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TheGerbil

Artificially creating places to live

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It seems that so many cities are creating neighborhoods, rather than the neighborhoods evolving on their own. And in places like Las Vegas, they are building little irrigation systems in every yard so people can have bushes. It all seems so silly, when there are older cities like Pittsburgh and Philly that would love to have more population growth, and which already have the neighborhoods to house people, and which have natural environments that are already liveable.

Why does society prefer to artificially build new towns rather than utilize the ones it already has? Why let some cities sit and decay while the government throws money into building whole new ones in the middle of the desert?

(I realize I am oversimplifying somewhat, but you know what I am trying to say).

Anyone have thoughts on this? Anyone agree that it's ridiculous, as well as unfair to older cities such as ours?

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I understand completely.

I flew over downtown Pheonix recently and it actually upset me. There were golf courses all over, green lawns and pools in every yard IN THE MIDDLE OF A DESERT!

Not to mention the AC undoubtedly being used 24-7 in every building and home. It just seemed like the excesses of a wealthy society. A Compete waste of resources.

Places like Pheonix and the major expansion of Vegas really confuse me. Those cities are draining the Colorado River. Denver also is having water problems. I heard by 2020 the water issue is going to reach crisis point in those cities. Then what? We will probably abandon them and then level whatever pristine forests we have left to built a new city.

It is ridiculous. Look at urban sprawl generally though - same issue. Abandon the old and move on. It is a total waste and we as a society WILL have to pay for at some point.

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What a great article, thanks for pointing it out. That really does get at the heart of what I am talking about here.

When a coworker of mine announced she was moving the Vegas, she showed us all pictures of her house. It is part of a brand new development. She says from her front door you can see the mountains, but that will soon change as more stuff is built. She told us that each bush in her yeard (they are not allowed to have grass, but most houses have at least a couple bushes) has it's very own little pipe bringing water to it. While everyone sat there saying how neat it is, my only thought was "why?" What a waste! How stupid! Why don't you stay here in Pittsburgh where you can have an actual lawn and live in a nice old victorian house instead of some prefabricated ranch house that looks just like every other house on the street?

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^^saw something on the History Channel or maybe it was Discovery on how the "dry heat" is a thing of the past because of all the evaporation (causing humidity) from pools, automatic sprinklers drowning golf courses and yards and the running of AC's etc. humidity is becoming a HUGE problem out there. Also the old adage of dry heat days and cool nice nights is also changing, With so much pavement (parking garages, roads, parking lots, along hundreds of miles of urban sprawl) the concrete is venting the day heat during the middle of the night, the average cool desert night is no longer all that cool.

I honestly believe the old rust belt will have a revival.

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When the first explorers crossed the Alleghenies and came to Pittsburgh and the Ohio Valley they thanked God that they found "the most fertile--life sustaining--land in all the world". It's a summary of it and the source is lost to me but I'm sure a google search would bring it up. It was the same source on early Ohio Valley settlements that I pulled Ralph Waldo from--the French traders focused on what the land could produce for their trades thought that the Ohio Valley--which Pittsburgh is at the core of--was "le Belle Riverie"-- the BEAUTIFUL river--these are men that grew up along the Seine, so that says something about the Cincinnati's, Louisville's, Cleveland's, Pittsburgh's out there. Everything being equal tradesmen and merchants from NewEngland, the Atlantic Coast and England called us the most bountiful, farmboys that saw Paris (as the old adage goes) and the Seine thought that the Ohio was THE beautiful one. LV and Phoenix are great areas but when it comes to smart growth the rust belt (what was once called the fertile or to the french "beautiful" belt) might be one of the best spots in the world for intelligent growth. :)

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its all about what the private investor wants to do with their money. Governments can only tax those who wish to live in there city. If this were more of a socialist way of spending money, then maybe it would be different.

Its hard to tell someone who wants to live in the hot desert with their grean lawn, swimming pool, and golf course in the neighborhood to not buy there and move to a city like Philly.

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its all about what the private investor wants to do with their money.  Governments can only tax those who wish to live in there city.  If this were more of a socialist way of spending money, then maybe it would be different.

