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Old 03-07-2008, 08:39 PM
 
8,978 posts, read 16,564,975 times
Reputation: 3020

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THis is one of my favorite 'amateur" subjects, Urban Planning. Short answer is, of COURSE you can't eliminate sprawl and SUV's in a "free society". THe 'catch' though, is neither this, nor any OTHER society is really "free". The best we can hope for in the "human condition" is to choose the least onerous form of 'tyranny' to live under. NO ONE has the option to be totally free..

We COULD eliminate these things, by various methods (serious zoning laws, burdensome gas taxes, severe restrictions on large vehicles) and indeed, this MAY happen.

Portland, Oregon has probably the "farthest-out" attempt to 'mold' development of anyplace in the USA, to my knowledge. Don't know EVERYTHING about it, but an entire multi-county "Metro" area has been put under one 'umbrella' zoning and planning authority. THe idea is to preserve and encourage 'open' farm and orchard lands, while requiring development to 'bunch up" in relatively dense pockets. "Urban" land is really Urban' and "open" land remains so, with relatively little "sprawl" in between.
THe effect to the casual traveler is quite pleasing. Portland IS a very beautiful, apparently 'livable', big city, and it's just in many ways a 'nice-looking' place...and it's close to some very bucolic farmlands and vineyards, relatively 'close-in', that might OTHERWISE be given over to suburbs.

But is this a "free society"? Obviously the jury is 'out' on that.."FREE" in what way? "Free" from urban ugliness? "Free" for ambitious builders to 'build what they want?'.....Free for anybody to "live where he DARN WELL wants to"?....Some people LOVE the place (it gets visited by Urban planners from other states, and abroad)..yet some developers have cursed Portland planners as "communists". Obviously, BOTH schools of thought have their 'disciples'...
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Old 03-07-2008, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
14,044 posts, read 27,236,754 times
Reputation: 7373
Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
I believe that our current gasoline situation could be easily fixed without people having to make too many changes to their way of life if they would just make two simple changes.

#1. Live within a reasonable distance from their workplace
#2. Trade the Hummers and Excursions for hybrids.

Unfortunately as Americans people WILL NOT make these changes on their own. In fact, most are probably too busy watching American Idol in their McMansions to even realize that their lifestyle is getting ready to cause complete societal collapse in the near future if something doesn't change.

First, I think the government should provide a tax incentive to encourage people to live within a certain distance of their workplace. Second, I think the government should pass a MPG regulation on consumer vehicles, one strict enough to knock out the Hummer, Excursion, and the likes. They should have a special license for low MPG vehicles because some people need them.

The problem is this is a free country and many people would see these acts as infringing on their rights. Is there any way to do this in a free country? If not, is there any way to fix this problem before it causes societal collapse?
Little excessive concerns there in my view. First off, for most folks work isn't static, they will likely have multiple employers thoughout their career. Would you like them to move each time? How about working couples, want to mandate they work within three miles of each other?

Folks can drive what they want, as long as they can afford the carrying cost. Geez, considering this and the McMansion comment, I would imagine you would want to ration energy.

You fix the problem through personal economics and technology. When folks can't afford a certain cost, like fuel, they can move or enhance their incomes. Also, vehicle mileage is going to significantly increase in the near future, for those folks who have this as a priority. Even today, a Toyota Corolla driven fairly reasonably will give you mid-30's mileage.
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Old 03-07-2008, 09:03 PM
 
20,187 posts, read 23,875,496 times
Reputation: 9284
High gasoline prices will control all of that... only those with unlimited money can afford to drive those cars in the future (and very, very few people have that kind of money). unless you like 200 square feet "family" apartments, I suggest you stop forcing people to live close to their workplace. We have the benefit of a lot of buildable land and resources, thats why we can have suburbs whereas other countries cannot (and they ARE jealous about it). There is NO society collapse, please stop being melodramatic... Tax incentive? From a government that likes you to pay for social programs? Not going to happen...Why do you want to control what other people buy? Are you jealous? If they can afford current gas prices, then I don't see a problem. You pay more but you can drive more distance, you should be happy you aren't living in another country who are paying much more. A free country drives what they can afford, if you can't afford to drive then buy a moped. Again, stop being melodramatic about society collapse.. there is no collapse especially when other countries survive just fine with HIGHER gas prices..
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Old 03-07-2008, 09:20 PM
 
6,790 posts, read 8,204,011 times
Reputation: 6998
Nobody wants to be stuck in traffic during a long commute to and from work, if it were a simple solution I'd have a lovely bike path to ride the 10 minutes to my office and my BF would ride off to his office next door. The United States just isn't designed that way. I don't live in a Mcmansion, I live in the little house I could afford and I have never seen a single episode of American Idol.

