Posts tagged "Suburbia"
dc.streetsblog.org
“Warning Signs From Columbus About America’s Big Suburban Housing Glut
Angie Schmitt. Jan 24, 2014
Columbus, Ohio, is a convenient microcosm of the United States as a whole.
Demographically, Columbus closely resembles America. That’s one reason the city ends up being a battleground for presidential candidates every four years, and why fast food chains like to test new menu items there.
Because Columbus is so, well, typical, the city also has a lot to teach us about where the average American city is headed. Esteemed urban affairs researcher Arthur C. Nelson recently took a look at Columbus as part of a report for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and he found that the city is on course for “sweeping demographic changes” that could transform the local housing market.”
Photo:  Richard Webner

dc.streetsblog.org

Warning Signs From Columbus About America’s Big Suburban Housing Glut

Angie Schmitt. Jan 24, 2014

Columbus, Ohio, is a convenient microcosm of the United States as a whole.

Demographically, Columbus closely resembles America. That’s one reason the city ends up being a battleground for presidential candidates every four years, and why fast food chains like to test new menu items there.

Because Columbus is so, well, typical, the city also has a lot to teach us about where the average American city is headed. Esteemed urban affairs researcher Arthur C. Nelson recently took a look at Columbus as part of a report for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and he found that the city is on course for “sweeping demographic changes” that could transform the local housing market.”

Photo:  Richard Webner

The Atlantic Cities

A Tour of a Whole Country That Has ‘Transformed Itself for Cycling’

SARAH GOODYEAR OCT 23, 2013

If suburbs and small cities in the United States are serious about becoming places that are truly bicycle-friendly – as recent trends noted by the League of American Bicyclists would seem to indicate – they should take a closer look at exactly how the Netherlands is treating new residential developments.

This latest peek into Dutch cycling culture from Clarence Eckerson at Streetfilms (who produced an envy-inducing feature on bike utopia Groningen a couple of weeks back) shows that in the Netherlands, it’s not only the urban core that benefits from state-of-the-art bike infrastructure.

Led by David Hembrow, who blogs at A View from the Cycle Path and conducts bike tours all over the country, the film takes us from the small city of Assen on a 20-mile ride to Groningen, population 190,000, which has the highest cycling mode share of any city in the world with 50 percent (60 percent in the city center and a remarkable 30 percent even in its much more thinly populated surrounding province). The entire 20-mile route consists of the sort of protected cycle infrastructure where you would be happy to ride with a young child, as many do.”

Video: Streetfilms

Satellite Magazine:
“On the (cutting) edge of the global city
BY JEAN-PAUL ADDIE & ROB FIEDLER
Juri Pill once described Toronto as “Vienna surrounded by Phoenix.” In contrast to the central city—a bastion of progressive urbanism which, under the intellectual and moral guidance of Jane Jacobs, avoided the meat ax of modern postwar urban renewal—Toronto’s suburbs have tended to be dismissed in pejorative terms as gray, flat sprawl. In the Globe and Mail, William Thorsell once portrayed them as the banal counterpoint to the vibrant exclusivity of the central city and its readily gentrified Victorian fabric; “a classic suburban wasteland, the newer the horribler.”
A cursory examination of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), however, reveals an urban landscape characterized by dramatic, and rapid, change. New built forms, social centralities, geographies of access and exclusion, and rhythms of everyday life are radically redefining how the GTA functions and how it is experienced and understood. Toronto’s suburbs can no longer be considered as relatively homogenous in terms of their built environment or social structure, nor can they be seen as subservient spaces that perform a secondary, ancillary role relative to the political, economic, and cultural Mecca of the downtown core. They are diverse, dense, and complex. They are ports of entry for immigrants to the global city, centers of production and commerce, and loci for new forms of urban politics and civic engagement.
The scale and complexity of Toronto’s suburbs, so often only partially glimpsed from the window of a moving car, train, or plane, are difficult to take in or represent visually. Yet snapshots of the regional city begin to unveil the multiplicity of urban spaces and urbanity beyond Toronto’s lauded central city and provide an opening into the dynamic urbanization and modes of urbanism unfurling at the cutting edge of the global metropolis.”
Photo: Gore Plaza, Brampton, Ontario. Satellite Magazine

Satellite Magazine:

On the (cutting) edge of the global city

Juri Pill once described Toronto as “Vienna surrounded by Phoenix.” In contrast to the central city—a bastion of progressive urbanism which, under the intellectual and moral guidance of Jane Jacobs, avoided the meat ax of modern postwar urban renewal—Toronto’s suburbs have tended to be dismissed in pejorative terms as gray, flat sprawl. In the Globe and Mail, William Thorsell once portrayed them as the banal counterpoint to the vibrant exclusivity of the central city and its readily gentrified Victorian fabric; “a classic suburban wasteland, the newer the horribler.”

