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    Simple Recipe for a Car-Free Suburb

    Here is a simple idea for an easy-to-develop (though potentially hard to sell) suburban development that is car-free and prevents motor-traffic growth between the development and the city:

    Two buildings separated by a few acres of undeveloped forest:

    building #1 : multifamily residential building and/or small houses without driveways or parking connected by walking/biking paths. Road access is a loop for loading/unloading only. No parking is allowed anywhere on the premises or nearby.

    building #2 : some type of one-stop shop to serve residents and some kind of restaurant for when people tire of eating at home but don't feel like taking a bus or biking into the city.

    These buildings would be developed in tandem with a built-in fee for transit service to and from the city included in the development and/or residential costs.

    People and businesses would move in knowing they would have to depend on the bus or bikes to get them to and from the city.

    If such a development was permitted, would you expect developers to build it? Would you expect business investors to put a one-stop shop and/or small restaurant with parking for loading and unloading only? Would you expect residents to move in (assuming the buildings were situated in a lovely, park-like natural area with plenty of walking and/or biking trails through the forest)?

    What do you think? Would this work? Would people find a way to get around the car-free regulations? What would be the challenges?

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    What would be the challenges?
    Zero demand for such a restricted development, hence the difficulty of selling this project to anybody who might have to pay for or finance it, let alone live in it.

    Disney World in Orlando may be the closest "development" that would fit your car free dream-scheme.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I suppose there might be a few people who would consider this sort of living arrangement, but it doesn't sound ideal.


    Better would be to renovate some downtown buildings into accommodations ... loft apartments etc. ... so that the people who don't mind being stacked on top of each other, who like the downtown atmosphere, and who prefer not to do yardwork, could live there and go to work, the theatre, restaurants, etc. within easy walking distance.

    And then for people who like some elbow room, create mixed-use suburbs around the downtown area. Each of these mixed-use suburbs would include a variety of housing options catering to the needs and desires of the community, and at least one relatively central, easily accessed (walking, cycling, bus, or short drive) non-residential area. The non-residential area(s) would contain shopping, restaurants, library, medical clinics, childcare facilities, schools, churches, community halls, fitness centres, possibly a bit of light industrial etc., etc. These mixed-use suburbs could also contain nature reserves and parks scattered about and/or dividing one mixed-use suburb from another. There would be bus/train service from these mixed-use suburbs to downtown, industrial areas, and other centres of employment.


    Fortunately ... both of these options already exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Zero demand for such a restricted development, hence the difficulty of selling this project to anybody who might have to pay for or finance it, let alone live in it.

    Disney World in Orlando may be the closest "development" that would fit your car free dream-scheme.
    The challenge of reading your posts is evoking the hope that something constructive might be contained in them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I suppose there might be a few people who would consider this sort of living arrangement, but it doesn't sound ideal.
    It is ideal if you want to be able to walk/bike around in nature without first biking, driving, or taking a bus outside the city. It might also be more ideal than living in a driving-oriented suburb where you have to drive to go practically anywhere and your house is surrounded by houses as far as you can walk.

    Better would be to renovate some downtown buildings into accommodations ... loft apartments etc. ... so that the people who don't mind being stacked on top of each other, who like the downtown atmosphere, and who prefer not to do yardwork, could live there and go to work, the theatre, restaurants, etc. within easy walking distance.
    Why is it either/or? I'm not saying car-free living shouldn't be (re)developed in downtown areas. I'm saying new development can be done car-free in a relatively simple way. If people want to develop more car-free housing, multifamily or single-family within walking/biking distance of the initial settlement and bus line, why stop them? The point is that you don't have to plan a whole huge car-free community to just start with a one-stop shop and restaurant within walking distance of some residential housing. As long as there's no parking and a bus connection to the city, people can and must live there car-free. This is a better way to develop undeveloped land than building a drivable/parkable sub-division that will increase sprawl.

    And then for people who like some elbow room, create mixed-use suburbs around the downtown area. Each of these mixed-use suburbs would include a variety of housing options catering to the needs and desires of the community, and at least one relatively central, easily accessed (walking, cycling, bus, or short drive) non-residential area. The non-residential area(s) would contain shopping, restaurants, library, medical clinics, childcare facilities, schools, churches, community halls, fitness centres, possibly a bit of light industrial etc., etc. These mixed-use suburbs could also contain nature reserves and parks scattered about and/or dividing one mixed-use suburb from another. There would be bus/train service from these mixed-use suburbs to downtown, industrial areas, and other centres of employment.
    What you're talking about is a large-scale project. I am talking about building two buildings with a bus connection to other areas.

