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Old 01-12-2014, 10:06 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
It's not a matter of priorities. We don't actually know how to do that.

But to address Katiana's point, while the size and location of schools and the transportation systems for them fall under the heading of "urban planning", the actual administration of the schools and the teaching is largely out of scope. If parents don't live in a city because their kids would have to walk 3 miles to kindergarten, that's an urban planning problem. If they don't live in a city because they only thing kids learn in school is the basics of the drug business, that's not something urban planning can solve.
I understand that and I'm not suggesting urban planners get involved in running the schools. I'm suggesting more of an awareness of what's happening in the schools. After all, school is where the 5-18 year olds spend a lot of their time.
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Old 01-12-2014, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I understand that and I'm not suggesting urban planners get involved in running the schools. I'm suggesting more of an awareness of what's happening in the schools. After all, school is where the 5-18 year olds spend a lot of their time.
I don't have kids and not sure if I want any. But I'm also pretty aware. Of the patterns / school quality in my. It and neighboring ones. I also have quite a few friends that are teachers (in urban school districts).

I live in one of the richest areas of the country and our schools suck.
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Old 01-12-2014, 11:18 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
I don't have kids and not sure if I want any. But I'm also pretty aware. Of the patterns / school quality in my. It and neighboring ones. I also have quite a few friends that are teachers (in urban school districts).

I live in one of the richest areas of the country and our schools suck.
Self-selection.

The people with money living in Oakland don't have kids or send their kids to private schools. Oakland/Berkeley has a lot of fantastic private schools that don't cost an arm and a leg. Same for San Francisco as well. I only know two people with kids in SF, both families are going to private schools. One is pretty typical middle class, the other the ex-husband is very wealthy and pays the tuition.

Oakland is pretty nuts, last stats I saw it was something like 25% are going to private/out of district by middle school. 75% of white students who start in pre-school in Oakland (which is already a small number) are gone. If you look at who is graduating from Oakland Unified, 2.5% of graduates are white. Now, I'm sure some of it is just that a lot of the white people (26% of the population) just don't have high school aged kids as its pretty rapidly gentrifying and a lot of them are younger, but still.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marv101 View Post
The problem with urban planners is that many of them are too full of themselves to believe that their 'solutions' for combating 'urban sprawl' do nothing except lead to skyrocketing prices for housing, and go 100% against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of us who want a home with a backyard as opposed to an apartment the size of a box of Wheaties.

Micromanaging the lives of others makes no sense, yet they and our clueless President continue to do so.
Please explain to me what urban planners do to make housing more expensive.

Every policy which is pushed by urbanists I am aware of actually results in lower housing costs, insofar as it allows a greater supply of housing to be built on a smaller footprint of land. Indeed, most of the prescriptions offered aren't't so much about telling people what do do, as loosening zoning restrictions, which currently stop land owners from doing with their property what they please.

The resulting housing choices might not be what you want (since they'll be smaller units and built on less property), but they're undoubtedly cheaper than forcing everyone to have a quarter acre lot even if they don't want one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Self-selection.

The people with money living in Oakland don't have kids or send their kids to private schools. Oakland/Berkeley has a lot of fantastic private schools that don't cost an arm and a leg. Same for San Francisco as well. I only know two people with kids in SF, both families are going to private schools. One is pretty typical middle class, the other the ex-husband is very wealthy and pays the tuition.

Oakland is pretty nuts, last stats I saw it was something like 25% are going to private/out of district by middle school. 75% of white students who start in pre-school in Oakland (which is already a small number) are gone. If you look at who is graduating from Oakland Unified, 2.5% of graduates are white. Now, I'm sure some of it is just that a lot of the white people (26% of the population) just don't have high school aged kids as its pretty rapidly gentrifying and a lot of them are younger, but still.
Urban schools really do face a dilemma. They are bad because everyone of means opts out. They cannot be improved substantively unless they get middle-class buy in again, but they can't get middle class buy in unless they improve substantively.