It would be nice if people cared about something other than the cost of gas when it comes to driving their massive SUVs, but the US just isn't designed that way either. Those simple changes aren't simple at all, I wish they were.

Last edited by detshen; 03-07-2008 at 09:53 PM..
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:00 PM
 
Location: Thumb of Michigan
4,494 posts, read 7,486,103 times
Reputation: 2541
Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
I believe that our current gasoline situation could be easily fixed without people having to make too many changes to their way of life if they would just make two simple changes.

#1. Live within a reasonable distance from their workplace
#2. Trade the Hummers and Excursions for hybrids.

Unfortunately as Americans people WILL NOT make these changes on their own. In fact, most are probably too busy watching American Idol in their McMansions to even realize that their lifestyle is getting ready to cause complete societal collapse in the near future if something doesn't change.

First, I think the government should provide a tax incentive to encourage people to live within a certain distance of their workplace. Second, I think the government should pass a MPG regulation on consumer vehicles, one strict enough to knock out the Hummer, Excursion, and the likes. They should have a special license for low MPG vehicles because some people need them.

The problem is this is a free country and many people would see these acts as infringing on their rights. Is there any way to do this in a free country? If not, is there any way to fix this problem before it causes societal collapse?
I think a reasonably good idea would be another public service works employing people to build mass transit speed-rail lines with connections to urban hubs.

Example: In Michigan, connect every dense city with another. Detroit-Flint-Port Huron-Lansing-Saginaw-Grand Rapids and so forth.

Problem solved.
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
7,943 posts, read 17,266,321 times
Reputation: 4686
Quote:
Originally Posted by evilnewbie View Post
High gasoline prices will control all of that... only those with unlimited money can afford to drive those cars in the future (and very, very few people have that kind of money). unless you like 200 square feet "family" apartments, I suggest you stop forcing people to live close to their workplace. We have the benefit of a lot of buildable land and resources, thats why we can have suburbs whereas other countries cannot (and they ARE jealous about it). There is NO society collapse, please stop being melodramatic... Tax incentive? From a government that likes you to pay for social programs? Not going to happen...Why do you want to control what other people buy? Are you jealous? If they can afford current gas prices, then I don't see a problem. You pay more but you can drive more distance, you should be happy you aren't living in another country who are paying much more. A free country drives what they can afford, if you can't afford to drive then buy a moped. Again, stop being melodramatic about society collapse.. there is no collapse especially when other countries survive just fine with HIGHER gas prices..
Europe his higher gas prices yet they don't have the massive sprawl we do, they have better mass transit, and SUV's aren't nearly as prevalent. In the US, if you live outside of just a few major cities like New York and Chicago, you don't have very good mass transit. Until the US has a transportation system like Europe does, that argument can't be used. Europeans are also more accustomed to density where Americans as a whole like their 40 acres and a mule.

Nobody is suggesting everybody live in 200 sq feet apartments. I am suggesting that people not live 30 or 50 miles from where they work. Probably at least half of the people I work with commute between 30 and 50 miles one way. I know many where I work who commute up to 100 miles one way. I think 10-20 miles is a reasonable commute and such should be encouraged. If it was up to me, I would give a tax credit for those whose commute was under 10 miles and a lesser one for those in the 10-20 range.