    Fortunately ... both of these options already exist.
    If everyone thought like this, there would be no pushing for new development. Unfortunately, developers want to make money from land and so we have to deal with political pressures for land development. I'm just giving an example of how car-free development can start small and so there's really no reason not to require it in lieu of development that causes more driving traffic.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    What you're talking about is a large-scale project. I am talking about building two buildings with a bus connection to other areas.
    No ... I'm talking about what currently exists, and how new developments are currently being developed. Both of the types of development I mentioned (city apartments and multi-use suburbs) currently exist and are currently being developed. And both meet different needs and desires. Cities currently contain both types of developments.

    Some of the current multi-use developments could probably use some minor tweaking to make them slightly more pedestrian or cyclist friendly, but many have been developed and are being developed with human-powered transport in mind.


    EDIT: If you like the idea of a car-free apartment building, why not just put one next to the non-residential section of the current or new multi-use suburbs? That way the residents could easily walk to run their errands or catch the bus further afield. You'd have to do market research to determine if that sort of apartment was wanted and if you could rent all the units, of course.


    But for fun and just out of curiosity, how big would your two buildings be? How many people would they house?

    Can you draw up a sketch of what you've got in mind including a map of how they would sit in proximity to the nearby city; a close-up diagram of how these two buildings would look in proximity to each other and to the nature strip; and more detail about what these two buildings might look like?

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    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    The challenge of reading your posts is evoking the hope that something constructive might be contained in them...and so there's really no reason not to require it in lieu of development that causes more driving traffic.
    When you become Dictator then you can require it, until that time, here is something constructive for you to think about.

    Try dreaming up a proposal for development that has a chance in Hades of being supported, let alone financed by even an infinitesimal number of people before you start thinking there is a chance in Hades that any government entity, agency or organization would require it, anywhere.

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    A few of the suburbs that are located on our local subway/elev. system (BART) have been establishing something along those lines. Multi-family apartment buildings built within a block of the transit station. There are shops at the ground floor level and the residential apartments on the higher floors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    A few of the suburbs that are located on our local subway/elev. system (BART) have been establishing something along those lines. Multi-family apartment buildings built within a block of the transit station. There are shops at the ground floor level and the residential apartments on the higher floors.
    I assume there is not that much undeveloped forest at those locations, nor prohibitions against parking or driving anywhere near these Multi-family apartment buildings. If these "suburbs" do have such prohibitions, do they also prohibit/discourage the disabled, the elderly, and families with young children?

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    I assume there is not that much undeveloped forest at those locations, nor prohibitions against parking or driving anywhere near these Multi-family apartment buildings. If these "suburbs" do have such prohibitions, do they also prohibit/discourage the disabled, the elderly, and families with young children?
    No, these developments were never intended to be car-free. But they are designed to reduce the need for the residents to rely on private car transportation both for much of their local shopping with many shops right in the ground floor and for their commutes to work/school/etc. since the transit system is only a few minutes walk away. So they should appeal to those who would like to go car-free and hopefully allow those who choose to keep a car or two to leave them parked at home more of the time and relieve some of the traffic congestion in the area.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    What about this plan by J.H. Crawford for a carfree city? All houses/apartments are efficiently clustered in somewhat dense zones, all within a five minute walk of a transit stop. But overall for the entire city, 20% of the land is developed and 80% is green space.


    clover.gif

    Carfree Cities: City Topology
    Last edited by Roody; 08-13-14 at 01:38 AM.


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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    It has been tried in a few places in the US, many of them sat empty and/or have been converted to other use.

    Best way to cure the current suburb problem is infill and connectivity. Get rid of the lollypop subdivisions. One smaller bedroom community just outside of Charlotte, NC is looking at doing just that, but it is going to be an uphill battle and will not be politically popular.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Here is a simple idea for an easy-to-develop (though potentially hard to sell) suburban development that is car-free and prevents motor-traffic growth between the development and the city:

    Two buildings separated by a few acres of undeveloped forest:

    building #1 : multifamily residential building and/or small houses without driveways or parking connected by walking/biking paths. Road access is a loop for loading/unloading only. No parking is allowed anywhere on the premises or nearby.

    building #2 : some type of one-stop shop to serve residents and some kind of restaurant for when people tire of eating at home but don't feel like taking a bus or biking into the city.

