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Old 04-26-2009, 09:26 AM   #1
Darth_Yuthura
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Suburban sprawl (with additions from the Maglev thread)

Mod edits were removed. Off-topic content was added. Off-topic has been removed again and mod edits restored in this post. Posts related to Suburban sprawl were moved from the Maglev thread where they were off topic to this thread where they were on topic. --Jae

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Old 04-26-2009, 08:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura View Post
If you were to look at the urban footprint of Chicago in 1944, the population of about 6 million sat crammed into an area that is roughly one sixth the area it is today. Today's massive Chicago footprint has grown six times its size since then and the population has only increased by 3 million. That is suburban sprawl written large.
Well, with one of the worst school systems in the country, gang violence, and general 'hate to feel crammed in on top of 6 million of my closest friends' sentiment, I can't imagine why people would want to get out.

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Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura
The issue is not really that you (referring to anyone with the same mindset) want to go a few miles out of the city. It's that millions of others want to do the same thing and look at what came from that: to get out of the city, you'd more likely have to go more like 30 miles away to get into an undeveloped area. When everyone does that, a city becomes more inefficient and more difficult to maintain. It is not the issue of whether ONE, but everyone wanting their own home, car, and privacy.
I see nothing wrong with that. It's called the American dream.

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Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura
Say I have a job in Chicago and want to live a few miles away... someone's already living there. So I go about a mile down the freeway... another person is already living there... another 30 miles away and there is finally somewhere to build my new home complete with yard and open space with no one else around... at least until the next person buys the next lot down.
I know that.
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Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura
The economy is suffering significantly because American cities are becoming difficult to maintain their infrastructure.
This is an incorrect assumption. The economy is suffering because people overused credit and bought more house and more stuff than they could afford, on top of fraud in the government and banking sectors and changes in regulations that allowed people access to far more credit by predatory lenders than they should have had. It's not the infrastructure that's causing the economy to suffer--that's dependent on our taxes. The infrastructure, being dependent on our taxes, is in trouble because the economy is in trouble, thus lowering the amount of taxes going into the system, not the other way around.
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Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura
Mass transit is a necessity for a city to function properly.
LA does fine with a completely crappy mass transit system.

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Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura
Population density is critical for mass transit to work.
That is an incorrect assumption that makes this theory fall apart. Mass transit has to be accessible and affordable to the target audience to get them to use it. Population density has nothing to do with that. Washington DC's population density is much lower than LA's, but their mass transit system works a lot better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura
When you have suburban sprawl in most US cities, mass transit is no longer viable because there aren't enough riders for it to break even.
I disagree. There are Metra trains (mass transit) going out to the suburbs at all hours of the day in the Chicago region, and they do break even unless the cost of fuel skyrockets like it did last summer. Metra works great and is a wonderfully viable option--I've ridden the trains any number of times. Your theory is based on yet another incorrect assumption.

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Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura
Compare any US city (except NY) to any other around the world and you realize that we need to follow their urban models if we hope to compete as a global power.
I don't like 'the urban model', I don't agree with 'the urban model' which is based on a number of false assumptions in your theory that I delineated above, and I don't want to participate in 'the urban model'. There are millions of my cohorts who agree with me, because they're getting the heck out of cities on a regular basis. Thank God I don't have the government dictating to me that I must live in a big city.

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Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura
Americans get their goods from distant locations... that is our way of life. We either need to start providing our goods locally
Where are you planning to put the millions of acres of required farmland to feed all the people in the big cities? And please don't tell me you're going to put it on top of rooftops.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura
which is highly unlikely to happen, or we need to have an effective and efficient transportation system to make it viable to transport goods and people from distant places. The US transportation infrastructure is simply outdated, has been neglected, and was overtaken by our dependence on the automobile.
Mass transit has been neglected, I agree. If the bus and train schedules were more convenient, I would likely use them more often. Unfortunately, they're not convenient with my busy schedule, so we use a car instead. My husband does use the train now and then to get to his Army unit, since the train stops at the reserve center he works at. However, it requires some planning on our parts to make sure we can arrange our schedule and the babysitter's schedule to account for the extra time it takes. If one of my kids gets sick at school or has some kind of emergency, having a car means I can get to them right away. I can't do that with a bus.


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Old 04-26-2009, 10:49 PM   #3
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Deleted.

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Old 05-08-2009, 01:44 PM   #4
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Okay since no one seems to believe me, how about I ask what it would take to convince people to change your minds about sprawl?

Whatever proof it would take, I'll present that.
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Old 05-09-2009, 09:04 PM   #5
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There's a difference between believing you and agreeing with you. Your information about Chicago may be incorrect, but that doesn't meant all the information about New Urbanism is incorrect. I happen to not buy into the theory because I have no desire to live an urban life anymore.


