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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060126/lf_nm/life_sprawl_dc

 

2006_01_26t103251_450x302_us_life_sprawl.jpg?x=380&y=254&sig=RB2nFIQNWOImjxmaCQJZWQ--

Morning traffic heads toward Manhattan, December 23, 2005. (Seth Wenig/Reuters)

 

Suburban sprawl an irresistible force in US

By Alan Elsner

Thu Jan 26, 8:19 AM ET

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Across the United States, an unprecedented acceleration in suburban sprawl is prompting concerns about the environment, traffic, health and damage to rural communities, but opponents appear powerless to stop the process because of the economic development and profits it generates.

 

.........

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Smart Thinking

Boston Globe Magazine

 

Franklin, a community south of Boston, became a poster town for sprawl. Now one developer is betting big on revitalizing its downtown. Should the rest of Massachusetts follow suit?

By Bryant Urstadt  |  February 12, 2006

 

The next boom in real estate may have started with a wrecking crew. The target was a single abandoned furniture warehouse right in the center of the once-thriving downtown of Franklin. What went down with the warehouse may be the whole idea of living in a huge house on gobbled-up farmland in the suburbs and spending the better part of your life behind the wheel of a car.

 

If all that seems like a lot to read into the demolition of one building half an hour south of Boston, back up a few years. In the 1990s, Franklin became a poster town for development run amok. Its population has boomed since 1990, increasing from 22,000 to 30,000. But there was little growth downtown, where Franklin had clustered from the 18th to the early 20th centuries between the mill-friendly Charles and Blackstone rivers. It was happening in the forestland and open spaces on the outskirts of the town. Among communities surveyed by the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 2003, Franklin ranked third in the amount of farmland lost to development between 1985 and 1999. Meanwhile, between 1970 and 2002, the average lot size in Massachusetts grew by 47 percent – and more than doubled in Franklin.

 

Susan Speers moved to Franklin in 1988. Director of the Metacomet Land Trust, a nonprofi t that works to preserve open space, she was shocked by the community’s rate of development. “The floodgates were already open when I got there,” she says. “Now, the trafffic is incredible. The exit 17 interchange at I-495 looks like LA with its six lanes. There are two train stations, but you can’t park at them after about 7 in the morning.” As for Main Street, it’s a shadow of its former self. Speers can remember when there were actually pharmacies and hardware stores, but mostly they’re long gone.

 

© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2006/02/12/smart_thinking/

 

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An oldie, and a goody

________________

 

http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/aug2004/sb20040831_0432.htm

 

AUGUST 31, 2004

 

KENTON'S CORNER

 

By Chris Kenton

 

 

To Save a Town, Why Did They Destroy It?

 

Santa Maria used to be a city of small stores and Main Street lives. Now, all that is gone -- and so is its soul

 

I took a short vacation with my family to visit the town where my wife grew up. It was the town where we met some 15 years ago, the place where my parents retired, and where I landed after wandering overseas between college majors. Back then, Santa Maria was an agricultural backwater on California's central coast, a pit stop on the way from San Francisco to L.A. It was a town with a vibrant history, but little use for it -- an impossible place to love if you didn't have roots there. For me, it became the town where I met my wife, where my father died, and where I got my first tastes of both business and journalism.

 

Today, Santa Maria is a burgeoning Wal-Mart (WMT ) suburb. Everything and nothing has changed. Where once there were neat rows of strawberries and broccoli that went on for miles, now there are endless fields of single-family homes. In a town that once couldn't attract a national grocery chain, you now find the same brand-name strip malls that dot almost every town in America. Starbucks (SBUX )-Blockbuster-Subway-Kinkos -- prefab economic zones you can buy off the shelf to drop into your half-acre plot along Main Street, some assembly required.

 

............

 

Christopher Kenton is president of the marketing agency Cymbic. He can be reached at ckenton@cymbic.com

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A LIFE OF LABELS.  But how much value do we place on a sense of place, or a sense of history? History only tells us where we've been, but it's those stories that help us understand who we are and where we're going. What stories do we tell about our communities when our history is relegated to some old black and white photos in the barber shop or a doddering historical society?