One thing I think will be interesting to see in coming years is what happens when some cities are essentially totally gentrified. In practice this may take a long time, because public housing means there will be a core of lower-income families which hang on for quite awhile and become the rump of public school enrollment. This is what's happened in Hoboken, for example. But at some point the number of poor families left in many smaller gentrified cities will be small enough that you could either see an effective dissolution of the public education system, or perhaps a rapid "flip" to desirability, given only a small amount of middle-class enrollees would be needed for a dramatic shift in test score results then.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:51 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Every policy which is pushed by urbanists I am aware of actually results in lower housing costs, insofar as it allows a greater supply of housing to be built on a smaller footprint of land. Indeed, most of the prescriptions offered aren't't so much about telling people what do do, as loosening zoning restrictions, which currently stop land owners from doing with their property what they please.
Encouraging gentrifiers to move in raises housing costs faster than zoning for more infill housing could lower it. Some of the complaints against Bloomberg was that his re-zoning practices encouraged gentrification. A bit silly, but understandable from the resident's perspective who just see housing costs going up.

Quote:
One thing I think will be interesting to see in coming years is what happens when some cities are essentially totally gentrified. In practice this may take a long time, because public housing means there will be a core of lower-income families which hang on for quite awhile and become the rump of public school enrollment. This is what's happened in Hoboken, for example. But at some point the number of poor families left in many smaller gentrified cities will be small enough that you could either see an effective dissolution of the public education system, or perhaps a rapid "flip" to desirability, given only a small amount of middle-class enrollees would be needed for a dramatic shift in test score results then.
The problem is once a city gets that gentrified, the cost of housing for a family (rather than a childless couple) gets much higher and the city becomes a big deal. And it seems like these days there is more interest in urban living from younger, childless adults* than families, regardless of schools. And there are enough interest these days I think it's possible to have a city almost entirely out of middle class childless adults. Because as a city gentrifies it'll attracts disproportionately childless adults, the end result of your trend will be a place with very few children. San Francisco is among the wealthiest cities in the nation. Families income is higher than the median household income (30% of families earn less than $50k/year, median is $88k/year). Their schools are better than most cities, but still generally worse their suburbs. Seattle is another city with a small poverty concentration, dunno what it's schools are like. Portland's poorer, its schools might be ok.
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Old 01-13-2014, 09:53 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Sounds like you are advocating for New England or midwestern farm towns, not cities.
Just to nitpick, it's incorrect to refer to most New England towns as farm towns, most of them had some small industry. My town has some farmland surrounding it, but there was also industry.
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Old 01-13-2014, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Self-selection.

The people with money living in Oakland don't have kids or send their kids to private schools. Oakland/Berkeley has a lot of fantastic private schools that don't cost an arm and a leg. Same for San Francisco as well. I only know two people with kids in SF, both families are going to private schools. One is pretty typical middle class, the other the ex-husband is very wealthy and pays the tuition.

Oakland is pretty nuts, last stats I saw it was something like 25% are going to private/out of district by middle school. 75% of white students who start in pre-school in Oakland (which is already a small number) are gone. If you look at who is graduating from Oakland Unified, 2.5% of graduates are white. Now, I'm sure some of it is just that a lot of the white people (26% of the population) just don't have high school aged kids as its pretty rapidly gentrifying and a lot of them are younger, but still.
Actually what I find happens is, younger families (i.e.people with kids under about 12) have a reasonable likelihood of sending their kids to public school. But since middle schools and high schools in Oakland have historically been really crappy.....they end up moving away somewhere between ages 8-12 to a place with better schools (or go private). Middle class + families in Oakland send their kids to private school starting around age 10-12. But the schools have been improving, so this might shift in a few years too. There are tons of good elementary schools these days, and the overall API scores have increased 15-20% every year for about the past 8 or so.

The demographics (and social class) of the students in Oakland, particularly the older ones, do not reflect the overall city demographics. But the elementary schools are actually pretty reflective of the community.
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:23 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,016 posts, read 102,649,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Just to nitpick, it's incorrect to refer to most New England towns as farm towns, most of them had some small industry. My town has some farmland surrounding it, but there was also industry.
Point taken. The issue is more the size of the town, though.
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Old 01-13-2014, 04:07 PM
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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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Point taken. The issue is more the size of the town, though.
Though a city neighborhood (or walkable neighborhood) where the neighborhood commercial district is in walking distance would also describe jade408's post. Downtown wouldn't be in walking distance, but perhaps a transit ride from the neighborhood.

Urban areas seem to have two different types of business districts, especially looking at the more pedestrian oriented ones: shops lined along a commercial street, or concentrated within a neighborhood center. Boston is a mix of both, but more concentrated in certain spots, called "squares", though the squares are usually just intersections not the type you're thinking about. Outer London is definitely the neighborhood center type.

