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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 06-19-14, 05:21 PM   #76
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The question is, how can we get rid of the senseless ugly sprawl, while preserving the spaciousness and tranquility that people hope to find in the suburbs?
You can't get rid of urban sprawl... As long as human population keeps increasing there will also be an increase in urban sprawl..
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Old 06-19-14, 05:46 PM   #77
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Sorry, I'm not interested in yet another pictorial display. Anybody can use a web search to find 100,000 pictures of sprawl, if there's even somebody alive who doesn't know what it is. We need to use our words more, IMO. Let's try to get beyond simple description and have a meaningful discussion.

...

I'm not even the OP!
No, you're not the OP, and I'm more interested in knowing what the OP sees when he talks about his utopia.


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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.
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Old 06-19-14, 08:09 PM   #78
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double post - no idea why my posts get doubled sometimes.

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Old 06-19-14, 08:11 PM   #79
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No, you're not the OP, and I'm more interested in knowing what the OP sees when he talks about his utopia.
See post #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.

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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.
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?

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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.
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.

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Old 06-19-14, 08:30 PM   #80
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First of all ... why do you keep posting the same message twice?


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... 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 ...

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.
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Old 06-19-14, 08:48 PM   #81
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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.
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Old 06-19-14, 09:27 PM   #82
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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.
+1


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.
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Old 06-19-14, 09:42 PM   #83
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+1


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.
My city has a redwood forest in the middle. Roughly 7 miles from downtown...
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Old 06-19-14, 09:43 PM   #84
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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.
I agree, I like to have green spaces around me, but that doesn't mean there has to be a sprawl to achieve it. The neighbourhood I live in now is making good progress building centralized residential areas filled with townhouses and apartments, together with green areas. We have a central transit centre right next to a good-sized shopping mall, so people can take the bus to come here for shopping, dining and strolling round. They plan to build greenways all over the city as well. In fact, they now have a stringent process to permit new businesses to have drive-throughs. They aim to encourage more residents to walk and bike rather than drive.

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.
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Old 06-19-14, 09:50 PM   #85
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This is not a good way to be. The suburbanites themselves are the ones who should be up in arms about it! It's their own time, money, and peace of mind that are being taken away by sprawl.
Who would know better than the authority/arbiter on living "goodness", and is someone does not live there, nor have any of his own time or money involved?
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Old 06-19-14, 10:01 PM   #86
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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.
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Old 06-19-14, 10:34 PM   #87
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You can't get rid of urban sprawl... As long as human population keeps increasing there will also be an increase in urban sprawl..
One of the linked articles said that in the time that the population of metro London went up by 10%, the land area increased by 100%. That, my friend, is sprawl. Developers throw stuff up as cheap as they can. Future users end up paying the price.
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Old 06-19-14, 10:42 PM   #88
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No, you're not the OP, and I'm more interested in knowing what the OP sees when he talks about his utopia.


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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.
Good points. So maybe you will find a definition for suburb, like I did for sprawl? Then you can post the definition with a link, and we will all use that definition in our discussion. Easy as pie!
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Old 06-19-14, 10:44 PM   #89
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Who would know better than the authority/arbiter on living "goodness", and is someone does not live there, nor have any of his own time or money involved?
I pay some of the price for sprawl, as do all of us. It affects me, I have an opinion about it, and I'm not going to let you intimidate me into silence.
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Old 06-19-14, 10:55 PM   #90
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Good points. So maybe you will find a definition for suburb, like I did for sprawl? Then you can post the definition with a link, and we will all use that definition in our discussion. Easy as pie!
No, because there is no one single definition of a suburb. A suburb could be any number of things. When each of us here thinks about "suburb", we've probably each got a different image in mind.

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".
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Old 06-19-14, 11:09 PM   #91
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As several people have said, it's not the suburbs that are the problem, it's the way the suburbs are connected and laid out. In a sprawl zone, buildings and roads are basically plunked down wherever it was easy for the developer to get his trucks in. Each housing area is separate and alone, so you have to go out on a busy street to visit somebody a few yards away in a different subdivision. The stores all stand alone instead of gathered together in a mall or business district. Again you must drive between each store, and they may be miles apart. It's the same thing with other destinations--schools, offices, parks, entertainment--all separate. It's the endless driving between these places that suburban residents are always complaining about. And they use more resources (expense +pollution), which affects them personally and all of society.

