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"Lifestyle Center?"

Super Amputee Cat

Cyburbian
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2,240
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30
Have you noticed this new trend in retailing among the big and poweful mall developers and retailers? In efforts to thwart any opposition in building thier massive, local ecomomy draining projects, they are giving yuppified, trendy new names to the places such as "lifestyle centers"

They Disney them up with phony facades and little walkways and bright new colors, to try and hide the stigma of it being yet another big box made of drab concrete. Right now, one in Toledo is about to be built (in the suburbs, of course). At first, it was supposed to be designed like a traditional mall, but now, in part due to massive opposition, it's being redesigned as a "lifestyle center"


http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040525/NEWS08/405250342

But no matter what they call it, no matter how many phony facades they put up to emulate the countless downtowns these people have destroyed, it's still just a mall. It will dramatically increase sprawl by creating massive amounts of traffic, noise, and the inevitable emergence of "satellite retailing" such as fast food fry pits and car dealerships on collector roads. It will increase pollution, primarily due to runoff from the massive parking lots overwhelming an already strained drainage system. It will compromise the integrity of the Fallen Timbers Battlefield National Historic Site, which is located less than a half a mile away.

Perhaps worst of all, it will cater to some of the most high-maintenance, consumerist, materialistic, self centered, credit card maxing, fashion slaves on the face of the earth. A segment of society who absolutely and positively don't give a damn about Toledo or how much it will hurt its already fragile economy. (This project will spell the end of an older mall within the city limits) If these people can save $$ on a pair of f-me pumps at Saks and don't have to drive to Detroit, Columbus, or Chicago to do it then so be it.

The developers, traffic engineers, real estate agents, politicians, as well as the intellectually bankrupt architects and planners who had any hand in this project ought to be ashamed of themselves. But of course, they won't be, and are probably patting themselves on the back right now, claiming it as a victory for "economic development" But any idealistic person, as powerless as they are in the face of this unbelievably currupt system, can see right through that and realiize all it really is is economic terrorism. Or environmental terrorism. But you won't see Bush going after these guys.

They can yuppify it all they want, it's still just a goddamn mall.
 
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Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
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3,212
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29
I have a friend in the Lansing, MI area who has heaped praises on the new lifestyle center that was built on the edge of town last year. I've tried to explain to him, "Uhhh, yeah. Other than the outdoor sidewalks, how exactly is this place any different than the mall?" He pointed out the PF Changs restaurant and said it was good. Riiiiiiight... Anyway, we're both suburbanites, grew up in the same town together, so we're coming from similar perspectives. However, I have an edge that he doesn't have: Two years of graduate school. But I don't like to get all Ivory Tower and stuff on my good buddy. I surmise, from his perspective, that the lifestyle center is a vast improvement over his suburban heritage and current lifestlye. Although I know in his heart he strives to be urban yet knows he ain't and will never be, the Lansing-area lifestyle center that is only a 5-minute drive from his house will suffice.
 

SGB

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3,388
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26
So, SAC, how do you really feel about these things? 8-!

I guess I could appreciate these "lifestyle centers" more if they were built as downtown infill projects, or at least in an area near or adjacent to a downtown. Unlike, I know..... |-)
 

PlannerGirl

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6,377
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Hey I take exception to that!

Well I guess I am a "most high-maintenance, consumerist, materialistic, self centered, credit card maxing, fashion slaves on the face of the earth" I LOVE the 2 lifestyle centers in Arlington, funny the one close to my house has won an APA award I think. (Not that I exactly LIKE the APA)

http://www.mccafferyinterests.com/content/current/mccII.htm

Its walkable, fits well with the area and has made a huge impact with drawing folks to the area and renewing a once dying area. Local shops in the area are starting to flurish, and new ones are opening. I was shocked at this but they are-they pull from the pool of folks walking around to eat and shop at the bigger name places.

Say what you will but not ALL lifestyle centers are bad.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
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Having been shown the center in Arlington by Plannergirl, I'd argue it's much more of an infill project.