 

This sort of gets to the German concept of heimat, which is untranslatable in English, but sort of describes the spirit or character of a place..the combination of history, landscape, architecture, society, dialect, folkways and foodways, and also maybe a bit of economics that make up a sense of place or the character of a place.

 

 

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This sort of gets to the German concept of heimat, which is untranslatable in English

 

How appropriate that such a concept is not translatable to English, or perhaps more accurately, to American.

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VCR/DVR ALERT!

 

On Thursday 9/7 at 8 p.m. ideastream/WVIZ Channel 25 will feature a panel discussion on the challenges of government fragmentation, and how Northeast Ohio plans to address the growing problem of sprawl. Guests will include Hunter Morrison, Sr. Fellow at the Center for Urban Studies Youngstown State University; David Beach, Director of EcoCity Cleveland; Debbie Sutherland, Bay Village Mayor and President of Cuyahoga Co. Mayors & Managers Assoc. and Steve Brooks, Associate Dir. of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.

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Great articles. Keep 'em coming!

 

Sprawl is many a toxic thing. It's strained personal relationships with otherwise enlightened friends who buy into the shiny allure of sprawl's empty promises. It's so hard to tame the I/me/mine impulse that seems to drive our society. Outside of these tight circles, to question sprawl makes you seem like some sort of espresso-sipping, oddball commie. And for the record, I don't sip espresso.

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^ Good. Chugging espresso is the only way to go.

 

When I decided to move to Chinatown a couple of months back, I had to field comments from an extended friend that lives in Eastlake, comments like "People make money so they can move out of neighborhoods like that? Why are you moving there?" If that wasn't bad enough, I then had to listen to what was basically a two-hour promo for exurban living. How great it is to be able to travel easily to a variety of big box retail. How big the lots are. How you know your neighbors. And heck, if you want to check out the city, you can hop on the Shoreway and be downtown in 15 minutes. I think he was actually trying to recruit me to Lake County.

 

God, I hate sprawl.

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^ I love how suburban folk feel as if they've cornered the market in knowing their neighbors. I live in the city. I not only know my neighbors, I know what time they get up in the morning and what radio station they're listening to when they leave for work. In fact, I don't know HOW you'd go about meeting neighbors without the common areas city living affords; exactly the type of set-up suburbs shun, unless there's shopping involved.

 

One of the creepiest things I've ever seen was when I was looking at a rental house in Westerville off of Sunbury road. It was a two story garage-in-front number in a Totally 80's cul-de-sac-style subdivision, the type with clusters of houses that back up to common areas. My son made a bee-line for the playground equipment there. I was stuck by how the swings and jungle gym appeared as if they hadn't been used in years. Then I looked around and noticed that the common area was ringed by privacy fences, and peeking out over the top of each fence, in each yard, was a new, expensive-looking play structure. 

 

We fled that house as if it were in Amityville.

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WVIZ is channel 25, and broadcast over the free airwaves. Too bad I didn't catch your message until the program was 53 minutes over. Dave Beach from EcoCity Cleveland is speaking now. And, yes, I'm videotaping it.

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To be honest the convienience of suburbia (& lack of a city income tax) is why I moved to suburban Dayton...though I live in a fairly busy "edge city" part of suburbia...

 

And there is a lot of peer pressure to live in suburbia by coworkers and bosses...one is "steered" away from the city.  I recall my boss telling me, when he found out I was at first looking to live in Dayton city:

 

"Why do you want to live in Dayton?  No one lives in Dayton."

 

..it is considered sort of an oddball thing to do, to live in the city. 

 

I have to say I enjoyed city living when I was in California (in the heart of Sacramento) and in inner-city Lexington. Not all suburban people are city-hostile, though it does seem to be often the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm not sure if this article from National Geographic entitled Orlando Beyond Disney: The Theme-Parking, Megachurching, Franchising, Exurbing, McMansioning of America has been posted or not (it really could be applicable in so many different discussions on here).  The article is all about Orlando and Disney World, but I found it very interesting and so much of it relates to the general sprawl discussion.  It's a pretty long article, so I won't post the entire thing here, but here is the link...  http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0703/feature4/index.html

 

