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Old 05-29-2014, 02:35 PM
 
Location: Liminal Space
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Quote:
I would love to live in downtown Paris, but downtown Sunnyvale???
What's wrong with downtown Sunnyvale? If you're looking for a pleasant, small-town atmosphere you could do worse.
As it happens, I was touring an apartment building in downtown Sunnyvale the other day and learned that the market rate for a two-bedroom apartment there is $3,000-$3,500. Living there is clearly an idea that some people do not find disagreeable.
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Old 05-29-2014, 04:21 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,992 posts, read 102,568,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post

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.

<snipped>

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.
Most businesses use a lot of things. Mine uses electricity, but we don't even own the building! We use a lot of other things too, medical instruments and other equipment, pens, paper, computers, refrigerators, furniture, what have you. We have no desire to make all that stuff though. It would distract from our purpose, which is to provide health care.

I can't speak for the Bay Area, but 20-30 years ago many people could afford single family homes. We and most of the young marrieds I knew 30 years ago (now young retirees in some cases) bought a home.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:14 PM
 
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The bay area governments' plan and research:
http://www.onebayarea.org/pdf/JHCS/M...ain_Report.pdf
page-33, there is a table.
They "predict" that no more (zero new) SFHs will be required until 2040, so their plan is to make/allow only multi-family housing constructions. page-33 table, last column, line4. Now this "prediction" seems very suspicious to me. I think anti-sprawl and ultra-environmentalist advocates have tampered with it. I had many conversations with many of my engineer colleagues , and ALL wanted their own SFH. Actually every person I ever met (outside of forums) and discussed single/multi-family housing with, all of them either owned already an SFH, or they wanted to own one eventually. I am a bachelor and renting an apartment, but I am not planning to remain a bachelor neither renting/owning an apartment for the rest of my life. I would prefer a small-lot SFH.

Someone mentioned that I should first buy a condo, then few years later move up to owning an SFH if I want. The problem with these useless suggestions is that the "few years" required with current salary/home-price ratio is about 30-100 years. That is what I meant by 20-30 years ago being more affordable, 20 years ago you were able to move up after 2-5 years, now it is 30-100 years. Clue: not realistic.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:35 PM
 
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So, their model is based on a projected massive oversupply of single-family homes, based on several studies which they have sourced in the document, and you suspect they have tampered with the data based on your extensive survey of a few engineers in your office? Sorry, I suspect that your statistical model is flawed. A whole lot of speculative "zombie suburbs" were entitled or half-built during the last bubble, and many are still under construction.

Part of a home value is based on the value of the underlying land. Land in the Bay Area is expensive, due in no small part to the large number of highly paid engineers like yourself, who drive up housing prices. The purchase price of a house is the value of the land plus the cost of the building on top of it. Part of why you find multi-unit housing in expensive places is that it lets you divide the cost of the underlying land more ways, lowering the unit cost. It's not a conspiracy to make you move into a condo. Most people aren't highly paid engineers, and can't afford single-family homes. Sure, lots of people might want one, but lots of people want Lamborghinis too. But Lamborghinis are expensive, and the fact that most people can't afford one doesn't mean there is a conspiracy to stop you from owning one. Lots of people might like to go out for a steak dinner every night, but most people can't afford that either. Now, in most places in this country, a single-family home isn't the equivalent of a Lamborghini purchase or a nightly steak dinner. But it is in the Bay Area, due to the unique economics of the area, as well as its land use decisions. But that's just part of being in the Bay Area, which is basically the housing equivalent of eating a steak dinner while driving a Lamborghini in terms of housing costs, largely because there are lots of tech-money people who can afford to set up a conveyor belt of Lamborghinis to crash into steak dinners to run continuously at home 24 hours a day to keep their cats entertained. Are they ruining it for everyone like you hard-working, only moderately overpaid engineers? Yes. Blame them, not conspiracy theories.

Where exactly are all these single-family homes supposed to go? The Bay Area is pretty much built out, so wherever you build, you're going to have to either knock over some folks' already existing single-family homes, or replace higher-density housing with lower-density housing, then you need even more space. And since there isn't any available space nearby, that means more sprawl on outer edges--which brings us back to that two-hour commute you already said you didn't want to do. Nobody is making more land anymore, especially not near downtowns.