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Old 05-09-2009, 10:36 PM   #6
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Right and I have no desire to have my argument twisted around, get false info verified as true by mostly anecdotal evidence, and see inflammatory, irrelevant posts added only because it suited the opposite side of the argument.

Of course I don't just burry my head in the sand and pretend that everything will be as I want it. I'm not a moderator and my threads can and will be manipulated in whatever way suits those who operate this forum. I either live with it... or I get out. I hate urbanized environments, but I don't pretend that there is no one other than myself who all want the same things.


I also want the first 36 posts removed and the title changed back. They are not meant for this topic and the whole point of starting this thread was to not have to deal with them. I would not have added such content to a thread dedicated to urban development, so it is not admissible here.

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Old 05-09-2009, 11:28 PM   #7
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I also want the first 36 posts removed and the title changed back. They are not meant for this topic and the whole point of starting this thread was to not have to deal with them. I would not have added such content to a thread dedicated to urban development, so it is not admissible here.
Request denied.

You already made this request publicly, had the post deleted because its a violation of the rules that says not to question mod actions in the thread but to take it to PM. I moved the posts to this thread because they were off topic for the other thread but were on topic for this thread because they talk about suburban sprawl. I'm not changing the title back--this one suffices and is less aggressive. Any further discussion of mod actions in this thread instead of PM will result in infraction points. If you have any questions about this PM me.


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Old 06-13-2009, 12:00 AM   #8
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Given that this thread had been twice derailed, I've clearly been beaten no matter what facts are presented.

Anecdotal evidence does not constitute real proof, yet this thread is drowning in it. There has been only ONE effective counter argument that has ever given on this thread. That one was crime. Aside from that, all my sources were valid. Those that were presented by the opposite side don't hold water.
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Old 06-13-2009, 12:16 AM   #9
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Your sources on Chicago parking lots are incorrect. I have presented proof (Google maps of Chicago) for you to verify with your own eyes. That is not anecdotal evidence, and I'm not sure why you refuse to look at the maps for yourself. I parked in some of these lots when my sister and I went to a Lacuna Coil concert a couple weekends ago. Since your sources are incorrect about such a simple verifiable fact, it makes the rest of us wonder if they could be incorrect about other things as well.


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Old 06-13-2009, 12:51 AM   #10
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What sources did you claim were incorrect?

I've been told to look at google map a number of times to confirm just how much of the Loop's surface is covered with pavement. I will admit right now that there is a significant quantity of land in Downtown Chicago that is designated for parking, but I was arguing under the assumption that anyone who's lived in Chicago might have actually seen its skyline and noticed there were some immense structures rising dozens of stories into the sky.

These are not small buildings; they're huge, with thousands of people concentrated on top of one another.

I was going under the assumption that anyone claiming to be an expert on Chicago wouldn't be suggesting what I think was being implied. Did this source take into consideration the number of parking spaces compared to how many residents and office jobs there were? This 'proof' is by no means accurate to reality.

To prove that, I will lean onto your side by submitting that there actually are more parking spaces in the Loop than what Googlemap shows. When you take into consider that there are actually about SEVEN tiers for most parking ramps in the Loop, then google map only shows a fraction of what actually are there. I did see that source, but I went beyond the limited scope that was presented by a satellite image. What about the lower levels of several towers, where the parking ramps aren't shown in the map? The Trump Tower had six tiers for parking that weren't visible on google map. Any expert on Chicago would have known that the total land area for parking in the Loop is actually much greater than what your map showed.

Then consider that some buildings have their own parking ramps, not to mention some with their own ZIP code, then the total land area designated for parking per capita is quite small. Look next to the Sears Tower and notice a parking ramp rivaling its land area? Remember this structure is 110 stories tall and assume that one ramp provides parking for over 15,000 workers... look at the Pentagon's enormous parking lot and that goes to show how much land is wasted to parking for a suburban comparison to 15,000 workers in one location. That is an enormous sum of land compared to that of the Sears Tower.


-----

Since your experiences seem so restricted that you'd call on to googlemap as fact, it makes me wonder how much more is based solely on direct observation.

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Old 06-13-2009, 06:15 PM   #11
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You were talking about parking and saying there were no parking lots in downtown Chicago. That is what I refuted. I wasn't speaking about any other issue than that, and you're muddying the issue with parking per capita now.

I'm well aware of the skyscrapers in the Chicago Loop, and I've been in a number of them.

