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Old 05-07-2013, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Chicago
1,312 posts, read 1,584,498 times
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A note to begin with: "Evolve" in this thread means a change from one standard to another, or a mixture of changes that is different from the original in a way(s)



I'm not talking about the new ones that happen to be springing up around the country. I'm talking about the ones that are already established, and have been for decades.

I've read thoughts about the suburbs "adding density" and the like, and I just scratch my head in confusion. Because I can't see how it will happen. It seems like, to me at least, the vast majority of suburbs that we have now are pretty much going to be the same in 50 years.

Here are a few examples:

Avon, IN
Google Maps

Sugarland, TX
Google Maps

Mableton, GA
Google Maps


How can "density" be added in these places? I'm not seeing it. Where is this "density" going to go? Most of this land is already privately held, and the land that is public (government owned) isn't really in an advantageous position relative to what is already privately held.

And if I'm not being clear enough, some more thoughts:

A suburb "evolves" and lines every single street with sidewalks... but taking those sidewalks to places you need to go probably isn't going to happen because much of the land is still owned privately, and not by businesses. Example: Google Maps

A suburb "evolves" and places bus routes through many streets... but those buses only serve a very limited population because much of the land is already owned privately, and not by businesses.

A suburb "evolves" and places a town square type of area on publicly owned land... but that land is more than likely far removed from a majority of people who could use that area on a whim. Example: Anson, IN - Google Maps


So two questions:

1. Will the suburbs evolve beyond placing the car as the undisputed and uncontested mode of transit?

and

2. How will that happen given so many people own land/houses that don't lend themselves to being anything more or less than car centric?

Last edited by A2DAC1985; 05-07-2013 at 02:03 PM..

 
Old 05-07-2013, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,131,257 times
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Those place? They look like they'll never be anything but auto-oriented. But I doubt there is much demand for it to "evolve"

So I guess my answer is no. Too much to change, too expensive to change, and very little demand to change.
 
Old 05-07-2013, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post
Those place? They look like they'll never be anything but auto-oriented. But I doubt there is much demand for it to "evolve"

So I guess my answer is no. Too much to change, too expensive to change, and very little demand to change.

Your first line is pretty much my thoughts on the matter.

I know some people on here like to say how great their suburb is (for any number of reasons), so I don't see how things in the suburbs (that have already been built) will change.
 
Old 05-07-2013, 02:03 PM
 
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The only suburbs that will change are the small towns that became suburbs, their old town cores will densify (and already are). The question is how will gas prices go in the coming years?
 
Old 05-07-2013, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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The "traditional" way they're trying to add density to suburbs now is to create pseudo new urbanist areas on the sites of former shopping malls. Shopping malls are ideal, because they have huge acreage, most of which is only taken up by parking now. Better yet, many are failing, need to be redeveloped, and they are found all across suburbia. The new construction is usually a much smaller "lifestyle center," coupled with townhouses and rental apartments within walking distance. Thus it can, if done right, create a small walkable pseudo-urban environment.
 
Old 05-07-2013, 02:44 PM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
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I think DC suburbs could serve as a template to how suburbs can evolve (Tysons Corner, VA/Bethesda, MD ect.) with public transit rail lines and modern density. Which ones will follow that model, not sure. Bellevue and Kirkland, WA are some other examples. The demand for Houston & Atlanta suburbs like the ones the OP pointed out maybe less so in the near future because they have so many urban infill possibilities within their city limits and seem to be currently underway.
 
Old 05-07-2013, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caphillsea77 View Post
I think DC suburbs could serve as a template to how suburbs can evolve (Tysons Corner, VA/Bethesda, MD ect.) with public transit rail lines and modern density. Which ones will follow that model, not sure. Bellevue and Kirkland, WA are some other examples...
I liked DC when I was there. I would like to go back and see more. We only did a weekend trip and saw a few things, but not all that I had hoped to see. I still need a photo of me flipping off the FCC building.

On a somewhat related note; It is a lot easier to build rail lines when a whole country is picking up the tab.
 
Old 05-07-2013, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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I grew up near here:
Massillon, OH - Google Maps

When I was a kid, this K-Mart was there, but the pizza/gas station, and auto parts store were not. The land where these additional businesses are, was originally part of K-Mart's vast parking lot.

I see this as a small first step toward increased density.
 
Old 05-07-2013, 03:20 PM
 
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Clearly some folks on this thread have ZERO experience with commercial real estate. I have seen innumerable changes in thhe structure of dozens / hundreds of suburbs that have been dramatically re-shaped by shifts in demand in everything from industrial / warehouse space to retail space to multi-family residential space -- the key driver is that when there is DEMAND for space that will be more valuable the SUPPLY will adjust to answer this demand.

These things happen REGARDLESS of what "academic planners and land use consultants" may write-up in their high falutin' dreams. If somebody sees a old closed down variety store and say to themself "Hey that would be a great place for a ______" and they invest the money and it works that is a how these things change. If another developer looks around and sees s bunch of homeowners on overly large suburban lots and can buy em out and turn a portion of the assembled parcel into a nice Class A office tower and part into a nice ammenity ladden townhouse development then WHAM there is that density that the urbanists crave and naturalists morn the loss of -- in some cases I have even seen the efforts of the nature lovers work in harmony with the density increasing developers as some portion of the parcel is kept as "wetlands" or donated to an open lands consortatium in exchange for things like favorable tax breaks or a upgraded bus service...
The initial approvals of these sorts of things often "evolve" as the market shifts and other firms develop competing sites but in the end, even if that is 20 years or more, with good people good things result -- Downers Grove Oks Homart Plan - Chicago Tribune

Highland Parkway, Downers Grove, IL - Google Maps


Folks that don't think suburbs evolve just don't get out of their bubble enough OR are so trapped by the decaying ruins of jobless wastelands that they have lost all perspective. I have vivid memories of the crushing malaise of a certain White House inhabitant that gained famed after he left office for using his own hands to build low income housing. I can't wait for the day that a similar fate is served up to the current POTUS and hopefully a person that fully believes in the potential for Americans to again invest in ventures that can reap rewards and re-invigorate the country is once again truly the leader we elect....

Last edited by chet everett; 05-07-2013 at 03:29 PM..
 
Old 05-07-2013, 03:55 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Of course, if the suburbs government enacts zoning to prevent change, then it won't evolve. Though the demographics can change even if the building stock remains the same.

As for Chet Everett's view, it appears to be mostly scattered stores / office towers rather a recreated suburban town center. So mostly in the same style as previous.
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