I would have a hard time seeing the Arlington example replicated on a greenfield somewhere.
 

Seabishop

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3,838
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25
I don't know why they're "lifestyle centers" when its the same old lifestyle people have always had of shopping at the Gap and eating at Chili's. Cities are "lifestyle centers."

I guess you can say a benefit is that all of these stores are clustered in one place instead of spead out for miles in strip mall/power center format. At least you can walk from store to store. But like you said its just like taking the roof off a typical shopping mall.

It comes down to there being no reason for Suburb A to turn the development down, when they know that the developer will just go to Suburb B or C instead. I'm sure most suburban planning boards don't worry about whether proposals will hurt downtown Toledo, unfortunately.
 

BKM

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PlannerGirl said:
Well I guess I am a "most high-maintenance, consumerist, materialistic, self centered, credit card maxing, fashion slaves on the face of the earth" .
Get with the program, PG. Only Olive Green Mao Shirts and a bowl of gruel, served at the Local Collective No 54 Food Dispensing Center for you!!!

Edit: Oops, "Mao Shirts" might be improperly interpreted as a "brand name." Please replace with "Polyester-cotton Blend Button Down Clothing Unit No. 165" :)
 

michaelskis

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51
I would love to have one of them in my city... We have a big indoor mall and a few "plazas" but nothing of substance like that. If you look at what a downtown for a tourism-based town (such as Bourbon St. in New Orleans) how is that really all that different than a Life Style Center. The both have parking in other places such as a parking deck or lot, they both has out side access to business in buildings that share at least one common wall with another business... Personally I don't see them all that different than a downtown when they are placed in a proper location. A farm field might not be the best place for them...
 

Super Amputee Cat

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2,240
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30
NHPlanner said:
Having been shown the center in Arlington by Plannergirl, I'd argue it's much more of an infill project.

I would have a hard time seeing the Arlington example replicated on a greenfield somewhere.
I agree. From how she describes the one in Arlington, that one is completely different and there really is no basis for comparison despite the same term. The site of this mall is no "dying area" it was formerally farmland.

I still hate the term "lifestyle center" - it's so yuppie - but guess I can see the justification for a place, such as Arlington, if it's built on a brownfield and no historic buildings or any neighborhoods are demolished. In Toledo, it's the outright destruction of greenfield. There is no mitigation.

If they wanted a "lifestyle center" that would help Toledo, why didn't they just rebuild Southwyck? (The dying mall in question about to get a whole lot more dead)
 
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BKM

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Seriously, my biggest problem is that they are often located in greenfields.

The reality is that local economies ARE dead. Few American cities have "local merchants" to be replaced any more, most American downtowns are, frankly, dead for all but dwindling office workers. I'd still prefer this to a boxy mall with deadly muzack and a few potted plants. Of course, I live in a warm climate, so...
 

Chet

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BKM said:
Edit: Oops, "Mao Shirts" might be improperly interpreted as a "brand name." Please replace with "Polyester-cotton Blend Button Down Clothing Unit No. 165" :)
I think you might be on to something here.

*runs off to the trademark office*
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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Last fall I visited the new life-style center in Rochester Hills, MI - "The Village of Rochester Hills" (silly name)

It was literally nothing more than a small format mall without a roof and ringed by a parking lot. Each end has the typical big box size store, and the connecting "street", had the usual chain stores. It even had parallel parking on the "street". ^o)

The only nice comment I have for it, was that it recycled the site of a formerly dead mall.
______

Michaelskis: You really don't want one of these in Portage, it will just reinforce the auto-centric nature of development.
______

These developments are simply ephemeral, fake urbanism - they are built for quick consumption and luckily aren't built that solidly, so they can be easily demolished and rebuilt to follow the next fashionable commercial development trend.
 
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boiker

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3,889
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26
victory?

The only victory that our lifestyle center has achieved is successfully eradicating any chance of any level of new retail in the downtown core for 20 years.