Suburban sprawl obviously bothers you, but it doesn't bother me. I'm very happy not living in a rabbit hutch alongside millions of others. If people want to live in an urban area, fine. If they want to live in a suburban or rural setting, fine. We all give up something living in each type of environment, and we all gain something else living in our chosen environments. Right now, my kids are playing outside in our backyard, and I have a lot of robins, chickadees, cardinals, goldfinches, and house finches flying around in my backyard sharing the environment in my flower and vegetable garden with butterflies and different types of bees and other bugs. My kids go to a safe school in an excellent public school system--something we wouldn't have in Chicago. It takes me about 10 minutes to drive to work instead of an hour and a half in the car or on the train like it did in Chicago during rush hour. I don't have to worry about my kids getting shot outside my door or mugged on the L-train. My house cost half of what it would have in Chicago, my insurance rates are 40% lower, and groceries cost a third less. I pay lower property taxes and I don't have to share walls with the 20-something who decides to play music at 3am at 900 decibels. If you feel strongly about New Urbanism, fine, live in a big city--none of us here will stop you from doing that. I don't agree with all their conclusions, and I have no desire to live in an urban area, so I, and a lot of others who dislike urban environments, will cheerfully live in our homes out in Suburbia/Farm-land.


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Old 06-13-2009, 08:29 PM   #12
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How typically American.
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:50 PM   #13
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How typically American.
Don't worry, D_Y. If the people in power nowadays have their way, the great evils of free enterprise and private ownership will soon be a thing of the past in this country. You and all of the other people who have been successfully conditioned to think like you by our wonderful education system will have your socialist utopia, and anyone like me who objects to it will either be slaving away in the gulag or dead.


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Old 06-14-2009, 10:33 PM   #14
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Don't worry, D_Y. If the people in power nowadays have their way, the great evils of free enterprise and private ownership will soon be a thing of the past in this country. You and all of the other people who have been successfully conditioned to think like you by our wonderful education system will have your socialist utopia, and anyone like me who objects to it will either be slaving away in the gulag or dead.
I wouldn't take it THAT far.

The strongest survive and the weak perish. That isn't referring to people; I mean societies. Right now the US is the strongest military and economic power in the world, but that is because we have outsourced many of our manufacturing demands to China, as has Japan. That had given us an advantage to buy cheap across the world and transport it to the US, but as fuel prices go up, that becomes a liability.

China represents the greatest threat to the US, not militarily, but economically. They may be in a bad position now, but they are poised to overtake the US within the next few decades.

No, I'm not going to point to my solutions as the answer. It is impossibly more complex than any one solution could provide, but a part of any solution to improve the US economy is finding and reducing the inefficiencies that this state needs to operate. By improving the transportation infrastructure, many other benefits come from not having to overcome distance as much for every kind of upkeep cost.(police coverage, utility upkeep, fuel demand, transportation upkeep costs, and other items I listed before) It costs a lot to upkeep any kind of system network, but spreading it out costs much more. The idea of placing the same demand on fewer networks of greater capacity is sound.

From this allows the US economy to grow because a billion dollars saved is a billion dollars earned. Much more can be done here and now from reducing infrastructure costs than can ever be achieved through innovation. Once innovation catches up, then I would gladly like to have privacy in a suburb again.
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Old 06-14-2009, 10:55 PM   #15
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Right now the US is the strongest military and economic power in the world, but that is because we have outsourced many of our manufacturing demands to China, as has Japan.
I disagree. China is a stronger economic power.

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Old 06-14-2009, 11:04 PM   #16
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I disagree. China is a stronger economic power.

_EW_
Technically no, but they are poised to overtake us. We don't manufacture, but the US provides tertiary goods which is value added to the US GDP and something demanded by other states that we have provided mostly after the communications age started.

The US could improve in other areas, such as growing crops for human consumption much more than for feeding to cattle and pigs. That would allow for more food to be exported as well, but that is a very small part of the GDP.
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:40 AM   #17
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Except unlike the cow, people can't survive on grain alone.
I'm aware of that. However, people are quite capable of gaining much of their daily nutrients from eating direct producers. They would have to supplement it with some primary consumer in their diet, but not nearly to the extent that they do now.


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This is true. We need veggies and fruit. Protein one way or another. and a few other things.
Wow.


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Old 06-18-2009, 08:01 AM   #18
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Forgive me for not chiming in on the potato discussion. Jae's right on that.

I've been living and working in Munich for the last six months. I have tons of experience using the excellent public transportation here. I live in an apartment building that is 15 minutes away from where I work. It houses people very efficiently. The grocery store is anywhere between 5 and 15 min away by foot. I have no bicycle. I have no car (here). Everything I need to live and function as a member of society is within 15 minutes by foot.

What do I think?

I cannot wait to go back home to my suburban town and live freely and away from everyone else.

I strongly disagree with and absolutely reject the "New Urbanism" (sidebar, that's a really stupid name) concept. I've lived in the European model that it is trying to emulate, and I've been going crazy. There is no space to live. No green areas without going to a public park. No scenery. No ability to BBQ. Nowhere to park a car, so people do without. I am kept up late by people smoking in their apartment. I am woken up early (or late) by people playing music. I cannot sit outside, as there isn't an outside to sit on. There are no trees. There is no wildlife. Everything costs roughly double what I would deem prudent. There is simply buildings and efficiency and I cannot stand it.

