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Old 03-21-02, 02:13 PM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Greenspace

I live in Dekalb County, Georgia: 173,393 acres, western border cuts close to the very heart of Atlanta. As of December 31, 2001, there were 8,594 acres of greenspace, less than 5%. Since 70% of Dekalb is already developed, the race is on for what's left.

Arthur M. Blank, co-founder of Home Depot, is an advocate of maintaining greenspace inside Atlanta's I-285 perimeter highway, since, as he puts it, once that area is fully developed, it's gone forever; he uses his own cash to buy up land for greenspace. Dekalb County itself is also buying land for greenspace, spending $19 million for 1,142 acres last year.

I've lived here for 27 years. I can quite possibly remember almost every potholed two-lane street that has since become a four-lane road with a median strip, every plot of wooded land that is now paved for parking or bulldozed over for housing. A rocket scientist is not needed to understand what's going on. I don't think a rocket scientist is needed to determine the effect car exhaust is having around here, either.

What am I trying to say? I don't know, I may be just getting started...
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Old 03-21-02, 03:56 PM   #2
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Around many UK cities we have protected greenbelt where developement is forbidden, but it needs constant protection against changes in law.
My own town is separated from the next by an area of wetland, but the council and developers wanted it for housing, roads shops etc. Fortunately, protestors were able to save it against the wishes of most of the inhabitants, who wanted to save 30seconds on their drive to work.
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Old 03-21-02, 05:29 PM   #3
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this is all too common here in vegas, people used to talk about the city in the desert. but there isn't much desert left, we've build up to almost every mountain and are now starting to build on the mountains. the valley has turned into a sprawling metropolis. and guess what... we're still growing.

(p.s. I think vegas is number 55 in the list of largest us cities, we were something like 100 about 5 years ago.)
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Old 03-21-02, 05:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by LittleBigMan
A rocket scientist is not needed to understand what's going on. I don't think a rocket scientist is needed to determine the effect car exhaust is having around here, either.
A rocket scientist would probably want to use the land to build launching pads.
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Old 03-21-02, 05:49 PM   #5
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Come on Ya'll there's sprawl for all.

I remember seeing a t-shirt that said something like: "the idea of sprawl, cut down all the trees and name the streets after them".

There's a street, actually it's the access road for a landfill, near my place called Lesstrees Lane. Hey, at least it's truthful.

In most of NJ the only open space left are parking lots.
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Old 03-21-02, 05:49 PM   #6
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LittleBigMan,

i know exactly what you're talking about --- sprawl and the outrageuos growth of US cities has been one of my big issues for a while ---- i grew up in Texas... land of roads and huge trucks

but i always think it's a good sign when people from some of the worst places (Atlanta has i think the highest rate of new road construction, and some of the worst sprawl and worst auto pollution in the nation) start to see the problem --- maybe we will realize how we're f*#žing everything up while we still have time to save something...

Portland Oregon and Boulder Colorado are 2 places in the US that are actually trying to do at least something better than the rest of the country (as such these are 2 of the few places in the US i REALLY want to live) -- both try not only to preserve, but to *increase* green space, and control and channel growth in appropriate ways... and promote cycling for transportation and public transit and try and reduce car dependence...

Maryland is also trying to do some things right and, surprisingly, Florida is actually pretty progressive as far as laws and programs -- although it may be more talk and policy than action since Florida is pretty much all about sprawl... and California is trying a little...

then there's Texas: when i was an undergrad in Austin less than 10 years ago i could ride west from campus to the hill country and find near wilderness with rolling valleys of trees and hills and rock --- what's there now? a bunch of roads and a few thousand houses... for anyone familiar with Austin, i'm talking about hwy 360 around 2222 and 2244 (bee caves rd)

if we're not carefull all those fields and that most of us saw in abundance as kids (i grew in the middle of the city - Dallas - with huge 'wild' fields where we played that have long since turned into houses --- and the huge system of trails i rode bikes on is now subdivisions...) will be virtually non-existent - everything will be paved except for a few small parks which will be jam-packed with people... but don't worry, we can all drive on the Interstate to disney world and vegas and go to the mall - who needs outdoors or wilderness or green space?

