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Old 04-10-2015, 01:36 PM
 
526 posts, read 463,042 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
The fundamental problems are that the original reasons for suburban flight--crime and poverty--have or are receding from many urban areas and that developers have continued to build this form in spite of that change of context and in spite of housing + transit costs pushing north of 40% of household income. So we see an overabundance of one built form and a severe shortage of another, making one seem especially cheap (exurbs) and making the other exceptionally expensive (urbs).

My point is that, in response to your post, it is hard to say whether all the current construction of outer suburbs and exurbs is a response to consumer demand or if it is consumers buying the only housing that is affordable (ie, developers leading the market instead of responding to it).

As such, it is important that we have these discussions and people write these articles--and this is regardless of whichever form, urban, inner suburban, later suburban, or exurban--so that we have some common data about the costs and value of different built forms. Built form is too prominent in all our lives--it defines the very mode and means of how we go about our day-to-day lives--to not have critical data-driven discussions.

You say that spending 40% of income on housing and transit costs is the fundamental issue. I say clearly there is no issue or people wouldn't be buying it. its simple supply and demand, this issue is not really complex at all. People buy in the nicest area they can afford generally, often that is the suburbs. Contrary to many city fans beliefs, many people could care less about walk-able streets, dense living, and public transportation. Id venture to say more people care about having a 2 car garage, a lawn, and being separated from the all to often inner city problems (drugs, gangs, violence).

And yes, i know violence overall has gone down recently. However, compare inner city crime rates to suburban crime rates in most anywhere and theres still someone winning by a long shot.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bu2 View Post
It really is very simple and is not hard to say at all.

Schools are much better in the suburbs.
Crime is lower.
Housing costs are cheaper because land is cheaper and there are fewer restrictions.
Some people like exurbs because they don't want to be in dense areas.

Developers aren't idiots. They (mostly) build what sells.
Taking this one at a time:

Schools are better only insofar as they have students who expect or are expected to attend college, ie, more studious students. We have the cause and effects backwards. Good students make well-regarded schools, by and large, not the reverse.

Crime may be lower, but urban crime rates are already very low in general and suburban crime rates are rising because suburban poverty rates are also rising as people who once lived in the inner cities are now moving to older suburbs, chasing larger lots and suburban schools.

Housing costs may be cheaper, but people rarely openly and adequately consider transportation costs when looking at a home--very much part of the "drive 'till you qualify" view. Yes, later suburban and exurban housing costs may sit below 30% of local average income, but including transportation can and often does push that north of 40% of local average income. H+T Map | H+T Index. And that doesn't quantify the cost of physical or psychological stress due to long commutes, a reality that comes up again and again when people ask about commutes on the local forums.

Yes, some people like exurbs. I didn't say some people don't. But "some" isn't a quantity. And, as such, it tells us nothing useful because we don't know what percentage of people are from that "some" and what remaining percentage are in the exurbs for other reasons than location preference.

Developers aren't idiots. That said, they are beholden to banks who finance their projects, and banks tend to lean toward large-lot SFH developments which, by default of land availability, means building in the outer suburbs and exurbs. At the same time, we don't know, as I had said, if this is developers responding to market demand or consumers having little else to choose from in their price range. We don't build, and haven't built, much pre-war-style housing in the last 60 years, so what we have tends to be expensive simply as a function of high demand vs. available supply.
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:02 AM
 
33,046 posts, read 22,072,092 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 02blackgt View Post
You say that spending 40% of income on housing and transit costs is the fundamental issue. I say clearly there is no issue or people wouldn't be buying it. its simple supply and demand, this issue is not really complex at all. People buy in the nicest area they can afford generally, often that is the suburbs. Contrary to many city fans beliefs, many people could care less about walk-able streets, dense living, and public transportation. Id venture to say more people care about having a 2 car garage, a lawn, and being separated from the all to often inner city problems (drugs, gangs, violence).

And yes, i know violence overall has gone down recently. However, compare inner city crime rates to suburban crime rates in most anywhere and theres still someone winning by a long shot.

Low-income renters don't have that luxury; half of them spend at least half their income on shelter. Add transportation costs and their budgets are destroyed. I've been predicting a growing and unsustainable squeeze for low-wage workers, juggling housing and transportation costs.