==================================================

Going back to New England towns, so it was mentioned, I'd like to post more. Many towns over 1000 people had industry. This town of 2000 people in a rural area had this wool textile mill building (built 1860s)



From what I've seen of upstate NY, something like that would be less common there and I assume in the Midwest much rarer. Many of the houses in a town like that weren't single family detached, but two-family or slightly larger, which I'd guess would be less common in a small town in the Midwest. Another surprise I found was a dam in rural Vermont, just north of the state border, that used to power a mill. Ran from the 1830s till about 1920, it powered among things, a chair factory. There's not even a town around it, just a cluster of houses. The surrounding roads are all unpaved, it's about 5 miles to the nearest paved road, let alone the nearest town.



[dam underneath covered bridge]; both photos taken by me

In both of these places, and in other small town factories, they were usually placed near a water source, as falling water provided an easy source of power for early industry. Not sure what western PA is like, it sounds like the industry there was larger-scale and it industrialized later. An article I founded about researchers discovering the layout of former agricultural areas in New England using aerial views/maps:

Lasers Unearth Lost 'Agropolis' of New England | Science/AAAS | News

The New England rural population peaked around 1830, the towns that built mills didn't lose population or continued to grow, while those that didn't had heavy losses afterwards. They moved either to larger towns or cities or places with better farmland like the Midwest.
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Old 01-13-2014, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,072 posts, read 16,098,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Please explain to me what urban planners do to make housing more expensive.

Every policy which is pushed by urbanists I am aware of actually results in lower housing costs, insofar as it allows a greater supply of housing to be built on a smaller footprint of land. Indeed, most of the prescriptions offered aren't't so much about telling people what do do, as loosening zoning restrictions, which currently stop land owners from doing with their property what they please.

The resulting housing choices might not be what you want (since they'll be smaller units and built on less property), but they're undoubtedly cheaper than forcing everyone to have a quarter acre lot even if they don't want one.
That's more the realm of politicians than urban planners. We have your alphabet soup governmental bodies that control the purse strings for transit spending. California is very top down in that local taxes don't really exist here. For example, 1% of sales taxes are earmarked for transportation spending on the local level. That all goes through your MTC or equivalent. So if you're not playing well with, say, SACOG, which has determined that most housing will be multi-unit, you don't ever see that money. The reality is the purse strings aren't that much. Roseville and El Dorado which don't play well with SACOG just have Mello-Roos. They both have their own transit agencies (as does Elk Grove). They were all fairly recently formed as a means of ensuring that those areas actually saw transit revenue go to them from the state-mandated sales tax they collect. In 2010 the local component of the gas tax was abolished. It now all goes up to the state's general fund. Take Roseville. Right now the state "gives" them $5 million a year for road maintenance, the majority of that is money that is "given" to them that was formerly the local gas tax component that used to be theirs prior to the 2009 gas tax raids. That's a lot of money subject entirely to the whims of politicians.

San Francisco doesn't really have market-rate housing. It exists for SFH only in the city, and there's no room for that aside from tearing down and rebuilding. Any new construction much bigger than that else is above-market rate or below-market rate. That does directly increase the costs.
Quote:
Urban schools really do face a dilemma. They are bad because everyone of means opts out. They cannot be improved substantively unless they get middle-class buy in again, but they can't get middle class buy in unless they improve substantively.

One thing I think will be interesting to see in coming years is what happens when some cities are essentially totally gentrified. In practice this may take a long time, because public housing means there will be a core of lower-income families which hang on for quite awhile and become the rump of public school enrollment. This is what's happened in Hoboken, for example. But at some point the number of poor families left in many smaller gentrified cities will be small enough that you could either see an effective dissolution of the public education system, or perhaps a rapid "flip" to desirability, given only a small amount of middle-class enrollees would be needed for a dramatic shift in test score results then.
Charter schools are also a wrench in that. They're most common in failed public school systems. I don't really like it, but what are you going to do? Charter schools mean middle-class families that couldn't afford to pay for private schools may remain. It also just perpetuates the self-selection process and means poor parents have a way out provided their kid is smart enough to get in and they have the means to get them to the school. For parents that lack the means (say a single mother working two jobs who can't play taxi) or just don't care... well, it's just that much worse for those that remain.
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