anyway, last year i was a Doctoral student working on research relating to sprawl and urban planning and design and such (in Geography)... but i quit and to go back to being a software developer (currently Java programmer) -- better locational choices for sports (currently Munich), more free time for sports and more money to finance my sports (i'm spending 4 days in Gardesee (Italy) mountain biking for Easter and then climbing mt blanc on skiis in 2 weeks)... sometimes i feel selfish, or like a sell-out or whatever, but i'm enjoying myself and attempting to improve rather than make this planet worse... hopefully a few other people will too...

mostly i just ride my bike...
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Old 03-21-02, 07:00 PM   #7
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mostly i just ride my bike...
if life were only so simple
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Old 03-22-02, 12:49 AM   #8
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Northern San Diego county has been a cyclists paradise. Roads about winding hills with little traffic and awesome climate. In the last 5 years North County now has more population than San Diego proper.
It is being sacrificed by crooked politicians on the take from greedy developers. Our citizens do not want suburban sprawl on what used to be citrus groves and avocado orchards.
You want to visit some of the U.S.'s best cycling areas better do it soon. Population growth is about 10% a year. We are all sickened by the greed and traffic is turning a country populace into the raging hysterics of the mororing primate, so often referred to in this forum.
As to much of the locals, I hear repeatedly the area is being ruined into more Angelino sprawl, with all the related problems, and many are preparing their flight to more civilized climbes. Unfortunately, the climate can only get worse.
Meanwhile we cyclists will feel less safe.
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Old 03-22-02, 03:25 AM   #9
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We've had lots of fights locally over green land. Part of the problem is some of the sites were once brickworks in the 19th Century (but have now returned to nature/grazing) so aren't strictly 'Green Field sites'. On the plus side there has been some very sensitive 'brown field' development in areas that have been derelict for years.

Development needs to be carefully controlled, with an emphasis on renewal rather than growth.

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Old 03-22-02, 07:38 AM   #10
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The more greenspace you have - the more sprawl you have.

Brisbane/Gold Coast is larger than Holland, with less than a third the population - and no countryside !
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Old 03-22-02, 08:34 AM   #11
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In the U.S. there is no concept of a legal greenspace, as I know exists in Europe. We live by the concept, we can do whatever we want with our property.
States I have lived, Michigan, Flrorida. States keep statistics on loss of farms, citrus orchards to urban development. It is a significant percentage loss in a short period of time. Here in sourthern California we will have city from Santa Barbara to mexico one day, I am sure.
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Old 03-22-02, 08:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by cyclezealot
It is being sacrificed by crooked politicians on the take from greedy developers. Our citizens do not want suburban sprawl on what used to be citrus groves and avocado orchards.
To make matters worse, the ultimate pro-growth politician, County Supervisor Bill Horn, just bought himself re-election by a slim margin. At a recent public forum on "smart growth," he was the only speaker who was booed and who received no applause. The sickest part of this is that he appears to ENJOY being despised.
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Old 03-22-02, 06:18 PM   #13
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We Yanks need to learn to put three words together in a scary, un-Constitutional string: "Excessive Property Rights." Face it, unless we get a Green, leftist, non-Christian, preferably female and queer dictator in the next 50 years, the US is shot to **** as a reasonable place to live.
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Old 03-23-02, 03:13 AM   #14
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John. This realtor/developer's candidate won because so few voted and so many disinterested. Yet, talk to resident's in the supermarkets, they are disgusted with what is being done to our countryside.
Thursday, someone was seeking petitions outside a downtown market. Called Horn a crook and passing petitions to have access roads into town widened to allow traffic to move.
I told her, her goals were admirable, but did not sign; the more you build roads- the faster the gridlock gets worse.
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Old 03-23-02, 04:59 AM   #15
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If you want to see unchecked sprawl, go to Japan.

It is just concrete from north to south, with some green where it is not practical to build.

Of course, a big part of the Japanese problem is population density, which is rapidly becoming a problem in the USA.

However, a very big part of the Japanese sprawl problem was the construction boom of the 1980's. With the attitude that land without a building has little value, the building boom took off. Now, they have something like five rooms per human in Japan. It isn't all living space, but a lot of space goes uninhabited.