Unfortunately (IMO) my readings suggest that for most workers, the lower cost of more distant housing does not fully offset the increased cost of a longer commute. (I consider this unfortunate because the rational informed response of workers should be to choose the already-pricey nearby desirable housing, making it even more expensive until the total cost of nearby vs further out living equalizes.)
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Old 04-17-2015, 12:10 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FallsAngel View Post
A family of four living in a suburban 2000 sf home (for example) has less sq. ft. per person that some single living in an 800 sf apt., or a couple living in a 1200 sf condo. The first house DH and I bought had 1300 sf. For the two of us, that was 750 sf/person. Then we were three, 433 sf. Then we were four, 325 sf. We've talked about this before. In fact, I did a poll one time b/c some people refused to believe that a lot of urban dwellers had 500 sf/person or more. It was not scientific, but it did show that among responder, city and suburban dwellers had a fair amount of living space. Of course, there were those who felt that their situation was somehow "different" and made it OK for them to be living in 1000 sf or more by themselves.
The census has done a more scientific survey: median space per person is 700 square feet (owner-occupied housing is 800, rentals 500). The median actually comes close to your poll's results. However, since houses are mostly owned rather than rented, it suggests house dwellers on average have more space per person than apartment dwellers.

Rentals in the Boston area average 450 square feet per person, New York City metro 400 square feet per person. As for the bolded, I thought 500 square feet per person seemed as a norm for urban dwellers, or at least city apartment dwellers seemed rather high, I guess my anecdotal sample [skewed towards 20 somethings living in NYC or Boston with roommates in old apartments, and a few shares here] is unrepresentative or I have a poor idea of square footage. Why would it not be OK?

National Summary Tables - AHS 2013
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:46 PM
 
4 posts, read 3,157 times
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Default I'm stealing this phrase.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Suspect this number was colonically derived.
Whether I agree with nybbler or not, I have to love "colonically derived."
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Old 04-19-2015, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Poshawa, Ontario
2,986 posts, read 3,323,326 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
Only the second largest expense for most Americans. Yeah, not that big a deal at all. And a trillion dollars put to ther productive uses....pshaw...a mere trifle.
Without sprawl, where would all of these people live? Do you honestly think the annual upkeep costs associated with owning a vehicle are anywhere close to what rental costs would skyrocket to if every American living in the suburbs moved back to their nearest city tomorrow?
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Old 05-27-2015, 02:57 AM
 
88 posts, read 137,352 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by botticelli View Post
you mean it is worth it to suffer all the congestion, wasted hours sitting behind the steering wheels (for many more than two hours each day), pollution as well as stress, for a large suburban house with absolutely nothing nearby?

Quality of life is not defined by living space. It includes far more than that.
My quality of life is great. Love my 1500 sq foot house my husband and I share with our 3 cats. When I do have to sit in traffic, I have a stereo with lots of cds to listen to and I don't have to be on a train with people yacking on their phones loudly and I go can go home in 20- 30 minutes and go to sleep when I get off at 8 am. I don't have to get to a train station to get a ride thank Goodness! I also don't have to live in a cracker box sized place in a busy urban city area. Yes it is all worth it!
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Old 05-27-2015, 03:19 AM
 
88 posts, read 137,352 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
I re-iterate, most people are not like Hemlock140. Most commuters do so by car, and do so alone.

Commuting in the United States: 2009 (PDF)

Of those surveyed, 76.1% drove alone.

Or this, on mega commuters:

Time and Distance in Defining Long Commutes using the 2006-2010 American Community Survey

81.9% of all commuters drove alone. 59% of all commuters spending 90 minutes or more are driving alone. 75.9% of all commuters going 50 or more miles are driving alone.
Of course I drive alone. That is when I relax enjoying music and solitude.
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Old 05-27-2015, 12:18 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,006,214 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Annuvin View Post
Without sprawl, where would all of these people live? Do you honestly think the annual upkeep costs associated with owning a vehicle are anywhere close to what rental costs would skyrocket to if every American living in the suburbs moved back to their nearest city tomorrow?
That suggests the only way to live is in sprawling suburbs. You're also making a very generalized statement, "everybody," as if everyone would live in any particular transect. Then you're making this foolish statement that it would all shift, not just rapidly, but immediately.

What if everybody quit their jobs, how would we live? What if everyone demanded a living wage tomorrow, how would we afford it? What if everyone jumped in the air at the same time? Statements about "everybody" doing something at the same time are hyperbolic and nonsensical.

If there's demand for more urban living, as prices suggest there is, developers should be able to meet that demand with the ease they meet demand for exurban living.
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Old 05-27-2015, 02:13 PM
 
2,290 posts, read 1,297,797 times
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Default supply and demand out of synch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
suburban developers have continued to build this form in spite of that change of context and in spite of housing + transit costs pushing north of 40% of household income. So we see an overabundance of one built form and a severe shortage of another, making one seem especially cheap (exurbs) and making the other exceptionally expensive (urbs).

My point is that, in response to your post, it is hard to say whether all the current construction of outer suburbs and exurbs is a response to consumer demand or if it is consumers buying the only housing that is affordable (ie, developers leading the market instead of responding to it).
Perhaps suburban living is the only thing most developers know?

The big push for auto centric suburbs came in the aftermath of World War II. WWII ended 70 years ago…getting close to a human life time.
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