A cursory examination of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), however, reveals an urban landscape characterized by dramatic, and rapid, change. New built forms, social centralities, geographies of access and exclusion, and rhythms of everyday life are radically redefining how the GTA functions and how it is experienced and understood. Toronto’s suburbs can no longer be considered as relatively homogenous in terms of their built environment or social structure, nor can they be seen as subservient spaces that perform a secondary, ancillary role relative to the political, economic, and cultural Mecca of the downtown core. They are diverse, dense, and complex. They are ports of entry for immigrants to the global city, centers of production and commerce, and loci for new forms of urban politics and civic engagement.

The scale and complexity of Toronto’s suburbs, so often only partially glimpsed from the window of a moving car, train, or plane, are difficult to take in or represent visually. Yet snapshots of the regional city begin to unveil the multiplicity of urban spaces and urbanity beyond Toronto’s lauded central city and provide an opening into the dynamic urbanization and modes of urbanism unfurling at the cutting edge of the global metropolis.”

Photo: Gore Plaza, Brampton, Ontario. Satellite Magazine

The Atlantic Cities:
"The Nefarious Ways Sprawl Begets Sprawl
Kaid Benfield. Sept 12, 2013
Loudoun County was once one of the most beautiful in Virginia. It was characterized by rolling hills, horse farms, other working lands, historic towns and hamlets dating back centuries, a modest mountain or two, streams here and there, and scenic, winding roads. To the visitor, it seemed bucolic, a place of rural peace. 
I would say that it felt that way as recently as twenty years ago. Parts of it still feel that way, though now one may have to turn off the main road onto a smaller one and then onto a still smaller and possibly unpaved one to find the rural character that once defined the whole county. That is exactly what you have to do to get to my brother-in-law’s 40 acres, which could not be more beautiful.
But the historic town of Leesburg is now just the historic center of a massively sprawling and rather ordinary new suburb. There are scattered new subdivisions all over the county, one of the country’s fastest-growing in population. In 1990, Loudoun’s population was 86,129; by 2010, the population had more than tripled, reaching 312,311. (The county is also one of the country’s wealthiest.)
And, according to an article that just appeared in The Washington Post, Loudoun desperately needs more roads to serve all the new development. In the print edition, the article was headlined “Loudoun’s missing roadways: The fast-growing county has been adding people more quickly than streets,” and was accompanied by a map showing that a new highway called the Loudoun County Parkway was unfinished.”
 Photo: Top image courtesy of Flickr user Heather Elias.

The Atlantic Cities:

"The Nefarious Ways Sprawl Begets Sprawl

Kaid Benfield. Sept 12, 2013

Loudoun County was once one of the most beautiful in Virginia. It was characterized by rolling hills, horse farms, other working lands, historic towns and hamlets dating back centuries, a modest mountain or two, streams here and there, and scenic, winding roads. To the visitor, it seemed bucolic, a place of rural peace. 

I would say that it felt that way as recently as twenty years ago. Parts of it still feel that way, though now one may have to turn off the main road onto a smaller one and then onto a still smaller and possibly unpaved one to find the rural character that once defined the whole county. That is exactly what you have to do to get to my brother-in-law’s 40 acres, which could not be more beautiful.

But the historic town of Leesburg is now just the historic center of a massively sprawling and rather ordinary new suburb. There are scattered new subdivisions all over the county, one of the country’s fastest-growing in population. In 1990, Loudoun’s population was 86,129; by 2010, the population had more than tripled, reaching 312,311. (The county is also one of the country’s wealthiest.)