This is not a good way to be. The suburbanites themselves are the ones who should be up in arms about it! It's their own time, money, and peace of mind that are being taken away by sprawl.
That may be how the suburbs in your particular area are set up. It's not how all suburbs are set up. The suburbs I'm familiar with are quite different from that.

And maybe, perhaps ... the reason that the suburbanites are not up in arms about it is because they like it.
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Old 06-19-14, 11:24 PM   #92
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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.
Are you willing to pay the extra that it costs to live out there? Like when it costs more to build out the electric service, water and sewage lines, and above all the roads? Who pays to plow that 60 mile road all winter and patch up the potholes? I bet that I pay as much as you do, since our county/state tax rates are the same wherever you live. Who pays to fix the electric and phone wires when they go down in a storm. Again, I pay as much as you, because our rates for utilities are the same whether we live in the city or the exurbs. I won't even get into the sewage problems, or who pays for the extra pollution when some people are driving 60 miles to pick up a few groceries.
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Old 06-19-14, 11:34 PM   #93
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That may be how the suburbs in your particular area are set up. It's not how all suburbs are set up. The suburbs I'm familiar with are quite different from that.
Terminology aside, I like it wherever things are located close enough for biking, if not walking, and they have good public transit connecting various parts of the area together. I haven't found any "suburb" that meets those requirements around Seattle, but like I said earlier, suburbs around Tokyo are a lot more like that.
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Old 06-19-14, 11:44 PM   #94
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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.
So if somebody wants a description of sprawl, here it is. It exists like this in every part of the US. In fact, there's really no way to tell what part of the country you're in, as all sprawl is the same sprawl. Great description, JBHoren!
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Old 06-19-14, 11:52 PM   #95
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No, because there is no one single definition of a suburb. A suburb could be any number of things. When each of us here thinks about "suburb", we've probably each got a different image in mind.

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".
Words do have definitions. Here is a basic descriptive definition of suburb that we can use until somebody comes up with a different one:
Suburbs in America have a prevalence of usually detached[22] single-family homes.[23]

They are characterized by:

  • Lower densities than central cities, dominated by single-family homes on small plots of land anywhere from 0.1 acres[24] 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.[citation needed].
  • 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.[25][26][27]

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
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Old 06-20-14, 12:40 AM   #96
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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.
I've already defined suburb, based on the suburbs I've experienced.

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.
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Old 06-20-14, 12:43 AM   #97
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Terminology aside, I like it wherever things are located close enough for biking, if not walking, and they have good public transit connecting various parts of the area together. I haven't found any "suburb" that meets those requirements around Seattle, but like I said earlier, suburbs around Tokyo are a lot more like that.
Yes, and the suburb I lived in when I was in Winnipeg was like that ... and the suburb where we currently live in Hobart is like that too. All that and green space too.

If all goes well, we'll find ourselves in a new suburb like that in the next couple months.
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Old 06-20-14, 01:53 AM   #98
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I've already defined suburb, based on the suburbs I've experienced.

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.
This is very distracting. Its difficult to have an interesting discussion when one party can't agree on the definition of basic English words.

Anyway, some people in the government think that sprawl is becoming a problem in Australia:

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Old 06-20-14, 02:02 AM   #99
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This is very distracting. Its difficult to have an interesting discussion when one party can't agree on the definition of basic English words.
Not distracting at all ... it is simply a part of the global economy, multicultural society we're all a part of now.


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.


[HR][/HR]
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?

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Old 06-20-14, 02:09 AM   #100
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My city has a redwood forest in the middle. Roughly 7 miles from downtown...
Wonderful!!


We've got a field with cows grazing right in the middle of my city ... and Winnipeg had/has a large area near the middle where deer roamed. It's nice.
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