Being stuck in traffic gives you time to think; I wind up thinking about how different Orlando's image of itself is from reality. The irony of Orlando is that people go there in search of Disneyesque tranquillity—and by doing so, they've unleashed upon the place all the rootless, restless contradictions of America. Here is big city traffic, big city crime, yet people in Orlando cherish the idea that they have escaped the trials people face in other cities. On this morning, it is cold, so cold I turn the car heater to high—though at most times of year it is stultifyingly hot. Ahead of me is an overpass, and just to complete the refutation of Orlando's all-American self-image, a big semi lunges across the overpass. "Lucky Noodles," giant red characters proclaim, both in English and Chinese; it is carrying supplies for Orlando's Asian supermarkets.

 

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To be honest the convienience of suburbia (& lack of a city income tax) is why I moved to suburban Dayton...though I live in a fairly busy "edge city" part of suburbia...

 

And there is a lot of peer pressure to live in suburbia by coworkers and bosses...one is "steered" away from the city.  I recall my boss telling me, when he found out I was at first looking to live in Dayton city:

 

"Why do you want to live in Dayton?  No one lives in Dayton."

 

..it is considered sort of an oddball thing to do, to live in the city.

 

Well that is somewhat surprising that there is peer presure on where you should live, although I don't find it surprising that people find it an 'odd' thing...to live in the city.  They do realize that 132,679 other people live within the City of Dayton.  And I'm sure that is quick to follow with "only poor people live in the city" well about 25% are below the poverty level.  So an overwhelming majority are people who make a living and are not considered (by definition) 'poor'.

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^ I love how suburban folk feel as if they've cornered the market in knowing their neighbors. I live in the city. I not only know my neighbors, I know what time they get up in the morning and what radio station they're listening to when they leave for work. In fact, I don't know HOW you'd go about meeting neighbors without the common areas city living affords; exactly the type of set-up suburbs shun, unless there's shopping involved...

 

... And there is a lot of peer pressure to live in suburbia by coworkers and bosses...one is "steered" away from the city.  I recall my boss telling me, when he found out I was at first looking to live in Dayton city:

 

"Why do you want to live in Dayton?  No one lives in Dayton."

 

..it is considered sort of an oddball thing to do, to live in the city. 

 

That is exactly my problem with the Dayton region.  When we first moved to Ohio in 2001, we chose the Dayton region because my wife has family here.  EVERYBODY - family, realtors, people we talked to - told us to move to the south suburbs and STAY AWAY from Dayton-proper.  We didn't know any better so we listened.  Two years later we decided that we just didn't like suburban living and moved to downtown.  And guess what - it is actually pretty cool here and growing.  (btw - I know almost ALL of my neighbors here; in the burbs I only knew people by waving to them across the driveway)  I'd never tell people where they should and shouldn't live, and I have no problem with people that live in the burbs.  But why can't those same people recognize that some people actually prefer urban living, and try to understand that instead of looking down at the idea and trying to convince people that their way of life is better? 

 

Our young people are fleeing in masses as soon as they get done with school so they can live in "cool cities".  Well, Dayton (like all of the other urban cities in Ohio) could be one of those cool cities (and much more affordable) that actually attract people if only people in this region would quit acting like the city is only where poor people live!

 

 

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^ Thanks ColDayMan - and it certainly isn't just me, there are plenty of good people doing great things in this town.  It is just too bad that the most of the rest of the region seems to remain pessimistic about Dayton's future.  It would be interesting to figure out how many of us that do believe in the city enough to invest and live in it are actually from a different city.  I can say that many of my neighbors are from either California or the East Cost.  Ironically I've found that the people who are actually from Dayton are typically the ones who are most negative towards it.  Anybody else notice that as well?

 

I believe sprawl occurs for two main reasons (besides those profit-hungry developers) - either the urban center has become far too expensive for average folks so they are forced to move further and further away from the city, or because the urban center has become overrun with poverty so folks that can afford to move further and further away from the city.  The good news about being the latter is that there is at least a chance (albeit small) that sprawl can be slowed significantly with more regional-minded policies (i.e. politicians with balls) and urban investment (i.e. investors with balls). 

