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What do you like, and what do you hate?

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,173
Points
51
I was reading the preferred habitat thread, and it started to make me wonder, what things I like and what things I don’t like about where I live. More so, what would I change about my town or area.

I will start by saying that Portage (www.portagemi.com) is not a traditional city. It is old urban sprawl bedroom community, therefore we have no down town, limited pedestrian movement, crazy front setbacks, and our “Shopping Commercial Corridor” is overrun with big boxes and poll signs. On the other hand, it has seven lakes, great people, great school systems, and the potential for some new urbanism development and mixed use (if the Code ever gets changed to permit it). On the other hand, I would much prefer to get a loft in Downtown Kalamazoo, but I can not afford the $900 to $1200 per month rent at this moment in my life. The downtown has some bad points but some good points… But Josh D can better explain those than I can.

So please share your ideas, worries, beliefs, goals and objectives, dreams, hopes, and all the wishes you may have about your community.
 
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SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
Like:
  • Community size: small rural town with two distinct villages
  • Location: 15 minutes from two small cities, and 1 hour from two larger cities
  • Lots of active family-owned farms still operating in the community
  • Nice rail trail system runs through about the town

Dislike:
  • Local politics are dominated by people who work outside the community
  • Comprehensive plan effort appears to focus on community's future as primarily a bedroom community.
  • No organized downtown revitalization effort.
  • McMansions on lake frontage.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Like:

1. Its sleepy, but I really like downtown Vacaville, which is evolving into a pretty complete urban village-especially when some of the ongoing projects are done.
2. My immediate neighborhood is diverse and mixed, everything from grand pre-war mansions to Victorian cottages to affordable apartments. There are beautiful trees.
3. I can be in a beautful valley on my bicycle (fittingly named "Pleasants Valley") in 10 minutes. Solano County cities have remained separated from each other by still open land.
4. Very quiet streets at night.
5. Sense of community-even though I myself am pretty antisocial.
6. Great neighborhood park and bicycle trail system.
7. About an hour (or even less) to San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, the Wine Country, Lake Berryessa, the foothills, the Ocean, the Delta.

Dislikes:

1. Pretty dull at times. I would prefer easy pedestrian access to urban chaos :).
2. Pro-growth attitudes and population trends mean that Vacaville (and Solano County) could easily destroy the landscape. I know I am not a native, either, but seeing the valleys covered with housing and commuter traffic still makes me sad.
3. Outside downtown and my neighborhood, Vacaville's housing stock gets very dull very quickly. Its relatively affordable, for the Bay Area, but does it have to be so dispiriting? Snout ranchers on a treeless street-ugh.
4. The City has no strong design review, so new showpiece office and commercial development outside downtown often tends to be screamingly lowest common denominator. There is an ugly glass box that just dominates the cityscape-my god it's blah. Worse, the City doesn't even require consistent street trees-and this is a city where 100 degree summer days are common (at least 30 days per year). I drive or bicycle through the "desirable" subdivisions in Browns Valley, and they just bake in the sun (because, of course, this is California where subdivision standards REQUIRE huge street widths to allow four fire trucks to pass simultaneously down a street with parked cars :( )

5. The letters to the editor in the local paper babbling about "the Jews" or "and the LORD doth smiteth the Sodomites" and "I have booby trapped my mountain shack with explosives" are pretty disturbing.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
LIKE:
1) Helena is a small city and a regional service center, so we have the benefits of a wider variety of retail, entertainment, and recreational choices than you might expect from a city of only 23,000.
2) Helena has a rich history - mining town, territorial capital and state capital. Many of the old buildings survived the Urban Renewal fiasco of the 60's and early 70's.
3) Helena grew at a slow and steady pace with mining and commerce being its early revenue sources. Much of the Victorian and early 20th century architecture remains. One after effect is that many of these large houses and mansions have been converted to apartments, offices and bed and breakfasts, and mixed use neighborhoods exist that have an attractive and well-blended appearance. Until recently I lived in a neighborhood with two mansions converted to bed and breakfasts across the street from me, a funeral home kitty-corner and the territorial governor's mansion (a National Register site) down the street.
4) There are many recreational activities, as the city is surrounded by national forest, state lands and BLM lands, in addition to two reservoirs.
5) The downtown's main street was where the initial gold strike occurred that started the town, and has the cool name of Last Chance Gulch.