My German friends find nothing wrong with the city. In truth, it is a very beautiful, clean, safe city. I enjoyed visiting and touristing around here in years and trips past. Living here, I feel choked and stifled. Whereas Europeans view the urban model as liberating, I find it cramped and very uncomfortable. I cannot function in a European-model city, and do not ever intend to again. What works for Europe does not necessarily work for America, do not kid yourself otherwise.

Back in the states, I live 30 minutes away from Denver at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Anywhere I want to go takes at least 5 minutes by car. I worked 15 minutes by car, 30 min by bike. The grocery store is a good 5-8 mins. I have nearly an acre of land to do my own thing on. I have trees. I have herds of deer in my front driveway in the morning. I see bears and mountain lions occasionally. My nearest neighbor is 100 yards away. The nearest bus stop is a one mile walk away. My town has one of the best bus systems anywhere, and is part of the RTD, itself consistently ranked in the top 3 nationwide. There is no subway, no mass transit train system where I live. There is one of the best universities in in my town. The education system here is regarded as one of the best. I love it. I cannot wait to get back home. I have decided to veer away from my desired career field to live in the town I love.

Call me a stereotypical American if you want. I don't care. I will NEVER live in a big city again, nor will I ever subscribe to this horrid "new urban" idea. Jae's post on p2 hit the nail on the head perfectly.

D_Y, your posts sound like you have researched and written essays about said New Urbanism, but reek of someone who is spouting what your professor told you to think. The concept is all high and minded, but inherently flawed. Americans like their space. They will never consciously decide to live where they are miserable unless their jobs are worth it. I do not want to live in an apartment building just so I don't need to own a car. Long before I was ever a car addict, I have hated living in big cities (born and moved away from San Francisco) and loved going biking in the mountains above Boulder. I know I'm not the only one.

Please lose the attitude where those of us who cannot stand living in a big city (and who have done so) are somehow inferior and lesser people. It's supremely condescending. I get it, you advocate this concept. Try to live it, as I'm actually doing now, and then tell me if it's all great and wonderful.


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Old 06-18-2009, 12:58 PM   #19
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DY, your model may work for big cities. In fact, many people in big cities already follow a similar model. However, it is utterly ineffective at combating suburban sprawl. There is no way to get around the fact that, short of walking everywhere, a car is infinitely more convenient than relying on public transportation. Cheaper too.

I do not want to be forced to take a train or bus or walk everywhere. I do not want to live next to my neighbor with only a wall separating us. I want to have a house with a garage and home theater and yard and space. I do not want to live in super close proximity to other people. I want my space, my privacy. I am not the only one who wants this. This is the American dream, and I take offense that you think I must conform to a european big city model. I do not want to nor will I ever conform to that. I've tried it, and now that I'm not on a keylogged computer at work, I hate it.

I've done the urban thing. I've done the walking everywhere and using subways and buses. It is only convenient when you're coming back from the bar drunk, and that issue can be solved by taxis.

There is plenty of space for "sprawl" here in the west; sustainability is not an issue.

Finally, your point on open space. Munich has one of, if not the, biggest and largest city parks in the world, the English Garden. It is beyond congested, with little room for a few people to toss a frisbee around. Americans, especially out west, pride ourselves on our vast empty spaces. You will never get us to agree to your idea. There is a huge difference in mindset between westerners and country folk and people from big cities: we want our space, and we do not do well in apartment buildings.

As for not using cars as main transportation, go right ahead and make mass transit appealing to use for big cities. It will do the most good there. Mass transit will do absolutely nothing for suburban sprawl. If the light rail here in Denver that goes to the suburbs is any indication, it takes so long and is so inconvenient that the only people who ride it that far are those who cannot afford cars. Do not be so naive as to think all big cities are gridlocked like LA. I have lived in the Denver area most of my life and have rarely experienced LA or NY or SF-style traffic. Most of the US population does not live in the biggest cities, so mass transit is useless for most of the population. Is it useful? Yes. Will it replace my car? Only if I'm in a big city, in which I hate living.

What your argument comes down to exposes a great irony. You claim that the best way to stop suburban sprawl is to have more people live in big cities or areas of high population densities. To have apartment buildings for everyone, mass transit cheap and available, everything within walking distance, low energy living, etc etc. You're evidently unaware that most people living in the suburbs moved out of the big city to get away from all of that. How can you possibly expect people to want to go back to that? Americans want their space, and the suburbs are absolutely cheaper to live in when compared to the big city, even including costs of driving.

I will gladly spend more money driving if I save moeny on rent/mortgage, save money on insurance, save money on utilities, save money on food, save money on drinks, save money on just about everything. Being where you and your family are happy and comfortable is priceless, regardless of any other economic consideration.