I don't believe the new mall will kill the existing enclosed mall because the old mall simply didn' t have the space to take in the new chain stores that were trying to get into the local market.

The new mall is situated at the a freeway exit on the edge of town.

I must compliement the developers on the incredible redevelopment of the former "brownfield" agriculture property. The mitigation must have been atrocious.
/sarcasm

Doubleing up on killing downtown development is the burg of East Peoria who is giving away the farm to locate businesess on formerly industrial contaminated land across the river from downtown.

The new malls are just american marketing trends.. just like tract housing, strip centers, or even downtown retail.

Most the country is too young to 'know' of world-wide historical downtown/urban commerce.

Mendelman,
I don't even know if you can call most lifestyle centers fake urbanism. There is nothing truely urban about them. You drive there, you notice the buildings architecture, corporate image, or lack of it, you walk 'inside' and you shop. It's foundation is no different than the last 60 years of commercial development. After inflatable devices and flashing signs stopped attracting addtional shoppers, some marketing genius thought, "Hey! What if we made our strip center look like an old small town downtown? That's sure to bring in some more customers."
 
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Super Amputee Cat

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mendelman said:
Last fall I visited the new life-style center in Rochester Hills, MI - "The Village of Rochester Hills" (silly name)

It was literally nothing more than a small format mall without a roof and ringed by a parking lot. Each end has the typical big box size store, and the connecting "street", had the usual chain stores. It even had parallel parking on the "street". ^o)

The only nice comment I have for it, was that it recycled the site of a formerly dead mall.
______
I really don't have a problem with something like this. I would never visit (unless they showed arthouse film) but at least an old mall is being recycled instead of building a new one out in some cornfield.
 

Cirrus

Cyburbian
Messages
303
Points
11
Have not read the entire thread, so forgive me if this has already been said.

Not all lifestyle centers are created equal. Just as both quality infill projects with high density and a good mix of uses and greenfield subdivisions different in almost no discernable way from standard sprawl may bill themselves as "new urbanism", both quality infill projects with high density and a good mix of uses and greenfield developments different in almost no discernable way from standard malls may bill themselves as "lifestyle centers".

There has been some talk of calling the redevelopment of the downtown for the city I work for a "lifestyle center", despite the fact that the downtown has existed for over 200 years and is without question "genuinely urban" (whether it could stand to be improved is another question entirely).

So my position is "lifestyle center" is just a marketing term that doesn't really mean anything. Let's call these projects what they are. Infill projects like Clarendon Market Common are infill projects. Roofless malls like Easton Town Center are roofless malls.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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boiker said:
Mendelman,
I don't even know if you can call most lifestyle centers fake urbanism. There is nothing truely urban about them.
Well, it is a silly attempt to simulate traditional main street urbanism. The "main street" running through the center of the thing does have parallel parking and crosswalks and auto traffic, but it's all a sham, because it's really just a movie set trying to convince you that you are being "urban". HAH.

__________

Cirrus said:
So my position is "lifestyle center" is just a marketing term that doesn't really mean anything. Let's call these projects what they are. Infill projects like Clarendon Market Common are infill projects. Roofless malls like Easton Town Center are roofless malls.
Well said, Cirrus.
 
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BKM

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mendelman said:
These developments are simply ephemeral, fake urbanism - they are built for quick consumption and luckily aren't built that solidly, so they can be easily demolished and rebuilt to follow the next fashionable commercial development trend.
True. The other problem I have with them. There is a 1950s city in the SF suburbs, Pleasant Hill, that decided it was going to create a downtown. Which, they hired standard commercial developers and standard commercial builders to do. At least Crescent Drive is open to vehicular traffic, reducing its mall-ness, but the quality of the construction is sadly typical. There is a variety of uses, including a large grocery store, but the problem is the deadly blank walls these big boxes create. Parking is well-distributed, and they are actually building new housing next door. Unfortunately, many of the housing units literally back onto the blank wall of the big box store next door.