And the tax loophole needs to be closed for the massive SUVs. If anything, taxes should be RAISED on consumer SUVs to discourage people from driving them who don't need them. As I said, I think the government should impose strict MPG regulations knocking out many of today's consumer SUVs, with exceptions of course for people who need them for their job. Its sad that in 1988, the average MPG rating of all vehicles sold was 22.8 mpg while today it has fallen to 16.7 mpg. At the same time, the average person's commute is 20% longer today than it was in 1980. This is NOT what I call progress.
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 26,770,219 times
Reputation: 5039
Quote:
Originally Posted by southernnaturelover View Post
The only thing that will stop sprawl is for people who own large tracts of land to refuse to sell it for development. Some people do, but others take the money and buy more land even farther out, and then the cycle continues.
Yet none of us can "own" anything at this time. We simply lease property from the government who owns it. Ever heard of property tax? It is the tool Government used to confiscate land for the "highest and best use". Unless we eliminate property tax, we can never be "free".
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 26,770,219 times
Reputation: 5039
Quote:
Originally Posted by macmeal View Post
THis is one of my favorite 'amateur" subjects, Urban Planning. Short answer is, of COURSE you can't eliminate sprawl and SUV's in a "free society". THe 'catch' though, is neither this, nor any OTHER society is really "free". The best we can hope for in the "human condition" is to choose the least onerous form of 'tyranny' to live under. NO ONE has the option to be totally free..

We COULD eliminate these things, by various methods (serious zoning laws, burdensome gas taxes, severe restrictions on large vehicles) and indeed, this MAY happen.

Portland, Oregon has probably the "farthest-out" attempt to 'mold' development of anyplace in the USA, to my knowledge. Don't know EVERYTHING about it, but an entire multi-county "Metro" area has been put under one 'umbrella' zoning and planning authority. THe idea is to preserve and encourage 'open' farm and orchard lands, while requiring development to 'bunch up" in relatively dense pockets. "Urban" land is really Urban' and "open" land remains so, with relatively little "sprawl" in between.
THe effect to the casual traveler is quite pleasing. Portland IS a very beautiful, apparently 'livable', big city, and it's just in many ways a 'nice-looking' place...and it's close to some very bucolic farmlands and vineyards, relatively 'close-in', that might OTHERWISE be given over to suburbs.

But is this a "free society"? Obviously the jury is 'out' on that.."FREE" in what way? "Free" from urban ugliness? "Free" for ambitious builders to 'build what they want?'.....Free for anybody to "live where he DARN WELL wants to"?....Some people LOVE the place (it gets visited by Urban planners from other states, and abroad)..yet some developers have cursed Portland planners as "communists". Obviously, BOTH schools of thought have their 'disciples'...
Zoning is what creates sprawl, it is another loss of freedom that should be eliminated. Before zoning we had no sprawl and lower costs of living.
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Old 03-07-2008, 11:49 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
7,943 posts, read 17,266,321 times
Reputation: 4686
Quote:
Originally Posted by tallrick View Post
Zoning is what creates sprawl, it is another loss of freedom that should be eliminated. Before zoning we had no sprawl and lower costs of living.
Thats not necissarily so. Houston, the epitome of sprawl and suburban society, is the only large city in the country with no zoning laws. Sprawl is a characteristic of cities that experienced their rapid growth during the post WWII era of consumerism, cheap gas, and the automobile. Cars were also more fuel effecient even in the 1940s than they are today.
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Old 03-08-2008, 03:52 AM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes FL and NH.
4,540 posts, read 6,810,883 times
Reputation: 5985
A truly free market would meet the needs of society. It will be interesting if Subaru's plug-in electric car scheduled to be launched in the US in 2010 will be allowed to make it to market.

The car supposedly can go 50 miles on a charge and can be rapidly recharged at 80% within 10 minutes. See link: Subaru R1e electric vehicle ready for sale early - Autoblog

I've read several stories on this car and some versions supposedly have batteries capable of 100 miles per charge. The operating costs are supposed to be substantially less that that of a gas vehicle.

For people with a short commute like myself this car could take care of a majority of my transportation needs. The family minivan being reserved for long-distance travel.

Other opportunities lie with Solar Power. The technology has advanced considerably including producing cheaper solar cells. However, the costs are still high and oil companies and other large corporations such as BP and GE have large ownership positions.

The oil companies are not going to give these items away without attaching a large price tag since they are essentially eliminating their life-long cash stream in doing so.

That's business. Anyone who comes up with a cheaper alternative and starts to sell it all of a sudden becomes a person of interest who will most likely be bought out of their invention.

Hmmm, I've got to go start working on that solar cell idea. Lol!
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