DISLIKE
1) The city lacks a really nice city park. There are numerous small neighborhood parks, but each lacks some element of a good city park.
2) Like many cities in the U.S., pedestrian traffic is sometimes discouraged by collectors and arterials that are hard to cross and a lack of sidewalks in the areas latter developed.
3) My biggest peeve about Helena is there is no river or creek running through town. The small creek that ran through Last Chance Gulch was long ago diverted and its waters move subterreaneously through town. Helena is probably the only city in Montana that does not have a creek or river running through it or by it.
 

NHPlanner

A shadow of my former self
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
9,945
Points
40
Likes:

Variety of neighborhoods. From the older parts of the city to the edges, there's a variety of housing options and densities to suit most anyone's desires.

Parks - From the small scale neighborhood playgrounds to the larger parks, Concord has one of the best recreational systems in the state

Schools - Neighborhood schools, quality education.

Historic downtown - Main Street is still alive, despite the growth of the malls and bix boxes in the Heights section of the city. Great architecture in the state buildings and the historic district.

Location - right in the heart of central NH.....relatively short drive to anything you want to get to (mountains, ocean, lakes, Boston, Portland, etc.)

Family - Most of my family is within a 20 minute drive, many still within the city.

Dislikes:

Downtown pretty much dies after 7 PM....no real nightlife. Nightlife is improving, but has a long way to go....

Property Taxes - Being the state capital, lots of government buildings that pay no property taxes.

Sprawl in the Heights - the Heights has become a traffic disaster, big boxes, strip commercial, and the mall ruined what was once beautiful Pine barrens.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
I recently moved to an inner ring suburb of Milwaukee.

I like:
- Sidewalks and walkable neighborhoods
- Small lot sizes, variety of architecture, most homes were built in the ealy 1900s.
- 5 minutes from downtown Milwaukee, 2 from Miller park (Brewers Stadium)
- I get more house for the money than in downtown Milwaukee

Dislike
- Bar and restaurant scene is not so great
- I miss walking to all kinds of restaurants, music stores, etc.
- People have a very suburban attitude even though the characteristics of the area are more "City-like" People seem to oppose everything.
- I can't go home for lunch anymore
- Homes are cheap to rent, but very expensive to purchase because it is a trendy place to live.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
What I like of Valdivia:
  • Great landscape and rivers
  • Decent parks (at least near my house)
  • Interesting old German architecture and Spanish colonial forts nearby
  • Good restaurants.
  • Good brewery :b: :-b

What I dislike of Valdivia:
  • Large abandoned and undeveloped (or subdeveloped) areas in the downtown and storefronts are in general bad shape (they could at least put a bit of pait to hide the corrosion of the tin storefronts)
  • Poor inner conectivity and bad traffic
  • Lots of graffiti and rising crime
  • Lack of maintenace and development of touristic attractions
  • Crappy commercial district (though getting better) and dominance of cheap chinese import stores
  • Chaotic and bad quality public transit system.
 

Greenescapist

Cyburbian
Messages
1,169
Points
24
I moved to Madison, Wisconsin last August and really like it here.

Good things:
-very dense and walkable
-great farmer's market
-nice parks and lakes
-nice urban design
-lots of sidewalks and paths to walk, run and bike
-lots of culture for a smaller city
-people here are brimming with civic pride
-some great planning projects in the works; people take risks
-friendly people
-the UW and great college sports

Not so great:
-food is pretty bland and geared towards college students
-no good grocery store downtown (about the only thing I need to drive to)
-landscape is very flat outside Madison
-lots of panhandling on State Street (main commercial drag)
-sometimes it would be nice to have more moderates or even (I can't believe I'm saying this) conservatives around this town to counter all the pie-in-the-sky idealism
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
Hmm good question michaelskis

