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Methods to end various aspects of sprawl?

zman

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#21
Educate the market and offer a variety of choices. Americans will not cotton to forced change.
 
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#22
I understand what everyone is saying, and I'm listening to it, but a lot of it is wrong because while it makes sense for the American government and economy, it just doesn't make sense psychologically.

I also realize that gated communities generally come from the idea that it provides a sense of security and inclusion, it also comes from the idea of having a mini-village within the city itself.

However having these gated communities is really just a bad thing all around. Sure we have a free-market economy that is based on consumers and what they want. However we can change what they want, and we can also limit what they want or eliminate it alltogether.

Lets look at some of the gated communities in the form of projects in the inner-cities. The people living in the public housing have no sense of belonging outside of their little project. The projects also encourage more crime, and the gates/fences do not keep crime in or out.

Whereas in the suburbs, little crime already exists, thus people who assume gated communities prevent crime may see the lack of crime as being caused by the gated communities rather than just a general characteristic of social and economical conditions.

It's simply just a little security blanket like little children might have. It makes them feel safer, but realistically, they aren't any safer.

For loops and lollipops, they might discourage large amounts of traffic going through neighborhoods, but they also add to the exclusion and isolation. Not to mention add to the auto-oriented nature.

One of the ways to solve these problems is to simply tear them down. Which although it wasn't an option even in the Middle Ages, is a simple option today. (and attractive seeing as how the vast majority of subdivisions and post-WWII neighborhoods look horrible)
There is also the option of not demolishing the streets and simply demolishing some homes to connect streets together.

No matter what, demolition will have to occur, and since most modern suburbs including less dense housing with 1 floor sprawling homes, the demolition of those homes is likely the only option, even if the streets are left in their current locations.

There are a lot of ways to do this, and that is simply all I'm asking, not whether or not we ought to eliminate them... But how can we do so?
 

zman

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#23
Dude, it seems the sprawl and gated commuities are being forced upon you against your will...

...you don't like it, do you?

NOW, think about your plan of forcing urbanism and community down others' throats, taking down the walls of existing gated communities, and tell a lot of happy Americans that their way of life is wrong and you're hear to change it....

...they wouldn't like it, would they?
 

wahday

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#24
One of the ways to solve these problems is to simply tear them down. Which although it wasn't an option even in the Middle Ages, is a simple option today. (and attractive seeing as how the vast majority of subdivisions and post-WWII neighborhoods look horrible)
Why do you think it is a simple option today? It seems to me that this would have been easier in the Middle Ages when individual property and ownership rights were less protected. On what grounds would you suggest acquiring and tearing down privately owned property? Where would these people go?

No matter what, demolition will have to occur, and since most modern suburbs including less dense housing with 1 floor sprawling homes, the demolition of those homes is likely the only option, even if the streets are left in their current locations.
Why do you think demolition "has" to happen? I'm unclear about your conclusions here, which is why I have a hard time engaging in...

...that is simply all I'm asking, not whether or not we ought to eliminate them... But how can we do so?
Personally, I am having a hard time responding to this question because I do not agree with the premise that the suburbs need to be razed. I think if you present your reasons why you are taking such a dramatic stand here (and one which would require the exercise of state or even federal authority on a level I personally find draconian and terribly frightening for the precedent it sets - give the government the power to condemn and take your land at will? I think not...) you will be happier with the responses.

Anyway, think about explaining a bit why you think this type of measure is the only way to proceed and I think you will have a more productive discussion. There are a lot of steps leading to your conclusions and I think many of us disagree with some of the assumptions you present along the way to the idea that "we need to knock it all down and build again."

I might ask, for example, what the environmental impact of razing millions of suburban homes and replacing them with new construction is. Where will all that refuse go? Where will the new materials come from? Will the costs of building all this new construction with materials that are not affordable or potentially even sustainable make them too expensive for most? Aren't we wasting an incredible amount of resource in such a process rather than retrofitting existing structures to make them more efficient? Where will the owners of demolished homes live? Who will pay for all of this work? Couldn't one allow second quarters or even lot splits in areas with large properties instead to fill in this space with more density? Again, I think the "start over from scratch" approach, while appealing, is unrealistic in terms of the tremendous impact this would have on the environment, public health and housing costs, to say nothing of the legal ramifications.

