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Old 01-18-2014, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Poshawa, Ontario
2,986 posts, read 3,330,000 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
So, are you saying that people with access to transit drive as much or more than those who don't have access, on average?
I live along a major public transit route but I never use it. It is far too overpriced and inefficient to make it worthwhile. I do, however, use the commuter train to get to work downtown Toronto from Oshawa.

Some of you seem to miss the point that unless public transit is efficient, people will not use it unless they have no other choice. Whenever I am in NYC, I use public transit daily. This is due to it being affordable and efficient at moving me across the city. However, I at loathe to use Durham Transit or the TTC. The former was obviously designed by people who have never used it and the latter is far too overpriced... considering a lot of the time it is slower than walking!
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,348,864 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annuvin View Post
I live along a major public transit route but I never use it. It is far too overpriced and inefficient to make it worthwhile. I do, however, use the commuter train to get to work downtown Toronto from Oshawa.

Some of you seem to miss the point that unless public transit is efficient, people will not use it unless they have no other choice. Whenever I am in NYC, I use public transit daily. This is due to it being affordable and efficient at moving me across the city. However, I at loathe to use Durham Transit or the TTC. The former was obviously designed by people who have never used it and the latter is far too overpriced... considering a lot of the time it is slower than walking!
No disagreements here. However, when the option of transit is available, it has at least some impact on how much people drive; the impact on miles driven rising as quality of service rises.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:55 AM
 
7,991 posts, read 5,073,457 times
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Some people here have bemoaned the devolution of the housing-debate to philosophical or political opinions. But this is unavoidable. How to live - in a large house on a sprawling estate, or a tiny rented apartment downtown - is a political statement and a values-judgment, as much as one of personal finance an convenience.

Another issue is family structures. Families can live in apartments or condos, but there are strong advantages to living in houses, especially for larger families. Every child can have his/her bedroom. There's play-area in the back yard. Since families tend to have social interaction with other families, entertaining of guests might mean 10 or 15 people gathering. That's easier to do in houses. With several people in the family, household chores can be parsed, such as assigning lawn-mowing duties to the older kids. Economies of scale kick in. The situation is the reverse for singles, and to smaller extent, for childless couples. A single career-oriented person might spend 60 or 70 hours at work, plus travel for work, plus socialize with coworkers. There's little time for him/her to mow the lawn or to vacuum the carpets.

Speaking from experience, there are many adverse consequences to a single person buying a house, especially in the countryside. The commute isn't the problem, or the mortgage, or even the heating bill. It's the intangibles, the constraints on lifestyle; and the tangibles, such as finding time on weekends to mow all of that acreage.

Higher-density communities make sense in particular for people who don't have dependents and who don't spend much time at home. Perhaps what we're really debating here is the possibility that the next generation - the current generation of young adults - is less inclined than the previous generation to have kids, and is more likely to work long hours. I don't have data. Anecdotal evidence is perhaps if anything the reverse... in my area, people are settling down earlier, marrying and having kids earlier, buying houses in suburbia earlier. But this is the conservative Midwest, and my workplace does engineering - a notoriously conservative field.

And at the risk of offending some posters on this forum - yes, I would very much be thrilled if America became more like Europe (especially more like the Scandinavian countries) - in values, in lifestyle, in economics, in housing and urban development.
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,071 posts, read 102,800,958 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post

And at the risk of offending some posters on this forum - yes, I would very much be thrilled if America became more like Europe (especially more like the Scandinavian countries) - in values, in lifestyle, in economics, in housing and urban development.
That's interesting because Norway and Finland have higher home ownership rates than the US, Sweden's rate is similar and Denmark's is >50%.
List of countries by home ownership rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It is not uncommon in Sweden to own a "cabin" up north, a practice they brought to MN.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
America's fixation on privacy from neighbors is pretty unique. If you look at how people live essentially all traditional societies, there's little of what we would call privacy. Dwellings are very small, often no more than the place you sleep, with the majority of time spent in the "commons" outside. Personal space as we understood probably didn't exist until well into the 19th century, as even during colonial days it was common to have only two rooms to your house at most, one in the front to entertain guests, eat, and work, and one in the rear to sleep.

As I see it, the root of the suburban lifestyle comes with the mentality of property ownership - in particular land ownership. There was, after all, one sort of house which was always surrounded by large tracks of land - estates. Over time these worked their way down from massive feudal holdings to yeoman farmers, but you see the same basic model - a sizable house which is some distance away from all property lines, allowing for clear defense of title against surrounding landowners. The idealized suburban house is basically constructed as an estate in miniature. Modern suburban landscaping, for example, directly grew out of a desire to have gardens which mimicked the English country estates (where large expanses of grass were kept short by grazing).
Actually, this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
To be clear, when I said "effectively annexed" I meant I could see Millvale becoming like a city neighborhood, not an actual city neighborhood. Although I do sort of wonder if the majority of Millvale residents, in some possible future, became 20something renters who all biked to jobs downtown, how many of them would really vote to stay independent for self-interested reasons.
seems to be the reason so many urbanists try to dissuade home ownership. Renters can more easily be persuaded to vote for higher city taxes, b/c they don't pay them directly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
The yearning for privacy, perhaps, arose concomitantly with the rise of individual consciousness in the 19th century; with the rise of mass notions of autonomy, liberty and the like.