Still, michaelskis, if you want to see something, no matter how flawed, that goes beyond the boutiques-and-outdoor mall paradign, give the City of Pleasant Hill, California a call. My complaints aside, the project has done fine, in a very saturated retail marketplace. The population of the town do feel that they have a walkable downtown.
 

cololi

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1,185
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22
It is interesting that there are so many different defintions of a "lifestyle center" despite it being a fairly young concept. To me, a lifestyle center is one where you can live, shop, work, be entertained, etc. In many regards, a downtown district is essentially a lifestyle center. a typical mall, with or without a roof, doesn't fit the bill. In the city I work for, the owners of a mall tried to convince the city that they were turning their old, dying mall into a "lifestyle center" by adding a fitness club. They didn't fool anybody.

However, in the city I live in a true lifestyle center was built on a brownfield (an old industrial area) on the outskirts of downtown. It includes a large residential element, including low and moderate income housing, a retail element, a office element, and an area for public events. The new center is having an effect on the rest of the downtown area. The impact was probably negative at first, with a bifurcated retail base in the downtown, but has spurred some minor redevelopment projects and one major redevelopment project that will add more residential units, an extension of a major university, and new retail that would replace two dead malls.

 
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JNL

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There is one here that they have the cheek to call a town centre... it's a roofless mall. People drive there and it shuts down after 5:30pm (except for 1 pub). A greenfields development :-( Note the parking symbols identifying parking that surrounds the complex :(

Here's the layout:



My feeling is that maybe it's just a marketing con, but if they must build them, I prefer this sort of design to the inward-facing multi-storey concrete monstrosities of the 70s and 80s. It's an improvement.

Sort of OT: Maybe we could have a photo competition - who has the ugliest mall?
 

BKM

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But with a street called "The Pavillions" how can you go wrong?

One thing we do have to watch out for, (and our libertarian guy would agree if he hadn't given up on us) is we as planners are completely anti-car. Parking is a fact of life. I prefer a more integrated town center approach like Pleasant Hill did to the standard mall with a parking lot moat shown above, but Pleasant Hill still has a lot of surface parking.
 

H

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Fallen Timbers

LOL. At least the name represents well. :-D as opposes to a name like 'Shady Oaks' or 'Eagle Brook' when there ARENT ANY for miles!!!
 

boiker

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From the article.....(emphasis added)

Dillard's will be the largest anchor at the proposed Shops at Fallen Timbers in Maumee, causing the long-dreaded closing of the department store's nearby location at Toledo's Southwyck Shopping Center, officials confirmed yesterday.
General Growth Properties Inc. today plans to announce that Dillard's and five other retailers and restaurants, including Saks Inc.'s upscale Parisian department store and PF Chang's China Bistro, are the first to have signed letters of intent or leases for the Maumee outdoor shopping center.
The center's name is horrible and the developer's name is unbelievable. "Yes, I'm the VP General Growth properties. We specialize in general, unplanned, advantageous growth." Why don't they just change their name to Cancer properties.
 

Dan

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Regardless of whether it's "fake urbanism," "better than a strip mall," ot its other perceived positive and/or negative effects, I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I think the presence of lifestyle centers, or the desires of developers to build them, are one indicator of an area's economy and the desirability of the area's retail market.

Is Buffalo getting a lifestyle center? Nope. Vinnie DiStugatso doesn't care, though, because everything he needs is "ee-hat da' ple-aa-zuh." Here's a suburban lifestyle center, Western New York style ...













 

JNL

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Dan said:
Here's a lifestyle center, Western New York style ...
Scary :-c

Lifestyle centres... whose lifestyle? What kind of lifestyle do such developments support? :-\

I wonder what you can buy at the Catholic Shop? "I'll have two small Catholics please" ;)
 

Dan

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[ot]
JNL said:
I wonder what you can buy at the Catholic Shop? "I'll have two small Catholics please"
"Yeah ... make 'em real ROMAN Catholics too, this time. I don't want you passing off any Episcopalians on me like you did last time, and DON'T even think about any Unitarian Universalists. They all smell like coffee."