It helps me to know that you espouse a Communitarian philosophy as I see how your concepts fit into that line of thought. Still, I think that determining what is "best" for society at large is a tremendous challenge and something that needs to be determined through civil discussion in the public sphere, not just because one person says so. I think what people here are doing is challenging your conclusions, which I think is in the spirit of public discussion and communitarianism.
 
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#25
They could not easily tear down in the Middle Ages or before. Today we have all sorts of equipment that allow us to demolish quickly and thoroughly.

Also, here is the only way to solve the loops and lollipops... Which requires the demolition of buildings:
http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/2188/subdivisioncuttinghb9.png

The single family houses are all in a state where they will probably need to be demolished. Their longest sides are all facing the streets, they have large yards, often they are set back from the streets.

How can we possibly change suburban single family houses to make them multi-family and also go right up to the streets? How can we make dense single-family housing with units that are set so far from the street that there is no way to change them w/o demolition?

Another issue, is what can we do to get people to leave these suburban areas? Make urban areas much more desirable and deny far out suburban areas any infrastructure. If people don't want to live there, the existing houses will remain vacant, and eventually would have to be demolished.
 
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#27
I don't qualify as a troll just because you disagree with me.

Just because I'm more closed-minded (though willing to listen to ideas), more community minded (than those focused on individuals) and just because I deal in absolutes does not make me a troll.
 

Raf

As Featured in "High Times"
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#28
Gosh this debate is soo..well..like planning theory. Gosh it sounds great, but hey is a theory, so why they hell should we care?

Fact #1:
Americans love single family homes

Fact #2
You can't change the minds of most american family who have been trained from generation to generation the homeownership is the way it ought to be

Fact #3
Most "mericans" hate multi-family buildings, and think of projects or communisum when it comes to putting a bunch of people there

Fact #4
Until you change the mindset of 99% of "mericans" you will continue to get sprawl, and there is only one phase left of you to remember...

You can't stop sprawl you can only hope to contain it!

So heartland city boy, care to change the mentality of "mericans" then you better get your face planted on the TV and spread your message across the our airwaves because most "mericans" think that multi-family units are just slums home to "drug addicts, pedophiles, and 'those people'"

Either that, or practice what preach by moving to a co-op home, ditch your car, and well..live within walking distance to just about everything.
 

Raf

As Featured in "High Times"
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#30
I think the obvious answer to the question is yes...

*** as HCB waves a flag that says Planners**

Go planners!

Moderator note:
Alright, be nice and keep it civil.
mendelman
 
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#31
....Also, here is the only way to solve the loops and lollipops... Which requires the demolition of buildings:
http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/2188/subdivisioncuttinghb9.png

....
That's a great idea. Design and build the project, preserving wetlands to the fullest extent, then after-the-fact cut through them with more asphalt. Brilliant.


If somebody proposes to cut through the end of our cul-de-sac or wants to demo my house and cross the wetland in my backyard to connect to another street, I'm coming out screaming unless you got a nice big check in your hand.
 
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#32
The wetlands/creeks will still be preserved. Only the neighborhoods would be better connected, as they should be.

CPSURaf, my goal isn't to change all of America. My goal is to just change my city. Maybe by helping KC, I could inspire others to change the rest of the country...

Also simply put, I'm very against sprawl because I see sprawl as being against my personal faith. So it's something that I don't really see possible to give any room to. However as this is a forum, I will not elaborate or discuss that subject any further. I just want everyone to understand that my position against sprawl is not just social or economical.
 
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#33
The wetlands/creeks will still be preserved.....
Yeah, right. Your total ignorance is on full display. Wetland crossings cause irrevocable and unmitigatable impacts to the natural environment as a result of short-term construction activity and long-term shadowing at the crossings. Discontiguous natural habitats are a great idea.

In my suburban subdivision, the developer recreated the natural drainage pattern that eventually flows into the bayou. It's now a very healthy and productive riparian environment. The drainage was filled by the former rancher who used the property for grazing cattle.


I'm done here. This is a waste of time... :loser:
 
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#34
And yet your neighborhood is not well connected with the neighborhood next to it.

Brush Creek in KC has bridges around it, and though it is a large creek, it still is sort of related to the "wetlands" you speak of (which actually don't exist that much in Missouri/Kansas, most of those spaces are either lower laying areas or creeks)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...y.jpg/750px-USACE_Brush_Creek_Kansas_City.jpg

This is also an example of a creek in an urban area that has bridges and stuff going over it, but it still flows and exists. However this could be altered to allow people to walk up to it instead of having to stand over it near the retaining walls.
http://i150.photobucket.com/albums/s94/ShowMeKC/Excelsior Springs/100_0371.png

Also, sprawl and subdivisions destroy a lot more natural land than they preserve. Which is one of the reasons they need to be stopped. Even if they preserve creeks and wetlands, that doesn't give them a free pass on the ecological issue.
 

