the value of the homes that otherwise cannot be on a fairway, and it would provide pastoral views and settings. Just think of walking out your back yard and starting on say hole four, and playing nine or 18 holes and wind up at your own back yard again! Ah the good live of suburban sprawl.

Thanks for the photos for discussion.
 

prudence

Cyburbian
Messages
688
Points
20
AASHTO

It is ALL obviously their fault. Their guidelines screw us all. There is a policy or guideline for everything except common sense.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
I myself am bothered by the lack of walls between each individual suburban living module. Where are the six-foot tall wood fences? How can midwesterners live like this, so OPEN, so EXPOSED to the peeping and prying gazes of their neighbors? Is life so public in the heartland-or is this mandated by law so that good God-fearing midwestern conservatives can keep an eye out for deviance?

Plus, there is nothing to define each Patio Man's kingdom. How does he understand where his kingdom ends and the next realm begins?

I also noted that some of the cul de sacs and traffic circles include little landscape islands in their centers. This, too is unacceptable. Three fire trucks may be unable to turn around simultaneously. And, they provide too much space for the black helicopters to land.

Definitely flawed. Come out west, Slayer, and we'll show you how to build REAL suburbs.
 

Bucky alum

Member
Messages
82
Points
4
fences

My mother who lives in Madison Wi just got a new neighbor with 3 young children. The new neighbor came out introduced himself to my mother and said "Well, I don't like all these open yards without fences, where my kids could play in and get hurt" I'm going to have a fence built next week. My mother was surprised that the best thing about the neighborhood, the neighbors, are what he was shutting out. Well, the new owner has already pissed off all of his new neighbors and guess where they moved from. Sacramento!! You are right, out west they know how to build suburbs...
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Yep. Pretty soon, she can expect that neighbor to agitate for the public works department to build wider streets, too. I mean, if you can't bake in the sun, how do you know you have "arrived" to suburbia. After all, trees are "messy" and we can't have "messy" can we? And, they might hide my collection of lawn flamingos and plastic fawns!

God, I am a snob! No more nasty suburban rants, I promise. My suburb is more like the evil redneck neighbor's hood, though.
 

SouthSideSlayer

Cyburbian
Messages
86
Points
4
Re: And the point of what you are showing in all those pictures is?

Streck said:
It seems like those houses are too close together. Needs more "sprawl" space between houses don't you think?


There's lots of space between the "built-up" areas. Anyway, I wouldn't want to consider this "urban" . . .
http://tigger.uic.edu/depts/ahaa/imagebase/maclean/aerials1/63.JPEG
http://tigger.uic.edu/depts/ahaa/imagebase/maclean/aerials1/80.JPEG





A map I found in one of the Planetizen articles:
http://landcover.usgs.gov/urban/umap/pubs/asprs_wma/fig1.gif
The extent of urban or built-up areas for 1975 and 1995.
The 1995 data is derived from a dataset of city lights assembled by NOAA using 231 nighttime orbits of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP)
Operational Linescan System (Elvidge et al.,in press).
The 1975 data is from Digital Chart of the World, a dataset derived by the Defense Mapping Agency from the Operational Navigation Chart (ONC) map series.
 
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green22

Cyburbian
Messages
101
Points
6
Don't worry, after all the hospitable places are concreted over in California and Florida we'll still have the swamps, mountains, deserts and the dakotas left. We once left unhospitable land to the indians, now we leave it to nature.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,149
Points
27
Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact

Good stuff!

http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org/sprawlindex/sprawlindex.html

Much as Justice Potter Stewart said of pornography, most people would be hard pressed to define urban sprawl, but they know it when they see it.

Increasingly, however, that is not good enough. As more and more metropolitan areas debate the costs and consequences of poorly managed expansion there is an increasing need to be clear about the terms of the discussion. Politicians and planners aiming to contain sprawl also must have an agreed-upon way to define and measure it in order to track their progress. Beyond that, it is important for policy makers to be able to demonstrate how, and to what degree, sprawl has real implications for real people.