Seriously, Catholic supply stores like that are everywhere in the Buffalo region. They carry things like framed pictures of the Pope, rosary beads, candles, liturgical books, Virgin Mary statues, and the like. Buffalonians are quite serious about their faith.

Buffalo has the second highest percentage of Catholics of any city in the US; Providence is a bit higher. Think of it this way: Buffalo is the 43rd largest metropolitan area in the US, with 1,170,111 residents. 622,786 of 830,500 counted -- 75% of all those that belong to a church -- are Catholic (http://www.thearda.com). New Zealand --- the entire country, excluding sheep -- has 538,091 Catholics (http://www.adherents.com/adhloc/Wh_240.html).

1cheektowaga_436-med.jpg

1cheektowaga_031-med.jpg

1cheektowaga_405-med.jpg

I wasn't kidding. Now you Kiwis better start praying, or be prepared to spend a long time in the damp, somewhat cool recesses of Purgatory! :D

[/ot]
 

boiker

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Dan said:
[ot]
Seriously, Catholic supply stores like that are everywhere in the Buffalo region. They carry things like framed pictures of the Pope, rosary beads, candles, liturgical books, Virgin Mary statues, and the like. Buffalonians are quite serious about their faith.

Buffalo has the second highest percentage of Catholics of any city in the US; Providence is a bit higher. Think of it this way: Buffalo is the 43rd largest metropolitan area in the US, with 1,170,111 residents. 622,786 of 830,500 counted -- 75% of all those that belong to a church -- are Catholic
<snip>
1cheektowaga_405-med.jpg

I wasn't kidding. Now you Kiwis better start praying, or be prepared to spend a long time in the damp, somewhat cool recesses of Purgatory! :D

[/ot]
Dan, I grew up in a raging catholic family... none of those pictures of catholic stores, bumper stickers, or mary statues in the yard (my dad has one next to his american flag) are surprising. My my hometown claims to be 60% catholic. There's 4 catholic parishes serving 14,000 people.
 

DecaturHawk

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boiker said:
Dan, I grew up in a raging catholic family... none of those pictures of catholic stores, bumper stickers, or mary statues in the yard (my dad has one next to his american flag) are surprising. My my hometown claims to be 60% catholic. There's 4 catholic parishes serving 14,000 people.
Can someone explain to me why this is a problem?
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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Dan said:
Seriously, Catholic supply stores like that are everywhere in the Buffalo region. They carry things like framed pictures of the Pope, rosary beads, candles, liturgical books, Virgin Mary statues, and the like. Buffalonians are quite serious about their faith.
OT: Where are these Catholic supply stores you speakith of?

Seriously. I think those DVD (of the adult variety) warehouses are slowly replacing them.

Those VM statues are everywhere in the land of the knomes though.



BOT: Those lifestyle centers look horrible. All I can say is, where is the alternative transportation to these places?
 

Dan

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[ot]
DecaturHawk said:
Can someone explain to me why this is a problem?
It's definitely not a problem. It's just interesting from a demographic standpoint; the makeup of such regions is probably little changed from the turn of the last century, when there was still widespread immigration from western Europe. That, or there's the presence of very large Hispanic communities. It also lends to an ideological dynamic that's very unusual; In Buffalo's case it's politically very liberal, with Republicans being more centrist than what you might encounter elsewhere, but socially very conservative.

On paper I'm Lutheran, but spending roughly the first two and a half decades of my life in Buffalo, I knew very few Protestants outside of church and my immediate family. I went to a Catholic elementary school, and can say speedy Hail Marys with the best of them. It's been said that you can be Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hundu or Buddhist in Buffalo, but you'll still grow up Catholic. Dad's Jewish, and he loves his Friday fish fry.[/ot]
 

boiker

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[ot]And I only commented to testify to my firsthand knowledge and understanding of strong catholic culture. I honestly never found it unusual untill I moved off to college.[/ot]
 

SlaveToTheGrind

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Ah, The Gateway in SLC. A pseudo walkabale community for those who live there. Been there a few times. Still has the perception of a Disney back lot. My perception is there is nothing out of the ordinary at The Gateway.



