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View Poll Results: Has Urban Sprawl Been Good for America?
Yes. Bring on Wal-Mart, Freeways, and Tract Housing! 31 17.71%
No. Our Historic Cities are Now Rotting to the Core. 104 59.43%
I Don't Like the Suburbs, but I've Been Priced Out of my City. 20 11.43%
I Don't Really Care. 20 11.43%
Voters: 175. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-30-2007, 10:22 PM
 
1,268 posts, read 2,347,216 times
Reputation: 188

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i honestly believe there is more to all this (suburbia, the mentality of people, etc.) than marketing and influence of bigger interests than those of the individual, but, while on the topic, thought it might be interesting to check this out:

The Psychology of Consumers: Consumer Behavior and Marketing
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Old 05-31-2007, 03:39 AM
 
Location: 602/520
2,441 posts, read 3,899,118 times
Reputation: 1815
Quote:
Originally Posted by hello-world View Post
does this dialogue look to anyone else like that between drug addicts and their families?

honestly don't mean to be melodramatic, but, take a look back at some of the posts.
I apologize if my defense is disturbing you. ScrantonWilkesBarre posted this thread, and for whatever reason does not want to accept the answer that I am giving. I am aware that this site is composed primarily of individuals who are anti-suburban. I am not. I am the voice that will continue to be pro-suburban. If SWB didn't want to hear an opposing viewpoint, he shouldn't have asked the question.

Honestly, although our argument is on a local scale, in can very easily be used an example for many metropolitan areas across the country. Take a look back at some of the posts.
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Old 05-31-2007, 05:30 AM
 
Location: PA
669 posts, read 2,288,177 times
Reputation: 271
We could all debate and argue til we're blue in the face (or in the hands from typing), but the bottom line is this: The majority of Americans don't have a problem with cookie-cutter shopping developments, housing, etc.

Yes, it's boring. Yes, it's bland. But we cannot be unrealistic. It's not like if we stopped urban sprawl it would mean the city centers would always have this fantastic, sparkling downtown. That's just not realistic. People don't CARE.

As important as dreams are--you have to be realistic too. Dreaming of beautiful, big, walkable downtowns is nice--but when it's NOT happening, it's better to keep it to dreams than to say "Oh, if we stopped cookie-cutter housing developments, everything would return to creative and original designs! We'd have a cute downtown"...Not necessarily true, at ALL. Even if houses went back to the "older" styles, it doesn't guarantee anything except the style of the houses.

I also wonder--how in the world can a shopping center be NOT cookie cutter? I mean stores are pretty much stores, are they not? The "evil Walmart" debate excluded, shopping is shopping. I don't see why people care...because even if the shopping center has "character", something still had to be bulldozed to put it there!

Most people care that a) their house is nice, which in sprawl their house at least seems nice, b) they have space, c) they can go get essentials and fun items when shopping. All these are covered in a "sprawl" neighborhood--so what motivates any normal person to care? Nothing. Sad, but true. The debate is moot. Sprawl is going to happen, for better or worse.

.
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:25 AM
 
609 posts, read 2,125,103 times
Reputation: 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmurphy View Post
We could all debate and argue til we're blue in the face (or in the hands from typing), but the bottom line is this: The majority of Americans don't have a problem with cookie-cutter shopping developments, housing, etc.

Yes, it's boring. Yes, it's bland. But we cannot be unrealistic. It's not like if we stopped urban sprawl it would mean the city centers would always have this fantastic, sparkling downtown. That's just not realistic. People don't CARE.

As important as dreams are--you have to be realistic too. Dreaming of beautiful, big, walkable downtowns is nice--but when it's NOT happening, it's better to keep it to dreams than to say "Oh, if we stopped cookie-cutter housing developments, everything would return to creative and original designs! We'd have a cute downtown"...Not necessarily true, at ALL. Even if houses went back to the "older" styles, it doesn't guarantee anything except the style of the houses.