I like Wellington because

- it is built around a beautiful harbour
- on the weekends, I hardly use my car because everything in the city is within a walkable distance
- its summer now :-D
- natural geological features (harbour and encircling hills) have prevented sprawl
- lots of cool old houses that have been preserved (oldest are from around late 1800s)
- the city council has been very proactive in beautifying the central city streets and developing an effective safe city strategy
- I can walk home to my place at 2am on the weekend after a night out and feel pretty safe
- I love the waterfront area at night - it has some cool lighting effects and things to explore (like plaques with quotes from NZ writers that are semi-hidden and I still don't think I've found them all)
- I can rollerblade around the waterfront or go kayaking just minutes away from the city centre
- hardly any pollution
- there are never any traffic hold-ups on my reverse commute
- huge choice in ethnic food and its cheap too
- public transport is excellent
- heaps of restaurants and bars and cafes to choose from - it's a smallish city but there are so many I haven't been to yet
- very few disused buildings - occupancy rate must be very high
- abundance of mountain biking and walking tracks all around city
- something distinctive about Wellington compared to other NZ cities is that it is very hilly and there are lots of shortcuts through bush (I can't think of a non-Australasian equivalent word for small stands of native forest) hidden all round the city and usually only locals know about them - kinda cool

I don't like
- how rent in some of the best areas is getting beyond my reach
- signal timing at some of the pedestrian crossings (too long for peds to wait)
- threat of major earthquake and half the city is built on land reclaimed from the harbour - imagine what will happen to that when the big one hits 8-!

Okay based on that summary (minus the earthquake part) I love my city! Who wants to visit! :-D
 
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Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Greenescapist said:
I moved to Madison, Wisconsin last August and really like it here.

Good things:
-very dense and walkable
-great farmer's market
-nice parks and lakes
-nice urban design
-lots of sidewalks and paths to walk, run and bike
-lots of culture for a smaller city
-people here are brimming with civic pride
-some great planning projects in the works; people take risks
-friendly people
-the UW and great college sports

Not so great:
-food is pretty bland and geared towards college students
-no good grocery store downtown (about the only thing I need to drive to)
-landscape is very flat outside Madison
-lots of panhandling on State Street (main commercial drag)
-sometimes it would be nice to have more moderates or even (I can't believe I'm saying this) conservatives around this town to counter all the pie-in-the-sky idealism
Nice post. Here is some of that civic pride...

Bland food? You are eating in the wrong places! Have you been to Jolly Bob's for the Jamaican food, the Blue Marlin for seafood, or Himal Chuli for Nepali? There are dozens more.

A grocery downtown was planned in the Metropolitan Place development (http://www.metropolitanplace.net/new/index.htm).



A flat landscape? Have you been north or west of hte city? Take a drive up to Devil's Lake, if you haven't already.



OK, I'll concede the panhandling thing. As for needing more conservatives, they are all out in the countryside around Madison.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,901
Points
57
Chicago in general, Lincoln Park specifically

Since Chicago is so huuuuuuuga, I will only make a few comments on the city in general:
Like:
-center for cultural amenities
-diversity of neighborhoods and people
-prevalence of good housing stock
Dislike:
-the diversity very segregated into neighborhoods, on average
-cost of housing, all things being equal, is way to high, even in the worst neighborhoods
-seems to be an imbalance where infrastructure maintenance is concerned between neighborhoods

Lincoln Park, specifically:
Like:
-walkable, walkable, walkable
-human, pedestrian scaled
-wasn't gutted by urban renewal in the 1960-70s
-amazing parks (Oz Park, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Park Conservatory, Zoo)
-Lakefront three blocks away
-you can walk to the Loop in 30-40 mins.
-amazingly beautiful late-nineteenth cent. building stock.
Dislike:
-cost of housing
-too many lilly-white, 20-somethings (guilty-as charged ;-))
-no kids (there are babies and 20 year olds, but no children between 7 and 18)
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
Allright, I'll give it a go on the city that everybody loves to abuse while they're away, but end up coming back to because they miss it...the red-headed step child of NYS, Buffalo.

