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Old 01-23-2014, 10:43 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,757,248 times
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Interesting article on the ways we have made sprawl-y development a de facto standard.

Subsidizing Sprawl | The Better Block

Great comments in how we pay lots for chains that do not give back to the community, and how it difficult to find ways to reuse huge developments.
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,083 posts, read 102,830,251 times
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(Throws up hands and prepares to shoot computer)

I started reading this and gave up in frustration. There are many stereotypes about cities, suburbs, sprawl, etc in that article. And no matter HOW MUCH many of us will disagree and post examples of why this article is a stereotype itself, the hard-core urbanists will continue to defend it.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:27 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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There can't be any stereotypes about cities because it doesn't mention cities. There are a few stereotypical buzzwords but the situation it describes (separated uses, free parking required) is true.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,704 posts, read 4,685,043 times
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I will chime in and say no, we have not. Cities/metro areas grow as population expands, and growth for the most part has to go "out". Who exactly is subsidizing this supposed sprawl? People in the city core certainly are not paying for water mains or roads in the suburbs, they are not paying for the land stores use as parking lots. That is paid by those local residents and those municipalities- people in Seattle don't pay anything for what I use up here in the suburb of Lynnwood.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,083 posts, read 102,830,251 times
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Opening statement from the link:

"In cities across the nation, we’re currently faced with a heated debate on growth and the need for improved infrastructure to facilitate “future development”. . "

Then, still in the first paragraph:

"What really amazed me was the lack of understanding many voiced in favor of our modern car-centric, sprawling development…a network that was completely brought about by massive government intervention and subsidization. ", buzz words for "suburbs".

Then, several paragraphs down:

"We haven’t even begun to touch suburban housing. ", at which point the author repeats all the old myths.

The final paragraph brings up something called "The Better Block" project, which is supposedly better. The article does not tell us how to accomplish " transform (ing) places into desirable, active, neighborhood destinations that take into account an entire community regardless of age, or ethnicity, and creates as many invitations as possible for people to interact, play, work, and grow together.", but it does promise that when such happens, "they naturally produce greater economics, promote health, and allow for manageable sustained growth."

(All quotes in italics.)

There! I read it all.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:07 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
45,992 posts, read 42,120,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Opening statement from the link:

"In cities across the nation, we’re currently faced with a heated debate on growth and the need for improved infrastructure to facilitate “future development”. . "
But it says nothing about cities, specifically, stereotypically or otherwise.

Quote:
"We haven’t even begun to touch suburban housing. ", at which point the author repeats all the old myths.
Is this a myth? There were a debates on that subject long ago, it was a bit of a muddle, can't really remember and my interest began to fade.

FHA did not support renovations of already-existing homes, construction of row houses, mixed-use buildings, and other urban housing types.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,083 posts, read 102,830,251 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
But it says nothing about cities, specifically, stereotypically or otherwise.



Is this a myth? There were a debates on that subject long ago, it was a bit of a muddle, can't really remember and my interest began to fade.

FHA did not support renovations of already-existing homes, construction of row houses, mixed-use buildings, and other urban housing types.
The article says a lot by inference and pictures.

The FHA issue is yes, murky. I'm not interested in doing a PhD research on it today, and DH needs to computer in a few minutes. However, it is untrue that " Furthermore, a home insured by the FHA was required to be of a certain size and quality desired by those of above-average means, to guarantee quick resale of the home. " Many immediate post-war homes were small, even by the standards of the day, and mass built. It has always been a requirement that a home meet certain criteria to get a loan.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,096 posts, read 16,143,023 times
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Yes.

Not nearly as much as we're subsidizing Smart Growth and urban renewal/redevelopment.

Quote:
If you wanted to develop a small bakery in your neighborhood, you would not be able to due to zoning restrictions brought about by local government separating basic uses (homes here, business there). This is the first step in deconstructing pedestrian oriented environments. It’s no longer the industrial revolution, yet we still base much of our land use on the ideas of separating factories from homes.
False. We used to have one in my neighborhood that went bankrupt. A handful have opened up around my suburb in other neighborhoods.

Quote:
Next, let’s say you finally discover a plot of land where you can build your own bakery. Before you even begin construction, the local government will require you to use at least 40% of your private land for free parking. No if’s, and’s, or but’s…you’ve just been told by the government what to do with your property and your valuable retail shelf space has been truncated with the slash of a pen. Now, let’s extrapolate this out to hundreds of other businesses who own private land and are forced to provide everyone free parking. At some point, the system has been sufficiently gamed to where it no longer makes sense to walk.
False.

