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Old 08-09-2014, 06:28 PM
 
981 posts, read 1,986,274 times
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When you study common trends, most "urban planning" just seems to be blind accommodation of human population growth. The global net gain these days is somewhere between 75 and 80 million, depending on the source. And America keeps absorbing several million of that number.

Being as the world is finite, I can't fathom how intelligent college grads would be proud of a city planning career, unless they're in it because they want to limit the impacts of growth as much as possible. Otherwise, they seem to be in the business of constantly chipping away at nature. People are literally behaving like termites or mold.

This video of 1972-2010 Las Vegas sprawl is the business most planners are engaged in:

http://www.citylab.com/housing/2012/...en-space/1402/

Is that something to be proud of? I'd rather work in a birth control plant.

Load Google Earth and look at historical timeline imagery of most U.S. cities and towns. Drag the slider back over the years and you'll see a pattern very similar to mold forming on the skin of an orange. How is that progress?

People destroy their natural surroundings and brag about all the jobs created and the quantity (not so much quality) of stuff people sell to other people. It's just living nature converted to dead nature in many cases. People cut down a bunch of trees and call it "production" but no new mass is being produced. Same with stuff dug from the ground and melted down, or drilled and burned forever. To what ultimate end is this growth leading?

In case you think this is a pointless rant, I'll direct you here: http://steadystate.org/

Last edited by ca_north; 08-09-2014 at 06:48 PM.. Reason: title change
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,769,303 times
Reputation: 1616
Quote:
Originally Posted by ca_north View Post
When you study common trends, most "urban planning" just seems to be blind accommodation of human population growth. The global net gain these days is somewhere between 75 and 80 million, depending on the source. And America keeps absorbing several million of that number.

Being as the world is finite, I can't fathom how intelligent college grads would be proud of a city planning career, unless they're in it because they want to limit the impacts of growth as much as possible. Otherwise, they seem to be in the business of constantly chipping away at nature. People are literally behaving like termites or mold.

This video of 1972-2010 Las Vegas sprawl is the business most planners are engaged in:

40 Years of Las Vegas Sprawl, as Seen From Space - CityLab

Is that something to be proud of? I'd rather work in a birth control plant.

Load Google Earth and look at historical timeline imagery of most U.S. cities and towns. Drag the slider back over the years and you'll see a pattern very similar to mold forming on the skin of an orange. How is that progress?

People destroy their natural surroundings and brag about all the jobs created and the quantity (not so much quality) of stuff people sell to other people. It's just living nature converted to dead nature in many cases. People cut down a bunch of trees and call it "production" but no new mass is being produced. Same with stuff dug from the ground and melted down, or drilled and burned forever. To what ultimate end is this growth leading?

In case you think this is a pointless rant, I'll direct you here: http://steadystate.org/
Urban planners have no control over immigration or birth rates. I think most of them are trying to accommodate growth in a way that will minimize negative impacts and maximize benefits.

Regarding Las Vegas, in the past (50s-70s) that sort of horizontal auto-centric growth was seen as a good thing by urban planners, but in the last decade or two I don't think that's so true anymore, infill is generally seen as preferable, or at least more walkable horizontal growth. I'm guessing Las Vegas' urban planners are either from the "old guard" that favoured sprawl, or they've been overruled by political interests and real estate developers.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,698 posts, read 23,713,463 times
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I think this is very true. Good points made. I have seen it happen and for all the rhetoric about "improvements" and "planning" it's as you say; it's really nothing more than "blind accommodation of human population growth" along with profit making real estate and property developers added to the mix.

What I have personally witnessed first hand is the destruction of some beautiful city landscaping in city neighborhoods to make way for ugly housing for human population. But to be fair, I have also seen old structures preserved and rehabbed to make way for new housing and the land around it undisturbed; not, however in the same city. It all depends on how each city decides on how it wants to preserve what it has. Most, I think, do not.
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Old 08-10-2014, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Well, the increased population has to be accommodated. I'm not sure what you're getting at, OP. Accommodating is not the same thing as encouraging.
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Old 08-10-2014, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Would you rather we have tent cities at the edge of our urban areas because no one wanted to accommodate the growth? Or should we just kill people once we hit the "max?"
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:59 PM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,679,432 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Would you rather we have tent cities at the edge of our urban areas because no one wanted to accommodate the growth? Or should we just kill people once we hit the "max?"
This is a great point. Growth of urbanized areas is all but inevitable-even if one area is shrinking, that just means another is growing more. Really, urban planning is about how to accommodate that growth. IMO, though, we have done a terrible job of accommodating that growth in the past few years.
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Old 08-10-2014, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,051 posts, read 102,770,515 times
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The birth rate in the US is below replacement level. However, the population will continue to increase for a while, but it won't be as large of an increase as during the Baby Boom and the "Echo Boom" (Millennials). In fact, the birth rate is decreasing world-wide.
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:36 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,114,730 times
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I'm a borderline militant proponent of degrowth. This school of thought (population reduction and reining in of the pro-growth logic of capitalism) is far more popular in Europe than here, and I doubt there are many seats at the North American urban planning table for degrowthists. Agree with the premise of the OP.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,051 posts, read 102,770,515 times
Reputation: 33099
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
I'm a borderline militant proponent of degrowth. This school of thought (population reduction and reining in of the pro-growth logic of capitalism) is far more popular in Europe than here, and I doubt there are many seats at the North American urban planning table for degrowthists. Agree with the premise of the OP.
Maybe jade408's proposal was too radical! (J/K) How 'bout just forced sterilization?
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:03 PM
 
Location: New York NY
4,277 posts, read 6,367,178 times
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Planning for growth is healthy and normal, though it can be done well or badly. But it is done because the consequences of not doing anything at all can be very bad.

But planning for shrinkage -- or even planning for a static population -- is harder. For one there is a psychological barrier. When planners see people leaving an area the thought is "why bother"? Who wants to spend time and energy making things better in a city people are fleeing? Civic health in the US is not associated with population decline. And practically speaking, when people leave an area, there's also less of a tax base and less funding for planning initiatives around population loss. Shrinking cities are thought of as economic failures first and foremost, and it's much more difficult (and far less fun) thinking of ways to fix a failing and shrinking city than to manage a growing one. The usual recommendation is to attract a growing industry and when it materializes (if it materializes)--then worry about planning issues.
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