-Likes (likies)

-Born here (given)
-Great architecture and historical past (they made us sing the Erie Canal song in elementary school)
-Low cost of living
-Huge apartments for low rent compared to other cities
-Proximity to other cities such as "Picksbargh", Cleveland, etc and to our neighbor to the north, Toronto.
-15 minutes to Niagara Falls...might as well throw in shortest commute time in there as well for the US
-Pro-sports teams such as the Bills and Sabres, and the emerging paper-rock-scissors team, the Rampagers;)
-Best restaurants in the country
-Budweiser doesn't own more than a 50% share of the beer market here (I like those odds, although I'll have to take out the canadian segment)
-Great outdoor activities such as fishing in the great lakes (erie & ontario) and the niagara river, camping in the alleghany plateau/foothills, skiing/snowboarding in the ski-belt, hiking the niagara gorge, etc
-Positive communtiy participation in local historical preservation efforts, as well as community development (people take no "guff")
-Olmstead park and parkway system
-Elliciott's radial street grid
-Entertainment galore from music, festivals, plays, art etc (yeah we ranked #8 for that in 2003 beating out philly at #9)
-Close to friends (some) and family
-Metro......
-Low air-fare costs
-And finally (I'm probally leaving out some), the snow and dry summers. From a lady I work with
Its Buffalo. It snows. Deal with it....
-Dislikes

-Political atmosphere of the "old boys club" and "status quo" (which appears to be changing hopefully)
-Jobs for people, for the ecomomy (dig deep and keep your eyes open and you can find a job slackers)
-High State property taxes, as well as a crappy-ass state government
-Oh and the local politics
-City vs Suburb mentality (just pass the annex law already), I could go into it deeper, but what's the point, its us vs them.... Alright all add some salt to the wound, the placement of the UB north campus in Crapherst was a huge mistake...There (it was). I would also like to de-myth the whole "the city isn't safe" mentality
-Metro.... (needs to be expanded)
-Loss of historic buildings, such as FLW Larkin Building, Harbor Inn, etc, which ended up as vacant space or parking lots
-PARKING LOTS, there is already to much. Why is there, this mentality that you have to park in front of where you are going.
-Depressed neighborhoods (as a result of red-lining)
-Siver-bullet projects, such as casino gambling (that is still being heavily opposed in this county and fought against as the cure-all solution)
-I'll throw this in for NYS measures, the smoking-ban (we're not in LA), let small business determine what is best for their businesses idiots

I'll stop here for now, rant over;)
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
Orlando metro area

Likes:

Within 45 min. of great beaches
Generally very good schools (in my suburban county)
Pro-active bicycle/pedestrian planning and lots of new trails
Wonderful older neighborhoods adjacent to walkable shopping areas
Lots of lakes, and public access to same
Heck, the weather, of course
Being able to walk outside my home/work and see all the launches from KSC; night launches are truly spectacular
Fresh citrus, off my trees, in the middle of "winter"

Dislikes:

Tourists
Tourist areas everywhere!
Redevelopment; everything I grew up with is disappearing, including the family home
Massive sprawl into adjoining counties
Builders and their influence, including the placement of high-ranking county officials
It's grown so much, I hardly recognize anyone in the obituaries anymore...
Alligators
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,173
Points
51
OK now for PART 2!!!!

One thing that I find interesting is than many of the things that we would like are the same. These are things that show that we are active social individuals, who enjoy interaction with others. I didn’t notice anyone mention drive though restaurants or major interstate freeways. BUT many did mention public transportation (of lack of) and opportunity for nightlife (or lack of). Maybe it is just our training that we all enjoy these things, but as I look though my zoning ordinance, it lacks and in some cases opposes many of the things that we look for in a community to “Live” in. Now, if you work for a municipality, take a look at your ordinance, does it oppose any of the things that would fix the dislikes, and more so, do you believe that the general public would think the same way as you do? Please share.
 

simulcra

Member
Messages
127
Points
6
This is in response to the original question, and I'll mendelman's approach.

Chicago-at-large
Like:
-Cultural amenities
-Bar/club scene (see note a few lines down)
-Public Transit, pedestrian friendly in many areas of the city
-The blistering cold (yep... ahhh -15 F, makes you feel alive!)
-Architectural heritage
-Diversity (ethnic, cultural, and culinary)
Dislike:
-The fact that many of the sidewalks outside of the loop and near-loop areas are never cleared of snow. Can they be held liable if I slip and die?
-The fact that I'm not old enough for 99.999999% of the bars/clubs.