Cololi, are you a planner in SLC?
 

DecaturHawk

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Still OT: Thanks, Dan and Boiker. Dan, I have always enjoyed your (and Rumpy's) descriptions of Buffalo; they are very focused on the personal aspects of living there and make me want to visit myself (I hope I will be able to do so one day). My own experience has been that many of the cities that are generally considered backwaters (like Buffalo) are often pretty cool places (Peoria also comes to mind).

Boiker, I know a few other cities in the Midwest similar to the one you grew up in, where Catholic heritage and culture are strong, such as Quincy, IL and Dubuque, IA. Wonderful places; those folks usually have a great love of their heritage and they work hard to preserve it.

Also OT: Dan, what tag do you use to make the "off-topic" frame?
 

NHPlanner

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DecaturHawk said:
Also OT: Dan, what tag do you use to make the "off-topic" frame?
Take the spaces out of this:

[ ot ] Text [ /ot ]

Turns into this:

[ot]Text[/ot]
 

Dan

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[ot]
DecaturHawk said:
Still OT: Thanks, Dan and Boiker. Dan, I have always enjoyed your (and Rumpy's) descriptions of Buffalo; they are very focused on the personal aspects of living there and make me want to visit myself (I hope I will be able to do so one day).
You're welcome. Arrrrrrrr!

[/ot]
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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[mother angelica] You thy sinners kill to many kittens. Repent or I will kill kittens each episode until you thy wash eyou hands of this disease from Satan.[/mother angelica]
 

Attachments

gkmo62u

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There are 36 replies in this thread (a couple OT).

Not one of them attempts to defend or support retail centers like this. I understand the nature of criticism but these are not surprising reactions to the marketplace and the demand for convenient retail and other services.

I don't understand the sheer meanness however. I hate to break it to the group but yuppies are generally defined as people who have acheived a high level of education and then a high level of success in a chosen profession. Why the jealousy?

The suburbs are the suburbs, not walkable by design and not generally possible when, like it or not, a large majority of people who think differently than planners desire a different lifestyle than most Planners want them to have.

Get over it already.

Of course if we got over it, then these boards would have to close because we would no longer have anything to complain about.

Don't you guys get tired of marching in lock step? In one thread we covered all the bases:

anti car
anti big box
anti developer
anti greenfield development
anti-mall
anti retail
anti yuppie
anti-market

I am surprised no anti-SUV reference

Is this truely what the Planning Profession has become?

Not trolling, really, just being rhetorical.
 

NHPlanner

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gkmo62u said:
There are 36 replies in this thread (a couple OT).

Not one of them attempts to defend or support retail centers like this.
I disagree with this implication.....I believe that PlannerGirl and I both mentioned the Arlington, VA center, that it had won an APA award, and that as an infill project, it was a good project.

The major objection here is, and pardon me for thinking it to be valid, is that these things plopped out in a greenfield have no relationship to the surrounding built environment.

[my opinion]I believe it is in the best interests of the community I serve, and have been backed up on that by the surveys and the officials the continue to get elected in my community, that I work to encourage the best possible development for the community. This includes looking at the character of the development, and it's relationship to the built environment around it. Most planners I know do what is in the best interests of the people they work for. If that means not plopping faux-urbanism on a greenfield, so be it.

I realize you're a private sector guy....but you sound more and more like O'Toole every time you come out of lurking to post (not that that's a bad thing). Engage in the debate.....don't just throw barbs at planners in general. [end my opinion]
 
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gkmo62u said:
There are 36 replies in this thread (a couple OT).

Not one of them attempts to defend or support retail centers like this. I understand the nature of criticism but these are not surprising reactions to the marketplace and the demand for convenient retail and other services.