The study underlying this report, the product of three years of research by Reid Ewing of Rutgers University and Rolf Pendall of Cornell University, represents the most comprehensive effort yet undertaken to define, measure and evaluate metropolitan sprawl and its impacts. This report is the first in a series of findings to be issued based on the ongoing analysis of that work.


...also...

The researchers created a matrix that uses 22 variables to rate 83 metropolitan areas on four different aspects of their development: residential density; neighborhood mixes of homes; jobs and services; strength of 'activity centers' such as entertainment or shopping and downtown areas; and street network accessibility.

According to the report, the most sprawling city is Riverside-San Bernardino, California while the least sprawling is New York City. Although many people will be interested in simply the ranking of their city, the co-authors of the study hope that the findings will help cities or regions focus on the areas that are hurting them the most.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Re: Re: And the point of what you are showing in all those pictures is?

SouthSideSlayer said:
The 1975 data is from Digital Chart of the World, a dataset derived by the Defense Mapping Agency from the Operational Navigation Chart (ONC) map series.
That map is not really indicative of sprawl, but indicative of urbanization. Lights are not a good indication of sprwal.
Around these parts, the areas I would classify as "sprawl" do not have an abundance of City lights. The town I work for is 2 townships west of, and in a direct flight path of MKE's General Mitchel International. Flying into Milwaukee by night you can not pick out my community by its lights, yet our immediate neighbor to the east looks like a "light bright" set - it is highly recognizeable in its illuminated street patterns and commercial nodes.
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
Having grown up in a few suburban sprawl areas, I am more comfortable with sprawl than what I consider the evils of the inner city.

It seems that, given the choice of the two cities previously mentioned, (Riverside-San Bernadino and New York City) I'd take Riverside over New York City anytime, and I've never even seen Riverside (but I know it can't be all bad if it has "sprawl")!

Please enlighten me on the evils of suburban sprawl for those who might choose to live there.

As for fences:

We have a dog that prefers to be inside with us most of the time, but when he wants to go outside, it is good to have a fenced yard for him to roam yet not disturb neighbors. We have a leash law that prohibits animals from running loose scaring children at play or endangering themselves in traffic.

It is also a pleasure to know that your younger kids are safe in your own back yard, and not playing in traffic.

I notice an example of poor planning or zoning in that apparently residential units are backed right up to an incompatible commercial shopping center without a buffer of landscaping.

There should be more "sprawl" between the residential units and commercial use. Who would want to live right next to a shopping center?

What a view!

What pleasant night lighting there must be!

What a diminishment of property values and quality of life this must be - even if you have to live there temporarily!
 
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DA Monkey

Cyburbian
Messages
84
Points
4
Re: Re: argue

Tranplanner said:


but the developers will oftentimes say that they can't or won't build that way because "that's not what the market wants"
The issue of sprawl is very current in Queensland planning circles, with many people, both planners and politicians, supporting "densification" and often expounding its benefits.

In spite of all the anti-sprwal rhetoric we still see vast tracts of rural land etc, lying on the very edges of city areas being carved up for "master planned communities".

These communities push a lifestyle of self contained bliss and community dwelling, a mixture of housing styles, modern architecture and usually lakes or golf courses etc.

I do not believe developers who say "its what the market wants" because they advertise heavily to create the market.

Perhaps the answer to sprawl is to really let "the market" decide, afterall, without the pressure of consumerism and ideal lifestyles to push us (the market) would we rationally choose to live an hour or more (by car) from our workplaces, schools, shops etc.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
i invite anyone to travel US 1 from Petersburg, VA to Portland, ME and tell me or themselves that sprawl is not a problem. 600 miles of stripmalls, subdivisions, kwiki-marts, and gas stations is a ghastly problem.