Clue about home buying: Once you buy your way into a condo, you can save up for a down payment on a bigger house, but you are also building equity which you can use toward leveraging yourself into a bigger house before you have paid the condo off entirely. You can do that in a few years as long as you don't buy at the top of the housing market. We're in a bubble right now so save your money until the bubble bursts, then buy your way in. Or you can find an engineer job somewhere besides the Bay Area, which might pay less, but housing prices will be comparably less too.
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Old 05-29-2014, 09:51 PM
 
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Somewhere I also saw (1-2 years ago) annual housing development plan tables per city, just I cannot find it now.

I didn't come here for the high pay. Actualy salary is meaningless, As housing is the biggest expense in normal people entire life, salary to home price ration matters. This ratio here is about 7, some nice places where my uncle leaves in Florida it might just be 3. The lower the better. But I came here for work challenge, research/development. The scene elsewhere is a lot less challenging.


The plan I was talking about in my original post: California Senate Bill 375 "The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (Sustainable Communities Act, SB 375, Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008".
This is not about how nice a city can be, but it is a law forcing city planning based on CO2 emissions. It also assumes SFHs and burbs being equal to higher CO2 emissions, based on yesterday's technology.
Instead of general city planning, I really wanted to talk about solar-roofed suburbs versus SB375.
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/..._chaptered.pdf
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Old 05-29-2014, 11:16 PM
 
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And my question still is, why do they have to be solar-roofed "suburbs"? None of your arguments about why non-suburb cities supposedly can't use the same sustainability strategies seem to hold water, and if your argument is that they won't cause pollution because solar power, it conveniently ignores the pollution sources other than tailpipe emissions and power generation. Two-thirds of auto pollution isn't due to exhaust, and electric cars produce that kind too. Solar power doesn't pollute, but what processes are needed to build and distribute solar panels? Single-family homes and suburbs are equal to higher CO2 emissions for lots of reasons--loss of arable soil, ground albedo due to street paving, deforestation, construction waste, watershed disruption, etc., but you're choosing to ignore those factors or maybe not aware of them. Plus, you haven't mentioned where the residents of all these single-family homes are going to work and shop if the suburbs are all SFH zoned--or how to get everyone to agree to put solar panels on their houses, if those same people would refuse to put them on their businesses.

All California cities were already required to engage in city planning decades ago, and all California metro regions also have regional/metropolitan planning agencies and associations that date back a lot longer than SB375.

In terms of your own "carbon footprint," the single biggest change you can make in your own pollution profile is live closer to work. More than having an electric car or a more energy-efficient home. And in order for more people to live closer to work, we really have to start designing our community growth to make that easier. It doesn't mean forcing anyone to do anything, other than insisting that people pay the real cost of their housing choices.

Sure, once upon a time in California, gas was really cheap and land was cheap and nobody gave a hoot about pollution, and the government would help you get a low-interest home loan as long as you only bought a new home in a new neighborhood, and even built big freeways to encourage you to drive there. That's why people older than you or I were able to afford single-family homes in San Jose or Los Angeles or other places--because that's all used up now and there isn't a whole lot left. The legacy of unchecked sprawl was undrinkable water, unbreathable air, despoiled natural landscapes and never-ending war. Is it fair that we have to deal with the consequences of that legacy? Of course not, but we don't have any choice in the matter. Going forward from here, we have to husband those resources more carefully, which is obviously something you care about, otherwise you wouldn't be trying to figure out how to build suburbs that don't pollute.

