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Old 05-27-2014, 03:56 PM
 
1,222 posts, read 1,493,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I think it would be less, we'd need to look up how much space solar energy uses per kwh. Maybe later. As for roofs, while high density environments have less roof space per person, medium density environments (rowhouses, some type of two/three family homes) still have some roof space that can be used. And single family detached homes close together can use solar almost as well as more spread out detached homes. Higher than typical suburban densities can still support solar panels [note BajanYankee in high density Brooklyn considered solar panels].



Any bus system that needs to go on numerous detours is either badly designed or in a place that has a transit unfriendly layout. Well used bus routes typically follow something close to a straight line rather than a slow zig-zag. People who need to go off-route are better with a high frequency grid [see Jarrett Walker] rather than forcing lengthy detours. Rail works best if a large portion of its users are in walking distance to the starting and end point, so usually a somewhat dense area. Or at least one end of the trip, so most common destinations are nearby a station. A rail system where many ride a bus at the beginning and end of the trip means rail isn't working well.
In most smaller (100k-200k people) European cities the buses go in a zig-zag. In bigger cities (1M+) routes can be more straight. I have lived in 4 small towns in 3 countries, and two large cities (metropolitan areas) in 2 countries.

I agree, For the housing, a dense SFH or row houses planning would be a nice compromise. For example 2 story SFH, 1500sqft, on a 2500sqft lot. Row house town homes can also be nice if there is enough green (trees) around them. You don't really need a football field in the backyard, that should be a luxury, just a small garden for barbecue or reading, a personal open space with a tree and few bushes and flowers. But most high density planners are planning multi-family many-story block housing. That has no sufficient roof area. In Eastern Europe most people were forced to live like that and most people hated it. Me too.
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Old 05-28-2014, 06:02 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,560,099 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buenos View Post
How is a several acre solar power station better than a sprawling suburb? They both take up a lot of land, near the city, increasing the size of the city. Possibly by similar amount.
Solar isn't the only possible kind of power station, and unless your theoretical solar suburb is located in a zone with a lot of sunlight, it isn't going to power itself entirely through its own footprint either. Solar facilities are space-intensive, but they can be located in places that aren't suitable for farming or are also being used for other things--such as parking lots, old dump sites/landfills, or urban rooftops. You still haven't adequately explained why cities must somehow be required to use hydrocarbons while your theoretical suburbs don't, nor acknowledged that higher-density cities use less power per capita.

Quote:
Even if public transportation uses less energy per person, I don't think they can run PT on solar energy, while personal cars could run on solar as long as each household has their own solar panel. PT running on solar would require a many-acre solar power plant.
Urban populations use less power per capita than suburban populations, so they don't need as much solar panel (or wind turbine or hydroelectric source etc.) per capita. So they require fewer acres of solar plant than everyone in individual cars.

Quote:
Roofs are the best solution for solar as they don't require additional land or real estate, but re-use the space that the house already takes up. Dual-purpose land-use. Also roofs are already there, while if you want to utilize other spaces like highways and parking lots then you have to invest in supporting structures to hold those solar panels.
Cities don't have roofs? Commercial buildings don't have roofs?

Quote:
The speed of public transport is much slower not because of the traffic, but because the bus does not go on the shortest route, it goes into many streets to serve as many bus stops as possible. The light rail is faster, but that does not go everywhere. You have to walk from your home to a bus stop, wait for the bus, take the bus to the light rail stop/station, wait for the train, go by the train, get of at another station, wait for a bus, go by the bus, then walk to your destination. It takes several times more time than going by car. I used public transport a lot in the past.
Walking doesn't use any electricity or hydrocarbons and is non-polluting. Designing a city around transit use can minimize mode shifts, and residential density reduces the walking distance vs. low-density single-family homes. In walkable communities you don't have to use any form of transit other than muscle power for most trips. Isn't that what you want--walkable downtowns? You don't need to generate as much power for vehicles, public or private, meaning, again, lower need for those big rooftop solar panels.