KSharpe

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#35
If suburban development of the sprawl variety are existing, why would you compound the problem by razing them and destroying even more natural resources with redevelopment?
I'm a little concerned about your "personal faith" comment. That's the kind of thing an eco-terrorist would say when justifying burning down developments.
 
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#36
You wouldn't be destroying more natural resources by razing them and replacing them.

Sprawl typically takes up 1/3 to 1/4 of an acre for each unit. Proper development takes up at least 1/6 of an acre. Say you tear down 4 homes for 1 full acre... You can place at least 6 new homes on that same lot. Which is much better than the 3 or 4 that already existed on that single acre. Those six will also help fulfill the demand for new growth, reducing the amount of new homes that would be constructed on greenfield land.

Some illustrations from DPZ showing my point:
http://www.dpz.com/images/lexicon_5_market_segments.jpg
http://www.dpz.com/images/lexicon_5_minwalk.jpg
http://www.dpz.com/images/lexicon_5_minwalk_squares_parks.jpg
http://www.dpz.com/images/lexicon_annexations_complt_randm.jpg
http://www.dpz.com/images/lexicon_cities_townsmadeofneighbds.jpg
http://www.dpz.com/images/lexicon_currnt_zoningvsprop.jpg
http://www.dpz.com/images/lexicon_interwoven_dailyactivities.jpg
http://www.dpz.com/images/lexicon_pedest_car_routes.jpg
http://www.dpz.com/images/lexicon_priv_bldg_publc_strt.jpg
http://www.dpz.com/images/lexicon_prop_tnd.jpg
 
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CJC

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#37
You wouldn't be destroying more natural resources by razing them and replacing them.
Your bulldozers run on water? You can rebuild the units that were there using only the resources that were in the previous units?

Listen, I'm all for infill (it's 90% of what I do), but tearing down structures in use to increase density is not at all environmentally positive nor even remotely politically possible. Infill is best when existing infrastructure can be used and the property is either currently unused or extremely underutilized - as in replacing five units with a hundred. Replacing four units with six will always be a net environmental negative. The links you provided show how things would be starting from scratch - not tearing down entire cities and rebuilding. Here is one example of types of projects we'll see more and more of:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/07/REV8SH3S8.DTL&feed=rss.realestate
 
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joshww81

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#38
Urban planning wise, perhaps if you have enough power, to not approve subdivision designs that do not meet certain urban design standards?

Approve additional-storey(ies) renovations to existing dwellings. Support subdivisions of lots.

And of course government has to step in and buy over plots of land to make way for new roads, etc. Can't see any way around it, unless the developer is urban design trained to see the benefits around it and willing to implement it.

The question then is whether this is financially viable and will people actually live in it brings up another point of view.
 
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#39
In West Los Angeles and surrounding neighborhoods, they are slowly but surely replacing single family homes with apartment buildings. A home sits on a 6000 square foot lot. It is torn down and replaced with a small apartment building with 4-6 units.

It is easier there because the basic street structure is more or less a grid.
 
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#40
Like I said, there is practically no way to improve the housing in existing subdivisions.

There isn't enough room between the houses to build new buildings, and the homes are already too far from the existing streets. Most houses in sprawl are about 30ft-40ft from the street, instead they ought to be 10-20ft from the street.

Shopping centers (like the link you provided) are easy to infill because they are sprawling and are generally surrounded by parking lots.

http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v...=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=14922190&encType=1

How do you propose that we increase the density of development such as that, as well as increase the connectivity and implement a grid system in that development?

Also, like I said before. Instead of acquiring the land from people who live there, we instead need to acquire it when it is vacant. As soon as someone moves out, the city can purchase it... Or moves can be taken to make the area less desirable, lowering the price of the house and lowering the likelihood that ppl will want to live there. Thus as the units become vacant, they will be acquired, then removed.

You also forget that there is a little thing called recycling, which can be done with many materials from houses, recycling the wood and concrete can make a big difference. It isn't like they will be trucked off and burned.

I personally think that as inner-ring suburbs become less desirable, developers and others ought to acquire the houses located there and replace them and their neighborhoods will denser housing and with a grid system.
 
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