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Old 04-07-2009, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Austin
2,522 posts, read 5,402,007 times
Reputation: 705

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Quote:
Originally Posted by twange View Post
Up front, at this point in my life, I'm more of a city guy and don't much care for newer-type suburban developments. I live(rent) about 2 miles from downtown and really love the proximity to the things I find interesting. I can bike and walk(sort of) to many places. Unfortunately, I have to reverse commute to my job, but my wife works close so we can still share a car.

But one contradiction I often find in these discussions, is that folks who live in more urban/city environments put down and/or criticize others for living in the suburbs and contributing to sprawl, without considering this basic fact: Most people cannot afford to live in Central Austin, even as renters. There aren't too many buying options (other than teardowns) available for under 225K...and most average incomes cannot afford that. Forget about buying one of those cute, earthy, historical bungalows within walking distance to everything so beloved in Austin. If you can afford one of these fine places, count yourself among the fortunate.

I guess to me, it's just not nice to cast aspersions on folks or put them down for living somewhere different from ourselves. It smacks of juvenile moral superiority and it's not productive at all.

Anyone who has a house is lucky.
In Paris, the muslim ghettos are all in what we would consider SUBurban, in a ring around the city.....there, the fortunate live in an "Arrondissement", AKA ward/district in Paris proper....the poor live in outlying ring burbs, full of chain restaurants like Mcdonalds and cheaper, newer, ticky tacky mega apartments very much like Austin.......
Oh so similar........
And true that the poorer folks are trapped in mega-apartments in Austin, mostly in outlying areas......and most families can indeed only afford housing in those burbs we mention......The only reason we knock them is that this is Austin, and not Cleveland, Long Island, or San Bernardino........and you expect more in the Austin metro, even in the burbs.....and the burbs in Austin are quite bland as bland can be......and seem worse with a place like central austin just 13-18 miles away..............But reality rears its ugly head, and soon, indeed prob just the wealthy will afford the in-town lifestyle in Austin, and most other cities with cool neighborhoods like Chicago, Boston, SF, San Diego, Manhattan, and so on.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
76 posts, read 130,613 times
Reputation: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by goaliefight View Post
So I went to Austin for the first time last weekend. I've been thinking about relocating for a while and Austin came up to the top of my list for a lot of reasons:

* Lots of tech jobs.
* Affordable cost of living.
* Mild winters compared to Kansas.
* Good nightlife.
* Supports an active outdoor lifestyle.
Those all sound like GREAT reasons for me.

Quote:
Unfortunately, I don't think Austin is going to make the cut. Here are some reasons why:

* Poor highway and heavy traffic problems. It seems like Austin outgrew it's infrastructure.
* Austin is a huge sprawl and is growing too fast
* Cheap college graduates are too much competition for decent careers.
* Not much to do other than go to bars.
Poor highways? Have you ever been to California? HWY 101 in the Bay Area? Any where in LA? From what I have heard Austin is nothing compared to those places in terms of traffic and congestion.

Quote:
I will say these positives about Austin for anyone else looking:

* The people are very friendly.
* Austin feels like a very safe place to live.
* The new airport is great and easy to get into and out of.
* Austin has a fun relaxed night life with tons of beautiful college women.

I'll probably circle back after I visit a few other places because there are a lot of pros to living in Austin. Hope someone finds this info helpful.
Austin is a safe place to live? Good, I have a nine year old daughter who LOVES to play outside. It also sounds like a relaxed city. Relaxed is good.