<SNIP>

Not trolling, really, just being rhetorical.
A) I counted 11 OT posts.
B) The quote below is a positive quote.
C) Me thinks thou art Trolling. (If you weren't, you could have argued "the merits" of such malls instead of simply attacking the planners, their right to discuss planning issues in a public forum, implying that they are all stupid, and so forth.)
Dan said:
Regardless of whether it's "fake urbanism," "better than a strip mall," ot its other perceived positive and/or negative effects, I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I think the presence of lifestyle centers, or the desires of developers to build them, are one indicator of an area's economy and the desirability of the area's retail market.
 
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gkmo62u

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I actual don't lurk much.

I apologize to Dan. His comments I overlooked. I agree that the Arlington observation is not necessarily relevant, that is why I did not mention it.

At no time did I imply Planners are stupid, only the generally one-side nature of the discussions. But I do think the level of animosity toward others --(not me or other posters) but types--Mom's who drive suburbans, Yuppies etc...is heard far too often here.

Funny, no one seemed to mind SAC's "BARBS" regarding Yuppies, Planners who work for Developers etc...

NHP I think you have described your role perfectly and the debate about how and where we develop is timeless.

But I am fairly certain not everyone in your community shares identical perspectives.

You'd be surprised how much i actually agree on this one--In fact there is this awful main street faux lifestyle development here in the DC area called Bowie Center or somethng like that--that actually is sort of movie set--Main street with stores--then fields of parking behind.

Enough. I have more development to help get approved.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
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29
Yes it seems every crossroads in the Nova area wants a "lifestyle center" and so many look like Celebration. I cant wait *toung in cheek* to see how the new City of Fairfax one looks.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
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24
gkmo62u said:
I am surprised no anti-SUV reference
I thought that was just implied.;):)

gkmo62u said:
Get over it already.
No. It is the reason I am interested in planning and I make no apology about that. :)

Additionally, I feel this is a good place to express opinions, criticisms and frustrations about development we disagree with, as well as development we agree with.

Getting "over it" would mean the end to 'planning', so personally I hope no one "gets over it" and more people "get on it" :-D
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
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24
PG:

Would you call Fairfax Corner a Lifestyle Center?

H

I am not suggesting you apologize. It may not always sound like it by I am a Planner and AICP to boot

(though NO ONE on the private side cares one bit for my AICP designation).

We all ought to be in this to build better places.

I would just like for the public sector folks to try and integrate why developers make business decisions in their own decision making processes.

Thats all.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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I've defended lifestyle centers in the past, as being better than traditional strip centers, but of those that usually participate in such threads, my opinion is usually in a very small minority; the prevailing poit-of-view seems to be that suburban development is suburban development and is therefore a Bad Thing, whether it's a big blue and grey concrete box that says WAL-MART on its side, or a modern interpretation of a Main Street that doesn't come from a cookie-cutter plan.

About 1.5 km from my house is Legacy Village.











As an urbanist, I would prefer to see more retail development in the inner city. However, as a planner representing an area where most development took place after World War II, I'd rather see a lifestyle center-type retail development -- at least the architectural and site design, if not the upscale occupants -- than a conventional strip. It definitely beats stuff like this ...







 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
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29
gkmo62u said:
Funny, no one seemed to mind SAC's "BARBS" regarding Yuppies, Planners who work for Developers etc...
Enough. I have more development to help get approved.
Ah, come on. I actually pointed out that "we" (the forum participants" are being too automatically anti-car.

And, I try to bait SAC all the time for his over-the-top rhetoric. He ignores me, of course.
 
Messages
7,649
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29
gkmo62u said:
I would just like for the public sector folks to try and integrate why developers make business decisions in their own decision making processes.