I also wonder--how in the world can a shopping center be NOT cookie cutter? I mean stores are pretty much stores, are they not? The "evil Walmart" debate excluded, shopping is shopping. I don't see why people care...because even if the shopping center has "character", something still had to be bulldozed to put it there!

Most people care that a) their house is nice, which in sprawl their house at least seems nice, b) they have space, c) they can go get essentials and fun items when shopping. All these are covered in a "sprawl" neighborhood--so what motivates any normal person to care? Nothing. Sad, but true. The debate is moot. Sprawl is going to happen, for better or worse.

.
Very good points. If you want your walkable city, look to Europe or Asia.
Very few cities in America have that feature...and again it's the traditional Northern cities that would...ie NYC, Boston, Chicago, DC, and maybe SF proper.

But otherwise, most other cities in America are your urban sprawl cities. It's our culture. This is what we as Americans demand...it's all a/b preferences. AMerica has always been about bigger, better etc. as a whole. We like the convenience of a strip mall. We like our big houses at the expense of losing character to it. This may not be a bad thing. I would like to think we as AMericans have a fairly decent quality of life as a whole.
Having said that, lifestyle town centers are popping up in America's burbs. DFW is no different. And it does have success...it's just not going to downtown b/c that's not what suburbanites want...they want convenience. So you have walkable town squares in suburbs.
Now as for downtowns, I do believe there is a market for the urban core as well. The current generation is proving that. There is a lot of high rise construction going on in America again. Will it go back to the old days, probably not...but I think there will be busier urban cores than it was 10 years ago. Dallas alone is adding 26 high rises over the next 5 years that are in current construction phase and has 25 more planned.
I think it does benefit suburbanites to have a nice urban core to go to for certain recreational and cultural activities and atmosphere, but yet have the convenience of a suburb.
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,555 posts, read 47,250,040 times
Reputation: 11434
Quote:
Originally Posted by miamiman View Post
I apologize if my defense is disturbing you. ScrantonWilkesBarre posted this thread, and for whatever reason does not want to accept the answer that I am giving. I am aware that this site is composed primarily of individuals who are anti-suburban. I am not. I am the voice that will continue to be pro-suburban. If SWB didn't want to hear an opposing viewpoint, he shouldn't have asked the question.

Honestly, although our argument is on a local scale, in can very easily be used an example for many metropolitan areas across the country. Take a look back at some of the posts.
I'm actually enjoying our rather heated debate. One thing for certain is that you and I will never see eye-to-eye on this issue. You want our older cities to fail in favor of new exurban and suburban development. I want to see the suburbs/exurbs fail in favor of refilling our city's THRONGS of existing brownfields and blights. If we could have both a vibrant city core and sprawling suburbs (as many cities do), then I'd say "go for it." However, that's not the case in Scranton---there's only so many residents to go around, and each new subdivision in the Abingtons does nothing but destroy more of our open space in favor of further contributing to the deterioration of crummy city neighborhoods like the Upper South Side. Each new shiny glass office building at Glenmaura does nothing but create one more empty one downtown in its wake. I can't believe that you don't see any sort of "waste of land" occurring here when we expanded our land usage by 20 square miles from 1970-1990 at the same time as we shed tens of thousands of people.

Using the excuse of "people like it, so there" or "sprawl is profitable" doesn't sit well with me either. The majority of the people liked President Bush in 2004 as well and he won with just over 50% of the vote. Now, his approval rating is right around 30%. What happened to that 20% spread who voted for him and now disapproves of him? People are FICKLE, and it wouldn't take too much to point to our area's poor air quality, increasing traffic congestion, increasing urban blight, increasing flooding issues from runoff, increasing dependency upon foreign oil, etc. in order to convince them that the region's current trend of "throw out the old; bulldoze more trees for the new" won't be sustainable for too many more generations. Likewise, thriving downtown cores can be PROFITABLE for a city's bottom line. Just because you're hellbent on hoping that Scranton collapses into a heap doesn't mean that is HAS to be that way. Visit Scranton in 2020 after I've been well-established in my city-saving initiatives via elected office and then you can "open mouth; insert foot" about this so-called "crusty, decaying town." If it can happen in Bethlehem, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, then why can't it happen in Scranton?

