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Old 12-01-2014, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
642 posts, read 490,955 times
Reputation: 546

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What if you were rich enough to build a SimCity town for real! What would it be like? Where would you build it? What type of citizens would you want to attract to your metro?

I want to build a small town with a big town feel. A central downtown area with shopping, bars, lots of restaurants and fast food joints, a railroad connection, a small Jr. College, and a cruising mall. I'd want to attract mostly young people with their energy and zest for life.

My town would be very car and pedestrian friendly, but only have minimal public transit. I would like one or two tall buildings in my downtown where most of the business is conducted. The rest of my downtown would be light commercial business that cater to the residents.

I would have one downtown thoroughfare dedicated to Cruising (recreational driving) so teens and college kids could socialize and show off their cars. This would be where most of the fast food joints are, a few bars, an arcade gaming place, bowling alley, and movie theater.

Other things I'd want in my town would be a level IV trauma medical center, health-food coop grocery store, and a large lake with a nice beach.

All the downtown streets would be named after me, my family members & friends, and girl-friends, as well as the parks, and downtown office buildings.

I'd probably locate my town in either the Midwest or Western part of the US.

Well that's a good start. Let's hear some other ideas.....
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Old 12-02-2014, 12:24 PM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,714,031 times
Reputation: 2538
1. It would be built on a perfect street grid crossed by broad Avenues on the diagonal. Prominent intersections would be dignified with important buildings, large sculptures and plazas to lend dignity to the space, create nodes of interest and assist with way-finding.

2. The core would be uniformly dense but built to a human scale. The generally mid-rise city would be filled with natural light - no overbearing canyons of slab buildings. No less than 6 stories, no more than 12 stories: except -

3. There would be a concentrated commercial district with soaring skyscrapers. All sky scrapers would be point-towers - no slab buildings allowed.

4. Streets would not have set-back lines. Instead they would have built-to lines. All buildings must have main entrance facing street.

5. There would not be any parking required. Rather there would be a limit to parking allowed.

6. There would not be a single limited access freeway that penetrates the core. All freeways end at city limits - transportation within the city takes place exclusively on the surface streets.

7. Every street would get "great streets" treatments. Wide, shaded sidewalks and multi-modal - I'd permit cars to share the roads with cyclists and pedestrians. No lane would be sider than 10' - 10.5'. Trees would be planted 20' on center both sides of the street. Every street would be dignified with a single species (i.e. only Elms on Elm Street, only Maples on Maple Street).

8. Only very light zoning would be permitted. Mixed use buildings would be highly encouraged. Heavy industrial would be prohibited in core, but commercial, residential, and even light industrial would be permitted though out the core.

9. There would be one great central park where the city would concentrate it's resources, but small pocket parks scattered throughout the city such that no one is ever more than about a 5 minute walk to a park.

10. The city would not be a museum - it would allow for incremental development, by right, in the charter documents.

11. There would be transit, of course, the city is designed for perfect transit with every point in the city being no more than a 2 seat ride.

12. The order for priority in terms of resources would be Pedestrians, Cyclists, Transit, Car-share and cabs, with single occupancy vehicles receiving the absolute lowest priority for city infrastructure and resources.

13. The core would have a 1:1 residential:worker ratio. Lower density residential areas around the core would be permitted. But must be built on the city grid. Each of these would be built on a town center mode with no area being more than a 5 minute walk to a commercial node where residents could take care of their daily needs.

14. No Annexation of any subdivision would be permitted UNLESS, the developer can demonstrate that there will be sufficient tax base within the subdivision to pay for infrastructure costs in their second and third life cycles. Absolutely no city services will be extended to any area outside of its incorporated boundaries.

15. If traffic ever becomes an issue due to suburban commuters, a congestion tax would be imposed on anyone bringing a single occupancy vehicle into the core.

16. All the streets would be named for the great urban planners and thinkers selected by me (Jacobs Lane, Mumford Way, Duany Avenue, etc.)

17. There would be a land-value tax instead of a property tax. Improvements to the highest and best use would be incentivized, not punished by the tax code.

That's a decent start, sure I could come up with something more if I thought about it.
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Old 12-02-2014, 08:04 PM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,714,031 times
Reputation: 2538
And just to amend above, in addition to the above requirements, only suburbs built on town center concept with goods a services w/n a 5-10 minute walk of residences will be annexed. Other suburbs and subdivisions that don't meet the strict criteria will never be annexed, nor will any city services be extended to them. Being outside the city limits we can't control what will be built, but that doesn't mean we have to accept a bad deal. Developers will be far less likely to build sprawl if they know they'll be stuck with it or have to sell property so someone else willing to take the longer liability on. The result will be little be better suburbs with dramatically less sprawl.
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Old 12-02-2014, 10:05 PM
 
2,824 posts, read 3,348,447 times
Reputation: 3030
Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
And just to amend above, in addition to the above requirements, only suburbs built on town center concept with goods a services w/n a 5-10 minute walk of residences will be annexed. Other suburbs and subdivisions that don't meet the strict criteria will never be annexed, nor will any city services be extended to them. Being outside the city limits we can't control what will be built, but that doesn't mean we have to accept a bad deal. Developers will be far less likely to build sprawl if they know they'll be stuck with it or have to sell property so someone else willing to take the longer liability on. The result will be little be better suburbs with dramatically less sprawl.
"Developers" and cities already foist off liabilities. They use involuntary membership HOA corporations. So they know how and it's already public policy to ensure people living in such places will be treated as third class citizens (due to involuntary membership) regardless of whether they are in or outside of city limits. Indeed cities rely on such things in order to have a tax base without providing the same services provided in places without them. These places you despise are tax cash cows for the municipality which waits until infrastructure has been put in and paid for by another entity and then makes an annexation grab for the tax base. Circle C Ranch is one example of a land grab - and the developer and homeowners fought being annexed by the city of Austin.