Quote:
No one denies your right to live in downtown, so you should not deny other peoples' right to live in a suburb. Now there are regulations like urban growth boundary and protected open spaces that deny the opportunity to new people (aka younger generation) to live in suburbs. Their reasoning is mostly pollution, and taking land from wild life. You either take land for housing, or for solar power plant, or you don't take land but run on fossil fuels.
Not sure where you get the idea that anyone is denying anyone's right to live in a suburb. You're making some extraordinary claims about how suburbs can be energy self-sufficient but denying that cities can do the same thing using the same strategies, and denying that they are already more energy-efficient. You're entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

Fossil fuel use doesn't take land and damage wildlife? That's news to me.
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Old 05-28-2014, 06:04 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,560,099 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buenos View Post
In most smaller (100k-200k people) European cities the buses go in a zig-zag. In bigger cities (1M+) routes can be more straight. I have lived in 4 small towns in 3 countries, and two large cities (metropolitan areas) in 2 countries.

I agree, For the housing, a dense SFH or row houses planning would be a nice compromise. For example 2 story SFH, 1500sqft, on a 2500sqft lot. Row house town homes can also be nice if there is enough green (trees) around them. You don't really need a football field in the backyard, that should be a luxury, just a small garden for barbecue or reading, a personal open space with a tree and few bushes and flowers. But most high density planners are planning multi-family many-story block housing. That has no sufficient roof area. In Eastern Europe most people were forced to live like that and most people hated it. Me too.
Why do you want to force everyone into identical types of housing? Isn't that no better than the theoretical Eastern European scenario?

Plenty of the suburban-oriented posters would consider a 2500 sf lot of row houses to be utterly unlivable cheek-by-jowl existence. Why are you denying their right to live on large multi-acre lots?
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Old 05-28-2014, 10:24 AM
 
1,222 posts, read 1,493,598 times
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wburg, it seems like you are personally attacking me. What is your problem?
For some of your arguments I have already provided counter-arguments earlier in the thread. Also you are twisting my words.

Solar is the only renewable that is accessible to individual homes. All others require centralized power stations. Solar is available in more places than wind or geo-thermal. Even when it is not sunny, with grey skies it generates a lot of energy. Centralized power has low efficiency as transporting electricity has very high losses. Currently 70% lost.

Commercial buildings are owned by individual companies. They will not invest into community-serving electricity, they will not maintain it, and they will not let a third party to come into their buildings to put solar panels on them.

To make all your commute to be walking, then you have to live in a small city, or move near your job, move every time you change your job. This is not feasible to everyone.

"Not sure where you get the idea that anyone is denying anyone's right to live in a suburb. "
-In the San Francisco Bay Area the local governments have a plan called "Plan Bay Area", that includes locking down new land around the populated area and disallowing construction in new land. They only allow inner city high-density developments. You cannot start a sprawling suburb there. They use "protected land" and "protected open space" designations, urban growth boundaries, and the wildlife protection. For example in Coyote Walley they stopped such development by putting cameras out there with night vision and proven that one wild animal walks through that area regularly, and that was enough to stop the construction of a new community. They are denying the right of the younger generation to live in suburbs.
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Old 05-28-2014, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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I personally like growth boundaries because it reduces the need to stretch services too far in low density areas. That just puts a strain on a metro.
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Old 05-28-2014, 10:40 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,560,099 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buenos View Post
wburg, it seems like you are personally attacking me. What is your problem?
It's not personal, I'm sure you are a very nice person, but you're making some very specious arguments and saying things that aren't true. I'm just pointing out the inconsistencies in your suggestion, which takes some time.