    These buildings would be developed in tandem with a built-in fee for transit service to and from the city included in the development and/or residential costs.
    Why two buildings? Why not an all-in-one complex?

    Actually the 20th century modern architect Le Corbusier had a vision for a city consisting of "skyscrapers in a park". Unfortunately what we typically get is "skyscrapers in a parking lot".

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    Why two buildings? Why not an all-in-one complex?
    I wondered that too. Put it all in one ... or build an apartment complex right next to an existing shopping complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    No, these developments were never intended to be car-free. But they are designed to reduce the need for the residents to rely on private car transportation...
    The key difference between this development and the dreamy schemes of the OP is that it apparently was designed to meet the needs of people who were likely residents, rather than fulfill the wishes of a would-be-dictator of proper living standards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    When you become Dictator then you can require it, until that time, here is something constructive for you to think about.
    People are protesting development and sprawl outright with no hope that any development can be environmentally friendly. They are right insofar as all new development increases motor-traffic. Requiring car-free development is just an alternative to stopping development cold in its tracks. In other words, it's more permissive than prohibiting any development whatsoever.

    Try dreaming up a proposal for development that has a chance in Hades of being supported, let alone financed by even an infinitesimal number of people before you start thinking there is a chance in Hades that any government entity, agency or organization would require it, anywhere.
    I'm trying to dream of developments that will pass the conscience standards of environmentalists. True environmentalists regard the proclaimed environmental friendliness of developers as a two-faced lie designed to win permits for development that will ultimately be bad for the environment. What I'm saying is that there is a way to develop land without degrading the environment; and it involves cutting motor-traffic down to deliveries and transit. Everyone driving everywhere is never going to be an environmentally friendly model for a development. It's the traffic itself that produces constant noise, kills wildlife, necessitates putting down pavement all over the place, etc. What environmentalist is ever going to look at an area where personal automotive traffic is dominant and proclaim it a victory for conservation?


    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    Why two buildings? Why not an all-in-one complex?
    It could be but I thought people might like to have some distance from the bustle and waste/odor produced by retail, grocery, and food service. If the plan is to conserve green space all around the development, why not put some of that green space between residences and shopping?

    Actually the 20th century modern architect Le Corbusier had a vision for a city consisting of "skyscrapers in a park". Unfortunately what we typically get is "skyscrapers in a parking lot".
    Vertical density surrounded by pristine forest isn't unthinkable but nestling small houses or multi-family complex between trees can be a pretty green-friendly option. The main goal should be to maximize tree shade as this stabilizes outdoor temperatures and watershed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I wondered that too. Put it all in one ... or build an apartment complex right next to an existing shopping complex.
    see above.

    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    The key difference between this development and the dreamy schemes of the OP is that it apparently was designed to meet the needs of people who were likely residents, rather than fulfill the wishes of a would-be-dictator of proper living standards.
    Yes, who is the dictator who decided we can't all fly helicopters and bill the taxpayers to stimulate the helicopter economy? Cash4Helicopters anyone? It would stimulate the economy to invigorate the helicopter industry and people would like flying helicopters better than driving. What, is mass driving a more 'proper living standard' than mass personal helicopters? Really, according to what dictator?

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    It could be but I thought people might like to have some distance from the bustle and waste/odor produced by retail, grocery, and food service. If the plan is to conserve green space all around the development, why not put some of that green space between residences and shopping?

    Vertical density surrounded by pristine forest isn't unthinkable but nestling small houses or multi-family complex between trees can be a pretty green-friendly option. The main goal should be to maximize tree shade as this stabilizes outdoor temperatures and watershed.
    1) I haven't seen a drawing of your plan yet. If you want to be considered seriously, produce drawings.
    (A hint, if you're not familiar with architectural practices, civil engineering, town planning etc. and don't have a software package to produce drawings, you can use powerpoint. It is obviously not as good as drafting software, but you can at least do up a sketch with some measurements, save it as a jpg, and post it here)


    2) Do your research. Dig through the tenancy acts for your state/country and find out the legalities regarding providing parking and/or creating a car-free building. I suspect that in some areas rentals are required to provide some sort of parking ... but I'm not sure. This, however, would be something you could research. Also, find out the demographics of the area where you'd like to put this idea of yours. What are the ages of the people in the area? Where do they work? What do they do for entertainment? Developers do all this sort of thing and more.