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Ironically I've found that the people who are actually from Dayton are typically the ones who are most negative towards it.  Anybody else notice that as well?

 

It's a rustbelt thing.  Most negative people towards cities are generally their own.

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I have to agree with the rust-belt self loathing comment. I work for a fortune 500 company here in Dayton and of all the people I work with in my immediate group; 12 in total, none of them live in Dayton Proper (though one does live in Hyde Park---so figure that out! :-) )

 

However, we are constantly having visitors to dayton from all over the country and world b/c WHQ is here and I was completely shocked overhearing people just cut down Downtown Dayton. We had set up a group of colleagues from France in the Crowne Plaza and at breakfast one morning before our meetings I was shocked to hear a handful of people tell this group not to venture outside downtown b/c it was dangerous...etc. etc. I pulled the group aside and explained to them that what they were told was indeed NOT true and they would be fine downtown, just be smart. I pointed out they could walk to the Oregon and there we a lot of nice cafes, restaurants etc. and just filled them in on a little Dayton history etc. The next day one woman from Paris approached me and said you’re right, it is very nice downtown, I’m not sure why everyone was making it out to be so bad.

 

Hmmmmm go figure…darn suburbanites.

 

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Hmmmmm go figure…darn suburbanites.

 

That is somewhat unfair.  Not everyone who lives in the suburbs avoids Dayton.  And if you read the Dayton Daily News message boards one will find people who live in the city are hardly city boosters, either.

 

 

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et they are also anti-suburban as well, which is quite interesting.

 

Yeah, so whats left for these folks, a farm outside of Arcanum?  They'd probably complain about the manure smell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hmmmmm go figure…darn suburbanites.

That is somewhat unfair.  Not everyone who lives in the suburbs avoids Dayton.  And if you read the Dayton Daily News message boards one will find people who live in the city are hardly city boosters, either.

 

While I'm sure PrfctTimeOfDay didn't mean anything negative by the "darn suburbanites" comment, I do agree with Jeff that not all suburbanites avoid Dayton.  Just like not all first-tier cities have suburbanites that ALL support the city (Chicago's suburbs have plenty of people that don't go into the city but a couple times a year - my mom included).  The urban elitists that claim that all suburbanites are evil are not any better than the suburbanites that have nothing good to say about the city. 

 

I will say that most burb residents in the Dayton region that I've met and talked to have the attitude that PrfctTimeOfDay's coworkers have - many don't understand why anybody would want to actually live anywhere in the city proper (let alone downtown).  We saw alot of that kind of attitude when we opened our loft for previous Urban Nights events.  At least they were interested enough to actually take the tour.  We did our best to convince people that it is quite safe downtown, but some people will never be convinced.  We won't quit trying...

 

 

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Oregon Rethinks Easing Land-Use Limits

Trying to Untie Property Owners' Hands, Voters Also Ended Some Checks on Sprawl

 

By Blaine Harden

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, March 11, 2007; A08

 

SALEM, Ore. -- Cities in Oregon have suburbs that come to a sudden and seemingly arbitrary stop. They slammed into an "urban growth boundary," which for decades prevented townhouses and strip malls from invading the state's farmland and forests.

 

It was the nation's strictest statewide regime for strangling sprawl -- and a famous example of Oregon's populist pride in creating laws that cut against the grain. This, after all, is a state where you can lawfully kill yourself with a physician's assistance, but you cannot lawfully pump your own gas without the assistance of some guy at a filling station.

 

A voter initiative in 2004, however, undermined the state's land-use law. With the overwhelming approval of Measure 37, which has been upheld in the courts and is shredding the anti-sprawl status quo, Oregonians unwittingly replaced land-use quirkiness with land-use chaos.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/10/AR2007031001184_pf.html

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Measure 37 was sold to voters as a common-sense tool that Ma and Pa could use to cut through red tape. It would, proponents argued, allow property owners to build homes for their children and grandchildren on their rural land.

 

Take a good look, son: on this swath of land you may build a humble home for your family...and builder-financed cracker-box toss-ups for the first 38 suckers who drive up the lane.