Quote:
For some of your arguments I have already provided counter-arguments earlier in the thread. Also you are twisting my words.
A lot of what you're saying is already pretty twisted--like your basic denial about the realities of energy consumption city vs. country, and the ridiculous idea that suburbs can be energy-independent but more urbanized cities cannot. If what you're saying doesn't match reality, I will point it out. It's not personal, it's not because I don't like you or want to make you feel bad. But I can't abide your unwillingness to acknowledge facts. I'm also addressing the counter-arguments as you present them, because they aren't much better.

Quote:
Solar is the only renewable that is accessible to individual homes. All others require centralized power stations. Solar is available in more places than wind or geo-thermal. Even when it is not sunny, with grey skies it generates a lot of energy. Centralized power has low efficiency as transporting electricity has very high losses. Currently 70% lost.
You're making the untrue assumption that every location has the same environmental circumstances--not every city has to be powered by the same power source. Why can't a city by a river use hydroelectric, a city with a lot of wind use wind power within the city itself, a city by the ocean use wave power? And there are plenty of places and situations where solar won't deliver enough power--such as homes on the northern side of a hill, or a neighborhood where homes are shaded by trees. Or, you know, when the sun goes down.

You also seem to misunderstand how solar power currently works within the existing power grid. People with solar panels on their homes who generate more power than they use feed that power back into the localized grid--and they are usually paid for the privilege. A sophisticated "smart grid" can exchange power between where it is being generated and where it is needed in an automatic fashion, including both centralized and decentralized sources.

Quote:
Commercial buildings are owned by individual companies. They will not invest into community-serving electricity, they will not maintain it, and they will not let a third party to come into their buildings to put solar panels on them.
Residential homes are owned by individuals. Why would they be universally willing to invest into community-serving electricity, if commercial buildings are not? People let third parties come into their buildings all the time to do upgrades or repairs. And, again, this is already being done! Plenty of commercial businesses have solar panels on top of their buildings--or on top of their parking lots. What they don't use, they can sell back to the public utility.

Quote:
To make all your commute to be walking, then you have to live in a small city, or move near your job, move every time you change your job. This is not feasible to everyone.
Who said anything about having all of your commute be walking? The idea is to make alternatives like walking and biking available to more people who choose that mode, by making it more convenient. A mixed-use city designed for transit and walkability facilitates that choice, but it doesn't exclude other modes. It doesn't have to be feasible for everyone, because I don't think everyone should be required to do it. I just want the choice for more people who want to--and if the figures I have seen are any indication, currently there are more people who want to live in a place like that than there are places for them to move.

Quote:
"Not sure where you get the idea that anyone is denying anyone's right to live in a suburb. "
-In the San Francisco Bay Area the local governments have a plan called "Plan Bay Area", that includes locking down new land around the populated area and disallowing construction in new land. They only allow inner city high-density developments. You cannot start a sprawling suburb there. They use "protected land" and "protected open space" designations, urban growth boundaries, and the wildlife protection. For example in Coyote Walley they stopped such development by putting cameras out there with night vision and proven that one wild animal walks through that area regularly, and that was enough to stop the construction of a new community. They are denying the right of the younger generation to live in suburbs.
Are sprawling suburbs the only kind of suburb that is possible? What do you consider "high-density developments"? I see plenty of proposals for infill housing and so-called "smart growth" that includes primarily single-family homes, even if they're on small lots. And for crowded places where there isn't much room to grow like the Bay Area, it's a smarter long-term strategy to grow inward and upward rather than outward, because they're running out of "outward" and want to protect the undeveloped land they have left, both for nature and for farming. Both are important for human life and human health.

What is this "right of the younger generation to live in suburbs"? Is there some constitutional right to a single-family home and a car that I am unaware of? And couldn't they just move to, well, just about anywhere other than the Bay Area if they really wanted to live in a sprawling suburb? It's not like there is a national shortage of suburbs.
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Old 05-29-2014, 12:28 AM
 
1,222 posts, read 1,493,598 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
...
"You're making the untrue assumption that every location has the same environmental circumstances"
-no, but the sun is more commonly available than rivers or wind or geothermal. If you have rivers and wind near by, then lucky you. Not everyone has. The other thing is I didn't say I must for down my idea on EVERYONEs throat. I offered a solution that can benefit many people, many cities, but not everyone. I didn't generalize, you did.

