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Old 12-17-2014, 01:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Costaexpress View Post
Some people say new urbanism is better because there is density and museums and sushi restaurants and bike trails.

Some people say opportunity urbanism is better because housing is cheaper and you get to save and invest your money. you have more upward mobility in an opportunity urbanism city like Houston.

Here is what it really comes down to. Live in a city like Houston, Dallas, or Atlanta. Vacation in a city like Portland and San Francisco. Living in an opportunity urbanism city, you get to save money and invest and eventually have a bit more in your life. If you have a good job you can find great homes a nice neighborhoods.with all that money that you save, you have vacation in high density urban environments if you crave that. If you live in San Francisco, you're trapped financially to San Francisco and the people that you have to put up with. If you save money in Dallas, you can vacation in San Francisco or Madrid or Sydney. Loving museums doesn't mean that you have to live by museums. The reality of life is that you do need money to be able to deal with emergencies and eventually retirement.
Here's what it really comes down to: "opportunity urbanism" is subsidized and externalized suburbanism. It is not cheaper, per se, but only cheaper for that specific person at that specific moment. If you account for all persons and all moments--ie, the long term--you'll find that "opportunity urbanism" metros have fewer taxpayers per square mile to fund baseline city investments--police, schools, libraries, streets, lights, hospitals, etc. You see, there is a baseline cost for serving populations of given sizes. If Dallas and Houston and Phoenix and Atlanta had to internalize and pay up front all their costs, I'm doubtful they would in any way be "cheaper."

Instead of having an honest conversation about costs and values of different built forms, like Charles Marohn over at StrongTowns has had, the conversation gets polarized, warped, and muddy.
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Old 12-17-2014, 01:45 PM
 
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Yeah, the idea that "new urbanism" is somehow only limited to San Francisco and New York is laughable. Nor is the idea of its connection to the past some big dark secret--Duany-Plater-Zyberk call their variant "Traditional Neighborhood Development." But it's not even remotely about turning back the clock to the 19th century or banning the automobile, no matter what the tinfoil-hat Agenda 21ers think. It's about learning lessons from our past experience in urban development (both good and bad) to inform the future. Cities of all sorts have walkable, urban places and unwalkable, suburban places--the principles of TND or NU (whatever you want to call it) can apply to small towns of 3000 as well as to big cities of 3 million--and often the principles come from the experiences and built environment of both kinds of places.

darkeconomist raises an excellent point: Kotkin's attempts to justify the benefits of "opportunity urbanism"/"new suburbanism"/"autocentric sprawl" is based on the fact that it's cheaper for some because they aren't paying the externality costs of that development. It's always easier and cheaper to do things if you don't bother cleaning up your mess and expect others to do it for you--and even better if you can blame them for the mess in the first place.
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Old 12-17-2014, 03:00 PM
 
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Quote:
can apply to small towns of 3000 as well as to big cities of 3 million
I think they should especially apply to small towns, as it's pretty obvious in a small town where the most valuable real estate was (before the suburbification of small towns) and it's obvious that the wealthy used to live close to it, as those businesses and houses are probably run down (but still standing).

In the unsuccessful small towns, I'd bet that the downtown is mostly empty, that a water or paving project was done on the far edge of town in the past 5 years, that there are empty lots close to downtown that would support small multifamily developments, and that any newer buildings are built primarily to serve the highways passing through town.

Small towns also should revert to traditional development, as most of them don't have to capital to be actual suburbs with a nearby upper middle class job base.
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:27 PM
 
2,485 posts, read 1,846,593 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
Here's what it really comes down to: "opportunity urbanism" is subsidized and externalized suburbanism. It is not cheaper, per se, but only cheaper for that specific person at that specific moment. If you account for all persons and all moments--ie, the long term--you'll find that "opportunity urbanism" metros have fewer taxpayers per square mile to fund baseline city investments--police, schools, libraries, streets, lights, hospitals, etc. You see, there is a baseline cost for serving populations of given sizes. If Dallas and Houston and Phoenix and Atlanta had to internalize and pay up front all their costs, I'm doubtful they would in any way be "cheaper."

Instead of having an honest conversation about costs and values of different built forms, like Charles Marohn over at StrongTowns has had, the conversation gets polarized, warped, and muddy.
No. New urbanism is a true subsidized form of urbanism. It raises the cost of living tremendously and nearly every city of its kind has aggressively pushed out its minorities, people of color, poor women, immigrants, and the poor in general. This is subsidizing the rich and largely white urban dwellers and their lifestyles by excluding the non white and the have less. But it requires the poor to live two hours from San francisco so that they can commute and serve the whites who give lip service to the loss of colored people that they caused. This is not a small subsidy, nor is it just. New urbanism, at its core, is imposing an European lifestyle for the llargely white and so called educated people and making it nearly impossible for the poor and others to enjoy the very amenities that are supposed to help them. They move away, far, far away. Many, including white middle class families, move to cheaper cities where building a family isn't going to break an arm.

