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Old 03-30-2014, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
Personally I can't understand why LA is playing around with light rail when they should be planning much larger transit rail throughout their metro that rivals Chicago and NYC.
LA is much more decentralized than Chicago and NYC though. There's not going to be as much demand funnelled to a single point, so you don't need as high capacity. I think what LA is doing is fine for now, although maybe in a decade or two more heavy rail will be viable.
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Old 03-30-2014, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I see what you're trying to argue, but I can't think of many postwar suburbs (mostly detached homes and outside the city limits) with the situation you're describing. An actual example would be helpful, otherwise it seems rather theoretical. And in the Northeast, most of the housing stock, especially the suburban housing stock is from roughly 1945 to 1980, there's not that much newer alternative to choose from.
I'd say for the most part we're not at this point yet, because these first-ring suburbs are in a partial cycle of disinvestment, I'm talking more about the potential decades down the road.

In the shorter term, however, the rationale to densify these first-ring suburbs doesn't work because there's already low-hanging fruit. In most Northeastern and Midwestern cities, there's still plenty of reinvestment to take place within traditional urban neighborhoods. Even beyond these there are a ring of more "streetcar suburb" neighborhoods which are usually within the city proper which could also be redeveloped.

As other suggested, it's a bit different in the West and South, because for the most part there are not traditional dense urban neighborhoods, so it's not that far away from the urban core until you get to postwar suburban neighborhoods. Plus there was very little blight to begin with. In places like this, if you want to build an urban infrastructure, you're pretty much required to retrofit suburbia. Fortunately enough, in a lot of these places early suburbs tended to have a pretty tight road grid on small lots, so there's relatively little that would need to be done except buy out the single-story ranches and bungalows, and build something denser and taller in their place. And indeed, particularly in the West, there's a lot of this going on already, precisely because urban demand is high, and there's little to no underutilized urban land to go around.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:11 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I'd say for the most part we're not at this point yet, because these first-ring suburbs are in a partial cycle of disinvestment, I'm talking more about the potential decades down the road.
An example would be nice. Not trying to argumentative, but it would be helpful to understand what you're referring. Really, for a lot of the generalizations tossed on the forum they would make conversation easier.

Quote:
In the shorter term, however, the rationale to densify these first-ring suburbs doesn't work because there's already low-hanging fruit. In most Northeastern and Midwestern cities, there's still plenty of reinvestment to take place within traditional urban neighborhoods. Even beyond these there are a ring of more "streetcar suburb" neighborhoods which are usually within the city proper which could also be redeveloped.
There's a very good rationale: high housing prices. Metros in the Northeast have expanded past a practical physical size, there's no other way to grow besides infill. I suppose you could have all the infill in the city proper, but for those with suburban jobs or other ties to the suburbs more housing would be useful. For example, in Nassau County (Long Island) and many parts of the Boston metro, without some infill in the suburbs population would stagnate and housing will be increasingly unaffordable.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:15 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
As other suggested, it's a bit different in the West and South, because for the most part there are not traditional dense urban neighborhoods, so it's not that far away from the urban core until you get to postwar suburban neighborhoods. Plus there was very little blight to begin with. In places like this, if you want to build an urban infrastructure, you're pretty much required to retrofit suburbia. Fortunately enough, in a lot of these places early suburbs tended to have a pretty tight road grid on small lots, so there's relatively little that would need to be done except buy out the single-story ranches and bungalows, and build something denser and taller in their place. And indeed, particularly in the West, there's a lot of this going on already, precisely because urban demand is high, and there's little to no underutilized urban land to go around.
Then there's Vancouver. Build transit and plop random high rises:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=vanco...2.87,,0,-10.05

a few blocks away:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=vanco...08.91,,0,-3.38

in a suburb:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=vanco...9.82,,0,-10.23

it's rather different than "old urban" for sure.
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
An example would be nice. Not trying to argumentative, but it would be helpful to understand what you're referring. Really, for a lot of the generalizations tossed on the forum they would make conversation easier.
Speaking of Pittsburgh in particular, there are plenty of declining first-ring suburbs. Admittedly many of them more fall in the category of nearby mill town which is continuing to decline as poor people get displaced from the city to there (McKees Rocks, Homestead, Duquesne, Rankin, Wilkinsburg, etc), but there are structurally fully postwar suburban municipalities which are in decline too. By far the longest decline has been in Penn Hills, where about half of the borough is ghetto/semi ghetto status now, but lesser declines have begun across a wide swathe of true suburbs to the east and south of Pittsburgh.