Facts? You didn't provide any. There is nothing twisted about my arguments, just you don't understand them. It looks like you are twisting my words.

I understand how smart grid works, you don't. For example they buy back your excess energy, but for a lower price than you pay for energy from the grid. Also if everyone sells back energy during the day and buys it in the evening, then the electricity provider either has to store the energy (investment that they may or may not make), or they use fossil fuels to generate night electricity. The second one is cheaper for them, so I don't think they would be willing to do the investment, as they are profit-driven. People are more likely to care about environment than profit-driven businesses.

Most businesses don't want to deal with all kinds of unrelated operations. For the same reason many of their processes are outsourced to outside or foreign contractors. If it doesn't contribute to the quarterly profit then they don't waste their resources on it. People are more likely to care about environment than profit-driven businesses. So it is less likely that many companies would do the investment, for the sake of the community and the environment.

" What do you consider "high-density developments"?"
-4 story houses and taller. Check "plan bay area" and related publications. It includes town homes too, but mostly (MOSTLY) multi-story stacked condos. I have read a lot about it.

"What is this "right of the younger generation to live in suburbs"?"
-well all those co-workers and many people around brag about their houses and lawn, it is just they bought it 20-30 years ago when it was affordable to anyone. Now for my generation we are one class below them, even if we do the same job. I consider this a right, if I do the same line of work, then I don't deserve to be in their underclass for the rest of my life. This situation is not temporary. What they have bought cheap, I will never be able to afford, even if I earn more. Moving anywhere is not an option to everyone, as the specific jobs are located in certain areas but not everywhere. If you are a clerk then you can move to any city, if you are a technology expert in a certain field, than you are pretty much locket to 1 or another city. Don't force a 2 hour commute on me.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:38 AM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,265,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I don't think solar panels are an unrealistic solution. I would hardly call myself an environmentalist and even I've looked into solar panels. There are a lot of companies that install them. And from what I recall, they weren't even that expensive.

It doesn't take much work to Google a company and have them come out to give you an estimate.
Solar energy is a good idea and should be part of the solution, but it's still just replacing one form of energy with another. Isn't it better to try to reduce our energy consumption in the first place? Putting solar panels on a 4000 square foot house for example, looks kinda funny to me. Why not build a smaller house in the first place? Preferably in a walkable neighborhood with good transit options so you don't have to drive everywhere you go.
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Old 05-29-2014, 07:21 AM
 
3,492 posts, read 4,954,544 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Despite MUCH popular opinion to the contrary, there is no correlation between car ownership and obesity in the US or other high-income countries.
Have they done studies that were controlled for income level?

It's at least a two factor model, but if presented that way I bet it would pass the F-test for at least a 90% CI.

Since we are talking about correlation, I assume we all know some basic statistics

If they are not including income level, it is a misspecification of the model.

PS. I'm a HUGE fan of having sufficient roads. I intentionally moved to a city with a road structure rather than moving to a place with congested roads. However, I also regularly get my 10,000 steps a day, and moved to a high elevation, where being in shape is almost required by the thin air.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:14 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,560,099 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buenos View Post
-no, but the sun is more commonly available than rivers or wind or geothermal. If you have rivers and wind near by, then lucky you. Not everyone has. The other thing is I didn't say I must for down my idea on EVERYONEs throat. I offered a solution that can benefit many people, many cities, but not everyone. I didn't generalize, you did.
So why not be flexible enough to admit that there is more than one source of renewable energy, rather than being so focused on solar? Why not admit that not everyone wants a single-family home, rather than pushing it as the only possible housing option? Your solution has a lot of limitations.