I've never seen a zoning code that looked anything like that anywhere.

Quote:
Next, let’s say you want to save money by living above your business and operating on the ground floor. Again, this option has been regulated out of existence, further promoting auto-centric development because now you have to live in the residence zone, and work in the business zone.
Generally true. There's some mixed-use zoning but not a whole lot. That's increasingly becoming not true, however.

Quote:
Okay, we’re not done yet. Now that we’ve separated uses and incentivized cars over other modes of transit, your bakery is going to have a harder time competing because now the all-in-one store can do away with your business model. Since everyone is now driving, it’s inconvenient to hop from one store to the next…you might as well mix the bakery, with the farmers market, and the butcher, and the pharmacy. Voila, small business can barely compete while the multi-national box store can now offer loaves of bread for pennies and chalk it up as a loss leader.
You know what's even less convenient? Going to the bread store for your bread, the carrot store for your carrots, the egg store for your eggs, the milk store for your milk, the cheesemonger for your cheese, the potato market for your potatoes... when you're doing it on foot/transit. The car actually encourages you to shop at multiple business because it makes it so much easier to get to them.

It does get one thing right. There isn't any money for the huge subsidies we bestow on multi-modal transit and "fixing streets." Just looking at Sacramento, the city has spent hundreds of million of dollars subsidizing K Street. It's still mostly a dead zone. San Francisco spends about 900% as much subsidizing transit as it does on roads in total. It gets some of the tiny fracture of money it spends on roads from gas taxes. On top of that, San Francisco generates millions with toll fees and parking taxes which further goes to subsidizing transit. Still, general taxes have to be raised frequently to further subsidize it. Much is made about the admittedly very expensive and very overbudget Bay Bridge. Not much is made about the $4.5 billion Transbay Terminal project. They're both projects of ego. Wilson's simple "freeway on stilts" may not have been suitable to placate the ego of San Francisco, but it would have more than sufficed.

I think we're at the point in most of the country where there isn't room for ego anymore. San Francisco and NYC may still be exceptions, but most of the country doesn't have an extra $5-6 billion to build a nice looking but functionally no better than a "highway on stilts" bridge or a $4.5 billion (est.) facility for people to switch from BART to the slowest bus system in America. There really wasn't much benefit added to San Francisco for the $11 billion spent. But they do (will) look nice.

Last edited by Malloric; 01-24-2014 at 10:06 AM..
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,757,248 times
Reputation: 26681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Opening statement from the link:

"In cities across the nation, we’re currently faced with a heated debate on growth and the need for improved infrastructure to facilitate “future development”. . "

Then, still in the first paragraph:

"What really amazed me was the lack of understanding many voiced in favor of our modern car-centric, sprawling development…a network that was completely brought about by massive government intervention and subsidization. ", buzz words for "suburbs".

Then, several paragraphs down:

"We haven’t even begun to touch suburban housing. ", at which point the author repeats all the old myths.

The final paragraph brings up something called "The Better Block" project, which is supposedly better. The article does not tell us how to accomplish " transform (ing) places into desirable, active, neighborhood destinations that take into account an entire community regardless of age, or ethnicity, and creates as many invitations as possible for people to interact, play, work, and grow together.", but it does promise that when such happens, "they naturally produce greater economics, promote health, and allow for manageable sustained growth."

(All quotes in italics.)

There! I read it all.
Actually the better block project does make recommendations and proposals...just not in that block posts. They do have white papers/reports/host webinars and show real examples of what cities around the US are doing to improve. Even those that are sprawl-y. There was a great post about Florida a few weeks ago [ok here is Virginia, the Florida one I read wasn't popping up quickly]

Norfolk’s Second Better Block a Success! | The Better Block
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,757,248 times
Reputation: 26681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
The article says a lot by inference and pictures.

The FHA issue is yes, murky. I'm not interested in doing a PhD research on it today, and DH needs to computer in a few minutes. However, it is untrue that " Furthermore, a home insured by the FHA was required to be of a certain size and quality desired by those of above-average means, to guarantee quick resale of the home. " Many immediate post-war homes were small, even by the standards of the day, and mass built. It has always been a requirement that a home meet certain criteria to get a loan.
Yes, but without going way deep into the racism inherent in the early days of FHA, it used red-lining to purposely exclude homes that were older, and in neighborhoods majority non-white, while refusing to offer loans to the non-white people. FHA didn't start opening the loans up to everyone till the latex 70s early 80s when a lot of damage was already done: white flight and housing inequality for about 2-3 decades.
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