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View Poll Results: Are the Western states in their entirety that are developing too fast?
Yes there's many states developing too fast and there's not enough undisturbed places 28 36.84%
Most portions of the West developing at about the right, sensible pace 23 30.26%
There's many portions of the West that could be developing faster 25 32.89%
Voters: 76. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-18-2019, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Denver
3,346 posts, read 2,768,739 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCHP View Post
Since many small cities and towns intrinsically struggle with finances, their ability to competitively bid for senior water rights means they will always loose to the big population centers with deeper pockets. This, in turn will lead to more urban crowding in the west while vast stretches outside these population centers continue to return to shrink in population and slowly return back to nature.

Conversely, if the apocalypse ever comes, CO and other head water states could dam up all their rivers and turn parts of Arizona, Nevada, and California into complete desert wastelands where there are currently populations centers that have senior rights to water that can't be beat in court.
Thanks for that post, it illuminated the situation. There was this article from the Denver Post highlighting the same thing: Denver seeking water from Colorado's poorest part. As you said

Quote:
Originally Posted by grega94 View Post
The west feels overcrowded because there are so few cities to select from, and everyone is trying to move into them, instead there needs to be more small cities/large towns that can siphon off of some of that demand.

Washington's smaller towns could easily support twice the population, but instead everyone is being crammed into the Seattle area.
That's my sentiment exactly, and you illustrated it well. In addition to the size differences, many of these cities are packed in the same areas, like the front range or the coastal valleys vs being spread out in different areas across the state.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
It is a good thing that at this point, the US still has variety. It would be horrible to have minimum-density development uniformly applied to the country.

There are plenty of choices that fall between those two, too. That’s a good thing.

There’s nothing wrong with leaving areas undeveloped.
Variety is indeed nice, but per the above quote, there's a distinct gap in the middle, it seems like there's either large or small. The vast majority of the west is undeveloped and devoid of people, while other parts have 5 million people using 4 roads to get into and across the mountains. I think a more even spread would indeed be better for a QOL and congestion reducing standpoint.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Syringaloid View Post
Boise doesn't use water from the Snake for water supply (although there is a dam on the Snake south of Boise that generates electricity).

Boise has a huge watershed above it (one of the west's largest) that originates in the Sawtooth Mountains, and all of that water feeds the Boise River which flows through the city and into the Snake River near the Oregon border.

Idaho has a unique claim within the Lower 48 when it comes to river miles within a states boundaries.
Well that's certainly good to know. It seems like the southern states struggle with the water issue much more than the northern states in the west.
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Old 09-18-2019, 02:32 PM
 
5,909 posts, read 3,180,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
Thanks for that post, it illuminated the situation. There was this article from the Denver Post highlighting the same thing: Denver seeking water from Colorado's poorest part. As you said


That's my sentiment exactly, and you illustrated it well. In addition to the size differences, many of these cities are packed in the same areas, like the front range or the coastal valleys vs being spread out in different areas across the state.

Variety is indeed nice, but per the above quote, there's a distinct gap in the middle, it seems like there's either large or small. The vast majority of the west is undeveloped and devoid of people, while other parts have 5 million people using 4 roads to get into and across the mountains. I think a more even spread would indeed be better for a QOL and congestion reducing standpoint.

Well that's certainly good to know. It seems like the southern states struggle with the water issue much more than the northern states in the west.
What you are advocating amounts to a sprawl of whatever YOU consider middle density. How horrible.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:26 PM
 
Location: CO
2,604 posts, read 6,072,894 times
Reputation: 3435
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago_Person View Post
It's where the plains end.

West is the coast. . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by PerseusVeil View Post
. . .
The Western US and West Coast aren't interchangeable terms. The government has defined the Western US just like it has the Midwest, South, and Northeast. Denver is West.
Friends of mine who moved here to Denver from California often talk about their move to the West.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Denver
3,346 posts, read 2,768,739 times
Reputation: 2438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prickly Pear View Post
All cities could be developing faster, but they need to be doing it in ways that are sustainable. Phoenix has dealt with what Portland and Denver are just now experiencing for over 40 years, and Phoenix still isn’t developing fast enough. Yet so much of Arizona is crowded and busy in its rural areas. Luckily I know many of Arizona’s underrated spots...