And, according to an article that just appeared in The Washington Post, Loudoun desperately needs more roads to serve all the new development. In the print edition, the article was headlined “Loudoun’s missing roadways: The fast-growing county has been adding people more quickly than streets,” and was accompanied by a map showing that a new highway called the Loudoun County Parkway was unfinished.”

 Photo: Top image courtesy of Flickr user Heather Elias.

The Atlantic Cities:
“Over 50% of Food Stamp Recipients Live in the Suburbs
Meet the new geography of poverty 
MATTHEW O’BRIEN AUG 30 2013
The housing bust didn’t just sink the world economy. It sunk the suburbs too. 
Now, you probably think of white picket fences, big backyards, and perhaps a whiff of existential despair when you think about the suburbs. But you should think of economic despair instead. As Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brookings Institution points out, suburbanites made up almost 50 percent of food stamp recipients back in 2007 — and 55 percent in 2011.”
Photo: Reuters

The Atlantic Cities:

Over 50% of Food Stamp Recipients Live in the Suburbs

Meet the new geography of poverty 

The housing bust didn’t just sink the world economy. It sunk the suburbs too. 

Now, you probably think of white picket fences, big backyards, and perhaps a whiff of existential despair when you think about the suburbs. But you should think of economic despair instead. As Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brookings Institution points out, suburbanites made up almost 50 percent of food stamp recipients back in 2007 — and 55 percent in 2011.”

Photo: Reuters

The Atlantic Cities: 
"Sprawl Is Still Sprawl, Even If It’s ‘Green’
Kaid Benfield. Sept 3, 2013
Does the lead photo with this article look like a good place to put over 1,700 new homes on a little over 600 acres? What if I told you it was working agricultural land in a remote location 45 miles north of San Diego and 61 miles south of San Bernardino, California? What if I added that the developer is doing everything it can to make the project green? Those are the questions currently facing San Diego County authorities.
The environmental importance of development location
Unfortunately for the proposed project’s sponsor, the most significant factor in determining the environmental impacts of real estate development is the project’s location. Even the greenest development in the wrong location will create more environmental problems than it will solve. Of course, that doesn’t stop developers’ and architects’ green puffery. Heck, they may even be well-intentioned, trying to do the greenest internal design on a site whose non-green location cannot be overcome. But trying to green a project doesn’t make wishes come true.”
Image: Google Earth

The Atlantic Cities

"Sprawl Is Still Sprawl, Even If It’s ‘Green’

Kaid Benfield. Sept 3, 2013

Does the lead photo with this article look like a good place to put over 1,700 new homes on a little over 600 acres? What if I told you it was working agricultural land in a remote location 45 miles north of San Diego and 61 miles south of San Bernardino, California? What if I added that the developer is doing everything it can to make the project green? Those are the questions currently facing San Diego County authorities.

The environmental importance of development location

Unfortunately for the proposed project’s sponsor, the most significant factor in determining the environmental impacts of real estate development is the project’s location. Even the greenest development in the wrong location will create more environmental problems than it will solve. Of course, that doesn’t stop developers’ and architects’ green puffery. Heck, they may even be well-intentioned, trying to do the greenest internal design on a site whose non-green location cannot be overcome. But trying to green a project doesn’t make wishes come true.”

Image: Google Earth

The Atlantic Cities:
"The Suburbs Are Dead, Long Live the Suburbs
Eric Jaffe Aug 27, 2013
Regular readers of The Atlantic Cities will be familiar with most of the social trends that Leigh Gallagher of Fortune magazine tracks to produce the title argument of her new book, The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving. Population growth is on the rise in city centers (though total population still favors suburbs), Millennials seem less keen to drive than their parents were, urban home values are increasing faster than suburban ones. The list can anddoes go on.
What any interested reader will recognize, however, is how well Gallagher welds this enormous amount of data together. The result is a post-mortem worthy of the great American suburban experiment. Which, let’s face it, housed so many of us for so long — and which isn’t quite over, as Gallagher explains, but will never be the same again.
"I think I marshaled so much evidence partially because I knew I might get attacked, and partially because every stone I turned over yielded these beautiful flowers of evidence," she tells Atlantic Cities. “It was really everywhere.”
Photo: Shutterstock

The Atlantic Cities:

"The Suburbs Are Dead, Long Live the Suburbs

Eric Jaffe Aug 27, 2013

Regular readers of The Atlantic Cities will be familiar with most of the social trends that Leigh Gallagher of Fortune magazine tracks to produce the title argument of her new bookThe End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream Is Moving. Population growth is on the rise in city centers (though total population still favors suburbs), Millennials seem less keen to drive than their parents were, urban home values are increasing faster than suburban ones. The list can anddoes go on.