Hyde Park
Like:
-University of Chicago
-University of Chicago amenities
-Many awesome places to eat
-Very walkable and fun to wander
Dislike:
-The lack of night life (but then agian, it's only a short trip on the Red Line to the real chitown night life)
 

ablarc

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
713
Points
20
” One thing that I find interesting is that many of the things that we would like are the same. These are things that show that we are active social individuals, who enjoy interaction with others. …as I look though my zoning ordinance, it lacks and in some cases opposes many of the things that we look for in a community to “Live” in. Now, if you work for a municipality, take a look at your ordinance, does it oppose any of the things that would fix the dislikes…”

Michaelskis,

I am impressed by the premise of Part II of this thread. I am also impressed by your “dark side” thread.

You are having your doubts about what you and your colleagues are up to. That is good, because there is plenty to doubt.

This shows real promise:

“As I sit here on a snowy morning, my creative juices are flowing, and it dawns on me the limited creative freedom that we are permitted in the public sector. Then I see all these developers coming in with fun and exciting plans, and I wonder what would it be like to work for the dark side, and to let the creative flow from my mind onto a blank page of paper, computer screen, or model. The more I think about it, the more I think that the public sector might just be a stepping stone. I would still be here for several years. But that brings up the questions of what are your thoughts on the dark side, and if developers can make a good, positive influence on municipalities though there proposals?”

Worse than the dark side is the regulation of the dark side that often forces them to not even contemplate their soundest impulses. Some regulation is required—just a whole lot less, and not the kind that currently prevails. Most present-day regulations that govern development are nonsense. Or worse.

You want an illustration? Try this: http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=10487

Go ahead and take the step you are contemplating. I believe developers are getting a bum rap. They are only doing what the superfluity of mostly idiotic rules allows them; and because you are charged with enforcing the rules, you can be forgiven for thinking the developers are devious or unprincipled when they try to evade you. But actually, often things would come out better if they could do what they wanted--and almost always, after a while, if they could operate outside the ruts that regulation forces them into. Credit them with common sense, and have some faith in the wisdom of the market.

I don’t think the biggest environmental menace at this moment is greedy developers. I think it is the regulations. The mandate of regulation is suburbia. I think we do need some rules, not many, and mostly not the ones we have.

The rules we presently have are mostly bunk, and I feel sorry for everybody who has to enforce them.
 
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Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
ablarc said:
Worse than the dark side is the regulation of the dark side that often forces them to not even contemplate their soundest impulses. Some regulation is required—just a whole lot less, and not the kind that currently prevails. Most present-day regulations that govern development are nonsense. Or worse.
...The rules we presently have are mostly bunk, and I feel sorry for everybody who has to enforce them.


I have to take exception to this. The "rules" were created in an effort to overcome the problems encountered in some development. The hope was to set some standards that would ensure good quality - something often missing because of oversight, inexperience, or greed on the part of the developer. I would contend that you can go to almost anyone's code and find that the vast majority of "rules" are, in fact, good things. Because they desire to believe, it is becoming a common belief among some that suburbia's ills must be the fault of the planning profession and all of those awful rules we place on developers. If only we let them do as they please we would all be living in wonderful, aesthetically pleasing, pedestrian, urban neighborhoods and our beautiful countryside would still be filled with family farms on which happy cows would graze. Bunk.

Are there problems with some regulations? Yes. Should all regulations be thrown out as a result? No. We need to revise them; to think about the actual results and to craft new regulations that bring about the results we desire. I doubt anyone here with any practical experience working with developers is about to give them free reign to develop as they please. You delude yourself if you think that even a significant number, much less any majority of them would turn out the creative, attractive products you like to showcase.
 

ablarc

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
713
Points
20
Cardinal, those "attractive products" --all of them-- are not do-able under the provisions of mainstream, bog-standard current American developmemt regulations.

You and I agree that there need to be rules and that the rules need to be better. We diverge only in the amount of change we think is necessary, and probably in our assessment of the number of rules we need. I see no virtue in the mainstream regulations and the kinds of environments they presently promote, but apparently you do.

I think the fact that all the "attractive products" are not legal under the prevalent rules is all the indictment of those rules that any right-thinking person should need.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
Well this is an interesting twist.

