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Ellen

End of Suburbia

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They had a showing of that in Spartanburg a few months ago. Its alittle on the doomsday side of things, but it is an interesting film nonetheless.

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Yes. Doomsday indeed. I didn't stay for the discussion afterward; wish I'd had the time. But very glad I saw the film.

In a large nutshell: Petroleum stores are finite. We are fast approaching the "peak" of oil reserves and production will drop within a very few years. Planning must now take into consideration that we cannot continue to live miles away from where we work.

Walkable / livable communities must take the forefront.

Finding and using alternative energy sources is crucial.

Much more. But basically - If you get the chance to see this documentary, please do. It sharply states the critical need for a rethinking of the way we live.

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Yes. Doomsday indeed. I didn't stay for the discussion afterward; wish I'd had the time. But very glad I saw the film.

In a large nutshell: Petroleum stores are finite. We are fast approaching the "peak" of oil reserves and production will drop within a very few years. Planning must now take into consideration that we cannot continue to live miles away from where we work.

Walkable / livable communities must take the forefront.

Finding and using alternative energy sources is crucial.

Much more. But basically - If you get the chance to see this documentary, please do. It sharply states the critical need for a rethinking of the way we live.

I recently read something that the world's supply of oil is much greater than originally thought a few decades ago. It basically said that there is plenty of oil left for decades to come. Of course, how much of that is off the coast and in Alaska, etc. where environmentalist issues come into play?

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I wanted to see this, but I couldn't make it! I dabble in movement trends, futurism and pop sociology... and I do think that the decline of suburbia is about to begin. Right now, despite the fact that urban movement trends are as strong as they have been since before WWII (I don't know about the numbers, I'm just talking about the cultural energy), I think things are very polarized... with some strongly feeling the movement towards sustainable/walkable/livable community life or whatever you want to call it, while others are still deeply rooted in the traditional suburban "American dream" mentality and the urban flight patterns of the past. I think you can chalk the division up to differences in cultural awareness, progressive thinking and even levels of spiritual enlightenment.

As we've all seen, property values in urban areas are going up, but suburban values are also increasing. I think that will change over the next 5 years and you will see some suburban property values significantly deflate. The "early adopters" in this new urban era and those that have always appreciated city life will do okay or even prosper, but I think some of the people who are slow to see the change and adapt will pay an economic price. Continually increasing gasoline and energy prices are a major contributor to this change, but there will be other social/political/economic factors at play. Honestly, I don't see a real economic doomsday scenario playing out in our country for another 50 years or so, but I think there will be some pretty tight times in our immediate future. And it will be especially rough on people who are living in over-priced McMansions in poorly planned suburban developments with no regard for sustainable community life.

I should add that I think the rural lifestyle will continue to thrive as it is fairly sustainable -- there is real connectedness in rural life even though it is spread out. The economic problems will first emerge in suburban locales where there's a lack of connectedness between residents and their workplaces, where there's limited immediate access to community-support related businesses, where there is nothing "special" about the surrounding area (i.e. suburban developments that are in close proximity to things that make them attractive like lakes, rivers, etc. will remain popular), where there are limited/stunted relational connections among residents, and where environmental sustainability is negelected.

So... all this begs the question... are we headed for desolation, utopia or both?

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You hit on a few of the issues the documentary raised. And of course, livable/walkable communities was one semi-solution offered. Another, interestingly, was something that reminds me a little of the Village at Sandhills. Or what they have done with Woodhill. Put small "towns" in the midst of the 'burbs. Make sure the residents don't have to drive into town for needs. Even plop jobs back in the middle of the ranchettes.

I know I left the movie feeling pretty smug about my new home 2.7 miles from my office. Very good move on my part.

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Good stuff emerging.me.

Of course, you also have the social/demographic aspects of this whole issue. The advent of suburbia marked the beginning of racial and economic segregation in this country, sans Jim Crow. If we are to see sustainable, urban developments, then we will necessarily have to see the emergence of true integration within our cities. Sheryll D. Cashin argues for this in her book The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class are Undermining the American Dream. It's a great read that I would encourage everyone to pick up.

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You hit on a few of the issues the documentary raised. And of course, livable/walkable communities was one semi-solution offered. Another, interestingly, was something that reminds me a little of the Village at Sandhills. Or what they have done with Woodhill. Put small "towns" in the midst of the 'burbs. Make sure the residents don't have to drive into town for needs. Even plop jobs back in the middle of the ranchettes.