What any interested reader will recognize, however, is how well Gallagher welds this enormous amount of data together. The result is a post-mortem worthy of the great American suburban experiment. Which, let’s face it, housed so many of us for so long — and which isn’t quite over, as Gallagher explains, but will never be the same again.

"I think I marshaled so much evidence partially because I knew I might get attacked, and partially because every stone I turned over yielded these beautiful flowers of evidence," she tells Atlantic Cities. “It was really everywhere.”

Photo: Shutterstock

The Washington Post
"Have the suburbs hit a dead end?
By Jonathan O’Connell and Leigh Gallagher, Published: August 2


In her new book, “The End of the Suburbs,” Leigh Gallagher argues that the suburban way of life, once the epitome of the American dream, is becoming increasingly undesirable. Capital Business reporter Jonathan O’Connell, who has questioned whether Washington can grow up with its 20-somethings, chatted with Gallagher this past week about how Americans choose to live. An abridged version of that conversation follows.


O’Connell: Could you start by telling us why you think the suburbs are in decline?
Gallagher: The suburbs were a great idea that worked really well for a long time, but they overshot their mandate. We supersized everything in a way that led many people to live far away from where they needed to be and far away from their neighbors, and that has far-reaching implications, no pun intended. People have turned away from that kind of living. Add in the demographic forces that are reshaping our whole population, and the result is a significant shift. Census data shows that outward growth is slowing and inward growth is speeding up.”
Photo: Paul Windle for The Washington Post 

The Washington Post

"Have the suburbs hit a dead end?

By Jonathan O’Connell and Leigh Gallagher, Published: August 2

In her new book, “The End of the Suburbs,” Leigh Gallagher argues that the suburban way of life, once the epitome of the American dream, is becoming increasingly undesirable. Capital Business reporter Jonathan O’Connell, who has questioned whether Washington can grow up with its 20-somethings, chatted with Gallagher this past week about how Americans choose to live. An abridged version of that conversation follows.

O’Connell: Could you start by telling us why you think the suburbs are in decline?

Gallagher: The suburbs were a great idea that worked really well for a long time, but they overshot their mandate. We supersized everything in a way that led many people to live far away from where they needed to be and far away from their neighbors, and that has far-reaching implications, no pun intended. People have turned away from that kind of living. Add in the demographic forces that are reshaping our whole population, and the result is a significant shift. Census data shows that outward growth is slowing and inward growth is speeding up.”

Photo: Paul Windle for The Washington Post 

Architect:
"Don’t Forget the Burbs
By Amanda Kolson Hurley
The global age of the city is upon us. But as June Williamson reminds us, architects and designers shouldn’t give up on the quest to retrofit suburbia.
Remember when we were going to save the suburbs? In 2008, Ellen Dunham-Jones, AIA, and June Williamson released Retrofitting Suburbia, a handbook for turning sprawl into walkable, sustainable, more urban places. The book got national media attention, Dunham-Jones gave a TED talk, and for a while, dead malls were the topic du jour.
Then the recession came, putting the brakes on many suburban redevelopment plans and shifting the attention of designers and policymakers elsewhere. We started to see the effects of climate change, such as powerful, more frequent storms, and grew concerned about resilience and adaptation, not just prevention. Meanwhile, Generation Y’s preference for city living intensified, and among designers, conversation shifted to designing for health and social impact, with a renewed interest in serving inner-city communities and the developing world.
The elephant in the room: In the United States, most of our aggregate metropolitan area is auto-dependent suburban sprawl, and it’s not going away. Meanwhile, countries such as China and India are starting to replicate our bad land-use decisions. If anything, the need to retrofit suburbia is more urgent now than it was five years ago, when it seemed more buzz-worthy.”
Image: A rendering of Attain This!, an affordable housing project that Holler Architecture and AB Architekten are designing in Deer Park, N.Y., for the Long Island Housing Partnership. The prototype is expected to achieve Passive House standards.
Courtesy of Tobias Holler of HOLLER Architecture and Matthias Altwicker of AB Architekten

Architect:

"Don’t Forget the Burbs

By Amanda Kolson Hurley

The global age of the city is upon us. But as June Williamson reminds us, architects and designers shouldn’t give up on the quest to retrofit suburbia.