 

Hunnicutt points to a partial analysis of Measure 37 claims by Portland State University, which shows that 72 percent of claimants want to subdivide their land into nine or fewer lots. The analysis, which is based on an examination of 40 percent of claims, also shows that about 4 in 10 claimants are asking for three or fewer lots. About 60 percent of all claims are for parcels of land that are smaller than 50 acres.

 

You can build an awful lot of undesireable crap on 50 acres.

 

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Take a good look, son: on this swath of land you may build a humble home for your family...and builder-financed cracker-box toss-ups for the first 38 suckers who drive up the lane.

 

You can build an awful lot of undesireable crap on 50 acres.

 

QFT

 

But I'll throw in this assist.

You can build a variety of crap on 50 acres.

- Ugly crap

- Poorly built crap

- Unfinished crap

- Undefined crap

- Excessive crap

- Worthless crap

 

fixt.

 

XP

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Not quite traditional

New developments evoke atmosphere of older neighborhoods -- to a point

Monday,  June 25, 2007 3:30 AM

By Debbie Gebolys

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

Six years ago, Columbus decided to take pieces of its urban past into the suburban future.

 

"Traditional neighborhood design" was adopted in 2001 so the best elements of older neighborhoods such as Clintonville and Grandview Heights could show up in new neighborhoods on the edges of the city.

 

Built on straight, intersecting streets, the smaller homes would be on smaller lots than typical suburban houses. Detached garages would open onto alleys. Front porches and sidewalks would lend a neighborliness lacking in typical suburban subdivisions.

 

http://dispatch.com/dispatch/content/local_news/stories/2007/06/25/newurban.ART_ART_06-25-07_A1_2R73HS5.html?print=yes

 

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"I like the idea of being surrounded by horse farms."-

 

Being surrounded by horse farms is really nice if you like being swarmed by flies everytime you walk outside.  Otherwise, no.

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This story demonstrates how suburban developers have done such a half-baked job of trying to capture the very things that make a neighborhood a neighborhood. Walking still isn't encouraged because tthere is no place to walk to: no corner grocery store, no barber shop, dry cleaners, dairy mart, etc.

 

The people who live in these developments still have to drive to get to what they need. And I love how the developers quoted in the article try to pass off the responsibility for developing the commercial/retail side of their own development. They just don't seem to have a clue that what makes a neighborhood work is to be able to not just have a denser environment, but to also have the amenities that encourage walking, biking or using public transportation.

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Not quite traditional

New developments evoke atmosphere of older neighborhoods -- to a point

 

Developers couldn't provide the commercial elements and buyers didn't want others, such as detached garages.

 

Oh no! Not a detached garage! We don't want to be outside for even one second!

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Not quite traditional

New developments evoke atmosphere of older neighborhoods -- to a point

 

Developers couldn't provide the commercial elements and buyers didn't want others, such as detached garages.

 

Oh no! Not a detached garage! We don't want to be outside for even one second!

 

LOL  I dont get the the "attachment" to attached garages.  Especially in Cali. or Florida, almost everyone I know converts it into living space.

 

When I was renovating in LA, the just assumed that I would be converting the garage when I was researching how to rezone/convert it to my neighbors so they could convert it into a smaller garage.  The guy at the city was like nobody uses them as people park in drives, this way families get an extra room without purchasing a new home.

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The story below speaks to a mindblowingly heartbreaking issue. Great pains are taken to pin the cause on the deficiencies of SUVs (no argument here), but I think the story overlooks the potential role played by attached garages. For the record, if I ever backed over one of my kids, I would without hesitation kill myself.

 


SUV backover deaths: What can be done?

Drivers unaware of rear blindspots accidentally backing over more small children, experts say.

 

NEW YORK (CNN) - One thing many SUV buyers like about their vehicles is the increased visibility. They feel like they can see farther down the road over the roofs of other cars. But that long-distance line of sight comes at a price that can be tragic.

 

What SUV drivers can't see is what's close behind them and, when backing out of a driveway or parking spot, that could be a person. In many cases, it's a small child.

 

More than 2,400 children are backed-up over every year in the United States. Of those, about 100 are killed. In most cases, those children are run over by a parent or other relative.

 

http://money.cnn.com/2005/11/03/Autos/tipsandadvice/backover/index.htm

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