I know I left the movie feeling pretty smug about my new home 2.7 miles from my office. Very good move on my part.

Cool! Yeah, I still prefer straight-up urban renewal, but "new urban" and "traditional neighborhood" style developments are a good alternative to typical suburban development. Harborside Town Center at Lake Carolina is the best example of this (albeit, a pretty lame one) in the Columbia area. Check out the "New Urbanism" forum on Urban Planet for some good examples elsewhere. I'm a sucker for the design of a lot of those places (we vacationed in Watercolor and Seaside, Florida last spring -- really cool), but there's just something that doesn't ring about those places.

To bridge Krazee's post on race... when we were down in Florida a few years ago we visited Celebration -- the new urban development near Disney. We were in this shop and the owner struck up a coversation with us... we asked her how long she had lived there and where she moved from, etc.... and she didn't even hesistate to tell us about how she was so glad to be there because there were very few black students at her kid's school and how they were "taking over" where they lived previously. I'm sure there are plenty of people in these towns who aren't like that, but I the Pleasantville atomosphere in some of these places makes me ill. I say Pleasantville, but they're probably more like Wisteria Lane behind closed doors. :)

I say all that to say that I don't think NU/TND developments are going to save suburbia.

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The advent of suburbia marked the beginning of racial and economic segregation in this country, sans Jim Crow. If we are to see sustainable, urban developments, then we will necessarily have to see the emergence of true integration within our cities.

And that is something Columbia appears to be failing. I mentioned this very idea to one of my friends after the film ended Wednesday evening. Before I purchased my traditional home in Keenan Terrace this year, I had looked at the housing available on Main Street.

WHO CAN AFFORD IT??? Not me, that's for sure. And I'd wager very few middle class folks -- I'm talking $30 - 50K salaries -- are living there. I sure haven't seen any encouragement of lower-priced or mid-priced housing downtown, or on the river, or in the Vista.

So what are we doing? Creating a reverse White Flight?

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And that is something Columbia appears to be failing. I mentioned this very idea to one of my friends after the film ended Wednesday evening. Before I purchased my traditional home in Keenan Terrace this year, I had looked at the housing available on Main Street.

WHO CAN AFFORD IT??? Not me, that's for sure. And I'd wager very few middle class folks -- I'm talking $30 - 50K salaries -- are living there. I sure haven't seen any encouragement of lower-priced or mid-priced housing downtown, or on the river, or in the Vista.

So what are we doing? Creating a reverse White Flight?

This is exactly what I've been saying for some time. There has to be housing for the middle class if any semblance of an urban atmosphere is to develop. Urban housing is typically more expensive because you are offsetting many many other costs of living out in suburbia. I can live with that. And I am willing to bet that if a developer would build a place for the middle class person then there would be a good response. I know that I would love to live in a downtown setting, but I know that as it stands now I wouldn't be able to afford it unless its a rental property.

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And that is something Columbia appears to be failing. I mentioned this very idea to one of my friends after the film ended Wednesday evening. Before I purchased my traditional home in Keenan Terrace this year, I had looked at the housing available on Main Street.

WHO CAN AFFORD IT??? Not me, that's for sure. And I'd wager very few middle class folks -- I'm talking $30 - 50K salaries -- are living there. I sure haven't seen any encouragement of lower-priced or mid-priced housing downtown, or on the river, or in the Vista.

So what are we doing? Creating a reverse White Flight?

If you are looking for Main Street, Vista or any downtown housing you will need to sacrafice sq ft to reduce the price point. Construction costs have gone up much quicker and higher than housing pricing and now the real estate prices for land and or old buildings have gone up in the last year with all of this residential development. What is affordable I ask? under $150,000? If so a unit for around 600 to 700 sq ft would need to be built to sell at that price. For condo living, Columbia is still the cheapest per sq ft (under $250). The new greenville projects are around $250+ sq ft, Charleston & Myrtle are out of the ball park. So Columbia is still affordable. Main St and Vist projects both had many units under $200,000. I personally would like to see a project with smaller units and price point between $120,000 to $160,000 but just don't know if people would by units between 500 to 800 sq ft.

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I wasn't willing to sacrifice space. Got a 2 bdrm 1 bth house on 3/4 acres less than 3 miles from downtown for much less than $150,000. Couldn't see spending more for less.

I'm weird that way.

