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Old 10-27-2009, 02:40 PM
 
20,313 posts, read 37,815,914 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
The political boundaries of Boulder are readily apparent if driving in on US 36 from the north. There is a row of large condos, or single family homes, straight as an arrow defining the edge of what surely is designated open space.....
Reminds me of my trips to Germany back in 1984. Compact towns ended at a clearly defined demarc point and across the street were farm fields. Many towns like that, and small cities too. At that time, West Germany was a nation of 55M people in a state the size of Oregon; tight zoning regulation was the ONLY way they could manage their nation.

Funny thing is, many people see the German example and gush over it "oh my, look how good they are with their resources, or, these Germans really have their act together, etc, etc." But if we do the same thing here in the USA, it becomes the "Peoples Republic of Boulder" and the people who try to manage land usage are called commie pinko liberal pukes, yadda yadda and then, out the other side of the same people's mouths they voice vicious hatred of sprawl, and then contradict themselves yet again when they spout their "free market" mantra about landowners doing whatever they want with their own land as they see fit.

Nothing like good old American-style schizophrenia.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 10-27-2009 at 07:44 PM..
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Long Island, NY
24 posts, read 52,709 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Reminds of my trips to Germany back in 1984. Compact towns ended at a clearly defined demarc point and across the street were farm fields. Many towns like that, and small cities too. At that time, West Germany was a nation of 55M people in a state the size of Oregon; tight zoning regulation was the ONLY way they could manage their nation.

Funny thing is, many people see the German example and gush over it "oh my, look how good they are with their resources, or, these Germans really have their act together, etc, etc." But if we do the same thing here in the USA, it becomes the "Peoples Republic of Boulder" and the people who try to manage land usage are called commie pinko liberal pukes, yadda yadda and then, out the other side of the same people's mouths they voice vicious hatred of sprawl, and then contradict themselves yet again when they spout their "free market" mantra about landowners doing whatever they want with their own land as they see fit.

Nothing like good old American-style schizophrenia.
Awesome!
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Old 05-24-2010, 09:06 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,111,186 times
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Default We Coloradans should ponder this . . .

I originally was going to post this on the Recession/Depression thread on the nation Business forum on C-D, but this week's Kunstler blog so completely describes metropolitan Colorado's love affair with sprawl that I think it belongs here ( Out of Darkness - Cluster**** Nation ).

The blog discusses in some detail the meeting of the New Urbanists in Atlanta, a city that is the epitome of how to do everything wrong in planning a metro area. Any metro resident reading this should (but probably won't) realize what kind of huge mistake they are living in, but events are likely to rub their collective noses in that in fairly short order, anyway.

The whole article is a must-read, but a couple of snippets bear emphasis (I respectfully ask the indulgence of the Moderator to allow these quotes):

Quote:
The basic idea behind the New Urbanism was that the quality and character of the places where we spend our lives matters, and that the surrender of the entire American landscape to Happy Motoring was an historic aberration that had to be corrected if the USA was going to continue as a viable project. Among other things, they noticed that if people live in places that aren't worth caring about, sooner or later they end up being a nation not worth defending -- and this is on top of the daily personal punishments suffered by hundreds of millions of people dwelling in a geography of nowhere. . . .

The collective American identity was invested in the idea of the suburban utopia, and the sheer dollar investments in the infrastructure of it all -- everything from the interstate highways to the housing subdivisions to the strip malls -- was so massive that nobody wanted to think about changing it. What's more, a massive system had evolved for delivering what came to be labeled as suburban sprawl, especially the laws that regulated land-use, so that in most places in the USA it was illegal to build anything else but sprawl. . . .

Among other things, the most forward-looking leaders in the New Urbanist movement now recognize that we have to reorganize the landscape for local food production, because industrial agriculture will be one of the prime victims of our oil predicament. The successful places in the future will be places that have a meaningful relationship with growing food close to home. The crisis in agriculture is looming right now -- with world grain reserves at their lowest level ever recorded in modern times -- and when it really does hit, the harvestmen of famine and death will be in the front ranks of it.