    3) My suggestion of putting an apartment complex next to a shopping complex does not rule out the possibility of green spaces. You could surround the apartment complex on three sides with nature reserves, and the fourth side would be across the road from the shopping complex. Personally, I would not make the apartment complex car free, I would just make it really conveniently located to shopping and public transportation to encourage people to walk across the street to do their shopping, go to restaurants, go to movies, etc. rather than driving.
    And as I mentioned before, this sort of thing does exist.



    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    Yes, who is the dictator who decided we can't all fly helicopters and bill the taxpayers to stimulate the helicopter economy? Cash4Helicopters anyone? It would stimulate the economy to invigorate the helicopter industry and people would like flying helicopters better than driving. What, is mass driving a more 'proper living standard' than mass personal helicopters? Really, according to what dictator?
    Where in the world did helicoptors come into any discussion???

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    3) My suggestion of putting an apartment complex next to a shopping complex does not rule out the possibility of green spaces. You could surround the apartment complex on three sides with nature reserves, and the fourth side would be across the road from the shopping complex. Personally, I would not make the apartment complex car free, I would just make it really conveniently located to shopping and public transportation to encourage people to walk across the street to do their shopping, go to restaurants, go to movies, etc. rather than driving.
    And as I mentioned before, this sort of thing does exist.
    I don't get what you're saying. Could you prepare a drawing of your idea?


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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I don't get what you're saying. Could you prepare a drawing of your idea?
    I would be delighted to!


    I'll start with an overview of a portion of the Greater Hobart Area. I picked one of the shopping areas within one of our multi-use suburbs, and had a look around it for an empty lot which might work for a car-free/car-light apartment complex. And I found one. It's in a perfect location ... walking distance to just about everything you'd want, including public transportation.




    I put a 30 x 30 metre apartment block on the site.

    Of course, if I were considering doing this for real, I would investigate the zoning in the area to determine whether I could put residential there, and more specifically if I could put a multi-family residential development there. I would also check to see if there were any regulations on how tall a building could be, and would want to do a land survey, water survey, and several other related surveys. And of course there would be planning permits and building permits, and it's possible that something like that would have to go up before Council to get approval. For that, I would create a business case including all the benefits of placing such a building in that location, including details about demographics, etc. etc.




    This is just an example of an approximate configuration of a 30 x 30 metre apartment block. In this configuration, I've opted to include a courtyard area which could be open or enclosed depending on the weather conditions of the area.




    And finally ...

    My suggestion of putting an apartment complex next to a shopping complex does not rule out the possibility of green spaces. You could surround the apartment complex on three sides with nature reserves, and the fourth side would be across the road from the shopping complex. Personally, I would not make the apartment complex car free, I would just make it really conveniently located to shopping and public transportation to encourage people to walk across the street to do their shopping, go to restaurants, go to movies, etc. rather than driving.
    And as I mentioned before, this sort of thing does exist.

    Here's an sketch of a shopping area. I've made it 200 x 200 metres because the shopping area in the google image above is about 150 x 150 metres. Just for fun, my hypothetical shopping area is a little larger. Of course, like most shopping areas, it would include grocery stores, department stores, hardware shops, large shops, small shops, beauty salons, medical centres, a movie theatre, library, restaurants, cafes, etc. etc. The usual stuff.

    Hypothetically, there might be a large empty lot next to this shopping area. So I've plunked my 30 x 30 metre apartment building onto that empty lot, planted a lot of trees around, and ran a walking/cycling trail around the lot.


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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Nice job, Machka. You have crazy computer design skills. It looks like a nice place to live, although my preference is for a house or duplex.