Quote:
Facts? You didn't provide any. There is nothing twisted about my arguments, just you don't understand them. It looks like you are twisting my words.

I understand how smart grid works, you don't. For example they buy back your excess energy, but for a lower price than you pay for energy from the grid. Also if everyone sells back energy during the day and buys it in the evening, then the electricity provider either has to store the energy (investment that they may or may not make), or they use fossil fuels to generate night electricity. The second one is cheaper for them, so I don't think they would be willing to do the investment, as they are profit-driven. People are more likely to care about environment than profit-driven businesses.
Sounds like you'd be better off with a nonprofit energy company instead of for-profit, then. My energy company is owned by the community, charges lower rates, and offers more renewable energy options than comparable private energy companies. If profit-driven businesses are the problem, get them out of the energy game.

Quote:
Most businesses don't want to deal with all kinds of unrelated operations. For the same reason many of their processes are outsourced to outside or foreign contractors. If it doesn't contribute to the quarterly profit then they don't waste their resources on it. People are more likely to care about environment than profit-driven businesses. So it is less likely that many companies would do the investment, for the sake of the community and the environment.
Most businesses use electricity. If your model is based on renewable energy for homes, don't businesses also have a need for electricity, and thus an interest in having a power source just as single-family homes do? And you haven't addressed how every single-family homeowner would be so willing to get on board with this, for the sake of the community and environment.

Quote:
" What do you consider "high-density developments"?"
-4 story houses and taller. Check "plan bay area" and related publications. It includes town homes too, but mostly (MOSTLY) multi-story stacked condos. I have read a lot about it.
Links and quotes, please. Specifically ones that explain how they prohibit single-family homes with yards. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. So you've read a lot about it? Great, prove it by sharing your evidence with us. A giant community planning site doesn't help much. But I did find this in the FAQ:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plan Bay Area
Will Plan Bay Area change the character of the region’s rural communities, small towns and suburban residential neighborhoods?

No. Most single-family neighborhoods will remain unchanged. Plan Bay Area recognizes the diversity of communities across our region. The Plan concentrates new growth in areas nominated by local governments, with most of the growth taking place toward the center of our region in cities like San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. Overall, over two-thirds of all regional growth by 2040 is allocated to Priority Development Areas. As a result, small cities, single family neighborhoods and rural areas throughout the Bay Area will take on a very small share of the region’s overall growth. Local land use authority is retained by the region’s cities and counties. Local jurisdictions will continue to determine where future development occurs.
So it sounds like their plan is to develop land closer to where people already are--which is pretty standard--adding to the housing supply to relieve development pressure. Sprawl means building outward, farther from where you work--which is why people end up commuting to San Jose from Stockton. Sprawl is why people have a 2 hour commute.

Quote:
"What is this "right of the younger generation to live in suburbs"?"
-well all those co-workers and many people around brag about their houses and lawn, it is just they bought it 20-30 years ago when it was affordable to anyone. Now for my generation we are one class below them, even if we do the same job. I consider this a right, if I do the same line of work, then I don't deserve to be in their underclass for the rest of my life. This situation is not temporary. What they have bought cheap, I will never be able to afford, even if I earn more. Moving anywhere is not an option to everyone, as the specific jobs are located in certain areas but not everywhere. If you are a clerk then you can move to any city, if you are a technology expert in a certain field, than you are pretty much locket to 1 or another city. Don't force a 2 hour commute on me.
Just because you consider it a right doesn't make it a right. Housing is a supply and demand equation, just like anything else, and once an area doesn't have enough supply while demand raises, the price goes up. You're not entitled to a single-family home and a yard. Buy a condo, build up some equity and leverage yourself into a house in a few years.

Single family homes weren't affordable to anyone 20-30 years ago either, especially in the Bay Area. And not everybody wants one of them. Buying a house takes some time and work...or relocation to a place less flooded with money than the Bay Area, which is pretty much everywhere but the Bay Area and New York.
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