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Old 06-18-2009, 04:04 PM   #20
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It's quite clear that I shouldn't try to argue with an issue like this when others have their own strong opinions. (removed flamebait). mimartin

I see that if people aren't going to confront a painful truth, then they will not believe anything I present. I see that I will only drive people away from what I've presented because they will just generate reasons and justifications for their lifestyle. Just wanted to inspire people to see a better future than what we are embarking upon, but clearly I must be the only one standing out from the group. Clearly if things are working so well, I must be the one not seeing things right.

When I come to see the reality is much different from what I'm envisioning, then maybe I can at least take some satisfaction when I see that all my logic is flawed. Maybe it would be great to see that all that I'm fearing is just in my head. I can stand finding out that I'm the one who's wrong on this issue; that would make me VERY satisfied.

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Old 06-18-2009, 04:44 PM   #21
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It's quite clear that I shouldn't try to argue with an issue like this when others have their own strong opinions. (removed flamebait). mimartin
No, it's just people can't be forced to live where the government decides. If what you're proposing was the status quo, then it would be unconstitutional.
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I see that I will only drive people away from what I've presented because they will just generate reasons and justifications for their lifestyle.
Recognizing problems is one thing, but proposing solutions which are either wasteful or restrictive towards citizens is something totally different.

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Old 06-18-2009, 05:57 PM   #22
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DY, you are continually ignoring the fact that Jae, myself, and many others in this thread have pointed out-- that we don't want to live in a big city. Therefore, your urban utopia is inherently flawed.

No-one here is confronting a painful truth. My painful truth came when I moved from beautiful Boulder to beautiful Munich. I lived in the big city. I hate the big city. I won't repeat the reasons a third time. I am saving for a down payment for a nice suburban house even though I am single at the moment. Wasteful? Maybe so. Unlike you, many others in this thread have lived in the big cities of the world and have experienced this urban model your sociology professor is proselytizing. I reject it as inferior and restrictive. I want the freedom to do what I want on my land; that is impossible in a big city. It is an inherently American (and western) desire as well; my German friends here have no such desire.

If anyone in this thread is ignoring evidence to the contrary, it is you. Keep telling us how this is a great theory, how it will revolutionize urban settings, how it will save the planet, how it will ..... .

I do not see why I should change my lifestyle and sacrifice my happiness and financial security just to not have to drive and live 'efficiently.' I'm an engineer; my profession revolves around doing things the most efficient way possible within realistic constraints. You sound like a liberal arts college student without any real world experience; you're missing the realistic constraint aspect to this discussion.

Here are the biggest flaws in your argument:

1) Americans culturally like having privacy and space. This will not change.
2) Big cities are expensive
3) Suburbs are nicer in all measurable ways-- lower crime, more trees, less people, etc etc
4) Big cities have lots of people. Many Americans don't like that....why else would we have moved out West?

As for inspiring a better future, you have done nothing of the sort. I cringe at the thought of being required or forced to live in the big city all in the name of almighty Efficiency. Flame me or ignore me all you like, but I will always be a very vocal opposing voice to increased urbanization.

What you ask the people to do, in the name of more ideal and efficient living, is near socialism. Removed Flamebait ~ mimartin

To be fair, it is a very ideal model of an urban society. It just doesn't work in reality. I'm proof. Either ignore the fact that both Jae and myself have experienced both sides, and continue to spout your professor's textbook, or find out why we dislike and reject the model and change the model to fit the people you are wanting to apply it to.

An engineer can design a perfect part, but if it cannot be manufactured, there's no point. Similarly, you can accept a theory of urbanism, but if the other people do not accept or flat out reject it, there's also no point in clinging to said model. Either accept our differences on the issue and try to find common ground, or don't and continue to spout elitist nonsense.


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Old 06-13-2009, 08:55 PM   #23
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The problem with this is... ?

I guess we just don't like being packed in like sardines. :shrug:


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Old 06-13-2009, 09:26 PM   #24
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Well I intensely dislike urban environments, for your information. Does it not seem strange why I'm advocating for something I hate?

This entire thread has been to prove that high population density creates a more efficient system than sprawl. No one has brought an effective counter that can disprove this.

My goal has always been to inform people that sprawl has at least been harnessed in the last two decades, but existing sprawl development isn't sustainable environmentally or economically. Anyone who lives this 'American dream'... realize that there are 6 billion other people all struggling for the same thing. Do you really think they won't be competing with you for what you have?

Maybe instead of starting a war to steal someone else's oil reserves, the US could reduce their demand for foreign oil altogether by building a more efficient transportation system... more people using fewer vehicles for shorter commutes... No solution that won't change your lifestyle, so don't bother to say you reject it.