I am also one of the people who does not care for sports and thinks it is great that Austin does not have them. If I want to go to a Zoo or Water Park San Antonio sounds like it is close enough for me. I used to live about an hour north of San Fransisco. That could turn into two hours if traffic was bad that day. We used to go to the zoo all the time. Driving is fun.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Round Rock
76 posts, read 390,104 times
Reputation: 50
It makes me sad when central folks blame burbs folks for contributing to sprawl. I'm sure there's some well deserved cupablity on the parts of some suburbianites for sprawl, but I'm sure there are just as many people in the burbs who would love to live more central but just can't afford it. Affordablity is such a big issue in Austin. Something like Mueller could be an answer, but for truly middle class families, they make too much to qualify for the Affordable Homes, but the other home prices are out of their reach. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I think it's a more complicated issure than people make it out to be.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
2,357 posts, read 7,243,672 times
Reputation: 1013
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
People who live in suburbs and in small towns deserve to have a nice environment around them, too, you know.
Of course, I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. That's a big part of the design and strategy that makeup the New Urbanism movement: design newer housing(particularly suburban) in the fashion of traditional towns, which encourage civic pride, walkability and community.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,795 posts, read 39,745,085 times
Reputation: 24259
There's a community, Goodwater, being designed up north of Georgetown in that mold. Very long term plan - last I talked to him, he wasn't expecting the first home to be on the ground until 2011. But a grand idea, if it comes to fruition.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Austin
2,522 posts, read 5,402,007 times
Reputation: 705
Quote:
Originally Posted by twange View Post
Of course, I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. That's a big part of the design and strategy that makeup the New Urbanism movement: design newer housing(particularly suburban) in the fashion of traditional towns, which encourage civic pride, walkability and community.
Prob is, the builders make all the decisions..keep in mind corporations think bottom line, and amenities take away from the bottom line....they will therefore provide as few as possible of the same...and yes, that even includes sidewalks and rec/jogging/play areas.....
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:33 PM
 
8,240 posts, read 15,729,231 times
Reputation: 3680
Quote:
Originally Posted by llkltk View Post
Ahh, am I correct to assume that you are a liberal, suburban hating person?
No, you are not correct.
I am a libertarian, and I don't hate anyone.
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:35 PM
 
8,240 posts, read 15,729,231 times
Reputation: 3680
Quote:
Originally Posted by llkltk View Post
You pretty much live in the sprawl. Try heading down SH45, there are plenty of trees down here.

It's interesting how central austinites complain of the sprawl but choose to live near the sprawl because it's convenient.
????

I live in NW Hills, I guess it was sprawl in the 1960s.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:04 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
2,357 posts, read 7,243,672 times
Reputation: 1013
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasHorseLady View Post
There's a community, Goodwater, being designed up north of Georgetown in that mold. Very long term plan - last I talked to him, he wasn't expecting the first home to be on the ground until 2011. But a grand idea, if it comes to fruition.
That project looks fantastic! Thanks for posting, I'll keep an eye on that one. Probably a bit too far for us but who knows what the future holds?

That's the kind of development I would expect the Austin area to support. Hopefully, enough ordinary folks will be able to afford to live there, otherwise it will just be a housing boutique like Central Austin. As someone else pointed out, that's what Mueller seems to be lacking: quality housing for ordinary incomes. You can only live there if you make too little(to qualify for their affordability program) or can afford to buy in the 240K range. There's a gap from 160K to 240K with no housing

That kind of stuff gets me feeling optimistic.
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Old 04-07-2009, 11:18 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
2,357 posts, read 7,243,672 times
Reputation: 1013
Quote:
Originally Posted by inthecut View Post
Prob is, the builders make all the decisions..keep in mind corporations think bottom line, and amenities take away from the bottom line....they will therefore provide as few as possible of the same...and yes, that even includes sidewalks and rec/jogging/play areas.....
Well that's where City Council and community organizations can step in. Not in a "no-growth/nimbyist sort of way, but with a progressive, informed attitude that determines what kind of growth and development would best serve their region/neighborhood. Over time I just think quality civic design will prove a superior choice by even casual observers.

Have you read this book?
Suburban Nation

The writers(Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck) don't simply put down suburban living but promote quality design which in turn creates quality communities which in turn raises property values.

Here's an editorial quote from Publishers Weekly:

(The authors) "challenge nearly half a century of widely accepted planning and building practices that have produced sprawling subdivisions, shopping centers and office parks connected by new highways. These practices, they contend, have not only destroyed the traditional concept of the neighborhood, but eroded such vital social values as equality, citizenship and personal safety. Further, they charge that current suburban developments are not only economically and environmentally "unsustainable," but "not functional" because they isolate and place undue burdens on at-home mothers, children, teens and the elderly."
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