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Sprawl: how do you stop it?

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#1
How are cities supposed to stop suburban sprawl when all the sprawl is occuring in suburbs which aren't hemmed in and compete against each other and the city? Especially when the state doesn't care and the suburbs keep growing and keep getting richer?
 
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#3
There is demand and there is supply. The government controls the supply side. If it releases it, sprawl will stop.
 
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#4
Here in Kansas City, we have many suburbs that have over 100,000 people:
-Overland Park (the king of anti-urban, pro-sprawl suburbs) - 167,000
-Olathe (adjacent to Overland Park, almost as controllable and not as close to being hemmed in) - 111,000
-Independence (not really concentrated on the suburban, but more concentrated on it's urban area) - 113,000
-Kansas City (KS) (has ignored it's urban area for a long time, letting it decay and become one of the most dangerous areas in the city crime wise. It has been focusing on sprawling out to it's west) -150,000

Then we have several suburbs of about 50,000 or more:
-Blue Springs (has plenty of room to sprawl out, and has been doing it gradually) 50,000
-Lee's Summit (has been sprawling out for a while, almost half it's annexed land is unnoccupied) - 70,000
-Shawnee (not a big factor, but it is sprawling out west) - 50,000
-Lenexa (same as Shawnee, but it is growing as a suburban town) - 40,000

Then there are the dozens of smaller suburbs that keep sprawling outward...

Kansas City, MO could stop it's annexation and sprawl, however the suburbs would keep sprawling out uncontrollably, and many of the suburbs refuse to have anything to do with KCMO (such as Overland Park, which has always refused any talks with the city to try and stop the fighting back and forth between the two)

How can you stop these suburbs which won't even listen to any negotiations to stop their competition with the inner city (which they sometimes seem to directly target)?
 
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#5
-Kansas City (KS) (has ignored it's urban area for a long time, letting it decay and become one of the most dangerous areas in the city crime wise. It has been focusing on sprawling out to it's west)

Kansas City, MO could stop it's annexation and sprawl, however the suburbs would keep sprawling out uncontrollably, and many of the suburbs refuse to have anything to do with KCMO (such as Overland Park, which has always refused any talks with the city to try and stop the fighting back and forth between the two)

How can you stop these suburbs which won't even listen to any negotiations to stop their competition with the inner city (which they sometimes seem to directly target)?
You identified the cause of sprawl, but failed to identify the correct remedy.
 
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#6
Well i mean, some do it because of urban areas, and other do it to compete with each other, and others just feel they can only grow by going outward. But there are suburbs like Overland Park which just don't care and will do anything to make themselves better than the inner city. (Overland Park and Olathe not only seem to reject any negotiations with the city, but also try to copy and duplicate anything the city does that is attractive)

Our city also seems to be in a pretty bad situation because even our TV stations seem more geared to the suburbs and only cover crime in the city, and the newspaper seems to be more attracted to the suburbs and cares less about anything in the city.
 
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#7
That is called competition my friend. If you kill it in Kansas City, people will move to Dallas or Atlanta. If you kill it in America, people will move to Canada, Australia and Europe, and all that you will have to show for it is a ruined country with ruined cities.

The only way to stop sprawl is to encourage the central cities to be the most competitive that they can be, such that the suburbs will simply not be able to compete.
 
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#8
But how would you get the suburbs to stop sprawling? Sprawl is unhealthy and it wastes resources, and hurts the inner city.

We are also in a situation where we keep adjusting our city to the growing suburbs so people can get to work faster without much of a traffic problem, yet also if we turn around and begin to stop accomodating vehicles to get people to move closer to the inner city, then some of us (that are interested in the area) are concerned about the feds saying "screw you" and ordering us legally to expand our highways.


I just keep listening and reading different things, such as Jane Jacob's book and I listen to City Talks from Sydney, and recognize how great cities like NYC and Sydney (along with other cities like Barcelona, Copenhagen, etc...) whereas our medium-sized city can't even get the smallest things right. We have been trying to revive our Downtown, but the Power and Light District (a 1,200 unit project that also has lots of entertainment, a new arena and brought H&R Block's world HQ to Downtown) while good, also destroyed over 20 buildings for the construction of an entirely new project.

Also, we have a mayoral election coming up and some of the main issues are neighborhoods, sewer maintenance, light rail, crime and schools. But they are also focused on the more suburban neighborhoods of KCMO, and some are willing to slow down Downtown in order to improve other neighborhoods.
 
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#9
But how would you get the suburbs to stop sprawling? Sprawl is unhealthy and it wastes resources, and hurts the inner city.
The inner city hurts the inner city. That is why people want to move away.

The causation runs the other way. Sprawl happens because the inner city is unhealthy and wastes resources.
 
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#10
How are city's turned around if you have citizens and city leaders that don't know much about urban development (other than what has been done in the past)?

I want to see our city start to make a turn in the right direction, and the only part of our city that this has occured in is our Downtown, and it seems some of our city is still focused on adjusting to the suburbs instead of making suburbs adjust to the city.

Even our city thinks of itself as being more western than eastern, and visitors agree to this. But if we start modeling ourselves more like western cities like Los Angeles, we will begin to go downhill fast...

What can be done to help this?
 