This eighteenth Congress of the New Urbanism was held in the shadow of a banking system in extreme crisis and an epic ecological catastrophe brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. The three crisis of capital, energy, and global ecology will now determine what we do, not the polls or the marketing analyses or the whims of "consumers." The great achievement of the New Urbanists was not the projects they built during the final orgasm of the cheap energy orgy. It was the knowledge they retrieved from the dumpster of history. We really do know where to go from here. Whether the people of the USA have the will to take themselves there now is another issue.
So, just how emotionally, financially, and socially prepared is Colorado for the changing world ahead? Short answer--as of right now, very poorly. And I don't think we are going to have much time to start changing course to avoid a social, economic, and environmental catastrophe right here in our own front yard. I find it especially disheartening that none of the politicians pandering for votes this past weekend at the Democratic and Republican State Assemblies came even close acknowledging these realities. Given that most of their consituents want to bury their heads in the sand and try to continue life as usual--regardless of the fact that "as usual" is going to be an impossibility--I'm not surprised that the politicians didn't go there. That's what happens when they all start following the polls, rather than being leaders.
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:00 AM
 
20,313 posts, read 37,815,914 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
I originally was going to post this on the Recession/Depression thread on the nation Business forum on C-D, but this week's Kunstler blog so completely describes metropolitan Colorado's love affair with sprawl that I think it belongs here ( Out of Darkness - Cluster**** Nation ).

.....

So, just how emotionally, financially, and socially prepared is Colorado for the changing world ahead? Short answer--as of right now, very poorly. And I don't think we are going to have much time to start changing course to avoid a social, economic, and environmental catastrophe right here in our own front yard. I find it especially disheartening that none of the politicians pandering for votes this past weekend at the Democratic and Republican State Assemblies came even close acknowledging these realities. Given that most of their consituents want to bury their heads in the sand and try to continue life as usual--regardless of the fact that "as usual" is going to be an impossibility--I'm not surprised that the politicians didn't go there. That's what happens when they all start following the polls, rather than being leaders.
Jazz, seems the best place for your posting is in the sprawl thread, as sprawl is the gist of the quoted material.

Seems few places are prepared for the changing world of shortages, not just oil, but all energy, water and most minerals that are mined in most places around the world. Though there is much angst over water here in the west, it is Atlanta that is becoming a regular problem child for water shortages. All of this is laid out very well in Stephen Leeb's 2009 book, Game Over: How to Prosper in a Shattered Economy.

Leeb focuses on the inter-relationships between many commodities (mostly minerals) that 'could' impact our ability to adapt in time to prevent a "game over" for billions of people. He points out that ever tightening supplies of iron ore 'could' impact making the 700,000 wind towers it is estimated are needed to produce all of the electricity the nation needs. He points out that the rare minerals needed for certain types of PV solar cells inhibit the major effort needed to get us into solar energy. Leeb argues that if we wait much longer we risk "game over" from a cascading set of commodity shortages.

There is so much to discuss that I'd almost have to recreate his book here, but one thing I will mention is he points out that our nation spends far too little on R&D, i.e., the $4.5B / year we spend on energy R&D is about what the war in Iraq is costing us every 60 days. Leeb's view for years is that we are in Iraq, and will militarily enter other oil-rich nations, to assure the west has access to oil, not steal it, just have access to it. He also points out the huge expense, difficulty and risk of deep water oil drilling, all but predicting the mess we now have in the Gulf of Mexico with the BP oil rig disaster.

He lays a lot of blame on Wall Street, for their short-sighted short-term outlook, bizarre financial instruments that led to the credit crunch and collapse, and how these "wizards" are no longer working at their classic task of raising the capital for business expansion.

I think Leeb is a bit alarmist but he seems intent on waking people up to the need for quick action. IMO, our national leadership needs to focus less on trivial social issues and get on with building our national infrastructure that can carry us for the next 200+ years.
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Last edited by Mike from back east; 05-25-2010 at 10:11 AM..
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Old 05-26-2010, 03:27 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,627 posts, read 3,620,910 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Reminds me of my trips to Germany back in 1984. Compact towns ended at a clearly defined demarc point and across the street were farm fields. Many towns like that, and small cities too. At that time, West Germany was a nation of 55M people in a state the size of Oregon; tight zoning regulation was the ONLY way they could manage their nation.