We don’t have as many small towns because water rights. I’m sure that’s already been mentioned. But here in Arizona if you aren’t in an active manage area of the ADWR you are basically ****** unless you get really lucky. All water goes to the cities here basically. If people try to move to Flagstaff (also growing quite a bit when it really shouldn’t) that hurts the rest of the state and it’s better, water wise, for everyone to be in the same few places. Especially in regards to infrastructure.

We are a smart species, that goes without saying. Humans have developed wherever they can, at least started that process anyway, on all parts of Earth. Some parts of Earth, including large swathes of the Western US, are empty or barely populated for a reason. People have settled wherever they can, if you don’t believe me look at the Sahara and Siberia. If people try to populate small towns out here and grow they hurt our future environmentally. Those small towns need to stay small, trust me. Urban sprawl, annexation, increased traffic, increasing COL are all negative effects that make people hate transplants. All of them are worse out here for us than back east and people don’t put enough thought into what impact they have. Our system of a few large cities and nothing else is better for the environment out here.
Intuitively I'd think that it'd be more efficient to have the water be used in the local basin it falls in than transporting most of the states water to a few central hubs. I can understand that the current institutional environment favors larger players, but I'm not seeing how it's a more efficiently engineered solution. Also I'm not seeing how small cities are worse for the environment than big cities. Also it seems like congestion and traffic aren't usually the largest issues for cities under 200K.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pikabike View Post
What you are advocating amounts to a sprawl of whatever YOU consider middle density. How horrible.
I think you're misunderstanding. I'm not saying that regional hubs in the west should spread out, I'm saying there should be more, smaller regional hubs. So, encouraging people to move from Denver to Durango, not Denver to Golden. Those smaller regional hubs aren't necessarily more, and certainly don't have to be more sprawly than a big city. Maybe we're assuming that bigger cities do density better than smaller cities, and that might be the trend historically.
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Old 09-18-2019, 08:30 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
4,794 posts, read 3,888,616 times
Reputation: 3902
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
Intuitively I'd think that it'd be more efficient to have the water be used in the local basin it falls in than transporting most of the states water to a few central hubs. I can understand that the current institutional environment favors larger players, but I'm not seeing how it's a more efficiently engineered solution. Also I'm not seeing how small cities are worse for the environment than big cities. Also it seems like congestion and traffic aren't usually the largest issues for cities under 200K.
The thing is is when you look at arid states like Arizona or Wyoming you only have so many aquifers. It is not unheard of for people with private wells having to dig over 800 feet to find water out here. This is costly, think about septic systems too. Many of which still exist in urban Phoenix due to lack of flat terrain.

Some towns do NOT really have a local basin. For example Flagstaff. Flagstaff and frankly even Phoenix to a degree rely entirely on snowfall from the nearby mountains. Some places along the Colorado River in Arizona rely ENTIRELY on Colorado River water with next to no aquifers because of their geographic area. And let's look at Lake Mead right now. Their future is in danger. Flagstaff is not as sustainable as Phoenix for this reason. Tucson already has had a sinking elevation because their aquifer is so small. Tucson is not as sustainable as Phoenix. I will repeat this point again, humans are not all that stupid, and develop where they can. There's a reason some cities out here are big and some are much smaller.

Traffic and congestion is an issue because people do not support public transportation. If they did, no matter how populated Phoenix got, it wouldn't be an issue. But again people prefer suburban sprawl and getting into more aquifers for the same cities via annexation (again not sticking to "local" basins like you stated) which hurt the smaller towns. And if the smaller towns begin to grow as exurbs it hurts the central city.

If we followed urban practices more similar to NYC then we would not be in this issue at all and I'd argue we would have more cities with different options than one city with a few suburbs.

The Western US is not overcrowded. The way Americans have chosen to live (suburbs are destructive, ridiculously subsidized hiding their real astronomical costs) has made the Western US overcrowded and therefore expensive. It's about development style. The average NYC resident uses less water than the average Phoenician. Why do you think that is? We would be in a much better position if people thought about their impact.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:15 PM
 
1,083 posts, read 481,470 times
Reputation: 841
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prickly Pear View Post
The thing is is when you look at arid states like Arizona or Wyoming you only have so many aquifers. It is not unheard of for people with private wells having to dig over 800 feet to find water out here. This is costly, think about septic systems too. Many of which still exist in urban Phoenix due to lack of flat terrain.

