As for terms like "suburb" and "sprawl", it wasn't so long ago that you didn't seem to like any suburbs, now you're saying suburbs are OK and it is sprawl that is bad. I suspect the change may be because the term "suburb" means something different to different people. I see suburbs as nice places, like a collection of little villages/towns that make up a city, because that's what I've experienced. You see suburbs as something different because that's what you've experienced.
That's where using our words can run into difficulties. This is a multicultural forum, and a word can easily have one meaning or interpretation to one person and mean something quite different to another. (As an example, several of us had a brief discussion about the meaning of word "jumper" in another thread) That's why it can be so difficult to define something. That's why I started the thread about where we live, with photos ... to help us understand what each of us is dealing with. A photo can help us see what another person is talking about.
double post - no idea why my posts get doubled sometimes.
Last edited by tandempower; 06-20-14 at 10:59 AM.
#53 , except I dislike using the term 'utopia,' because that makes it sound like something radically different from current realities, as if you'd have to tear down entire cities and rebuild instead of retrofitting.
All that is really needed for retrofitting is to begin by providing transit for employment and restricting parking to prevent people from avoiding the transit out of habit. If adequate public transit isn't available, employers can coordinate with others near them to send around shuttles to various areas, school bus style. Of course people are free to cycle. Cycling can even be encouraged by providing tax incentives or even direct payments for people who demonstrate they have driving-age residents in their household without a registered vehicle.
Once people are able to get around without driving, multilane roads can be retrofitted with more treed medians and bike lanes, lower speed limits, etc. Former parking lots can be fast-tracked for rezoning for businesses that make local living easier, such as small apartment buildings in business districts for employees to live in, showering/gym facilities for bike commuters, meals-on-wheels food-truck type vendors so people don't have to drive to restaurants from their workplace for lunch. All this can occur as in-fill IF local automotivists and the business interests that milk widespread automotivism don't viciously attack and oppose sprawl-reduction initiatives as a threat to the status quo of their balance sheets.
Businesses need to accept that some revenues may be lost or shift to other industries as driving takes a back seat to other forms of transportation.
It's not right nor is it sustainable to obstruct sprawl-reduction in that sprawl-growth is not only bad for transit and cycling, it's also bad for driving the worse it gets.
I believe what he dislikes about suburbs is the way they are used as residential areas from which to commute across town to business districts, shopping, and other destinations. He just doesn't appreciate all the crosstown traffic (think Jimi Hendrix), unless I am just projecting my own views in order to agree with him. If suburbs were car-free/sprawl-free, they would probably be pretty decent, pleasant places to live and work, no?As for terms like "suburb" and "sprawl", it wasn't so long ago that you didn't seem to like any suburbs, now you're saying suburbs are OK and it is sprawl that is bad. I suspect the change may be because the term "suburb" means something different to different people. I see suburbs as nice places, like a collection of little villages/towns that make up a city, because that's what I've experienced. You see suburbs as something different because that's what you've experienced.
It's not so much words that cause problems as it is that some people have the inability to understand that words do not have absolute, mutually exclusive meanings. "Suburb" doesn't have a precise definition any more than "urban" does. They are both vague descriptors for a certain tendency of development/planning in an area. It's important to get a handle on how these terms came to make sense as general descriptors and then let go of the assumption that everything can be definitively categorized into mutually exclusive boxes. Words are always vague and incomplete attempts at describing things that can be described more thoroughly with more words. Brevity and conciseness make for better readability, though, so we're always seeking balance between less words and better descriptions and explanations in textual communications.That's where using our words can run into difficulties. This is a multicultural forum, and a word can easily have one meaning or interpretation to one person and mean something quite different to another. (As an example, several of us had a brief discussion about the meaning of word "jumper" in another thread) That's why it can be so difficult to define something. That's why I started the thread about where we live, with photos ... to help us understand what each of us is dealing with. A photo can help us see what another person is talking about.
Last edited by tandempower; 06-19-14 at 09:14 PM.
First of all ... why do you keep posting the same message twice?
And right there is where I turn off. I used to live in a small apartment building, and it was fine for that time, but I have no desire to live in a small apartment building anymore ... or at least not what I think of when I read the words "small apartment building". A lot of people I know have no desire to live in a small apartment building.
I kind of like Roody's prescription of closing urban freeways and surrounding cities with greenbelts, although I think there need to be substantial green corridors through the cities as well. The downside of all this push for densification that I have seen is that the end result is massively increased traffic (a doubling of residents leads to a 1.95 fold increase in auto traffic, at least it did a decade back). Developers will happily meet the demand for more units per acre, but will dig their heels in at giving back those things that can make such dense living tolerable. Without greenspace, people's health, physical and mental, suffers. Cities that keep some greenspace will find the wealthy clustered around it. Those that don't have it will find the wealthy out in the suburbs or taking a lot of trips out to nicer places.
Personally, I much prefer low-density settings. The number of cars follows the number of people, unfortunately, so the fewer domiciles the less traffic I have to deal with as I pedal along. Sure, I'm not typical of Americans (not obese, not disabled, not pre-diabetic), but given a choice of riding sixty miles past one house per five acres or three miles past ten houses per acre, I'd much prefer the former, even though it is clearly sprawl.
And I agree that there should be lots of green spaces, but again this is where one person's "suburb" and another person's "suburb" differ. The suburbs I've lived in have contained lots of green spaces, and most cities I know are surrounded by green space (fields, forests etc. etc.) ... but I gather that this isn't the case for all suburbs.