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#12
Well how do you convince other people to do this? I personally won't be out of college for about 5-6 years, and it won't be till about 10 years till I become an urban planner.
 

cch

Cyburbian
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#13
How are cities supposed to stop suburban sprawl...?
Ideally, a community adopts a sensible land use plan that takes into account population growth, housing needs, etc, and... (here's the key)... ADHERES TO IT!

But, when the elected officials who ultimately make the decisions on what gets rezoned and what gets subidivided, have their campaigns significantly funded by contributions from developers, and they seem to think that rooftops equal taxes and jobs, then getting elected officials to adhere to a land use plan is easier said than done. (Sorry, I know I ramble when I get worked up :-{ )
 
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#15
1) Stop using taxpayer money to subsidize mega highways and all other roads. This subsidy benefits the suburbs much more than the city. Without it, most suburbs and rural communities would have muddy cow paths. You would likely still have some suburbs but they would be only inhabited by the wealthier citizens who are able to afford to pay to have roads built to their homes. As an aside, I've noticed that almost every rich person I've known that has had a huge house on a large ranch type property in which they have to maintain the driveway themselves, ends up using gravel.

2) Stop allowing the government to take land from an unwilling seller in order to ram mega highways down everyone's throats. In many places transit services are at a severe disadvantage because roads get to use emient domain to aquire cheap right of ways whereas the transit service must pay whatever it takes to get the seller to part with their land. While both transit and highways can enable sprawl, they do so in different forms and with different consequences and costs.

3) Make transportation pay for the external cost, or better yet, make energy producers pay for the external costs of producing and consuming their products. Cheap energy is only cheap because the public is forced to accept noxious chemicals spewed by burning of fossil fuels and because we will pay for military adventures all over the globe to enforce our access to said fuels. Without them, the suburbs are not possible.
 
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#16
One of the most likely candidates for mayor seems to be against TIFs (tax incremental financing) and is in favor of turning DT development to the private sector instead of involving the city, is this a good or bad thing?
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
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#17
I'm still working this part out. There might not be a solution in our lifetimes.

But, regardless of having a solution or not... Jaws will never stop talking about it. :)


(Sorry Jaws, you put one right in my wheelhouse, and I just had to swing! :D)
 
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#18
1) Stop using taxpayer money to subsidize mega highways and all other roads. This subsidy benefits the suburbs much more than the city. Without it, most suburbs and rural communities would have muddy cow paths. You would likely still have some suburbs but they would be only inhabited by the wealthier citizens who are able to afford to pay to have roads built to their homes. As an aside, I've noticed that almost every rich person I've known that has had a huge house on a large ranch type property in which they have to maintain the driveway themselves, ends up using gravel.

2) Stop allowing the government to take land from an unwilling seller in order to ram mega highways down everyone's throats. In many places transit services are at a severe disadvantage because roads get to use emient domain to aquire cheap right of ways whereas the transit service must pay whatever it takes to get the seller to part with their land. While both transit and highways can enable sprawl, they do so in different forms and with different consequences and costs.

3) Make transportation pay for the external cost, or better yet, make energy producers pay for the external costs of producing and consuming their products. Cheap energy is only cheap because the public is forced to accept noxious chemicals spewed by burning of fossil fuels and because we will pay for military adventures all over the globe to enforce our access to said fuels. Without them, the suburbs are not possible.
1 - People will move to the suburbs no matter how hellish the transportation is. The absence of highways is not going to stop the construction of new subdivisions, no less than Los Angeles traffic stops people from commuting from Orange County and the Inland Empire. People will only complain louder and louder that their elected officials are not doing anything about the traffic, until you get thrown out of office and replaced by someone who builds highways.

Sprawl doesn't just "happen." It is purposefully built by developers following the government's rules. No matter how many highways there aren't, subdivisions will get built. The rules are the problem, not the developers.

2 - See number one.

3 - People will drive in scooters before they move back to the city. See number two.

But, regardless of having a solution or not... Jaws will never stop talking about it. :)


(Sorry Jaws, you put one right in my wheelhouse, and I just had to swing! :D)
I don't have a solution to the problem of abolishing communism, that is a socially-alien concept at the present time. However, it is and will always be the only solution to sprawl, as communism is the only cause of sprawl, and every other half-measure to stop it will fail.
 
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#19
There is demand and there is supply. The government controls the supply side. If it releases it, sprawl will stop.
No, Jaws, it will get worse.

Over the years, sprawl has been created because some developers have taken advantage of newer communities. In an effort to get as many people as possible, these communities have requested that things be reactive (with the suburbs) and not proactive.

Now that controls are being put in place and society has changed its media driven view, thanks to TV shows like Friends, Frasier, Sex and the City, living "downtown" is once again becoming the place to be, so many downtowns are beginning the process of revitalization and rehabitation.

The biggest thing that a community can do now is support regional control regulations, maintain and enhance the urban cores with strict property maintenance standards, and work to reverse the negative perception of downtowns being dark and dangerous places.

Once you get the big 5 (Office, Retail including groceries, Residential, Cultural, and Institutional) downtown will begin to become sustainable.
 
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#20
No, Jaws, it will get worse.

Over the years, sprawl has been created because some developers have taken advantage of newer communities. In an effort to get as many people as possible, these communities have requested that things be reactive (with the suburbs) and not proactive.
Like I said, it's the government's fault.
 
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