U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 01-08-2014, 05:47 PM
 
Location: East coast
613 posts, read 893,333 times
Reputation: 306

Advertisements

I notice on this forum there is a lot of debate over whether cities should be more car vs. pedestrian/bike/transit oriented. I don't want to argue that all cities in the US should be like this, or that even most should, but I think at least we should develop some of our cities in this way as an option at least.

Although I do agree some go overboard in this point (such as idealistically thinking that we can reform all US cities to become European-like, which would involve too many restrictions on cars, zoning, gas taxes etc.), I do agree that we should have more choices of places to live that are not too expensive for a car-free lifestyle. Ideally, I would really like the USA to have both options of cities where it is very easy to drive, as well as ones easy to live without a car completely. It seems we already do well with the former option, but I think at least we should have more options for the latter.

I personally do think that pedestrian-friendliness is kind of lacking in many cities outside of either college towns or the largest cities like NYC (and other cities with expensive downtown living costs), but I also hear conflicting opinions on whether or not in the near future, US cities will become more or less transit/walking/biking friendly. On the one hand, I hear that my millennial (I guess I count as I'm in my late 20s) generation favors the alternate transport modes more than previous generations for various reasons (cost, environmental, lifestyle changes). Others say that it is just a phase and once the recession hits end or the current young 'uns grow up and get old enough to want to raise a family, the trend will reserve.

As someone who doesn't really like driving regularly, I would like at least seeing another major US city or two, or hopefully even a few (besides NYC, or one of the other few big cities, or one that is a college town) that is not too expensive to live in, approach European levels of options of alternative transport. I'm not saying those who like cars should give them up, but at least give options for those who don't. Do you think this is likely any time soon (say, within a generation, or by the time the millennials get old?) I'm going to try not to bring in to this discussion whether or not Europe should be idealized or copied in any other ways (such as how liberal or conservative they are in politics) but I am just thinking of Europe in terms of level of built form, layout or friendliness to non-car modes of getting about.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 01-08-2014, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,538,049 times
Reputation: 7830
We will definitely see more of this in the future but it will happen in more liberal states than it will conservative states, with an exception here and there with liberal cities in red states.

Also, I think it depends on which parts of the country. The cities that are spending money now on streetcars, light rail systems, and bike infrastructure are going to be the cities we see progressing towards what you are talking about.

Though in your lifetime, you might be better off with a city that has already been doing these things and being praised for their efforts.

In Portland, I had no problem biking anywhere I wanted in the city and having it take me just as long as it would if I did it in a car. Also, nothing feels better than biking up a hill using your own power than it is driving up it in a car.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-08-2014, 07:36 PM
 
2,493 posts, read 2,195,701 times
Reputation: 3351
The type of infrastructure change you are looking for is incredibly slow. I agree with urbanlife78, move somewhere it is already in progress. There are many cities that have started major transportation improvements that are still affordable, Denver and Portland come to mind. My second suggestion would be to pick you location very carefully. With a good location and good shoes and a bike, even a city with poor transit options can be workable. It is easier to change your options than to get a whole city to change.

Two unpleasant realities: We have too much capital invested in auto-centric infrastructure with little left for transit infrastructure. Second, too many people think funding transit is the rich (those with cars) subsudizing the poor (those that ride transit).
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-08-2014, 08:09 PM
 
56,674 posts, read 80,995,527 times
Reputation: 12530
You also have some small cities/towns(villages) that are walkable and even with transit. So, those communities may become more popular as well.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-08-2014, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Richmond/Philadelphia/Brooklyn
1,263 posts, read 1,273,888 times
Reputation: 741
Considering the rapid expansion of smart growth since 2000 and the pre-recession era, I believe the trends will only continue.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-08-2014, 08:27 PM
 
2,241 posts, read 2,675,575 times
Reputation: 424
I think such could be possible. Only time will tell.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-08-2014, 08:38 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 83,978,960 times
Reputation: 18050
In time they will have to in the fastest growing and the move to bring those living in sub burbs back to inner cities to shop and work. But much like Uk it wouldn't exactly be cheap as in past because funding differences coming.Otherwose we see the shift out of urban areas in work continuing.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-08-2014, 10:00 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,989 posts, read 41,998,698 times
Reputation: 14810
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
You also have some small cities/towns(villages) that are walkable and even with transit. So, those communities may become more popular as well.
Most of those are still fairly car oriented. Compared to say, a similar sized town in the UK, most are relatively pedestrian unfriendly, spread out with poor transit. It's also common for small cities to have much of the shopping, particularly the practical shopping, out on arterials by the edge of town which are hard to access on foot. British small cities have much less of this pattern, with only a few big box stores on the edge.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-09-2014, 01:23 AM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,717,097 times
Reputation: 2538
Complicated question but the answer is definitely yes...but not as fast as you might want it.

The 21st century will be the century of the city. Americans have fallen in love with their cities again and now they are pouring their attention of this long neglected resource. This makes the cities even better and more desirable creating a positive feedback loop. The era of auto-dependent planning was an aberration that will be long dead by the end of the 21st century.

Now the bad news. It won't happen overnight and it won't happen all at once. Some cities will be late to the party, others have a massive head start on the rest of the country. The kinds of infrastructure required is both expensive to build and fraught with political difficulties. And here's the really bad news: we're broke. We blew massive amounts of capital in the single most wasteful allocation of resources in the history of the world. So the progress will have to happen slowly, incrementally and over time.

Now the good news: where the cities lend themselves to multimodal options and there is strong and enlightened leadership, it is amazing how fast things can change. New York has transformed itself under Bloomberg in absolutely amazing ways. It took a billionaire gadfly politician with an attitude of "I don't give a damn what they think, I'm going to do it this way" to get it done...but he set an incredible example and a tremendously high bar for cities all over America.

I look at it like this...the tide has definitely turned, but there are 50 years of terrible decision making that will have to be undone. That will take until the first half of this century is over...and then the cities will really come into their own.

But your children and their children will be the real beneficiaries. Doesn't mean don't do it...these investments we make now are our gift to future generations.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 01-09-2014, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,538,049 times
Reputation: 7830
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddyline View Post
The type of infrastructure change you are looking for is incredibly slow. I agree with urbanlife78, move somewhere it is already in progress. There are many cities that have started major transportation improvements that are still affordable, Denver and Portland come to mind. My second suggestion would be to pick you location very carefully. With a good location and good shoes and a bike, even a city with poor transit options can be workable. It is easier to change your options than to get a whole city to change.

Two unpleasant realities: We have too much capital invested in auto-centric infrastructure with little left for transit infrastructure. Second, too many people think funding transit is the rich (those with cars) subsudizing the poor (those that ride transit).
You also have lots of people that still think that anything that isn't going to fund auto centric infrastructure is nothing more than a "boondoggle."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top