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Planning: general Random Planning Thoughts (and Photos) Deserving No Thread Of Their Own

Dan

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As inspired by Random Thoughts Deserving No Thread Of Their Own. Let's see if we can make this a thing. We'll split off series of posts with a common theme into their own threads, just like we sometimes do with RTDNTOTO.

First off, the view from our hotel room is full of old school mixed use. That's my high school on the far right, behind the apartment buildings. Bottom left is Cary Street, which is lined with single family "new old" houses built in the 1980s. The Peace Bridge connecting Buffalo, New York with Fort Erie, Ontario is in the distant background. To the right is the old Connecticut Street Armory.

buffalo_lower_west_side.jpg
 

Maister

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As inspired by Random Thoughts Deserving No Thread Of Their Own. Let's see if we can make this a thing. We'll split off series of posts with a common theme into their own threads, just like we sometimes do with RTDNTOTO.

First off, the view from our hotel room is full of old school mixed use. That's my high school on the far right, behind the apartment buildings. Bottom left is Cary Street, which is lined with single family "new old" houses built in the 1980s. The Peace Bridge connecting Buffalo, New York with Fort Erie, Ontario is in the distant background. To the right is the old Connecticut Street Armory.

View attachment 48987
Do my eyes deceive me or does that building in the right forefront have elements of ziggurat art deco detail near the top? (otherwise, what a drab five story brick building)
 

Doohickie

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First off, the view from our hotel room is full of old school mixed use. That's my high school on the far right, behind the apartment buildings. Bottom left is Cary Street, which is lined with single family "new old" houses built in the 1980s. The Peace Bridge connecting Buffalo, New York with Fort Erie, Ontario is in the distant background. To the right is the old Connecticut Street Armory.
My niece lives 7 blocks east of this location, in the Oak School Lofts (former Buffalo Alternative High School). They have walls that still have the old chalk boards intact. To keep it relevant.... it's a nice example of adaptive reuse.
 

Maister

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is that for real? wow
Yes, that was a real, genuine Onion article. Quite convincing how they captured the writing style of 250 years ago, what with the random Capitalizations, hyphen-ated wordes, and irregular spellinges. I seem to recall another similar satire article with an identical theme that described how residents of Manhattan could already see the smoke in the distance arising from their neighbors chimneys. Wish I could find it.
 

mendelman

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I really think we need more of these live/work merchant house types built throughout the US in our small city downtowns. It was a norm for 10,000 years of human history prior to about 1940.

Live-work type.jpg
Live-work type2.jpg
 
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luckless pedestrian

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My favorite zoning district in my fair town is the Neighborhood Service District, which is the zoning you'd assign to buildings like the ones above ^^^
 

MD Planner

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Here's the problem with the multi-family and mixed-use stuff that all planners talk about. Even if we don't live it by the way.

People are assholes. I have shared enough walls in my life. I will work my ass off to not have to ever do that again. I don't want to hear other people fighting, yelling at their kids, their dog, blasting music, cooking something nasty smelling etc. People are just inconsiderate on the whole and I have absolutely no problem paying a premium to have my little slice of (somewhat) solitude. And yes, humans did if for 1,000's of years. And then they didn't when they didn't have to.
 

Doohickie

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I really think we need more of these live/work merchant house types built throughout the US in our small city downtowns. It was a norm for 10,000 years of human history prior to about 1940.

View attachment 49058
View attachment 49059
There little clusters of buildings like that tucked away in the older residential neighborhoods of our fair city, but not necessarily mixed use. A lot of times they were clearly built as commercial use, but plopped down in the midst of a residential development. Most are now converted to residences themselves although some still have commercial use. You can see how the city was laid out for walkability though. In the Near Southside/Fairmount area in particular, you're never more than a few blocks from one of these "neighborhood centers" that usually included a small grocery and often several other business back in the day.
 

mendelman

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Here's the problem with the multi-family and mixed-use stuff that all planners talk about. Even if we don't live it by the way.

