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Old 08-19-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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Here's an interesting article on sprawl, suburbs and the free market, and why the 20th century auto suburb should be anathema to those who don't care for government regulation and tax-sucking federal projects:

The Demand Curve for Sprawl Slopes Downward | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

Quote:
The exchanges focus mainly on zoning rather than other interventions that have been identified over the years as factors that abet sprawl. These include federal subsidies to construct the 46,876-mile-long interstate highway system and intra-urban freeway systems, both of which have made living in the less-expensive fringes of cities cheaper for urban commuters not to mention federal subsidies for the construction of water mains, sewers, telecommunication lines, and, as we all should be well aware of today, direct and indirect subsidies to single-family home ownership via Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and a slew of federal policies intended to promote single-family home ownership, dating back to the Great Depression, including the income-tax deduction for mortgage interest.
This makes sense to me: as I have mentioned before, late 19th and early 20th century streetcar suburbs were far more libertarian affairs. The transportation (typically a streetcar line) was a privately owned, for-profit business, owned or paid for by the developer. Utilities and infrastructure were also usually supplied by the real estate developer, and paid for by the sale of real estate lots. Lots were sold to the individual purchaser as bare ground, and a buyer could build whatever style of house they liked: small house, big house, duplex, apartment building, even retail/commercial. A skilled developer could make money selling lots, charging residents for rides downtown, and selling electricity to homeowners--not to mention charging admission to amusement parks or other entertainment in a privately operated neighborhood park. Sometimes one element of this combination didn't make much money, but it made profits on the others possible, so the overall venture was profitable.

It's a lot closer to a laissez-faire world than today's suburban subdivision, based on access via federal highways, FHA-backed home loans, and assorted government programs providing infrastructure.

So, the question is this: If you're of a free-market, libertarian mindset, what do you think of the idea of returning to free-market principles of suburb construction? Would a modern "free-market suburb" resemble its predecessors of 100 years ago? How would it compare against the government-regulated and subsidized competition?
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:09 AM
 
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Technology has changed too much. It wouldn't be the same. Many can work from home these days and do not need to commute. It is true some of the interurban lines developed the suburbs to enhance their business, and had amusement parks to bring Sunday business. In some cases, especially where the railroad owned the land to be developed, they kept fares purposely low to drive the development business.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:38 AM
 
Location: Bryte, CA
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I don't buy the argument that because a highway runs through an area that the neighbourhoods are subsidized. The highways also serve as shipping corridors, not just commuter corridors.

At any rate, there are plenty of exceptions to the highway phenomenon. Fresno, Bakersfield, and Modesto are examples where the sprawl just sprawled with the absence of highways. The highways in these places, other than the former US-99, came long afterward. In the case of Fresno, the sprawl didn't even follow 99 to the northwest and the southeast of Downtown, but went east along a two lane road called Butler Ave. Later, Ventura St-Kings Canyon Blvd became Hwy 180 through Fresno, but was still a two lane road. To the north, a suburban shopping center called Manchester was built and development sprang up around the shopping center.

Perhaps in most metro areas today people look for freeway access, but there are a lot of examples where highways didn't have an impact on sprawl, and the highways were built out as a result of the sprawl. Portland, OR is another fine example of this.
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Old 08-23-2010, 06:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC6ZLV View Post
I don't buy the argument that because a highway runs through an area that the neighbourhoods are subsidized. The highways also serve as shipping corridors, not just commuter corridors.

At any rate, there are plenty of exceptions to the highway phenomenon. Fresno, Bakersfield, and Modesto are examples where the sprawl just sprawled with the absence of highways. The highways in these places, other than the former US-99, came long afterward. In the case of Fresno, the sprawl didn't even follow 99 to the northwest and the southeast of Downtown, but went east along a two lane road called Butler Ave. Later, Ventura St-Kings Canyon Blvd became Hwy 180 through Fresno, but was still a two lane road. To the north, a suburban shopping center called Manchester was built and development sprang up around the shopping center.

Perhaps in most metro areas today people look for freeway access, but there are a lot of examples where highways didn't have an impact on sprawl, and the highways were built out as a result of the sprawl. Portland, OR is another fine example of this.
Certainly Lake County IL development did just fine without it. A freeway through central Lake County had been planned for years but never built. Some opponents thought it would bring development and sprawl. People businesses just moved in anyway. A commuter railroad was established in 1996, but by then most of the development had already occurred. The highway is now under more serious consideration, but will likely be built as a tollway.
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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Somewhat off topic, but this brings up another sprawl related pet-peeve of mine. People move out into the middle of nowhere to "get away" from the hustle and bustle of the city. But then demand that all the services they moved away from come out to them. (including freeway access, but also libraries, post offices, schools, etc.)
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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Few people move out to "the middle of nowhere." They move to the edge of the suburbs, and the suburbs expand around them. The touted advantages of the suburb typically only exist in the suburb's early phases.

kc6zlv: Highways are also subsidized shipping corridors. Prior to highways, shipping was mostly done on railroads, which were privately owned. The interstate highway system allowed long-haul trucking to shift considerable market share away from railroads--trucking companies didn't have to maintain the roadways. Workplaces, the recipients of that shipping, are also places where people work--and highways allow car-owning suburban residents to live in a suburb physically detached from where they work, through their tax dollars.

Workplaces and highways has also created the phenomenon of the "edge city"--cities like Industry, CA, where residents are outnumbered by businesses.

Bakersfield is a highly notable exception, and one of the largest cities in the country without an interstate highway passing through it, but it's hard to suggest that highways and public-funded roads haven't affected its growth patterns. It has several state highways running through it, and the existence of the highway system over the Grapevine has made Bakersfield an extreme exoburb for the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Highways aren't the only factor for sprawl: subsidized loans, government policies, lack of regional planning, infrastructure subsidies and other factors all come into play, including things like consumer choice and white flight. But they're a major factor, even if the highways are state routes rather than interstates. The difference is largely one of degree.
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Old 08-23-2010, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Few people move out to "the middle of nowhere." They move to the edge of the suburbs, and the suburbs expand around them. The touted advantages of the suburb typically only exist in the suburb's early phases.
Well, yeah. It's all the same to me.

IMO, 10 miles away from the nearest store is "the middle of nowhere."
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Old 08-23-2010, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Sinking in the Great Salt Lake
11,290 posts, read 9,897,515 times
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Default The free-Market Suburb

I couldn't help but notice I could only get a 1 bedroom skyrise apartment in downtown SLC for the cost of my 1/3 acre lot and 2000 sq ft house in the 'burbs 12 miles away where it is clean, there is almost no crime and there is a park, shopping, schools, kids to play with my kids and a library all within walking distance.

The free market has spoken...
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Old 08-26-2010, 10:25 PM
Status: "Fall is almost over!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
69,637 posts, read 59,609,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
Somewhat off topic, but this brings up another sprawl related pet-peeve of mine. People move out into the middle of nowhere to "get away" from the hustle and bustle of the city. But then demand that all the services they moved away from come out to them. (including freeway access, but also libraries, post offices, schools, etc.)
Everyone is entitled to postal service and public education.
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Old 08-26-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Everyone is entitled to postal service and public education.
Which is why they are supported with tax dollars...but is everyone entitled to a single-family home with a yard in the suburbs, to the point where we should continue to support that with our tax dollars too?
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