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Old 06-13-2009, 11:05 PM   #25
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How typically American.
I'm not trying to be insulting with you, just expressing why I disagree with New Urbanism. I have no issue with you. I'd appreciate it if you'd remember that and try to understand that my need to raise a family living in housing I can actually afford, in a town with low crime and an excellent education system, is just as important to me as New Urbanism is to you. I will not sacrifice quality of life, quality of education, and time with my family for a concept that isn't even adhered to by its founders. If they can build that kind of urban environment and people want to live there, that's great for them, and I hope they enjoy it. It's just not for me or my family.

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Well I intensely dislike urban environments, for your information. Does it not seem strange why I'm advocating for something I hate?
Well, yes, actually it does seem strange. Why are you advocating for it?

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This entire thread has been to prove that high population density creates a more efficient system than sprawl. No one has brought an effective counter that can disprove this.
That's because everyone has hooked on to your point that you're saying we _must_ live this way because it's more efficient, or else you'll make disparaging comments at us like 'how typically American' as you look down your intellectual nose at the rest of us rubes. You're not quite getting our point on why we don't like the New Urbanism concept--it has nothing to do with efficiency in transportation.

Efficiency isn't the only aspect of urban living, however, and we don't care solely about efficient transportation. Small housing, no yard, no green space, high crime, high cost of living, poor education systems in all of the biggest cities--these are all aspects of urban living that cannot be ignored, and that the advocates of New Urbanism seem to be ignoring. It's simple--safety trumps ideology. All you have to do is look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs and you'll see that physiological needs, safety, and the need for love far outweigh ideological and self-actualization needs. My safety need to live in a neighborhood where I don't hear gunshots outside my door at night time far outweighs my intellectual desire to support a greener planet.

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My goal has always been to inform people that sprawl has at least been harnessed in the last two decades, but existing sprawl development isn't sustainable environmentally or economically. Anyone who lives this 'American dream'... realize that there are 6 billion other people all struggling for the same thing. Do you really think they won't be competing with you for what you have?
First of all, there aren't 6 billion living in the US or Europe, so let's please be realistic about this issue. Secondly, if it wasn't sustainable environmentally or economically, we'd all be living in humongous cities by now. The New Urbanists have no way to prove how much they'd save vs. how much it would cost to build and maintain their particular type of neighborhood.

Furthermore, it's economically disadvantageous for my family to live in an urban setting compared to where we live now. It's economically disadvantageous for my mother and grandmother to live in a big city--the same small apartments in a big city would cost more than their social security checks each month. My mother-in-law would not have survived economically or emotionally in a big city. She couldn't afford the high cost of living and she was terrified of crowds. This is more than just an ideology, Darth_Yuthura. It's real life, and the reality isn't like the rosy picture painted by the New Urbanism authors.

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Maybe instead of starting a war to steal someone else's oil reserves, the US could reduce their demand for foreign oil altogether by building a more efficient transportation system... more people using fewer vehicles for shorter commutes... No solution that won't change your lifestyle, so don't bother to say you reject it.
I have rejected the urban lifestyle--I moved out of Chicago, thank God. That doesn't mean I don't care about the oil crisis, however. I do my part in my home by trying to walk to the store instead of driving, using fuel efficient bulbs and taking steps to minimize heat loss from the house in the winter to lower fuel usage. I grow my own raspberries and vegetables in the summer time.
The US could do a lot of things to reduce demand for oil that doesn't involve such a drastic change in lifestyle for people who don't want to live that way. We could work more on wind, solar, and tidal power. We could increase fuel-efficient housing and cars and such. We can make suburban communities more pedestrian-friendly--God knows we all could use the exercise anyway. We could work on flex hours in big cities to reduce rush-hour traffic commute times. We could improve suburban public transportation options. There are lots of things to reduce oil demand that don't involve living the way you're advocating.


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Old 06-14-2009, 12:08 AM   #26
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The US could do a lot of things to reduce demand for oil that doesn't involve such a drastic change in lifestyle for people who don't want to live that way. We could work more on wind, solar, and tidal power. We could increase fuel-efficient housing and cars and such. We can make suburban communities more pedestrian-friendly--God knows we all could use the exercise anyway. We could work on flex hours in big cities to reduce rush-hour traffic commute times. We could improve suburban public transportation options. There are lots of things to reduce oil demand that don't involve living the way you're advocating.
Not exactly. Government-run incentive programs would still force people to live a certain way, even though it is a friendlier way of doing it. By encouraging an alternative lifestyle, (And yes, I'm talking about that alternative lifestyle ) and at the same time, quietly discontinuing the zeitgeist, it essentially is forcing people to change their lives, whether they like it or not. Sure, it's much more open and cordial than totalitarianism, but actively forcing someone to live one way, or to simply encourage one to go one way while eliminating remaining options, is the same thing.