Last edited by SteelCityRising; 05-31-2007 at 08:14 AM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:09 AM
 
696 posts, read 1,704,392 times
Reputation: 445
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScrantonWilkesBarre View Post
I'm actually enjoying our rather heated debate. One thing for certain is that you and I will never see eye-to-eye on this issue. You want our older cities to fail in favor of new exurban and suburban development. I want to see the suburbs/exurbs fail in favor of refilling our city's THRONGS of existing brownfields and blights. If we could have both a vibrant city core and sprawling suburbs (as many cities do), then I'd say "go for it." However, that's not the case in Scranton---there's only so many residents to go around, and each new subdivision in the Abingtons does nothing but destroy more of our open space in favor of further contributing to the deterioration of crummy city neighborhoods like the Upper South Side. Each new shiny glass office building at Glenmaura does nothing but create one more empty one downtown in its wake. I can't believe that you don't see any sort of "waste of land" occurring here when we expanded our land usage by 20 square miles from 1970-1990 at the same time as we shed tens of thousands of people.

Using the excuse of "people like it, so there" or "sprawl is profitable" doesn't sit well with me either. The majority of the people liked President Bush in 2004 as well and he won with just over 50% of the vote. Now, his approval rating is right around 30%. What happened to that 20% spread who voted for him and now disapproves of him? People are FICKLE, and it wouldn't take too much to point to our area's poor air quality, increasing traffic congestion, increasing urban blight, increasing flooding issues from runoff, increasing dependency upon foreign oil, etc. in order to convince them that the region's current trend of "throw out the old; bulldoze more trees for the new" won't be sustainable for too many more generations. Likewise, thriving downtown cores can be PROFITABLE for a city's bottom line. Just because you're hellbent on hoping that Scranton collapses into a heap doesn't mean that is HAS to be that way. Visit Scranton in 2020 after I've been well-established in my city-saving initiatives via elected office and then you can "open mouth; insert foot" about this so-called "crusty, decaying town." If it can happen in Bethlehem, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, then why can't it happen in Scranton?
I must say that you must be the biggest Scanton booster alive.

That being said, and I've alluded to this before, it's up to cities to provide what people want, NOT the other way around. It's nice to wish that people "shouldn't want" certain things or criticize them as materialistic, but at the end of the day, the best (and really only) way to get people to move in a certain direction is to provide them concrete incentives to take that action as opposed to trying to make it into some type of moral issue. I doubt many people that live in suburbs actually wish that the older cities that are next to them fail - that's not beneficial to them in the long run. However, cities just wishing that people will change their mentalities is a pointless and futile cause.

Do you know how you can tell instantly from a home listing whether a house needs a lot of work or if it's ready to move in? The home listing for a place that needs a lot of work will use a bunch of adjectives calling it "charming" or "quaint" without actually saying much about the actual attributes, while the ready to move in place will talk about specifics (i.e. granite countertops, hardwood floors, new bathroom, etc.).

Likewise, cities need to offer more than the fuzzy adjectives like "character" or "cute houses" or make it into some type of grand social cause against sprawl. Those are nice, but what gets people to really choose a place are concrete attributes such as good schools, jobs, healthy businesses and low crime rates. If cities want to become vibrant again, then the onus is on them to make the changes that will attract people as opposed to trying get people to change their mentalities.
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:18 AM
 
4,611 posts, read 7,961,015 times
Reputation: 6682
Urban Sprawl---A Blessing or a Curse?