    Oh, unfortunately, parking is a requirement for developments here in the US. But as a dream thing, I love seeing the apartment building with trees instead of parking!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    1) I haven't seen a drawing of your plan yet. If you want to be considered seriously, produce drawings.
    (A hint, if you're not familiar with architectural practices, civil engineering, town planning etc. and don't have a software package to produce drawings, you can use powerpoint. It is obviously not as good as drafting software, but you can at least do up a sketch with some measurements, save it as a jpg, and post it here)
    Your drawing is of a 100' (30m) square building. Such a footprint could work for either of the buildings I suggest, only I wouldn't specify that size until I looked at the specific land parcel to be used. The reason is that I cringe every time I see developers cut trees to make room for construction. Why can't they build around the trees? The simple reason is that it's easier for them to work from standardized building designs because they don't have the authority to design the buildings around the existing natural landscape of the land. Nevertheless, it is possible to build in this way; it just requires modular construction that places structures in sizes appropriate to the natural clearings between trees. Then you have to be creative about linking these modular structures together in a way that adds more functionality to the construction. Tiny house builders seem to be good at this because they are resigned to work with micro-areas, but you don't have to be working with a 7'X12' (2.3mX4m) trailer to work diligently with tight spaces. You could also simply be working within the gaps in a treed parcel.

    2) Do your research. Dig through the tenancy acts for your state/country and find out the legalities regarding providing parking and/or creating a car-free building. I suspect that in some areas rentals are required to provide some sort of parking ... but I'm not sure. This, however, would be something you could research. Also, find out the demographics of the area where you'd like to put this idea of yours. What are the ages of the people in the area? Where do they work? What do they do for entertainment? Developers do all this sort of thing and more.
    The simple problem with this is that there's currently a disconnect, almost schizophrenic, between the lifestyle norms and what environmental conscience will tolerate in terms of more development. E.g. many people don't like the way expanding development creates more sprawl and keeps encroaching further onto natural and rural land, but they also don't like the idea of car-free multifamily (or otherwise dense) development because they associate that with poverty. So really what they want is to be insulated against poor people moving into their areas and bringing down property values, but they don't know how to do that without prohibiting the development of multifamily housing and transit, because they associate transit with the inability to afford to drive.

    So what really needs to happen is for some developer(s) to propose plans for car-free developments that satisfy the environmental conscience to protect natural/rural lands from degradation, and then present these as the only tolerable means of continuing development in the larger region. Once people accept the necessity of continuing development and redevelopment along sustainable lines, they can focus on resolving the problems they have with poverty, multifamily living, transit use, etc., which are really external to the issue of developing land in ways that doesn't reduce every area to sprawl.

    3) My suggestion of putting an apartment complex next to a shopping complex does not rule out the possibility of green spaces. You could surround the apartment complex on three sides with nature reserves, and the fourth side would be across the road from the shopping complex. Personally, I would not make the apartment complex car free, I would just make it really conveniently located to shopping and public transportation to encourage people to walk across the street to do their shopping, go to restaurants, go to movies, etc. rather than driving.
    And as I mentioned before, this sort of thing does exist.
    There are rural areas that are sparsely inhabited precisely because land use planners don't want them filling up with traffic and development. If the shopping area isn't car-free, therefore, it will just attract more development to the area because the business model will be focussed on attracting motor-traffic from the road. Once the shopping begin attracting traffic, the sprawl and bustle begins. The goal is to allow development without increasing motor-traffic, remember?

    Where in the world did helicoptors come into any discussion???
    He was saying that people want to drive and anyone who supports reducing driving in favor of car-free transportation is some kind of dictator trying to steer people away from what they want. I mention helicopters because many people would probably rather fly helicopters than drive, only some 'dictators' have decided to limit the helicopter industry/economy and support the automotive industry/economy instead. The point is that insisting on car-free development for the general good is not any different from insisting on car-friendly development for the general good, only there is so much automotive traffic at this point, it is no longer in the general good to obstruct development of alternatives.

    But if people were really allowed to do whatever they want, they would probably create a government stimulus program to make helicopters affordable for everyone because then everyone could take a much more direct route to their destinations and flying a helicopter is probably even more fun, fast, and easy than driving a car. Imagine if there was as much variety in the type of helicopter you could buy as there is between cars. Helicopter models could be named after various flying animals and insects, or have other names that emphasize handling and stability. People like cars because they're relatively expensive (and thus showcase status) and they are very easy and comfortable to use, so helicopters would be the same only better. The only drawback would be they would fill the skies with noise and bustle, much the way motor-traffic does the ground.
    Last edited by tandempower; 08-14-14 at 05:27 AM.