Either way, I'm not really going to somehow wake up and live more "environmentally conscious", not really because I'm a lazy selfish bastard, but mainly due to the fact that it's really pathetic that ordinary people can make greater strides environmentally by their own volition alone, than what any government legislation or action has done previously.
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Old 06-14-2009, 01:38 AM   #27
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Not exactly. Government-run incentive programs would still force people to live a certain way, even though it is a friendlier way of doing it. By encouraging an alternative lifestyle, (And yes, I'm talking about that alternative lifestyle ) and at the same time, quietly discontinuing the zeitgeist, it essentially is forcing people to change their lives, whether they like it or not. Sure, it's much more open and cordial than totalitarianism, but actively forcing someone to live one way, or to simply encourage one to go one way while eliminating remaining options, is the same thing.
Well, I can see that with seatbelt laws. Which somehow sounds vaguely dirty juxtaposed with 'alternative lifestyle'.

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Either way, I'm not really going to somehow wake up and live more "environmentally conscious", not really because I'm a lazy selfish bastard, but mainly due to the fact that it's really pathetic that ordinary people can make greater strides environmentally by their own volition alone, than what any government legislation or action has done previously.
True--I think more has happened in improving fuel efficiency in furnaces, windows, etc. because people want to lower their fuel bills and companies want to satisfy their needs and gain their business.


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Old 06-13-2009, 09:55 PM   #28
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Please keep the snarkiness to a minimal. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.


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Old 06-14-2009, 02:19 AM   #29
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Ok. I think I have lost track where this thread has gone, exactly. I'll try to contribute as best I can.

I am wondering so far as economy is concerned, do highly suburban areas have more mom and pop businesses currently surviving, or less, than that of rural areas?


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Old 06-14-2009, 08:13 PM   #30
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Ok. I think I have lost track where this thread has gone, exactly. I'll try to contribute as best I can.

I am wondering so far as economy is concerned, do highly suburban areas have more mom and pop businesses currently surviving, or less, than that of rural areas?
A professor once taught me about the 'agglomeration of commerce.' This means that a larger collection of businesses create mutually beneficial system when they are closer together (in an urban landscape for instance) than a suburb or rural area. This does not apply all the time, but the reason that Chicago and New York build so densely is because all the resources of all the corporate headquarters are more conveniently located next to one another. When you place more office towers next to one another, it opens more opportunities for already existing development as well.

As for commerce, this is why you have mixed-use zoning. By placing customers and workers within walking distance of fast-food and convenience stores, you have many more potential customers than if you have a Mcdonald's in a small town. Although there is also a lot of competition among fast food as well, there could be a greater number of pedestrians that would pass by than cars that would pass by a location next to a rural road.

There are other benefits to retail, but as for 'mom and pop' locations... that really depends on the kind of establishment you're talking about. There are many independent business in major cities, but there are not that many if they are overtaken by a single wal-mart or burger king.

I don't have stats, but a successful 'mom and pop' in a major city will be more resilient to economic change, but they are more difficult to establish with high-rent for high value locations.

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True--I think more has happened in improving fuel efficiency in furnaces, windows, etc. because people want to lower their fuel bills and companies want to satisfy their needs and gain their business.
No disrespect intended, I'm for smaller cars and better-built homes; but improving efficiency is not as significant an improvement as people think.

I advocated for more use of mass transit, but that isn't me wanting new rail lines as it is improving what already exists. In Chicago, New York, Boston, and other major US cities; I have seen many images where one side of a road is packed beyond the original capacity while the opposite road tends to be much less congested. In the evening, the same thing happens in the opposite direction.

What I look at as a means to improve transportation is to reduce the peak traffic congestion on one side by using the opposite direction more during off-peak conditions. Trains ALWAYS are on the move, so adding passengers on the return trips would reduce congestion from one direction and put them on trains that are already used in the opposite direction.

I advocated about Prairie Crossing being an error in development between Milwaukee and Chicago commuter rails lines converging at one station. With only 1,500 residents and no retail, this was a wasted opportunity to create intense development in a single location. People could get more job opportunities by, instead of going 40 miles towards either city, going less than 10 miles towards this juncture point at Prairie Crossing. And the commuter trains already travel on those lines anyway, so it would make sense to build high-density office towers for thousands to find jobs.

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Old 06-14-2009, 11:41 PM   #31
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We could grow more grain for export--we certainly have plenty of untilled or fallow farmland right now.


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Old 06-14-2009, 11:50 PM   #32
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We could grow more grain for export--we certainly have plenty of untilled or fallow farmland right now.
That opens up another front that I'm not inclined to deal with.

There must be a fallow period taken during crop production. At any one time, there are at least 25% of fields not in use to allow the soil to recover after each planting. Crop rotation helps this, but fallow periods have to be taken on a regular basis.

Of all the beef you can produce, you end up feeding the cow twenty times as many calories as you get back from its growth. Instead of growing crops for cattle, you could get twenty times as much nutritional value for human consumption.
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:21 AM   #33
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That opens up another front that I'm not inclined to deal with.