Its hard to tell someone who wants to live in the hot desert with their grean lawn, swimming pool, and golf course in the neighborhood to not buy there and move to a city like Philly.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

But as they say, "Mother nature always bats last." All the Phoenix and Vegas types haven't counted on running out of water, or $5+ gallon oil. Sooner or later, those problems will catch up with them. The green lawns, golf courses, etc are like a tidal pool that forms during high tide. When the ocean recedes, it dries up. That will be the real "equalizer" not some governmental intervention.

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But as they say, "Mother nature always bats last." All the Phoenix and Vegas types haven't counted on running out of water, or $5+ gallon oil. Sooner or later, those problems will catch up with them. The green lawns, golf courses, etc are like a tidal pool that forms during high tide. When the ocean recedes, it dries up. That will be the real "equalizer" not some governmental intervention.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

So they will beotch more and pay more. Dont expect to change anyone in Arizona's minds anytime soon. Besides think of the type of people living there, do you want them as your neighbors?

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So they will beotch more and pay more.  Dont expect to change anyone in Arizona's minds anytime soon.  Besides think of the type of people living there, do you want them as your neighbors?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I know, some people are damn stubborn, nothing much we can do about that. :angry: I seriously doubt these areas will continue to grow at the same rate they have for 25+ years, though.

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Most of this "new" city "old" city divide is that the sunbelt and Pac. NW states had a tradition of luring settlers not mananging them with Townships, Boroughs, Villages etc. Most Sunbelt cities exist in states with only 2 types of local govts. counties that contain cities, cities can expand at will and annex 3x its size in a generation much like Phoenix has or Houston. Part of the lure to these cities is low taxes (because like any LARGER organization you can spread your costs over a larger tax base not one that is hemmed in with 18th century townships like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), and simpler regulation and red tape--again a product of ONE large metro government along with maybe 3-4 large sububan "cities" and thats it . . . nothing like the 130 governments in ONLY 1 of the 7 Metro Pittsburgh counties--not counting the myriad of all "governmental organizations" (273 alone in Allegheny County) and 898 throughout Metro Pittsburgh . . . compare this to maybe only a dozen or so in a Metro Phoenix. I have said it again and will say it again Consolidate this place and 9/10ths of our problems will work themselves out. If you are opening a business or looking for a good tax environment to your family dealing with 1 or 2 governments is better then dealing with 150 to 898.

To see how bad PENNSYLVANIA law is compared to sunbelt states that allow cities to annex every 5 years or so you can check out this link:

http://www.briem.com/frag/PittsburghIndex.htm

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I hope y'all realize that Kunstler is quite likely insane. His maniacal rants call to mind other Malthusian promises that we would run out of oil/food/fresh water/air/other resource by 1970/80/90/20??, which by the way never came true. The genius of man is that, unlike the bacterium in the petri dish, he is intelligent and adaptable. If our society is to fall, it will not be because of the environment but because of atrophy from within and/or barbaraian invasions from without (see Mexican border, Roman Empire).

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^^ thanks for the link Riverside but Kunstler's tie in to Malthusian is not as strong as you might think. I don't subscribe to a "doomsday scenario" out in the desert--or in Florida where the natural aquifer is being depleated (for example Pinellas County the one with St. Petersburg, Clearwater etc. has run out of fresh water completely and is solely dependent on neighboring counties for a fresh supply!). Having gone to College in Florida and taken bio classes the state is having a MAJOR problem with brackish water (fresh aquifer water polluted by encroaching salt water because of overdevelopment and overtaxing of the fresh aquifer) throughout the state, many many municipalities far inland are having to import their whole water supply or spend millions on desalinization. Another problem with the aquifer in Florida is the sinkhole phenom because of overdevelopment the ground is literally opening up. In the west no one can dispute the facts that there are water wars going on (California's Governator recently had some spats on that and Arizona, NM, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and beyond are all fighting over it). It is also a fact that there is no longer the healthy and refreshing "dry heat" out in Phoenix and LV--instead replaced by the stifling humidity heat one would find in the everglades or Louisiana, why? thousands of pools and hundreds of sprinklers for lawns and golf courses are pouring moisture into that "dry heat" as well as AC's. The cool desert nights--something that the land uses to balance itself and its plant and wildlife is also becoming a thing of the past with miles and miles of pavement, highway, parking lots, superstructures and buildings, as well as those pesky pools and AC's retaining noon heat and venting it slowly thoughout the night. Those are the facts, so no Las Vegas won't melt down anytime soon, but there is a impending water/humidity/night heat crisis happening throughout the SW and a water purity and sinkhole crisis evolving in Florida. These environments weren't made like the glacial sheets of the MW and Northeast, land that is solid and fertile with good rain and hearty rivers. Yes we should conquer the deserts, and in the SE dunes and swamps but to transfer what the NE and MW was in 1970 to those regions is courting disaster, and it is already showing up in water purity tests, humidity and night temperature readings, water availibility and sinkhole instances.