I think it is both, depending if it will benefit you or not. Our population is growing, so room needs to be made for all the people. Time changes, things progress, we move on. We can't live back in the 1960's because we are in the 2000's. We will survive, we will adapt, we will be OK.
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:22 AM
 
1,268 posts, read 2,347,216 times
Reputation: 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roma View Post
We will survive, we will adapt, we will be OK.
seems possible. though if we're not smarter about how we consume and waste, maybe not!
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:28 AM
 
1,268 posts, read 2,347,216 times
Reputation: 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by miamiman View Post
I apologize if my defense is disturbing you. ScrantonWilkesBarre posted this thread, and for whatever reason does not want to accept the answer that I am giving. I am aware that this site is composed primarily of individuals who are anti-suburban. I am not. I am the voice that will continue to be pro-suburban. If SWB didn't want to hear an opposing viewpoint, he shouldn't have asked the question.

Honestly, although our argument is on a local scale, in can very easily be used an example for many metropolitan areas across the country. Take a look back at some of the posts.
my comment was not about your posts, per se. more about the sound these kinds of conversations - about sprawl, about growth, about consumerism, about global warming, etc. - can take on.

have you ever seen a movie about or known someone with a drug addiction or alcoholism? the justification, the denial, the self-damaging and sometimes caustic nature of some of it, the various tacks taken by family, rehab, etc. to break through that?

Last edited by hello-world; 05-31-2007 at 10:37 AM..
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Old 05-31-2007, 10:35 AM
 
1,268 posts, read 2,347,216 times
Reputation: 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScrantonWilkesBarre View Post
I'm actually enjoying our rather heated debate. One thing for certain is that you and I will never see eye-to-eye on this issue. You want our older cities to fail in favor of new exurban and suburban development. I want to see the suburbs/exurbs fail in favor of refilling our city's THRONGS of existing brownfields and blights. If we could have both a vibrant city core and sprawling suburbs (as many cities do), then I'd say "go for it." However, that's not the case in Scranton---there's only so many residents to go around, and each new subdivision in the Abingtons does nothing but destroy more of our open space in favor of further contributing to the deterioration of crummy city neighborhoods like the Upper South Side. Each new shiny glass office building at Glenmaura does nothing but create one more empty one downtown in its wake. I can't believe that you don't see any sort of "waste of land" occurring here when we expanded our land usage by 20 square miles from 1970-1990 at the same time as we shed tens of thousands of people.

Using the excuse of "people like it, so there" or "sprawl is profitable" doesn't sit well with me either. The majority of the people liked President Bush in 2004 as well and he won with just over 50% of the vote. Now, his approval rating is right around 30%. What happened to that 20% spread who voted for him and now disapproves of him? People are FICKLE, and it wouldn't take too much to point to our area's poor air quality, increasing traffic congestion, increasing urban blight, increasing flooding issues from runoff, increasing dependency upon foreign oil, etc. in order to convince them that the region's current trend of "throw out the old; bulldoze more trees for the new" won't be sustainable for too many more generations. Likewise, thriving downtown cores can be PROFITABLE for a city's bottom line. Just because you're hellbent on hoping that Scranton collapses into a heap doesn't mean that is HAS to be that way. Visit Scranton in 2020 after I've been well-established in my city-saving initiatives via elected office and then you can "open mouth; insert foot" about this so-called "crusty, decaying town." If it can happen in Bethlehem, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, then why can't it happen in Scranton?
if you could have sprawling suburbs and city, you say "go for it"? seems a little surprising as you were writing days ago about how you were choking on the exhaust of it. if you have both, you'll likely have more to choke on, won't you?

as for the bush popularity analogy, could that have a bit to do with the skill bush advisors employed in selling him when necessary, somewhat of an apparent lack of better options, in people's tendency to go little further than the sound byte and whatever they might overhear on Fox while ordering their pizza for dinner, AND the "fickle"? (not to mention the bad news after bad news simply eroding at any superficial faith some of those people had - or were sold on - in some of it.) not a bad analogy overall, though, considering these things.

any thoughts on this sort of triad and how it might fit with "sprawl"? global environmental change/warming. "the war on terror". consumerism.

Last edited by hello-world; 05-31-2007 at 10:52 AM..
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