There must be a fallow period taken during crop production. At any one time, there are at least 25% of fields not in use to allow the soil to recover after each planting. Crop rotation helps this, but fallow periods have to be taken on a regular basis.

Of all the beef you can produce, you end up feeding the cow twenty times as many calories as you get back from its growth. Instead of growing crops for cattle, you could get twenty times as much nutritional value for human consumption.
I wasn't clear--I was talking about land left fallow because the gov't pays the farmers not to grow crops on them. With modern agriculture techniques, there's no need to leave ground fallow 25% of the time or even rotate crops, though it helps to grow soybeans every few years to fix nitrogen back into the soil. I'm not familiar with the amount of of calories required to grow cattle, but I do know it's not nearly as efficient a use of calories as feeding people the grain directly.

We also have a lot of farmland in the Plains that just isn't in use at all--there aren't any farmers to till the land in some areas.


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Old 06-15-2009, 01:21 AM   #34
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I do know it's not nearly as efficient a use of calories as feeding people the grain directly.
For sure:

If we're the primary consumer, we can use about 10% of the grain's energy for our own body's processes.

If we're a secondary consumer (ie cow eats grain, we eat cow) then we only get 10% of the cow's energy. That's only 1% of the grain's energy potential.

So yes, it's 10x more efficient to feed people grain.

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Old 06-15-2009, 02:11 AM   #35
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For sure:

If we're the primary consumer, we can use about 10% of the grain's energy for our own body's processes.

If we're a secondary consumer (ie cow eats grain, we eat cow) then we only get 10% of the cow's energy. That's only 1% of the grain's energy potential.

So yes, it's 10x more efficient to feed people grain.

_EW_
Except unlike the cow, people can't survive on grain alone.


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Old 06-15-2009, 04:09 AM   #36
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Ok. So I see how it is. Mom and pop biz, it's harder to survive in urban areas, but if they can, they are the better for it. Needless to say niche' firms high in demand will do quite well. Especially do better in suburban and rural areas.

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I wasn't clear--I was talking about land left fallow because the gov't pays the farmers not to grow crops on them.
Such a folly, and yet we wonder what more could be done to help feed the starving? Hmm. Or how about making able bodied and minded people receiving paychecks and not working do something else for that $$$? It might just save some expenses. Just an idea.

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With modern agriculture techniques, there's no need to leave ground fallow 25% of the time or even rotate crops, though it helps to grow soybeans every few years to fix nitrogen back into the soil. I'm not familiar with the amount of of calories required to grow cattle, but I do know it's not nearly as efficient a use of calories as feeding people the grain directly.
Well, while I will agree there...on the fact of the matter for cattle...what I cannot figure out is why we're using euro based cattle, instead of indigenous bison: they're heartier plus less destructive given they are in their native environment. Just something to consider. I know I'd be using american bison if I were farming.
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We also have a lot of farmland in the Plains that just isn't in use at all--there aren't any farmers to till the land in some areas.
Well, if it ain't being used for farming and has no plans to ever be used as such again for a number of reasons and factors (location, people, etc.), then maybe we can either
1) Allow native plants and ecosystem to reclaim it (and shut the enviros up a bit)
2) Construct these "clean/new age" power sources for generating economic revenue and jobs in those areas (and sierra club would you *PLEASE* stop deceptively wording your ballot analyses so that your sheeple vote it down)
3) Give something back to the red man for a change. Love it or give it back. Ok, so I'm kind of getting personal there. Still a suggestion.

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Except unlike the cow, people can't survive on grain alone.
This is true. We need veggies and fruit. Protein one way or another. and a few other things.


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Old 06-15-2009, 09:17 AM   #37
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Answer: the potato.

With exception to a few nutrients, you can live off potatoes. They yield the greatest nutritional value per acre of land as well, but that's not really what I was going for. I would like to see more crops for food that humans will consume directly, whether it be grain, potatoes, or tomatoes.
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Old 06-15-2009, 11:08 AM   #38
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You cannot live off of the potato alone. It does not have protein, much less any complete proteins.


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Old 06-15-2009, 12:31 PM   #39
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That's what the 'exception of a few nutrients' essentially covered. The Irish depended upon the potato so greatly that the potato famine caused mass starvation when it struck.

Obviously you shouldn't depend on any one food, as a restricted diversity in your diet is very unhealthy. The Irish supplemented it with goat's milk to provide the last piece of their diet that the potato didn't provide. Aside from that, it yielded most of the calories, vitamins, and minerals that they needed.
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:26 AM   #40
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"Exception of a few nutrients"? Protein is absolutely essential in the diet. It's also not a great choice for people who have diabetes--potatoes have too many starches and not enough complex carbohydrates. Whole grains are a better choice because they have more soluble and insoluble fiber and less simple carbs.


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

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