Some towns do NOT really have a local basin. For example Flagstaff. Flagstaff and frankly even Phoenix to a degree rely entirely on snowfall from the nearby mountains. Some places along the Colorado River in Arizona rely ENTIRELY on Colorado River water with next to no aquifers because of their geographic area. And let's look at Lake Mead right now. Their future is in danger. Flagstaff is not as sustainable as Phoenix for this reason. Tucson already has had a sinking elevation because their aquifer is so small. Tucson is not as sustainable as Phoenix. I will repeat this point again, humans are not all that stupid, and develop where they can. There's a reason some cities out here are big and some are much smaller.

Traffic and congestion is an issue because people do not support public transportation. If they did, no matter how populated Phoenix got, it wouldn't be an issue. But again people prefer suburban sprawl and getting into more aquifers for the same cities via annexation (again not sticking to "local" basins like you stated) which hurt the smaller towns. And if the smaller towns begin to grow as exurbs it hurts the central city.

If we followed urban practices more similar to NYC then we would not be in this issue at all and I'd argue we would have more cities with different options than one city with a few suburbs.

The Western US is not overcrowded. The way Americans have chosen to live (suburbs are destructive, ridiculously subsidized hiding their real astronomical costs) has made the Western US overcrowded and therefore expensive. It's about development style. The average NYC resident uses less water than the average Phoenician. Why do you think that is? We would be in a much better position if people thought about their impact.
You're over-generalizing "The West" based on the Southwest. Along the West Coast much of the population lives less car-dependant lifestyles than the vast majority of people who live in the South or the Midwest. The Northeast is the only place less car-dependant than the West Coast overall.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
4,794 posts, read 3,888,616 times
Reputation: 3902
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent_Adultman View Post
You're over-generalizing "The West" based on the Southwest. Along the West Coast much of the population lives less car-dependant lifestyles than the vast majority of people who live in the South or the Midwest. The Northeast is the only place less car-dependant than the West Coast overall.
The rest of the West needs to be just as car-independent as Europe and parts of Asia. The Northeast needs to step it up too, if you have ever travelled internationally you’ll understand how bad our public transit is, even NYC, compared to the world. The closer the West would be to NYC the better, but NYC even then can be better.

If anyone is overgeneralizing here it’s you, I have provided specific examples of places in the Western US without these local basins and are detrimental to the environment if they continue to grow. The East’s model of more towns and cities works because they have more water and more people to boot. That won’t work out here it’s not the same. However, we could have more mid-sized cities, and less populous large cities like Seattle and Phoenix and this would work. But because Western US cities have a history of suburban sprawl much more so than the older Eastern US, that cannot happen. Instead what would have been other small cities turned into suburbs and exurbs.

Cities are more powerful and overtake what would’ve been independent smaller cities and turned them into suburbs or annexed them. Phoenix is very well-known for annexing competing “soon-to-be” municipalities of buying land out from many of the suburbs. This affects water rights as other people mentioned upthread.

In addition to all this, there’s a nationwide trend to put all well-paying jobs in certain “superstar” cities. Someone also mentioned upthread stating smaller cities in Washington can double their population yet everyone goes to Seattle. That’s because Seattle is a superstar city. So all the firms are collecting there. This in turns hurts the US growth (all over not just the West). People are now saying rural America is now the inner city rings of the 1970s. I would agree. It’s not good for affordability for 99% of Americans in addition to other variables.

So at the same time the West cannot simply grow everywhere, this is contingent on the city and is very unique to the hydrogeology of the area. Can Spokane grow? Maybe. Can Page, AZ? No. We also have employment trends strongly against putting the nation’s wealth in a few cities. So it’s not going to happen without a policy level change across all Western states for water rights and a nationwide corporate behavioral change and letting some places like San Francisco lose a few jobs.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Denver
3,346 posts, read 2,768,739 times
Reputation: 2438
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prickly Pear View Post
The thing is is when you look at arid states like Arizona or Wyoming you only have so many aquifers. It is not unheard of for people with private wells having to dig over 800 feet to find water out here. This is costly, think about septic systems too. Many of which still exist in urban Phoenix due to lack of flat terrain.