People of color are moving to suburbs for its safety, education quality, and upward mobility. Many immigrants who arrive at our shores today move directly to suburbs where the American dream is still obtainable. They are doing it just like how the white middle class did it in the 50s. After all, we are all human. This is a good trend, from the perspective of racial equality. I guess it is ironic that we have well educated whites in Portland who are unemployed and we have suburban people of color who are enjoying their careers. I guess that's progress in a way. But ideally everyone should have upward mobility.
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Old 12-17-2014, 06:35 PM
 
2,485 posts, read 1,846,593 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Yeah, the idea that "new urbanism" is somehow only limited to San Francisco and New York is laughable. Nor is the idea of its connection to the past some big dark secret--Duany-Plater-Zyberk call their variant "Traditional Neighborhood Development." But it's not even remotely about turning back the clock to the 19th century or banning the automobile, no matter what the tinfoil-hat Agenda 21ers think. It's about learning lessons from our past experience in urban development (both good and bad) to inform the future. Cities of all sorts have walkable, urban places and unwalkable, suburban places--the principles of TND or NU (whatever you want to call it) can apply to small towns of 3000 as well as to big cities of 3 million--and often the principles come from the experiences and built environment of both kinds of places.

darkeconomist raises an excellent point: Kotkin's attempts to justify the benefits of "opportunity urbanism"/"new suburbanism"/"autocentric sprawl" is based on the fact that it's cheaper for some because they aren't paying the externality costs of that development. It's always easier and cheaper to do things if you don't bother cleaning up your mess and expect others to do it for you--and even better if you can blame them for the mess in the first place.
And that some who aren't paying the externality costs are often middle class people, people of color. Why should ordinary people pay the costs of urban luxury shopping strees and condos and parks when they are just barely floating with a bit of disposable income. Your urban dwellers are a group of highly priviledged and often white individuals, for whom cultural concerns trump economic, largely because they already have money. Those who don't apparently have to fit in that model. Help is only possible when the patronized listen obediently.

Learning from our past experience is every bit misleading in the discourse of urban development model. A city like portland that has pushed out so many of its minorities and immigrants are the completely opposite of learning from our past, at least, the things we should be learning. It learned, rather, how to exclude people. I guess that is a selective past one can focus on. There is no defense to a form of urbanism that gives privilege to whites, who already have enormous and hilarious overjazzed privilege. What's new about it is that it uses he language of social justice while conducting a project of essentially exclusion. There is indeed nothing new about it.

New urbanists may not necessarily like the hyper cost of living they create but fail to recognize the inevitability of it. To say that one is well meaning is to act like a child who did things but didn't want to be held responsible. One must think about consequences before he or she does things.

Last edited by Costaexpress; 12-17-2014 at 06:43 PM..
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Old 12-17-2014, 07:55 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Yeah, the idea that "new urbanism" is somehow only limited to San Francisco and New York is laughable. Nor is the idea of its connection to the past some big dark secret--Duany-Plater-Zyberk call their variant "Traditional Neighborhood Development." But it's not even remotely about turning back the clock to the 19th century or banning the automobile, no matter what the tinfoil-hat Agenda 21ers think. It's about learning lessons from our past experience in urban development (both good and bad) to inform the future. Cities of all sorts have walkable, urban places and unwalkable, suburban places--the principles of TND or NU (whatever you want to call it) can apply to small towns of 3000 as well as to big cities of 3 million--and often the principles come from the experiences and built environment of both kinds of places.

darkeconomist raises an excellent point: Kotkin's attempts to justify the benefits of "opportunity urbanism"/"new suburbanism"/"autocentric sprawl" is based on the fact that it's cheaper for some because they aren't paying the externality costs of that development. It's always easier and cheaper to do things if you don't bother cleaning up your mess and expect others to do it for you--and even better if you can blame them for the mess in the first place.
We've been over this stuff many times before, haven't we? Just about everything in "the city" is subsidized-roads, pubic buildings, schools (but the NUs don't care about schools), public housing; businesses get subsidies and tax rebates to locate in particular areas, just like in the burbs; somehow that's all OK as applied to the city, but not in the burbs.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:37 PM
 
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What makes the OP think cities like Atlanta or Houston don't have sushi restaurants or museums? Houston, in particular, is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and has top-notch cultural amenities. Granted, no idea about their sushi scene -- but it's not as though living in Houston or similar is living off the grid on a mountaintop somewhere.
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:05 PM
 
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Because, of course, freeways didn't cost the taxpayers anything or have any social or environmental consequences.

Wow, not sure how to respond to that wall of accusation. Glad to know I'm the hyper-rich, although my bank account might not agree. Not really seeing much to argue with here, it's all primarily character assassination--a criticism of what the current wave of new urbanism/TND isn't, rather than what it actually is, and utter denial regarding the environmental, social, and economic costs of suburbs and autocentric development. The assumption that it has no defense means the OP is starting with the baseline that it can't be defended, and therefore that the suburbs can't be attacked. No room to debate there, other than name-calling.
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Old 12-18-2014, 08:14 AM
 
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San Francisco isn't expensive because of "trying to impose a European lifestyle on people," whatever that means. It's expensive because as a walkable, picturesque, historic city, it is a desirable place to live, so there's high demand, but there are ridiculous restrictions on building new development, so there's low supply. So the problem is quite the opposite from what Costaexpress is raving about. The problem actually is that the "European lifestyle" isn't being allowed for a lot of people. Lift the restrictions, allow more apartments to be built, and the city wouldn't be quite so darn expensive.

But even if you did allow more supply, you can only add so much, meanwhile, the demand is unlikely to drop. So San Francisco could be cheaper but it's still going to be more expensive than most places. There is nothing unjust or unfair about that. It is inevitable in a market economy that high-demand places will run a higher price. You can only "solve" this part of the cost-of-living equation by making San Francisco a place where almost no one wants to live. Turn it into Detroit and it will be cheap as heck. No right-minded person would advocate that, of course.
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Old 12-18-2014, 09:48 AM
 
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San Francisco is also an attractive city in a very geographically constrained location on a peninsula coupled with a booming job market. The additional fact that it's a very popular tourist city is also adding to the problem (along with some of the rent control regulations); there's been lots of talk about the apartments that are removed from the rental market to be used as vacation rentals. It's a city with a major housing problem, but it's not because of some new urbanist model.
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