That "5% developed" line is just that - a line . . . of crap.
First - that number includes Alaska. There's more people in a 5 mile radius of me than in all of Alaska.
Second - that number refers only to developed lots. A 50x100 lot between two strip malls hardly counts as open or "undeveloped" space.
Third - if you took every street, highway, parking lot, and driveway in the country and pushed it all into a corner it would cover, from end to end, all of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey - if you're from the midwest think of Iowa as a vast macadam desert with catastrophic floods everytime it rains.

exclude Alaksa, Hawaii, PR, Guam and every other colony and add up all of the impermeable cover (lawns included) and i'd put the number at around 10%. Add to that all of the in between parcels and neighborhood parks that haven't been filled in yet and we're looking at more like 15%.

like someone else said above 'Sure it's a big country but not all of it is arable and a lot more is marginal'

on the other hand i don't think we'll have a problem if food production becomes an issue. The suburbs of the last 30 years, those that take up the most space on the best land, have few if any environmental issues and can be easily reverted to farming if the market demands it.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
jresta said:
on the other hand i don't think we'll have a problem if food production becomes an issue. The suburbs of the last 30 years, those that take up the most space on the best land, have few if any environmental issues and can be easily reverted to farming if the market demands it.
Many suburbanites, in the quest for the perfect lawn, dump enough chemicals on their lawns to qualify them for superfund status. I think a lot of remediation will be needed to turn it all back into farmland. ;-)

"Kids, you have to stay in side and play nintendo. Daddy just sprayed the lawn and the grass will eat the flesh off your bones if you play outside." :-0
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
Jeresta, I am not sure if you are opposed to open space (what has been dirisively called sprawl") or not.

If you are complaining about the endless commercial development along major thoroughfares, it may be that you have an architectural design problem.

We require significant front yard set-backs, landscaping, and low (6 foot max) signage if not on the building. We require a generous amount of specific shurbs and trees both diciduous and evergreen. Landscaping is the cheapest way to enhance cityscapes. It also serves to provide visual space separation between non-compatible architectural styles (if any).

All buildings over 5,000 sq ft are required to be designed and stamped by a registered architect. We have architectural guidelines. We have a very active Mayor and Board of Aldermen that get into enforcing and protecting those guidelines.

We have not yet been successful in removing unsightly electrical and cable TV lines on thoroghfares, but they are underground in our residential subdivisions and must be underground on commercial property.

We have active stormwater detention that also adds to the scenic beauty of our small town. We have preserved a small part of our city where a couple of buildings are too close together, and use that as examples of what could happen to the whole city if not controlled.

Developers and Owners have considerable influence over what architects are able to do. There is no accounting for bad taste. We have been very successful in "enlightening" absentee commercial developers and owners about our concerns for the people who will continue to live here after they are gone.

We have a reputation for good planning in our city. Good planning has been an asset for us, and the citizens heartily support it. They expect us to enforce its provisions in order to preserve what we have and protect property values for all.

I am not a planner, but I recognize what can be done. It may be too late for some.

I am on the Planning Commission and appreciate the knowledge, skill, and personal conflict resolution that Professional Planners must have. We have been fortunate. Thank you.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Streck said:
They expect us to enforce its provisions in order to preserve what we have and protect property values for all.
Since when has it been a function of government to "protect property values?"
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
Sprawl is a problem when your population in the MSA continues to decline, yet continue to migrate outward, as is the case in the northeast.

As for the southeast and southwest, it is a problem as massive areas are turned into low density development because of a population influx, when really the city centers should be increasing their density. Infrastructure suffers because of sprawl because of the distances it must go to serve a spread out population.

I'll throw this in here to spark a debate (may be true or not).

Central Park may be more regularly used than all of the backyards of suburbia combined (in terms of area and users). Not saying its true, but it seems like a lot of space is wasted for that victorious green lawn. Plus parents yell at the kids when they go on the grass. "Play in the streets you little bastardians!!!"
 

Kobayashi

Cyburbian
Messages
92
Points
4
I cannot believe no one has tackled Streck's comments.