Want to know a secret? You can build suburbs that pollute a lot less, if you make them with a mixture of both small-lot single-family homes and multi-unit apartments (because not everyone is an engineer who can afford a SFH, or wants to start a family.) You design them for walkability and with transit in mind, so they have a smaller physical footprint and use less energy by design. You use the power sources that work best for the site, rather than just one solution, and design the built environment where possible to use less energy by design instead of having to generate more power. There can even be room for automobiles, as long as people don't start with the expectation that the automobile should be the main or only form of transportation.
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Two-thirds of auto pollution isn't due to exhaust, and electric cars produce that kind too. Solar power doesn't pollute, but what processes are needed to build and distribute solar panels? Single-family homes and suburbs are equal to higher CO2 emissions for lots of reasons--loss of arable soil, ground albedo due to street paving, deforestation, construction waste, watershed disruption, etc., but you're choosing to ignore those factors
Do you have any facts that back up that 2/3 number you are stating? link it here. Even if you do have that, they might be based on several assumptions. For example every SFH replaces a piece of rainforest, or every factory is built with the lowest spec pollution filters and so on. Some things are bad by nature (like gasoline), some others are just inefficient (like manufacturing processes) and can be improved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
You can build suburbs that pollute a lot less, if you make them with a mixture of both small-lot single-family homes and multi-unit apartments (because not everyone is an engineer who can afford a SFH, or wants to start a family.) You design them for walkability and with transit in mind, so they have a smaller physical footprint and use less energy by design. You use the power sources that work best for the site, rather than just one solution, and design the built environment where possible to use less energy by design instead of having to generate more power. There can even be room for automobiles, as long as people don't start with the expectation that the automobile should be the main or only form of transportation.
I never said that only SFHs should be allowed. It is the opposite, others are saying (and doing about) not allowing anything but high-density multi-family constructions. I provided a link to certain studies and decisions made based on those studies on "no new SFHs allowed". See the number in the table that says zero SFHs will be allowed to be built in the bay area until 2040, even though population growth is like 10-30%. In the Bay Area there are still a lot of spaces that could be built-up, but they are protected more than anywhere else in the world. BA is the capital of extreme environmentalism, or eco-fascism. I mentioned Coyote Valley, where for the sake of ONE mountain lion, they stopped the planning of homes for 80'000 people.
I didn't just ask the guy in the next cubicle. EVERYONE I ever (not just recently) asked about this wanted to (eventually) live in SFHs. Compare that "everyone" with the "zero" number in the table. They don't add up. I think my opinion sample on the population is not that inaccurate to explain this 100% to 0% offset.
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:30 AM
 
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You're equating the recommendation of a regional housing agency that no more single-family homes are needed due to an excess of long-term supply with a ban. The document you referenced doesn't ban the construction of single-family homes, it says we don't need any more. It doesn't prevent construction of individual single-family homes, nor does it prevent purchase of the massive stock of existing single-family homes by people who want to buy them. Your disagreement with their conclusion is not evidence of fascism.

Non-exhaust pollution from cars:

We Need to Reduce Non-Exhaust Pollution from Traffic (Dust from Brakes, Tires, etc) : TreeHugger
Quote:
With so much attention paid to vehicle exhaust emissions, we sometimes forget that the engine isn't the only thing creating air pollution on an automobile. As they wear out, brake pads, tires and other car parts, as well as the road sufrace itself, release particles of dust in the ambient air, and those cause cardio-respiratory problems to those who are exposed (and if those types of particulate matter are anything like diesel PM, they might cause lung cancer too). According to a study in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology: "these non-exhaust emissions make up a similar proportion of the airborne particulate matter (PM) resulting from vehicle use as exhaust emissions."
Pollution caused by auto construction:
HowStuffWorks "Pollution Caused By Building a Hybrid Car"
Quote:
Building a hybrid car is almost exactly the same as building a conventional car, requiring high-tech and highly automated assembly lines. This type of manufacturing process requires tremendous inputs of energy, particularly the forging of materials like steel, aluminum, glass and plastic. Interestingly, lightweight vehicles can sometimes be more energy-intensive to build than heavier cars because lighter metals like aluminum are harder to forge than stainless steel [source: Moon]. Experts estimate that 10 to 20 percent of a vehicle's total lifetime greenhouse gas emissions are released during the manufacturing stage alone [source: California Energy Commission].
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:37 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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Electric cars would be hard to retrofit into old, dense urban area. If recharging takes hours, and most recharge at home, only those with a garage or at least an off street parking space would find an electric vehicle practical. If electric vehicles were widespread, old urban areas would be at a disadvantage and their transportation efficiency would lessen.
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Old 05-30-2014, 12:57 PM
 
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There's obviously no excess of single-family homes (or housing units of any sort) in the San Francisco Bay area; a look at the real estate market shows that. They're not going to build much if any of the multi-family stuff either.
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