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Old 09-10-2008, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,226 posts, read 67,372,527 times
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Those who have known me since I joined this forum way back in mid-2006 have become accustomed to my occasional rantings on the issue of urban sprawl. I have seen firsthand in my own area how the flight of the middle-class from urban cores can decimate once-vibrant neighborhoods and lead to congestion and deforestation in newly-developing suburban areas. As energy prices continue to climb I think it will become less and less feasible for the trend of expanding our exurbs further and further away from our cities to continue. Here in the Poconos the growth in Monroe and Pike Counties has ebbed considerably over the past two years as people weigh the economic benefits of paying less for a home with the economic woes of paying so much for a four-hour round-trip commute into Manhattan as well as the sociocultural woes of not having enough time due to the aforementioned power-commutes to connect with the community.

What are others' opinions on this issue?
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:41 AM
 
Location: High Bridge
2,736 posts, read 8,720,894 times
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My opinion is that it can't be stopped. As long as population increases, those with middle to middle upper incomes and potentially a family will desire more than what a condo can offer them, and will spread further and further out. Improvements in energy efficiency and a renewed interest in mass transit will result in more people willing to go further away from cities, and as we upgrade tracks and safety protocols, speeds on train lines and similar transportation means will continue to rise, lowering a formerly lengthy commute. What was "too far" will become "just enough", and that trend will continue.

On the up side, aside from areas of rapid development due to zealous builders, many of those moving out to more rural areas are doing so because they prefer that way of life, and many townships are acquiring land in the name of open space preservation in order to prevent such overbuilding practices as has been seen in the Poconos. Only through the efforts of a unified township against massive overgrowth can it be controlled, imho.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,784 posts, read 23,817,529 times
Reputation: 6195
I don't mind urban sprawl at all, and have even participated in it a few times myself. I appreciate the options in life, and view living in a suburban area as one of my choices.

I don't begrudge those who choose an urban lifestyle at all, they should live as they like. However, if I can live in a far out suburb, and wish to do so, that is my option.

If economics starts to restrict this option, future sprawl will lessen. My betting is that the "high energy cost stopping sprawl" argument will be very temporary. However, my betting is we get a great long term solution to the cost (and environmental impact) of energy usage.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:31 AM
 
743 posts, read 1,175,836 times
Reputation: 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
Those who have known me since I joined this forum way back in mid-2006 have become accustomed to my occasional rantings on the issue of urban sprawl. I have seen firsthand in my own area how the flight of the middle-class from urban cores can decimate once-vibrant neighborhoods and lead to congestion and deforestation in newly-developing suburban areas. As energy prices continue to climb I think it will become less and less feasible for the trend of expanding our exurbs further and further away from our cities to continue. Here in the Poconos the growth in Monroe and Pike Counties has ebbed considerably over the past two years as people weigh the economic benefits of paying less for a home with the economic woes of paying so much for a four-hour round-trip commute into Manhattan as well as the sociocultural woes of not having enough time due to the aforementioned power-commutes to connect with the community.

What are others' opinions on this issue?
We found 2 major obstacles, outside of the more commonly mentioned ones, that were problems when we were looking for a home near the city.
First, the public schools are terrible. There are other options available, private, charter, magnet schools, but these are either too high demand, or too expensive. We are not willing to gamble our childrens' education on a school lottery.
The other, is the size of homes. In most suburbs, you can find a big piece of land, and plenty of extra room. Nearer the city however, we could barely squeeze into a tiny single family home.
If I can get a bigger home/yard, with good access to public transportation, and superior schools, why not move into a new bedroom community?
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Old 09-11-2008, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
3,088 posts, read 4,682,067 times
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Yes, public schools in urban areas do tend to be "poorer" than those in suburban areas, in general. . . but would this be the case if "white flight" from urban areas did not exist? Public transportation, on the other hand, is pretty much non-existant in the suburban areas that I am familiar with. . . . note: I grew up in Chicago, in a southside, working class neighborhood. At that time (50's, early 60's) the high school that I attended had some of the best teachers I have ever in my life. . . they are the reason I went on to College / University. . . . . I could spend my weekends at the museums, etc. in the downtown area without any transportation hassles. . .
during my senior year of high school, my parents moved to a far western suburb, and I was "lost at sea". . . didn't know how to drive, nor had access to a vehicle, stuck in a place without any public transport, and unable to interact with anyone who was not an immediate "neighbor". . . . This was NOT a good thing for me, and I have a hard time believing that it would be beneficial to most young people
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Old 09-11-2008, 12:51 PM
 