Whenever I travel to Japan and see what has happened there, it just gives me the shivers because it is certainly the future of the USA if we keep chewing up green space with such recklessness.
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Old 03-23-02, 07:47 AM   #16
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heh. don't even wanna hear about japan. travel here? i've been living here for 1 1/2 yrs. it'll be really great when i get to move back stateside 5 months from now. hopefully back to arizona. 80% government land, mostly state and federal parks, and national forests with great big ponderosa pine trees! (with the odd largest indian rezervation thrown in for good measure.)
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Old 03-23-02, 09:45 AM   #17
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There has been a lot of comparasion between Japan and California between population density and land use patterns.
I do not choose to go there and see the California of the future.
Nothing can be done about the matter. Property rights are engrained in the American psyche, like the second amendment. Some things just can't be changed.
It is just we will be a more miserable people and all kinds of rages will be more prevelant, not just road rage. that is urban America. When I get book Asphalt Nation,(on order) hope it deals with human values issues-quality of life stuff..
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Old 03-24-02, 11:15 AM   #18
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Mike, did you know that the population density of England is signicantly higher than Japan?



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Old 03-24-02, 01:22 PM   #19
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Mike, did you know that the population density of England is signicantly higher than Japan?



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No, Spire, I did not know that, but it certainly proves my point.

England at least seems a lot more peaceful and a lot more "green" than Japan. Japan is neat, but you have to have an appreciation for concrete and asphalt to fully enjoy it.

What has England done to maintain some of it's greenspace?
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Old 03-24-02, 03:27 PM   #20
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I have read much of Europe has greenspace laws, or no growth areas. sounds good to me. As to population density. i have been to England. It has a rural area that is every bit as barren as Iowa, at least.
I suspect numbers can be somewhat misleading, even though I generally believe in the sanctity of numbers, being a somewhat technical person.
Difference between England and Japan. The mountainous spine, much of it is unhabitable- or better stated "-unbuildable." Therefore what is urban has even higher population density than England.
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Old 03-24-02, 04:30 PM   #21
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RE: no build zones in Europe.

I haven't been there but from what I have read it sounds as if most western european countries have national planning/zoning commities.

Here we only have zoning laws within cities limits and nothing at the county/state/national level. This leads to a haphazard pattern of development that dictates where the county has to build the roads and such.

It also makes it darn near impossible to save greenspace... when landowners die their children sell to developers. This is becoming a big problem in SW Missouri.

Jane Holtz Kay talks about this in her book Asphalt Nation.

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Old 03-24-02, 05:17 PM   #22
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If you take the population and divide it by the area of the country England has a high population density, about 15% higher I think. The thing is that, 90-95% is very usable for building. And everything is very space consious even on the outside of towns and in rural areas. Land costs SO much that nobody can afford much. Everybody says that London is the most expensive to live in, they are right, the appartment prices are heurrendous, so nobody can afford very much. There is no wasted space in england, stuff is either farm, parc or city, very little of anything else.

As for laws regarding land usage, I'm not sure what is in place.

Look at the areal photos of www.multimap.com for some of the rural areas and you can see the land usage.



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Old 03-24-02, 05:27 PM   #23
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I remember when I was in Quebec City, Que. On the historical tour of the district on the The St. Lawrence River, private ownership mean't little. If living in a historic building, you would have to petition some agency to renevate your bathroom. As I recall.
In a area of such historic relevance, I can understand such controls. Such ideas are unheard of in the U.S. Private decisions could ruin such a historic gem. Not sure what controls they would have in say -New Orleans, one of America's closest historic cities.
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Old 03-24-02, 05:35 PM   #24
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I lived in New Orleans in 1996-7. Restrictions in the French Quarter are VERY tight. The city allows only 7 historic paint colors, all renovations/repairs of ANY kind require a permit with severe restrictions.

But buyers know this before-hand so they really have no cause to complain. Don't like the rules of an historic building? Then don't buy it.
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Old 03-24-02, 06:23 PM   #25
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I was amazed at the number of golf courses in Japan. Flying over the main island I lost count. At least in the UK , most established golf course are natural heathland, but in Japan they are all synthetic bright green ones.
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