Some towns do NOT really have a local basin. For example Flagstaff. Flagstaff and frankly even Phoenix to a degree rely entirely on snowfall from the nearby mountains. Some places along the Colorado River in Arizona rely ENTIRELY on Colorado River water with next to no aquifers because of their geographic area. And let's look at Lake Mead right now. Their future is in danger. Flagstaff is not as sustainable as Phoenix for this reason. Tucson already has had a sinking elevation because their aquifer is so small. Tucson is not as sustainable as Phoenix. I will repeat this point again, humans are not all that stupid, and develop where they can. There's a reason some cities out here are big and some are much smaller.

Traffic and congestion is an issue because people do not support public transportation. If they did, no matter how populated Phoenix got, it wouldn't be an issue. But again people prefer suburban sprawl and getting into more aquifers for the same cities via annexation (again not sticking to "local" basins like you stated) which hurt the smaller towns. And if the smaller towns begin to grow as exurbs it hurts the central city.

If we followed urban practices more similar to NYC then we would not be in this issue at all and I'd argue we would have more cities with different options than one city with a few suburbs.

The Western US is not overcrowded. The way Americans have chosen to live (suburbs are destructive, ridiculously subsidized hiding their real astronomical costs) has made the Western US overcrowded and therefore expensive. It's about development style. The average NYC resident uses less water than the average Phoenician. Why do you think that is? We would be in a much better position if people thought about their impact.
Ah, now it makes sense, thanks for clarifying. I assumed the water in AZ was coming from streams and rivers, not aquifers, so that makes a big difference in the sustainability of the source. I thought for sure Tuscon wouldn't have used groundwater. I guess there's not enough rain in the state for the basins to support reasonable population. So, given that, it makes sense to have a higher density and a bigger agglomerations where centralized water works have efficient scales.

It looks like the northern western states don't seem to have this same problem though.
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Mars City
5,536 posts, read 2,408,595 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
Living in Colorado, I've heard frequently that the whole state's overrun and crowded to the brim, ruined from the Californian or XYZians moving in, and we need to put legislation in place to limit this tide.
That's pure nativist Coloradan sentiment. I got bellyful of that nonsense when I lived in that state. So glad I finally got away from there. Those idiots walk around like they have permanent wedgies and tight underwear.

The ramblings and fussings aren't meant to be sensible, truthful, or logical. They're meant to drum up negative emotions and antagonism against the "evil" transplants to the state. That's it, period.

Put the spotlight on Coloradans, and expose them for what they are. No need to debate or accept their words as having any foundation worthy of discussion.

Last edited by Thoreau424; 09-19-2019 at 10:19 PM..
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
3,258 posts, read 2,313,168 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thoreau424 View Post
That's pure nativist Coloradan sentiment. I got bellyful of that nonsense when I lived in that state. So glad I finally got away from there. Those idiots walk around like they have permanent wedgies and tight underwear.

The ramblings and fussings aren't meant to be sensible, truthful, or logical. They're meant to drum up negative emotions and antagonism against the "evil" transplants to the state. That's it, period.

Put the spotlight on Coloradans, and expose them for what they are. No need to debate or accept their words as having any foundation worthy of discussion.

The irony with this sentiment is over half of CO as a whole is populated with transplants. When the ratio in the Denver metro area is examined, the percentage is even greater with some estimates of 60-65% of the population originating form somewhere else. It is often also these people who having secured their slice of CO, that become some of the most vocal advocates of limiting growth and not letting any more people in.

The geology and hydrology of the west meant that for centuries, it did not support nearly as much stable human life as the mid-west and eastern US. Indigenous people were often nomadic wanderers living in small bands. Those who did try to create more permanent settlements often failed. Advances in technology have allowed us to exploit this openness by damming and diverting surface water and digging ever deeper wells to access buried water. At some point, some of these resources may be exhausted and a mass exodus back to more riparian environments will begin. Want to see a humanitarian crisis, wait until millions and millions of Americans hit an eastward migration that will make the dust bowl years look like a trickle.
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