Admittedly Pittsburgh might be an unusual case, since it's a metro which has seen population declines overall, not just in the city core, but also in the suburbs and outlying counties, for decades (the city proper turned the corner around 2007 or so, and Allegheny County is growing now as well, but the exurban counties are mostly still in decline). Still, I can think of plenty of examples of first-ring suburbs which aren't considered to be particularly desirable places. Chelsea in the Boston area. Mount Vernon in the New York area. the close-in segments of Delaware County in Philadelphia (arguably the decline of Northeast Philadelphia is also the decline of a suburb, since it was mostly still farmland until WW2). All of them have had typical "urban" dynamics over the last few decades, with the black/latino population increasing, and white families moving out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
There's a very good rationale: high housing prices. Metros in the Northeast have expanded past a practical physical size, there's no other way to grow besides infill. I suppose you could have all the infill in the city proper, but for those with suburban jobs or other ties to the suburbs more housing would be useful. For example, in Nassau County (Long Island) and many parts of the Boston metro, without some infill in the suburbs population would stagnate and housing will be increasingly unaffordable.
The latter is already happening. But I made the point earlier about how economic class and NIMBYism tend to intersect. Even a regular middle class town with declining population and unaffordable housing isn't likely to change course and do denser zoning, because the voters are pretty much okay with the problems of current policies versus the risk of trying something different. In the truly downtrodden areas, people tend to be more accepting of new development, both because it brings in more tax revenue and because it might cause a general turnaround of the community. But the poorer an area is, the less likely a private developer is going to want to spend money (without HUD sending some their way) to densify an area. So it's a bit of a catch 22. Obviously sometimes you end up in that sweet spot where dense development is a moneymaker but the local community is pro-development. In a very high-cost area like San Francisco, this can result in new development even in the ghetto. But in lower-cost metros, you're going to always have some neighborhoods where the local market can't bear the rent/sale price of new construction.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:00 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Admittedly Pittsburgh might be an unusual case, since it's a metro which has seen population declines overall, not just in the city core, but also in the suburbs and outlying counties, for decades (the city proper turned the corner around 2007 or so, and Allegheny County is growing now as well, but the exurban counties are mostly still in decline). Still, I can think of plenty of examples of first-ring suburbs which aren't considered to be particularly desirable places. Chelsea in the Boston area. Mount Vernon in the New York area. the close-in segments of Delaware County in Philadelphia (arguably the decline of Northeast Philadelphia is also the decline of a suburb, since it was mostly still farmland until WW2). All of them have had typical "urban" dynamics over the last few decades, with the black/latino population increasing, and white families moving out.
Forgot to respond to this but, neither of those (and probably the closer-in parts of Delaware County, though not as familiar with Philly) are postwar suburbs. You orginally said this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Also, one should keep in mind that while people like suburbs in general, many individual suburbs, particularly older first-ring ones, are not so desirable. The house square footage of the first true suburban developments built between 1945 and 1960 was often smaller than houses in the city proper. Except for some of the more high design/larger houses, the future for many is not bright. In low-desirability areas, these neighborhoods are becoming poorer, and seem to be transitioning into "new ghettos." In high desirability areas, the houses are knocked down, with McMansion infill put in their place. But no one seems to really care about their integrity as a built form. I don't expect the next 30 years to be kind to them.
The declining first-ring suburbs in the Northeast (at least the coastal Northeast) are generally pre-1945. Chelsea, MA peaked in 1930. While the house square footage in postwar suburbs may have been smaller than houses in the city proper, detached houses make up a small portion of the housing stock in the larger coastal Northeast cities. Still, there probably are good examples of declining of postwar suburbs, though I suspect it's overstated.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:57 PM
 