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That's not weird at all. I know I'd rather have a house with space in an established in-town neighborhood than a glorified apartment with not so much space. I think spacious lofts are cool, but again, out of my league.

This is why I hope the Bull Street project remains committed to its vision to have housing available for those of all economic levels. Too bad CanalSide couldn't do the same.

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That's not weird at all. I know I'd rather have a house with space in an established in-town neighborhood than a glorified apartment with not so much space. I think spacious lofts are cool, but again, out of my league.

This is why I hope the Bull Street project remains committed to its vision to have housing available for those of all economic levels. Too bad CanalSide couldn't do the same.

Thanks krazeeboi. My answer was meant to be a little tongue in cheek. I bought +1500 square feet plus the acreage plus a large unattatched workshop for much less than the downtown units are going for. If I had found comperables in the lofts I'd have purchased downtown.

I'm happy as a clam with what I got, even though the neighborhood isn't the "best." For me - widowed, grown son (no need for schools) and in an established career, Keenan Terrace is PERFECT!

I do hope the Powers will find a way to incorporate middle-class housing into the downtown revitilization.

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... when we were down in Florida a few years ago we visited Celebration -- the new urban development near Disney. We were in this shop and the owner struck up a coversation with us... we asked her how long she had lived there and where she moved from, etc.... and she didn't even hesistate to tell us about how she was so glad to be there because there were very few black students at her kid's school and how they were "taking over" where they lived previously. I'm sure there are plenty of people in these towns who aren't like that, but I the Pleasantville atomosphere in some of these places makes me ill. I say Pleasantville, but they're probably more like Wisteria Lane behind closed doors. :)

My wife and I drove through Celebration 4 years ago while we were visiting Disney World. We were just curious. The first words out of my wife's mouth when we drove through this surreal, freaky place was "This feels like Pleasantville". While we both like neo-traditional developments (such as The Kentlands in suburban Maryland near DC), Celebration gave us the creeps.

Interestingly we were inspired after watching the movie Pleasantville to choose the song "At Last" by Etta James as our first song during our wedding. Of course that song played in the movie as a burst of color spilled through the movie.

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I've seen that on the internet before. A little sensationalist, I must say, but I believe the idea behind it is solid.

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Thanks krazeeboi. My answer was meant to be a little tongue in cheek. I bought +1500 square feet plus the acreage plus a large unattatched workshop for much less than the downtown units are going for. If I had found comperables in the lofts I'd have purchased downtown.

I'm happy as a clam with what I got, even though the neighborhood isn't the "best." For me - widowed, grown son (no need for schools) and in an established career, Keenan Terrace is PERFECT!

I do hope the Powers will find a way to incorporate middle-class housing into the downtown revitilization.

Ellen, I agree wholeheartedly. As a fellow Keenan Terracean (Keenan Terraceite?) (Keenan Subterracean?) it is an awesome, yet affordable neighborhood. I'm ready to see the North Main beautification project come to fruition and see some commercial redevelopment in the North Main corridor.

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My wife and I drove through Celebration 4 years ago while we were visiting Disney World. We were just curious. The first words out of my wife's mouth when we drove through this surreal, freaky place was "This feels like Pleasantville". While we both like neo-traditional developments (such as The Kentlands in suburban Maryland near DC), Celebration gave us the creeps.

Interestingly we were inspired after watching the movie Pleasantville to choose the song "At Last" by Etta James as our first song during our wedding. Of course that song played in the movie as a burst of color spilled through the movie.

We have our Celebration near to Disneyland Paris, it's called Val d'Europe.

A kind of ideal city shaped as a Briard-village style with a downtown which is a Haussmanian Paris revival and a super mall in the center. Obviously the project was turns into a long and acidic polemic (vexing for those who live there) in spite of the pleasing aspect. Contrarily at the Disney's initial plan, the city is growing inside the Disney's domain with its own RER station.

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We have our Celebration near to Disneyland Paris, it's called Val d'Europe.

A kind of ideal city shaped as a Briard-village style with a downtown which is a Haussmanian Paris revival and a super mall in the center. Obviously the project was turns into a long and acidic polemic (vexing for those who live there) in spite of the pleasing aspect. Contrarily at the Disney's initial plan, the city is growing inside the Disney's domain with its own RER station.

Chtimi, where have you been hiding yourself?

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Wow. I just watched this... ordered it on DVD. It's wake-up time, America. Seriously.

How about it? Anybody have connections at Nick? They should show this one, really.

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