Funny thing is, many people see the German example and gush over it "oh my, look how good they are with their resources, or, these Germans really have their act together, etc, etc." But if we do the same thing here in the USA, it becomes the "Peoples Republic of Boulder" and the people who try to manage land usage are called commie pinko liberal pukes, yadda yadda and then, out the other side of the same people's mouths they voice vicious hatred of sprawl, and then contradict themselves yet again when they spout their "free market" mantra about landowners doing whatever they want with their own land as they see fit.

Nothing like good old American-style schizophrenia.
Agreed. Was actually explaining that difference to someone the other day in my own "back yard" (right around Cherry Creek.) Across the creek there was just more "growth" in one direction and basically all industrial zoning in the other direction. It really made me miss the way towns and villages were delineated in England...exactly as you said. Town...Farms.

Germany, of course, has the benefit of a more moderated climate, soil structure and water table to support it's population compared to CO (approximately 75% it's area.) Much the same could be said of Britain.

Unfortunately, Frank Lloyd Wright's "Broadacre City" model won out in the U.S. (as Phoenix, AZ shows) since being American is all about winners and losers, and even the Denver metro, with it's numerous parks and open spaces, doesn't quite compare to the more Euro-centric model because that would lead to totalitarianism, degradation of our moral fiber and likely impurities in our bodily fluids...(I digress.) It's not that there is a single type of solution that is right for everywhere, but Colorado's front range cities really have a great opportunity to do some more effective planning. Tragically, there's no co-ordination (and not enough discussion) on the matter despite the fact that there are aspects of the solution that should satisfy parties from various walks of life (co-ordinating planning with incentives to satisfy private property rights and government guidance.)

After all, why do we always believe that the only way to have comfortable, safe, affordable neighborhoods and schools (that REMAIN that way over time) is to have tracts of single family housing units accessible only by car -- when other parts of the world seem to be quite successful doing it differently?
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:11 AM
 
5,748 posts, read 10,508,248 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zenkonami View Post
After all, why do we always believe that the only way to have comfortable, safe, affordable neighborhoods and schools (that REMAIN that way over time) is to have tracts of single family housing units accessible only by car....
The interesting thing is that a huge portion of the difference in housing cost between urban/walkable suburbs and outlying exurbs is often eaten up in the cost of the commute. A couple of car payments, insurance, and fuel can very easily amount to $15k/yr or more. Over time, that adds up! Unfortunately, the availability of such neighborhoods is limited, and housing prices will reflect the scarcity as more people catch on.
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,755 posts, read 16,459,702 times
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Default An idea whose time has come????

Backyard cottages make a dent in housing need

Backyard cottages are a promising way to address the need for affordable housing without diminishing the character of urban neighborhoods, and they're creating more options for families who want to live near an elderly parent or adult child. "It's harder and harder for working people to live in the city," says former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels, now a fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics.
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:39 PM
 
90 posts, read 218,318 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicWizard View Post
Backyard cottages make a dent in housing need

Backyard cottages are a promising way to address the need for affordable housing without diminishing the character of urban neighborhoods, and they're creating more options for families who want to live near an elderly parent or adult child. "It's harder and harder for working people to live in the city," says former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels, now a fellow at the Harvard University Institute of Politics.
Just heard this week of yet another family that is sorry to have moved "up" to a even bigger McMansion only to find themselves in an upside-down mortgage situation, and basically stuck forever in debtdom. They, like each one I know of, NOW "gets" that you don't need all that space either inside or outside! I think ideas like this Backyard Cottage idea will permeate/morph into Homeowners Association bylaws eventually to allow for multiple families to occupy said McMansions. I'm not in debtdom but just checked my HOA bylaws and two families are not allowed, even if I am empty nested and looking to share my home. Stupid! So, good for Seattle and other cities that are waking up. Lets hope we wake up before it is too late...I can't imagine my little HOA situation to change easily.
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Old 05-26-2010, 11:15 PM
 
12,845 posts, read 24,492,913 times
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A lot of places (at least back East) don't have HOAs for housing communities at all (maybe for condos, but rarely for house communities/towns). What there is, is zoning, and that is the problem.
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