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Nice job, Machka. You have crazy computer design skills. It looks like a nice place to live, although my preference is for a house or duplex.

    Oh, unfortunately, parking is a requirement for developments here in the US. But as a dream thing, I love seeing the apartment building with trees instead of parking!

    Thanks. All of that was done in Powerpoint. Unfortunately, the drafting software I was trained on is outdated ... and in storage. But for sketching purposes, Powerpoint is surprisingly decent. You can actually get things to scale, and there are lots of shapes and things to work with. I've been using it to play with possible furniture layouts in our new house.

    My preference is for a single family dwelling ... a decent-sized house on its own without a shared wall. I like the elbow room. But I don't mind neighbourhoods with a variety of housing ... apartments, townhouses, attached, detached ...

    And I like multi-use suburbs ... like the one in the first google image. From the beach to the shopping area I "circled" in blue is about 1 km. If you lived in one of the houses somewhere in between the two, it would be quite easy to stroll down to the beach, or walk up to the fresh fruit and veg market located in that shopping complex. It is a bit hilly, so cycling might be more of a challenge, but they are developing cycling facilities there, and that Esplanade along the beach is nice.


    I thought I had read something about parking being a requirement for developments in the US. That would definitely be something you'd want to check before proceeding with a car-free housing idea.

    I don't know what the parking requirements are here in Australia (I haven't looked it up), but I do know that lots of places are advertised as being "5 minute walk to shopping", "minutes to public transportation", "car not needed" etc. I also know some of the places closer to downtown Hobart don't have parking, and suggest in their ads that everything is within walking distance and that a car is not needed, but that a street parking pass could be arranged with the Council if necessary. So that might be how they get around the parking thing.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
    The reason is that I cringe every time I see developers cut trees to make room for construction. Why can't they build around the trees?
    Trees have roots.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    What I see in Machka's drawing is a massive amount of wasted space for cars in the shopping district, it does look like they have a parking garage which is a huge plus compared to the massive amounts of surface parking that is contained around many US malls.

    Below is one example of a mall in my general area. There is some housing in the lower left hand corner. There is almost no connectivity and minimal pedestrian facilities, walking IS NOT encouraged.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    What I see in Machka's drawing is a massive amount of wasted space for cars in the shopping district, it does look like they have a parking garage which is a huge plus compared to the massive amounts of surface parking that is contained around many US malls.

    Keep in mind that from one side of that shopping complex (in my google picture) to the other is just slightly more than 150 metres ... not far at all.

    And yes, that is a parking garage, right across the road from the empty lot where I put my hypothetical apartment building. That's the main parking area. Most shopping areas around here have parking garages.

    There are footpaths everywhere within the shopping area, and also around the shopping area. It is quite easy to park somewhere in there, and walk around the whole area (we've done that), and it would also be quite easy to walk there from the surrounding housing.


    I would have organised that shopping area somewhat differently myself ... but they didn't ask me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Trees have roots.
    Yes, and branches and leaves; all of which can be trimmed and managed without removing the whole tree. Sometimes removing a few trees is warranted but I think many developers do it too easily because they are focussed on their 'glorious' construction project and not really thinking about the long term ramifications. There are so many developed areas with nothing but curb-enclosed grass lawns peppered by a few trees for decorations.

    People don't feel like raking and managing the trees so they become a liability when they are actually an asset in stabilizing temperatures and watershed. What's more, trees and other foliage need to be compounded for their health. A forest or grove shades the ground, which keeps it cool and moist. Foliage growing in the shady areas between trees also helps absorb the moisture and sunlight not mitigated by the trees, and they also help fertilize the trees with their life cycles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    There are footpaths everywhere within the shopping area, and also around the shopping area. It is quite easy to park somewhere in there, and walk around the whole area (we've done that), and it would also be quite easy to walk there from the surrounding housing.
    If it's easy to park somewhere and then walk, motor-traffic to/in the area is going to ensue and grow. If I lived in rural area that I didn't want to grow into a bustling suburban area, I would oppose even pedestrian-friendly developments with parking because I would assume people would be driving back and forth to and from other areas and increasing motor-traffic and bustle.

    Environmentalists want to stop growth altogether but I think car-free developments could allow growth that doesn't increase traffic and/or otherwise harm the environment too much. I may be wrong and people can't even live in harmony with the environment when they live car-free.

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