It seems to me that ablarc is forgetting something fundamental. There are plenty of unregulated and essentially unregulated places. What does the private sector do in those places? We can go look and see, and what we see, with rare exceptions, is the absolute minimum attention to basic public health and safety concerns, much less to open space, design, or anything that adds value to the community.

ablarc is correct, of course, in saying that most communities need better regs. While I do not think regulations are a major driving force for "sprawl" or whatever else you want to call bad development, some existing regs do help promote poor development practices. What is more damning, however, is how few existing regs are structured to encourage really good development. We have spent so much time fretting about what we don't want that we are not asking for what we Do want.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
I think the problem with most zoning is that it enforces sprawl. Most zoning is in sprawl, though, and cities that don't sprawl, if they have bad zoning, are in the process of revising it to ensure that their current built environment can be preserved. I know Chicago is completly revamping its zoning for that reason.

In the sprawl, it enforces sprawl by ensuring (mostly) that there are plenty of facilities for cars. It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem though, cars must be accomadated because they're essential for the area, but they are essential because the area is sprawl.

There are communities who, in fits of "New Urbanist" exhuberance, decide to build new non-car-dependent development. Or even as a suburb of Chicago wants to do, tear down its old downtown and build a "New Urbanist" one. If those efforts will succeed or not remains to be seen.

Many people in the suburbs are shockingly anti-community, and will not put up with any encroachment, so they're fight for dingbat things like euclidean zoning until their dying day (luckly, many of them are quite old). But you have to remember that the "planner" is often an agent of a government whose people have decided that they want to live in sprawl, and they expect that to happen. It's not like the planner can walk in one day, throw all of the regs in the trash, and rewrite everything to allow good development.

I think the question is, how do you best achieve the creation of walkable, sustainable communities? If you leave it to the capitalism, you'll get ether horrible slums, ugly sprawl, or some combination therof. The history (especially recent) of human civilization has taught us that.

Lewis Mumford argues that the public sector should define the framework for growth, and the private sector should provide the impetus. That makes a lot of sense. There are exceptions, of course, but in 90% of the cases, that has at least the capability of doing a pretty good job.

Granted, the public sector isn't currently doing a very good job of providing a framework, but that hardly means its role should be downgraded. Would you point at the silly laws that government enforces and use that to argue that government should get out of the law enforcement buisness?

The solution is to reshape the framework government is providing. But the reality of representative government is that getting stuff like that changed has more to do with politics and public education than it does with if the planner can write good code or not.

By the way, this is all horribly off topic. Perhaps a moderator could do a thread split?
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
I think jordanb is absolutely right. Many-MOST people are perfectly happy with "sprawl." It's all they have ever known, it's all they have ever been told to want, and our culture's images, prejudices, and preferences all support some rural idyll which has been bastardized into suburbia.

Look at real estate advertising. Outside a few major cities, such advertising is not selling urban mixed use-the ads are selling the gated "exclusive" subdivisions. Patio Man is a far more common demographic than the more urbane "been to Europe so lets build Budapest here" group.

Hopefully, this IS changing-and we need to stop enforcing often silly rules (That's where I disagree a bit with Cardinale-a lot of our rules are somewhat silly :) ) New Urbanism, despite my skepticism towards some of its current products, should be heartily supported-and I believe most planners do, to a certain extent.

I would certainly not defend the whole panoply of rules and regulates enforced by local governments (many of the worst, in my opinion, are not "zoning" requirements at all-but public works standards). But, to believe that zoning in itself is the only reason, or even a primary reason, for "sprawl" is just plain silly.

I very much enjoy your thoughtful photo posts/essays, ablarc, but I disagree with your predisposition to finding single, simple "causes" for the "problems" of modern North American urbanism.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,173
Points
51
The main reason for asking the questions in the same thread is to first show that many of us have some key points that are the same, but more so, some of those similar dislikes are in place because of how our ordinance is written. More so, I believe that Jordanb was 100% correct in much of what he stated. It is almost as if when he stated that many people have been told that Spraw (or the American dream as they hear it) is good, 2 cars for every person is good, and living in a place different from where you live is good. I mentioned it at the beginning of the post, maybe it is only because of out training and education that we see things in the way that we do, but the ordinance is not written to make us happy. Ordinances are political documents that are intended to help get people elected. If people see what they want, business move in, property values are high, and things are happy, then councils and mayors get elected. How can we show, educate, and motivate people to make a change in their community and their ordinance? I think that regs are a good thing, but they should not be a stagnate document. They should be proactive as opposed to reactive, they should be a guide to how development should be.
 