743 posts, read 1,175,836 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cap1717 View Post
Yes, public schools in urban areas do tend to be "poorer" than those in suburban areas, in general. . . but would this be the case if "white flight" from urban areas did not exist? Public transportation, on the other hand, is pretty much non-existant in the suburban areas that I am familiar with. . . . note: I grew up in Chicago, in a southside, working class neighborhood. At that time (50's, early 60's) the high school that I attended had some of the best teachers I have ever in my life. . . they are the reason I went on to College / University. . . . . I could spend my weekends at the museums, etc. in the downtown area without any transportation hassles. . .
during my senior year of high school, my parents moved to a far western suburb, and I was "lost at sea". . . didn't know how to drive, nor had access to a vehicle, stuck in a place without any public transport, and unable to interact with anyone who was not an immediate "neighbor". . . . This was NOT a good thing for me, and I have a hard time believing that it would be beneficial to most young people
Close to home. We looked at several neighborhoods, Bridgeport, Hyde Park, Beverly, Garfield Ridge, among others. There was just no way to make it work with the boys' schooling. There were way too many variables. So, for one reason or another we crossed each area off the list, and ended up in Naperville, much to our dismay. Not that it's a bad place to live, just not our first choice. We really wanted to live close to the city for many of the same reasons you mentioned, but it was too high a cost.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,832,670 times
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Amusing to see this topic today--I just flew up to NOVA this morning. It's interesting to note what has changed in this suburban community since we moved away.

NOVA is the suburban area of Northern Virginia outside of DC. When we first moved here, my neighborhood was a bedroom community with a strip of stores at the end of the street. Most people commuted to jobs that were at least 7-10 miles away. There wasn't much to do on the weekend, unless you liked kayaking, horses, or hiking.

Today, that same neighborhood feels more like a contained unit. The biggest change was The Janelia Center, a major research facility. Now I suppose you could argue it would have been nice to have this facility built closer to downtown. But the truth is, HHMI chose the site because they needed a secured campus, something that simply isn't available in older office buildings.

What else is new? Colleges, office parks, and hundreds of restaurants and stores. A few years ago I needed to drive to Tyson's Corner to buy furniture (about 7 miles away). Now I can walk to a furniture store. In fact, I can now walk to all kinds of stores. It's become possible to live, work & play and never leave this town.

According to my kids, the commute has gotten better because fewer people seem to be driving to the city anymore--some telecommute, I suppose, and more simply took jobs in corporations that are now opening up down the road.

Meanwhile, the inner ring of suburbs seem to be holding up pretty well. One of my kids lives in McLean and there don't seem to be any foreclosures in the neighborhood.

Of course, this is NOVA. NOVA is thriving right now. So many people are moving here that it wouldn't be possible to squeeze them all into the city even if you wanted too. I can see that it would be a different story in a town like Scranton, that is not experiencing the same sort of growth.

Also, good city planning is important. Suburban neighborhoods need sidewalks, parks, and all the other amenities of a well planned town.
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Cold Frozen North
1,928 posts, read 4,634,004 times
Reputation: 1274
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewToCA View Post
I don't mind urban sprawl at all, and have even participated in it a few times myself. I appreciate the options in life, and view living in a suburban area as one of my choices.

I don't begrudge those who choose an urban lifestyle at all, they should live as they like. However, if I can live in a far out suburb, and wish to do so, that is my option.

If economics starts to restrict this option, future sprawl will lessen. My betting is that the "high energy cost stopping sprawl" argument will be very temporary. However, my betting is we get a great long term solution to the cost (and environmental impact) of energy usage.
My opinions exactly. I see nothing wrong with sprawl or whatever people want to call it. Urban living isn't for everyone. Thank goodness for our ability to make individual choices.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:50 PM
 
Location: Sumner, WA
358 posts, read 948,136 times
Reputation: 250
I hate the traffic that comes with urban sprawl, but I hate living in a rural setting even more. That's all I have to say.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:43 PM
 
3,320 posts, read 4,846,772 times
Reputation: 11125
Quote:
Originally Posted by HighPlainsDrifter73 View Post
My opinions exactly. I see nothing wrong with sprawl or whatever people want to call it. Urban living isn't for everyone. Thank goodness for our ability to make individual choices.
I agree Don't know what the big deal is other than the environmental issues. I don't even mind strip malls, as long as they are not across the street from me. There is a kind of a beauty to the sprawl if you think about it.
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