Remember when we were going to save the suburbs? In 2008, Ellen Dunham-Jones, AIA, and June Williamson released Retrofitting Suburbia, a handbook for turning sprawl into walkable, sustainable, more urban places. The book got national media attention, Dunham-Jones gave a TED talk, and for a while, dead malls were the topic du jour.

Then the recession came, putting the brakes on many suburban redevelopment plans and shifting the attention of designers and policymakers elsewhere. We started to see the effects of climate change, such as powerful, more frequent storms, and grew concerned about resilience and adaptation, not just prevention. Meanwhile, Generation Y’s preference for city living intensified, and among designers, conversation shifted to designing for health and social impact, with a renewed interest in serving inner-city communities and the developing world.

The elephant in the room: In the United States, most of our aggregate metropolitan area is auto-dependent suburban sprawl, and it’s not going away. Meanwhile, countries such as China and India are starting to replicate our bad land-use decisions. If anything, the need to retrofit suburbia is more urgent now than it was five years ago, when it seemed more buzz-worthy.”

Image: A rendering of Attain This!, an affordable housing project that Holler Architecture and AB Architekten are designing in Deer Park, N.Y., for the Long Island Housing Partnership. The prototype is expected to achieve Passive House standards.

Courtesy of Tobias Holler of HOLLER Architecture and Matthias Altwicker of AB Architekten

The Atlantic Cities: 
"Quantifying the Cost of Sprawl
Emily Badger. May 21, 2013
Sprawl is expensive. It costs more money to pave a road and connect a sewer line to five families each living a block apart on wooded lots than to build public infrastructure for those same five families living in a condo. It costs more money (and takes more time and gas) to serve those families with garbage trucks, fire engines, and ambulances. And in return – as we’ve previously written – those five sprawling single-family homes likely yield less in tax revenue per acre than the apartment building that could house our fictitious residents downtown.
This municipal math is a core tenet of smart growth. But the argument is even more convincing with actual numbers. A new report out today from Smart Growth America, which surveyed 17 studies of compact and sprawling development scenarios across the country, sizes up the scale of the impact this way: Compact development costs, on average, 38 percent less in up-front infrastructure than “conventional suburban development” for things like roads, sewers and water lines. It costs 10 percent less in ongoing service delivery by reducing the distances law enforcement or garbage trucks must travel to serve residents (well-connected street grids cut down on this travel time, too). And compact development produces on average about 10 times more tax revenue per acre.”
Photo: Shutterstock

The Atlantic Cities: 

"Quantifying the Cost of Sprawl

Emily Badger. May 21, 2013

Sprawl is expensive. It costs more money to pave a road and connect a sewer line to five families each living a block apart on wooded lots than to build public infrastructure for those same five families living in a condo. It costs more money (and takes more time and gas) to serve those families with garbage trucks, fire engines, and ambulances. And in return – as we’ve previously written – those five sprawling single-family homes likely yield less in tax revenue per acre than the apartment building that could house our fictitious residents downtown.

This municipal math is a core tenet of smart growth. But the argument is even more convincing with actual numbers. A new report out today from Smart Growth America, which surveyed 17 studies of compact and sprawling development scenarios across the country, sizes up the scale of the impact this way: Compact development costs, on average, 38 percent less in up-front infrastructure than “conventional suburban development” for things like roads, sewers and water lines. It costs 10 percent less in ongoing service delivery by reducing the distances law enforcement or garbage trucks must travel to serve residents (well-connected street grids cut down on this travel time, too). And compact development produces on average about 10 times more tax revenue per acre.”

Photo: Shutterstock

Architectural + Urban Research

Mass Urban is a multidisciplinary design-research initiative concerned with contemporary cities and urbanism. Mass Urban was co-founded in April 2011 by David Lee and Cliff Lau.

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