Big Easy King

Cyburbian
Messages
1,361
Points
23
The Big Easy

I'm sure that I'll think of more, but the following just crossed my mind:

Likes

- Planderella :h:
- neighborhood revitalization efforts
- local historic districts and measures to protect them
- streetcar system, especially the new and extended routes to provide more access
- planners
- neighborhood awareness of traditional planning
- efforts to redevelop brownfield sites
- City Park
- bayous
- Lake Ponchartrain and lakefront
- Mississippi River and riverfront
- Spanish, French, and Creole architectural styles
- culture
- Jazz and Heritage Festival and other festivals
- Mardi Gras
- grand avenues (i.e., St. Charles Avenue)
- food
- N.O. Hornets
- N.O. Saints

Dislikes

- lack of a master plan
- aspects of the land use plan
- lack of sidewalks along major thoroughfares
- approval of inappropriate conditional and nonconforming uses
- tourism-based economy
- lack of major companies/corporations
- approval of new subdivisions without open/green space provisions
- current mayoral administration
- politics and politicians
- daily traffic congestion
- condition of streets
- residual effects of Section 8 housing on eastern N.O.
- brownfield sites
- lack of an LRT system
 

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
9,329
Points
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Even though I reside twenty (20) miles from Toledo (I'm in a bedroom suburb), I have been in NW Ohio all of my life and can probably list some goods and some bads:

The Goods.....
Toledo is small enuf to get around pretty easy. Just enuf exways to make cross-town travel quick and easy, surface streets are generally OK to good, traffic jams are only a "happening" in a few places.

No real sprawl, most likely due to a metro that has just about the slowest growth rate in this here U.S. of A.

Some fun places, if you like crowded "in" bars (which I do). Best minor league baseball park in the world, at a really affordable price. Cool zoo (most complete in America).

High rate of home ownership, low divorce rate, excellent metro park system (including a huge preserve that has "moving" sand dunes and timber rattlesnakes.

Lake Erie access....."Walleye Fishing Capitol Of the World", ice boat racing in winter. Just an hour away from a place that some of you may know about, a wonderful "party island" (South Bass) with village of Put-In-Bay.....dozens of bars, filled with muscle-bound men (pinheads) and bikini-clad women (forgive me, I'm old).

History by the tons: Most important battle in the Northwest Territory (Battle of Fallen Timbers), large reconstructed fort (Fort Meigs), Perry's Monument (on South Bass Island).

Generally nice, hard-working, usually Eastern European (Poles, Slavs, Hungarians, Germans) folks. Beautiful church architecture ("Holy Toledo").

Increasingly becoming important as a distribution center, because of the access to mid-America (I-80, I-90, I-75, U.S. 23).

Some of the best and most affordable housing America. Great rails-to-trails bike routes.

The Bads.....
Increasing rates of violent crime. Central core of city is old and rotting. The fix always involves tearing buildings down but few replacements get built.

Like most other cities, Toledo built too many enclosed malls, and now all but one (1) are dead or dying. My personal shopping plan usually involves going to a small town near mine....not into Toledo. Oddly enuf, even though there is not much sprawl and the usual big box retails like suburban roads....I like driving in the country. (So, shoot me.)

Big time pro sports (not minor league) are a little more than an hour away, far enuf to create time scheduling problems on work days.

Downtown closes at 6:00 PM, except on Summer evenings when the baseball Mud Hens are in town.....then, the half of downtown near the stadium has some cool bars, etc.

Best jazz club in the midwest, Rusty's, closed last year....not enuf business.

Smoking ban in bars.....just signed-in.....IMHO, stinks. I don't smoke, never have, never will....but if I owned a bar I would want the right to decide if my patrons can smoke. (I will probably get a bunch of you smoked off about that opinion.)

Bear
 
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