Streck some people prefer suburban sprawl over more urban areas. You'll find here that 90 percent of educated planners are strictly against suburban sprawl. Maybe we here can convert you before its too late for your small town :)

BTW you mentioned that a apartment complex was built right next to a shopping center. First of all, never in my life will i approve a shopping center ANYWHERE to be constructed, i plan to fight suburban sprawl til i die. And also i'd never allow a suburban apartment complex built either. First you are right, who would want to live near the shopping center, but also, who wants to live in a suburban apartment complex?
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
Kobayashi said:
I cannot believe no one has tackled Streck's comments.

Streck some people prefer suburban sprawl over more urban areas. You'll find here that 90 percent of educated planners are strictly against suburban sprawl. Maybe we here can convert you before its too late for your small town :)
Then I shudder for our educational system.

. . . who wants to live in a suburban apartment complex?
Well, Yuppies love 'em! Especially if there is a pool, so you can meet others with like interests. And young people while they save for their dream house in the Burbs. ;-)

jordanb said:
Since when has it been a function of government to "protect property values?"
I take this as a well intended Conservative comment.

And as a Conservative, I must report that there is a need for government by the people. A government that will assure the domestic tranquility and the national defense. As a natural consequence of the law and order principles that Conservatives love, enforcement of the laws and regulations created and agreed upon by the people tend to protect and serve the common interests, and perhaps as an unintended consequence, they protect our property values.

I hope as a fellow Conservative, you will accept that.
 
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Kobayashi

Cyburbian
Messages
92
Points
4
Streck said:
Then I shudder for our educational system.



Well, Yuppies love 'em! Especially if there is a pool, so you can meet others with like interests. And young people while they save for their dream house in the Burbs. ;-)
I am a yuppie and i have NO aspirations of living in a apartment dullplex.

The only reason why the innercity schools are worse than the suburban schools is due to the fact that all the fat rich white folk, got scared and to the burbs 50 years ago, once the school in considered "bad" it will NEVER go to being a "good" school. What middle-upper class white people would send their kids to a urban school?

BTW i'm strongly against public schools, but thats another dicussion for another day. I don't plan on having kids until i have enough money saved for a quality education in a private prep school.
 

NHPlanner

Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator
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Kobayashi said:
IFirst of all, never in my life will i approve a shopping center ANYWHERE to be constructed, i plan to fight suburban sprawl til i die. And also i'd never allow a suburban apartment complex built either. First you are right, who would want to live near the shopping center, but also, who wants to live in a suburban apartment complex?
You have a lot to still learn.....

You will not be approving or denying anything. A planner's role is advisory to a commission or board. They make the decisions.

Also, these boards will likely at some point find themselves required by law to approve that apartment complex as a way to provide affordable or workforce housing. Many states are forcing communities to provide their fair share of the regional affordable housing stock.

People who work retail and make minimum wage need places to live too.....
 

Kobayashi

Cyburbian
Messages
92
Points
4
NHPlanner said:
You have a lot to still learn.....

You will not be approving or denying anything. A planner's role is advisory to a commission or board. They make the decisions.

Also, these boards will likely at some point find themselves required by law to approve that apartment complex as a way to provide affordable or workforce housing. Many states are forcing communities to provide their fair share of the regional affordable housing stock.

People who work retail and make minimum wage need places to live too.....
Obviously i used the wrong terminology, but what i basically meant is i will do everything in my power to fight suburban sprawl.
 

NHPlanner

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Kobayashi said:
Obviously i used the wrong terminology, but what i basically meant is i will do everything in my power to fight suburban sprawl.
And how is allowing higher density not fighting sprawl?
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,624
Points
34
Kobayashi said:
You'll find here that 90 percent of educated planners are strictly against suburban sprawl.
That is the single most idiotic statement I've seen posted on this board in a long, long time.
 