People are assholes. I have shared enough walls in my life. I will work my ass off to not have to ever do that again. I don't want to hear other people fighting, yelling at their kids, their dog, blasting music, cooking something nasty smelling etc. People are just inconsiderate on the whole and I have absolutely no problem paying a premium to have my little slice of (somewhat) solitude. And yes, humans did if for 1,000's of years. And then they didn't when they didn't have to.
Granted, but that's no reason to specifically prohibit these building forms for those that do choose to occupy them. You may have specific negative examples, but I can likely show you an equal number of specific positive examples.

But you already know that. ;)
 

Doohickie

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It's not one of these.
 

DVD

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My attitude is that as planners we should provide as many housing options as possible. Some people want to live downtown in apartments, let them. Some people hate other people, let them live in the 'burbs. If all you can afford is a studio somewhere we should make that available. Which is why I'm always happy to see those missing housing elements come in like duplexes and ADUs.
 

Doberman

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My attitude is that as planners we should provide as many housing options as possible. Some people want to live downtown in apartments, let them. Some people hate other people, let them live in the 'burbs. If all you can afford is a studio somewhere we should make that available. Which is why I'm always happy to see those missing housing elements come in like duplexes and ADUs.

I know you're using some hyperbole, but I don't think suburbanites; such as myself, necessarily hate other people. The reality for myself; speaking as a planner, is that better school systems, property value projections, and lower crime rates for my kids, are a healthy tradeoff to the diversity of people, land use.
 

DVD

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I'm out in the 'burbs myself. Same reasons. Plus I like having a yard for the kids and a little room around me.
 

Maister

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I require a certain minimum amount of land upon which to grow veggies. It doesn't HAVE to be in the burbs but that's where we happen to live.

1599847684740.png
 

mendelman

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Dear Mr. Shopping Center Owner,

No one cares about the name of your run of the mill property, so why use 'precious' sign area for non-tenant signage?

Sincerely,
Mr. City Planner
 
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Dan

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Yes, that was a real, genuine Onion article. Quite convincing how they captured the writing style of 250 years ago, what with the random Capitalizations, hyphen-ated wordes, and irregular spellinges.

The Onion, January 1, 1900.

The Onion - 1999 - Our Dumb Century - 010.jpg

The real deal, from a newspaper in Buffalo around 1914. (Sans serif typeface, which was really uncommon around that time!) It gets good about halfway down. Again, this is REAL.

ben_bison.png

In that same January 1, 1900 Onion:

Screen Shot 2020-09-12 at 12.12.12 AM.png

The Onion, May 3, 1937. Parody.

The Onion - 1999 - Our Dumb Century - 060.jpg

Buffalo Courier, January 27, 1902. Real. "Two women were arrested at the corner of Main and Genesee streets for holding their skirts up too high."

Buffalo Courier 1901 - 5841 women arrested for holding skirts too high.jpg

Real. Buffalo Courier, July 3, 1907. Real. "That's a violation."

Buffalo Courier 1907 - 2945 billboard evils.jpg
 

Maister

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Caller: yeah, I got a question...let's say hypothetically a neighbor right now is putting up a fence that measure 84" inches high and backs up on the east side next to a building that's located 36 inches away. Isn't there some code that says suchandsuch....

Me: What is not really a hypothetical question? Alex, I'll take 'ways to pull the wool over bureaucrats eyes' for $400...
 

Dan

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A really thought provoking City Beautiful-era editorial from the May 17, 1912 Buffalo Sunday Morning News. (Author name unknown.)

CIVIC CENTER MORALITY

It is the belief of the ages that the sight of beautiful things, things fit for their purpose whether of utility or of art, tend to create and develop the sense of beauty and even of goodness in the human soul. It seems easier to agree with that doctrine than to quarrel with it for It flatters every man to think that he has reached the perfection that Is his beyond doubt by means of things that have thrown a light into his mind and lifted him up in his thought Such seems to be the experience of the Individual man and such the satisfaction he feels as he thinks of himself among his fellow beings.

We may suppose that the city is something different, as well as something more, than the magnified or multiplied person of that city. If one knows what a city regards with general pride, that is, with a pride that is more diffused than common sentiment in politics, for example, one may get a line on what kind of city he is considering.