Thats all.
That is a completely different issue from your original comment that
like it or not, a large majority of people who think differently than planners desire a different lifestyle than most Planners want them to have.
I have studied it a fair amount and I feel strongly that people choose a suburban lifestyle at least in part due to LACK of real choice. The post-WWII Federal government bent all of its policies and mortgage insurance, etc, towards supporting the baby-boom demand for small two-bedroom suburban houses in you typical Levittown setup. Now that the population has differentiated, our policies and institutions have failed to keep pace. In spite of how enormously difficult it is to do ANYTHING but suburban development, many people are financing co-housing and other alternative developments out of their own pockets to get around the lack of policy and other types of "infrastructure" (mortgages, mortgage insurance, etc) for supporting anything other than a single-family tract house.
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
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24
Michele you make the perfect point. The market is attempting to diversify choice because there are people who do not want the suburban lifestyle as we have come to know it.

And I have always written that our whole profession should be advocates for encouraging lifestyle choices. I just think the profession has not done a good job of that.

I can not argue that it is and has been clear national policy for generations to support, encourage, subsidize homeownership. I just would argue it has been good public policy.


Full circle--yes many developers are using a marketing term "lifestyle centers" to sell a similar product. But just because it may or may not go on a greenfield does not mean its a terrible thing. Hell, Dan's right, its actually a sign of prosperity. The tax base increment is welcomed in many places as well. And it may be better than the parking lot with a strip center in it. But if it truly is, then we will all be redevloping strip centers soon.



BKM yes you did say something about parking.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
I work in a City where a crappy regional mall is being converted to a "lifestyle center through public-private venture. The City is doing all the TIF stuff for infrastructure, lighting, building demolition, etc and the mall owner and a developer are financing the rest of the construction. The idea for the lifestyle center came from a visioning study where many residents said that the one thing that the community is lacking is a real downtown. We are an inner-ring suburb that never really established a downtown. The Mall had originally planned on just expanding the regular enclosed mall but the City worked with the mall and got them to do a lifestyle center.

In my opinion having a Disney-like downtown is much better than having no pedestrian friendly development at all. The visioning process and city-wide questionnaire demonstrated that people who live in the suburbs actually do feel that there is a lack of a sense of community and that they are unsatisfied with the auto-dependent status quo. The new lifestyle center mall is in a large area that is already somewhat pedestrian friendly. Once completed it will chance the face of the City for the better. The sea of asphalt will be replaced with pedestrian scaled buildings, walkways, and narrow streets. There will be several townhouse condos included in the development also. The added tax base will be icing on the cake. The mall is already the City’s largest taxpayer. Allowing it to fall into disrepair would put the city in a perilous economic situation.
 
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7,649
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My mom grew up starving in Germany during WWII and its aftermath. She basically thinks only "rich, spoiled Americans" can be so "stupidly biased" as to think material wealth is a BAD thing. :) There is a fundamental truth behind the idea of "being able to afford a middle class morality".

I am not against homeownership. But it is close to impossible for an ordinary American to own a home that isn't a stereotypical suburban house. And folks don't necessarily want that. They sometimes choose it because it is the path of least resistence or it is "the lesser evil". I don't think it IS "good public policy". It WAS good public policy post-WWII, while trying to make up for the huge deficit of housing stock which did not get built during the Great Depression.

My dad was born in 1924. He lived through the Great Depression. He was born in a log cabin with a dirt floor and he tells stories of "a large, poor family" he knew where the dad would say "Take big bites of corn bread and little sips of buttermilk" or "Take big sips of buttermilk and little bites of corn bread", depending upon what they had an abundance of. His family was not particularly "poor" -- but all of his clothes fit in a coffee box and on a couple of pegs on the wall. I once saw a picture of his kindergarten class. Half the kids were barefoot.

Between mom's childhood and dad's childhood, I grew up in a family where having a big meal on the table every night was the central unifying theme of our lives. I think materialism is great -- as long as you have your priorities straight. :) (Of course, I freak everyone out by being a Die Hard Optimist AND environmental studies major. Most folks seem to think I am obligated to be suicidally depressed about the state of the environment. ;-) )
 
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