As for cycling preferences... if I want a scenic ride, I will ride out to the suburb. In town, I ride to do grocery shopping, go to work, and run other errands. I want the post office, libraries, supermarkets and other stores to be closer than farther.
It doesn't get any easier, you just get faster. - Greg LeMond
I live in South Florida -- mid-Palm Beach County -- and "sprawl" R us. Sprawl is not suburban in the (once) elegant style of New York's Westchester County (I grew-up in 1950s/60s Scarsdale, NY). Rather, it's a "soulless" -- almost/maybe "cancerous" spread of cheap strip malls, punctuated by fast-food joints, tacky fitness centers, car dealerships, and "gentlemen's clubs". The more major roads are 4- or 6-lanes wide, with posted speed limits of 40-50mph. Very little green-space, other than that of/on traffic medians in the middle of those more major roads. Public transportation is available along major east-west and north-south traffic corridors, but it uniformly runs between 6AM to 8PM, with reduced weekend hours (and none on holidays), and many bus routes only run on the hour or half-hour. Few bus shelters, given the sun, heat, rain, and winds. Feeder routes to/from those major traffic corridors run hourly, only, and not at all on weekends. Some major roads have bike lanes -- anywhere from 2-3feet in width -- many have no markings; some bike lanes stop or start as municipal boundaries are reached. I can ride 25 miles to the north, and 75 miles to the south, without a gap in the sprawl. It is soulless, and it is malignant. There is no aesthetic to it, whatsoever. Toadstools after a rain exhibit more innate, natural harmony, that the allegedly planned sub/ex/urban sprawl of South Florida. OTOH, I do find it enjoyable to ride on the road, for exercise.
"Think Outside the Cage"
That's why I suggested posting photos, sketches, or something to show us what you, personally, mean when you say words like "suburb" and "sprawl".
And incidentally, the first image that springs to my mind when I think of "sprawl" as it relates to the development of cities, towns, regions, etc., are beautiful acreages with large comfortable houses and maybe a horse, goat, or some chickens, a big garden, possibly a small grove of fruit trees. But I suspect that you see a different image when you think of "sprawl" since you refer to it as "ugly".
"Think Outside the Cage"
It doesn't get any easier, you just get faster. - Greg LeMond
Suburbs in America have a prevalence of usually detached single-family homes.
They are characterized by:
- Lower densities than central cities, dominated by single-family homes on small plots of land – anywhere from 0.1 acres and up – surrounded at close quarters by very similar dwellings.
- Zoning patterns that separate residential and commercial development, as well as different intensities and densities of development. Daily needs are not within walking distance of most homes.
- Subdivisions carved from previously rural land into multiple-home developments built by a single real estate company. These subdivisions are often segregated by minute differences in home value, creating entire communities where family incomes and demographics are almost completely homogeneous..
- Shopping malls and strip malls behind large parking lots instead of a classic downtown shopping district.
- A road network designed to conform to a hierarchy, including culs-de-sac, leading to larger residential streets, in turn leading to large collector roads, in place of the grid pattern common to most central cities and pre-World War II suburbs.
- A greater percentage of one-story administrative buildings than in urban areas.
- A greater percentage of whites and lesser percentage of citizens of other ethnic groups than in urban areas. Black suburbanization grew between 1970 and 1980 by 2.6% as a result of central city neighborhoods expanding into older neighborhoods vacated by whites.
Compared to rural areas, suburbs usually have greater population density, higher standards of living, more complex road systems, more franchised stores and restaurants, and less farmland and wildlife.
Suburb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Think Outside the Cage"
A suburb has many of the elements of a small town or village in that it contains residential, shopping, business, schools and leisure. Sometimes it is attached to other small towns or villages to form a city, other times it is off by itself somewhere. Neighbourhood or locality are related terms.
Australian suburbs: Suburbs and localities (Australia) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Canadian suburbs: Suburb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ... scroll down to where it says ...
"Compared to the United States, Canadian suburbs are considerably more dense, and land use patterns are often more mixed-use. There are often high- or mid-rise developments interspersed with low-rise housing tracts. The concept of the McMansion, prevalent in the USA, is not common in Canadian suburbs. In Canada, densities are generally slightly higher than in Australia, but below typical European values. Often, Canadian suburbs are less automobile-centred and transit use is more prevalent."
You see ... this is a multicultural forum. A word can easily have one meaning or interpretation to one person and mean something quite different to another. That's why it can be so difficult to define something ... and it is really not necessary to come up with one single definition for something.
However, if you use a term and you want to help us understand the picture that appears in your head when you use that term, it can be helpful for us if you illustrate your term.
As far as suburbs go, I like the Australian and Canadian suburbs I have experienced. I have no desire to see them removed or changed. They are quite convenient, comfortable places to live.
Anyway, some people in the government think that sprawl is becoming a problem in Australia:
Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian
"Think Outside the Cage"
As I mentioned earlier, the term "jumper" is a classic example.
And that is why I suggested that if YOU use terms like "suburb" or "sprawl", YOU provide a photo or sketch of what YOU are talking about. I'm not asking for a single definitive definition of the term ... there is no such thing. I'm simply asking for YOUR own personal definition of what YOU are talking about ... because, as I said earlier, when you say "suburb" or "sprawl" or "jumper", different ones of us will have different pictures of those terms in our minds.
BTW - as an aside, you're a psychologist or something aren't you? If so, then I presume you are aware of the different learning styles?