We may go to the remains of ancient cities, where there are remains and not ruins, and there on the spot see what kind of men they were who saw charm, pride, satisfaction in the kind of things they did to show it. Students of art as well as of antiquity are roaming the earth with measuring rod and spade to find out the thought of the elder man as expressed in his streets, parks, fountains, statuary temples and houses of traffic.

What regard a city had for comfort, for worship, for trade, for amusement is written in what is left of it, much or little. If It was a city of industry and wealth judgment to that effect is formed by. what it still has to show and not much from what has been written about it That is only repeating the street sentiment that one is from Missouri and must be shown.

The showing of Athens, or Rome, or Luxor, or Palmyra testifies of the public spirit, the regard for splendor of workmanship and of indestructible integrity of construction that still give them high place in human honor and fame. We have discussed the virtue of decay but there is another virtue of sincerity that knows no decay. There is a building in accord with right principles of taste and convenience in public buildings, for example, and the field for it is open now as fully as to any of the cities of old.

But much or little as we know of the ancients in their outward show of civic interest and achievement our real concern is with our own time and city, is it not? All over our continent men and women are conferring together on how to make their city one not only fit to live in, and bring up their children in, but also one that shall be so well constructed in every sense as to make it a city beautiful in the broad sense in which a city may be handsome to look at, and at many points suggest ideas of right feeling and sentiment, because the work of building them into greatness is done with taste.

It is owing to the feeling of pride in a city that so many of them in America are reverting to the old village Idea of a "common," only that the homely title of "common" Is given a baptism over into the new name of center, with an adjective added,, and called In full civic center. This movement for civic centers is one of the most suggestive in our civilization. It is the sure proof that the people are animated by a sense of beauty, and want to be well dressed in a community sense, because they feel that such an array of their public buildings as a civic center demands is the testimony to all the world that they are cultivated in mind and have sound ideas in their architecture.

Hence the best men are engaged to aid In transforming the town that has been converted to the cult of beauty with use, and a class of artists is revived to meet the new demand.- Cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland are among the leaders in equipping themselves with public buildings of a noble character, nobly placed with relation to each other and the business houses of these cities. They are laying out millions to get what Buffalo has in hand without expending a dollar for it as the cost of acquisition. And yet Buffalo alarms her lovers and best friends by proposals of public officials that the city forever turn her back on the plan of development that every consideration of wisdom and taste indicate as her only true policy.

When one considers the effect of civic art on whole peoples - in some countries, and how the character expresses itself In its preference, and the preference educates generation after generation, one may be pardoned if he feels that there is such a thing as civic morality bound up in it. What made the Greek the master of the world In sculpture and architecture? What makes the Italian and the German, even in humblest walk of life, so excellent a judge of music, and almost invariably capable of making music?

How is Buffalo going to become the most celebrated city in America for civic taste if she neglects her natural civic center and chooses inferior plans for her public building, in addition to setting them In wrong places? When one recalls the educative influence of the right structure in the right place is he not entitled to exclaim against the practical immorality of even the right building in the wrong setting, to say nothing of the wrong kind of construction in an indefensible position.
 

Maister

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^ Reading editorials from 100 years ago shows us how truly steep the decline of public discourse has been. Regardless whether one agrees with the author's conclusions or not, you have to admit that was a well-crafted piece of writing. It feels a bit stiff by current standards, but I wouldn't go so far as to call the language 'stilted'. Hearkening back to 'the ancients' probably doesn't square with post-romantic era sensibilities, but still even today we can recognize good writing when we see it. And that fella there wrote real good.
 
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I find Jane Jacobs to usually be on the mark, which is why I've always been disappointed by this quote of hers:
Traffic congestion is caused by vehicles, not by people in themselves.”

It's too analogous to saying:
"The road noise is caused by pumped up vehicle stereos, not by people in themselves."
"The noxious air pollution during rush hour is caused by vehicle exhaust fumes, not by people in themselves."
etc.
...and even:
"Murder by stabbings is caused by knives and swords, not by the people in themselves."
(Did not bring in the analogy of guns/shooting because topic might devolve into the issue of gun control.)
 

mendelman

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In land development, if it follows the laws of physics and there's enough money, anything's possible.
 
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