Messages
5,353
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31
Kobayashi said:
BTW i'm strongly against public schools, but thats another dicussion for another day. I don't plan on having kids until i have enough money saved for a quality education in a private prep school.
Perhaps you shouldn't have them at all.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
90% of urban planners say they don't like sprawl but their day job involves inforcing it. :d:
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
Streck said:
Jeresta, I am not sure if you are opposed to open space (what has been dirisively called sprawl") or not.
was this an attempt to segue? I have no idea what you're getting at but i'm a big fan of open space . . . which is why i'm not fond of driving for 12 hours in what is, esentially, bumper to bumper traffic through the largest, uninterrupted "city" in the world.

If you are complaining about the endless commercial development along major thoroughfares, it may be that you have an architectural design problem.
sure i have a problem with design but if that were all there was to it i might be able to overlook it. The problem is that subdivisions sprawl for miles behind those commercial developments.

We require significant front yard set-backs, landscaping, and low (6 foot max) signage if not on the building. We require a generous amount of specific shurbs and trees both diciduous and evergreen. Landscaping is the cheapest way to enhance cityscapes. It also serves to provide visual space separation between non-compatible architectural styles (if any).

All buildings over 5,000 sq ft are required to be designed and stamped by a registered architect. We have architectural guidelines. We have a very active Mayor and Board of Aldermen that get into enforcing and protecting those guidelines.

We have not yet been successful in removing unsightly electrical and cable TV lines on thoroghfares, but they are underground in our residential subdivisions and must be underground on commercial property.

We have active stormwater detention that also adds to the scenic beauty of our small town. We have preserved a small part of our city where a couple of buildings are too close together, and use that as examples of what could happen to the whole city if not controlled.

Developers and Owners have considerable influence over what architects are able to do. There is no accounting for bad taste. We have been very successful in "enlightening" absentee commercial developers and owners about our concerns for the people who will continue to live here after they are gone.

We have a reputation for good planning in our city. Good planning has been an asset for us, and the citizens heartily support it. They expect us to enforce its provisions in order to preserve what we have and protect property values for all.

I am not a planner, but I recognize what can be done. It may be too late for some.

I am on the Planning Commission and appreciate the knowledge, skill, and personal conflict resolution that Professional Planners must have. We have been fortunate. Thank you.
thanks. i've been in plenty of suburban towns with strict design standards and yes, they're all pleasant. Unfortunately, aesthetics doesn't help me with protecting open space.
 

Streck

Cyburbian
Messages
604
Points
18
jresta said:
thanks. i've been in plenty of suburban towns with strict design standards and yes, they're all pleasant. Unfortunately, aesthetics doesn't help me with protecting open space.
Yes, I agree. These comments were primarily aimed at preserving open space on a small scale (yards).

I find that the federal Floodplain (shouldn't that be Floodplane?) regulations help preserve a lot of open space. It is real good when you can place a major thoroughfare along side some of it (scenic routes) so it can be seen and enjoyed by more people more of the time.

Is it appropriate to designate some portion of some owner's agricultural land that he is holding as a valid business investment, having the ultimate purpose of developing it into commercial use at the appropriate (economic) time?

Is it right for the city to designate someone's land for open space preservation?

Shouldn't the city have to compete and buy the land?

Doesn't the city have to pay fair value of the land if confiscated under Emminent Domain? (Of course the answer to this one is yes, the city has to pay. Does the city have the right to claim a need for "open space"?)
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
Streck said:
Is it appropriate to designate some portion of some owner's agricultural land that he is holding as a valid business investment, having the ultimate purpose of developing it into commercial use at the appropriate (economic) time?

Is it right for the city to designate someone's land for open space preservation?

Shouldn't the city have to compete and buy the land?

Doesn't the city have to pay fair value of the land if confiscated under Emminent Domain? (Of course the answer to this one is yes, the city has to pay. Does the city have the right to claim a need for "open space"?)
Maybe you should look into agricultural preservation districts the next time you update your master plan.
 
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