I agree with eschaton's post #152, in that the American McMansion is a degenerate profanation of the English country house, where middle-class Americans yearn to be ennobled lords in miniature. But lordship is costly, and when the property comes to lord over its owner, eventually the owner reconsiders and downsizes to something more manageable.

While the desire for privacy is perhaps universal in the West, there is something unique about the American condition. Elsewhere, land ownership was limited to a privileged class. Land purchase required not only money, but official permission; one had to be of the right class, ethnicity, religion and so forth. The 19th century rejection of aristocratic privilege and of autocratic primacy perhaps retained a skepticism of residential land-ownership. In the US, anyone with money (and sometimes without) could own land. Land ownership was never really associated with narrow privilege. But if anyone could aspire to owning land, perhaps everyone should? So goes the imperative.

In the post-modern consciousness, the mere fact that we have a given liberty, does not mean that it is imperative to exercise it. Even if one can afford to buy an estate, maybe nevertheless one shouldn't, because not merely financial considerations determine the pros and cons of ownership.

Also, I am not persuaded that the recent trends are merely generational rebellion. Generation X bought suburban houses with as much appetite as the Baby Boomers and Silent Generation, perhaps more so. By that reasoning, they were less keen on rebelling than on exceeding their parents' dictum.
Yet:

Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
One not mentioned in the thread is Coreopolis. I don't know the area well, but compared to many other river boroughs it's held up rather well, and there are clusters of grand houses in places. With the increased development out by the airport, I could see it improving in general desirability, becoming a place where people who need to live out that way for job reasons, but desire a historic house, locate themselves. Of course, the tiny, cash-strapped school district it shares with Neville Island could be a problem, but at some point I see it being amalgamated into one of the nearby suburban school districts anyway.
AKA, McMansions of yester-year?
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
seems to be the reason so many urbanists try to dissuade home ownership. Renters can more easily be persuaded to vote for higher city taxes, b/c they don't pay them directly.
Why would urbanists dissuade or not support home ownership?
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:26 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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auto-centric suburbia, parisian style:

https://maps.google.fr/maps?q=tigery...,,0,-1.26&z=18
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:33 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,071 posts, read 102,800,958 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJNEOA View Post
Why would urbanists dissuade or not support home ownership?
I just said: It's easier to persuade renters to vote for higher taxes b/c they don't pay them directly. Some renters think they don't pay them at all, though that is incorrect. This topic comes up time and again. I'd do a search, but then I'd be told I was "dredging up old posts". Some people think (possibly correctly) that home ownership makes one more conservative.

**Government studies in the 1920s concluded a single-family home with a yard and a room for each child was the optimal condition for raising children. This would not only make better Americans, but it would help quell the spread of communism. Home ownership is good for the economy, good for the family, and makes the owner a better citizen. However, most Americans still could not afford a home of their own. (Leach, Halberstam, Jackson)**

The History of Home Ownership in America | Socyberty

Just for the record, I think the quote about communism is funny.
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Old 01-18-2014, 10:54 AM
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
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I'd disagree with the idea home ownership, especially houses with a yard, would make "better citizens".

And now Scandinavian suburbia:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Oslo,...250.26,,0,7.04
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:20 AM
 
4,083 posts, read 3,112,882 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
Speaking from experience, there are many adverse consequences to a single person buying a house, especially in the countryside. The commute isn't the problem, or the mortgage, or even the heating bill. It's the intangibles, the constraints on lifestyle; and the tangibles, such as finding time on weekends to mow all of that acreage.
Just because a single person owns acreage does not mean that they have to make the whole amount of it a lawn that needs constant mowing. There are other personal uses of land.
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,071 posts, read 102,800,958 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I'd disagree with the idea home ownership, especially houses with a yard, would make "better citizens".

And now Scandinavian suburbia:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Oslo,...250.26,,0,7.04
I wasn't posting it as my opinion. For the record, I/we rented for a long time, individually and together. We were 33 and 34 when we bought our first house. I like to think I was a good citizen back then. But I do think renters, especially transient ones, like in college towns (where I lived for 7 years, and have lived near for the past 30) don't think of the consequences of the taxes they may vote for as much as the homeowners do.
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