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That's right, the close-in Delaware county suburbs of Philadelphia are pre-WWII. The post-war suburbs (and some of the pre-war ones, like Media) are booming, not failing. Philadelphia didn't even have much of a crash in the exurbs of western Chester and northern Montgomery counties.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:25 PM
 
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Kind of a related question, but how would one convert this kind of area (back side of a convention center) to a walkable space?
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:41 PM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
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I haven't read through all the posts in this thread so forgive me if this is redundant.
It would seem to me that with the decline of in-store retail sales across the country that former strip centers and malls provide an enormous opportunity for redevelopment in American suburban areas. If you think about it, malls and strip centers often times sit on key properties with some of the best access and visibility. I think it would shock many Americans to know how much land is probably wasted by many of these surface lot developments.
To a certain extent, the same can be said of many churches in older suburban areas that once served much greater numbers than they do today.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Found an interesting map showing median family income and median family income change in Canadian Metros in a somewhat unexpected article (the article used it to try to connect poverty to sex offenders).
Here’s the sex offender map Ontario didn’t want you to see | Globalnews.ca

The worst hit area in metropolitan Canada appears to have been Windsor, both the pre-WWII and post-WWII neighbourhoods, even neighbourhoods like South Cameron that have significant new SFH. Downtown Windsor was one of the less negatively affected areas.

After that, it appears to have been the Toronto suburb of Brampton, which had only one census tract where income increased between 2001 and 2010, and much of the city experienced declines of over 10%. Much of the focus on suburban poverty in the GTA has been in the outer areas of Toronto proper, which were developed in the 60s-80s, like Scarborough, Rexdale and Jane and Finch. These areas were poorer in 2001 than almost any place outside Toronto proper, and generally, they still are, but this map suggests the gap is closing.

Also, the neighbourhoods in Brampton that experienced these huge declines aren't even older 50s-70s neighbourhoods, a lot of them are actually areas that have been built in the last 20 years. Some of these are already below the median family income for the metro area, and if they continue to decline at this rate, they'll be among the poorest neighbourhoods in the GTA.

Aside from Brampton, the next worst hit area is Miliken, both on the Scarborough and Markham side of Steeles Avenue. These neighbourhoods were built mostly in the 70s/80s, with a few infill subdivisions, townhouses and condos that are newer. Miliken was poorer than Brampton in 2001 and declining at a similar rate, although the affected area is smaller, about 200,000 people live in Miliken compared to 500,000+ in Brampton.

All in all, most of the post 1970 areas have experienced income declines. The few exceptions that exist are places where million+ dollar homes have been built in significant quantities in the last decade. Most of the pre-WWII city has experienced income increases. Neighbourhoods built between 1945-1970 are more of a mixed bag. Some of these earlier post-WWII neighbourhoods are closer to the core yet often less dense compared to later post-WWII neighbourhoods, so as living near the core becomes more desirable, these neighbourhoods are too, and there's often tear downs involved to build bigger 2 storey homes. Other earlier post-WWII neighbourhoods that are further from the core and/or have fewer white collar suburban jobs nearby (ex much of Scarborough and Rexdale) aren't doing as well.

I think economic changes might be a factor, much of the industrial jobs in Toronto at this point are in the suburbs. Brampton is the most blue-collar (manufacturing, wholesale, transportation...) municipality in the Greater Toronto Area by a decent margin. This sector of the economy hasn't been doing as well as the white-collar sectors that are in big part located in Toronto's core. Brampton's jobs to worker ratio is already quite low, and the number of jobs hasn't really been growing while the population has exploded (+200,000 people from 2001 to 2011). The neighbourhoods in the suburbs outside the city proper that have experienced increase in income are aside from being early post-WWII neighbourhoods with some of the largest lots in the GTA, also have the best transit (commuter train) service into Downtown Toronto, with a big chunk of residents working there.
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