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I hope y'all realize that Kunstler is quite likely insane.  His maniacal rants call to mind other Malthusian promises that we would run out of oil/food/fresh water/air/other resource by 1970/80/90/20??, which by the way never came true.  The genius of man is that, unlike the bacterium in the petri dish, he is intelligent and adaptable.  If our society is to fall, it will not be because of the environment but because of atrophy from within and/or barbaraian invasions from without (see Mexican border, Roman Empire).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You are delusional.

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The genius of man is that, unlike the bacterium in the petri dish, he is intelligent and adaptable. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That may be so, but the USA has always and continues to pursue policies that are decidedly anti-adaptation. I mean, I'm not really into that Malthusian stuff either. But I do think places like Vegas are gonna have to tighen up in the coming years.

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You are delusional.

No sir, you are. Would you care to place a $1000 wager on the ability of Las Vegas to sustain itself and to continue to grow over the next 20 years? I am sure that (1) I would win the bet and (2) the answer is to my question is no.

By the way, I hate Vegas too (I think it is tacky, cheesy and licentious). I am just not into your-sky-is-falling nonsense.

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Human civilization is not a fixed thing. Because of new inventions (such as the green revolution) whole equations can be altered (such as the carrying capacity of the earth). There are also other ways to get water than from rivers and streams. Desalinization plants are working all over the world, for example. As for the humidity in Vegas, that sounds like here in FL in the summer. We live with it. We get better weather in the winter which makes up for the hot summers. And, again, I prefer traditional Eastern cities personally and would never move to the desert. I just think man can overcome these problems. Think of all the progress we have made in only the last 100 years - from Kitty Hawk to the moon in less than 75 years.

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lack of inventions isn't the thing that will kill the SW or Florida eventually . . . COST of applying those inventions to build up sink holes x10, combat a whole state gone brackish, and in the SW spill into the night air COOL air (try air conditioning a whole desert!) or manufacturing water for the regional population similar to the NE and MW in 1970! The cost will be too prohibitive to maintain that especially when the NE and MW offer that for free (nature allows it here).

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To put it in the words of Winston Churchill,

"Americans can be counted on to do the right thing, after exhausting every other possibility".

'Nuff said.

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Well, there is plenty of water in North FL where I live, and those South Florida people cant have it.

By the way, the sinkhole issue is really overblown. I can see how someone living up North would be freaked out by this given the sensational media treatment of everything, but they are very rare. And, if one opens up you either fill it in or you just have a new lake. Who cares?

By the way, I read somewhere that when you quote Winston Churchill, you have automatically won the argument. :)

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Oh, and as a 5th generation Floridian and Southerner back to the 1700s, I can say that we were here before the advent of air conditioning and we would be here if it ceased to exist. A/C just allows the Yankees to survive down here...

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May I just say, even if that stuff about running out of water etc. doesn't come to pass... That doesn't mean it is responsible or right for people to screw with the environment in order to build whatever the h*ll we please. Artificially creating liveable environments in the desert seems so irresponsible, especially since all those people *could* be living in other places. Why do humans build things and basically abandon them as soon as the shine wears off? How many federal tax dollars have been wasted on irrigating deserts, while education and public transit are short of funding, and older cities fight to stay alive? It's sad.

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Gerbil you really should run for something seriously :) you are wasting your talents out in the private sector.

I'd vote for you. ;)

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