No one in these places will miss paying city taxes and it's pretty apparent your "barrier" is no challenge to developers to overcome.
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:00 PM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,714,031 times
Reputation: 2538
Quote:
Originally Posted by IC_deLight View Post
"Developers" and cities already foist off liabilities. They use involuntary membership HOA corporations. So they know how and it's already public policy to ensure people living in such places will be treated as third class citizens (due to involuntary membership) regardless of whether they are in or outside of city limits. Indeed cities rely on such things in order to have a tax base without providing the same services provided in places without them. These places you despise are tax cash cows for the municipality which waits until infrastructure has been put in and paid for by another entity and then makes an annexation grab for the tax base. Circle C Ranch is one example of a land grab - and the developer and homeowners fought being annexed by the city of Austin.

No one in these places will miss paying city taxes and it's pretty apparent your "barrier" is no challenge to developers to overcome.
Great - we're in agreement then - no annexation of deadbeat suburbs.
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:33 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
642 posts, read 490,955 times
Reputation: 546
Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
1. It would be built on a perfect street grid crossed by broad Avenues on the diagonal. Prominent intersections would be dignified with important buildings, large sculptures and plazas to lend dignity to the space, create nodes of interest and assist with way-finding.

2. The core would be uniformly dense but built to a human scale. The generally mid-rise city would be filled with natural light - no overbearing canyons of slab buildings. No less than 6 stories, no more than 12 stories: except -

3. There would be a concentrated commercial district with soaring skyscrapers. All sky scrapers would be point-towers - no slab buildings allowed.

4. Streets would not have set-back lines. Instead they would have built-to lines. All buildings must have main entrance facing street.

5. There would not be any parking required. Rather there would be a limit to parking allowed.

6. There would not be a single limited access freeway that penetrates the core. All freeways end at city limits - transportation within the city takes place exclusively on the surface streets.

7. Every street would get "great streets" treatments. Wide, shaded sidewalks and multi-modal - I'd permit cars to share the roads with cyclists and pedestrians. No lane would be sider than 10' - 10.5'. Trees would be planted 20' on center both sides of the street. Every street would be dignified with a single species (i.e. only Elms on Elm Street, only Maples on Maple Street).

8. Only very light zoning would be permitted. Mixed use buildings would be highly encouraged. Heavy industrial would be prohibited in core, but commercial, residential, and even light industrial would be permitted though out the core.

9. There would be one great central park where the city would concentrate it's resources, but small pocket parks scattered throughout the city such that no one is ever more than about a 5 minute walk to a park.

10. The city would not be a museum - it would allow for incremental development, by right, in the charter documents.

11. There would be transit, of course, the city is designed for perfect transit with every point in the city being no more than a 2 seat ride.

12. The order for priority in terms of resources would be Pedestrians, Cyclists, Transit, Car-share and cabs, with single occupancy vehicles receiving the absolute lowest priority for city infrastructure and resources.

13. The core would have a 1:1 residential:worker ratio. Lower density residential areas around the core would be permitted. But must be built on the city grid. Each of these would be built on a town center mode with no area being more than a 5 minute walk to a commercial node where residents could take care of their daily needs.

14. No Annexation of any subdivision would be permitted UNLESS, the developer can demonstrate that there will be sufficient tax base within the subdivision to pay for infrastructure costs in their second and third life cycles. Absolutely no city services will be extended to any area outside of its incorporated boundaries.

15. If traffic ever becomes an issue due to suburban commuters, a congestion tax would be imposed on anyone bringing a single occupancy vehicle into the core.

16. All the streets would be named for the great urban planners and thinkers selected by me (Jacobs Lane, Mumford Way, Duany Avenue, etc.)

17. There would be a land-value tax instead of a property tax. Improvements to the highest and best use would be incentivized, not punished by the tax code.

That's a decent start, sure I could come up with something more if I thought about it.
Your city doesn't sound like it'd be much fun to live in, but might be a nice place to work. I'm more interested in a "Playground City."
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Old 12-02-2014, 11:50 PM
 
3,836 posts, read 4,714,031 times
Reputation: 2538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor Z View Post
Your city doesn't sound like it'd be much fun to live in, but might be a nice place to work. I'm more interested in a "Playground City."
I disagree completely - my City would be amazing amounts of fun - every street a fantastic place to congregate and people watch, little need for car, lots of extra time and money to spend on leisure activity, more time spent with families, less devote to being in cars.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:16 AM
 
Location: NC
144 posts, read 227,469 times
Reputation: 264
Kohmet is right. Parking lots and freeways do not make a city a "playground" but a ghost town.
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Old 12-03-2014, 01:25 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,509,053 times
Reputation: 7830
Honestly, I would probably design a city like the ones I do in Simcity. A city where a third of the residents drive because the city is very walkable and has insanely great rail transit, and an extensive bus system. As well as ferry system if my city has a lot of water.
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Old 12-03-2014, 11:30 AM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,004,178 times
Reputation: 1348
From my perspective, the foundations of a good city, if I could start from scratch, are one-way-two-lane-plus-parking streets, 1/6 to 1/4 acre lots, arranged on a loose grid with additional streets and roads, up to 70' in width, arranged diagonal to that grid at many-to-tens-of-blocks intervals with round-abouts at the intersections at or of roads. That way, as the city, society, and technology changes, the city is as adaptable as possible and is not "locked in" to one built form, density, or transit mode.
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