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jliv

Economics vs. Urbanism

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Interesting article:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12395115/?GT1=7938

It highlights that, in spite of the reemergence of high-density living in some American cities, the laws of economics are still driving sprawl. The Sunbelt cities, which people in this forum love to lambast for the degree of sprawl, continue to grow faster at the expense of the the older cities. That begs the question: is it really the automobile driving sprawl, or the expense of re-developing inner cities?

Here's a link to Census Bureau's press release from today:

http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/re...ion/006722.html

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Absolutely, until a clear policy regarding suburban development is initiated, inner-city growth is irrelevant. Atlanta is redeveloping within the inner-city at a significant rate, but it doesn't effect how much the metro sprawls. That said - I don't think that sprawl is occuring at the expense of the inner-city, at least anymore. That would have been the case 1 decade ago & back to the 1960's, but whoever had the chance to leave the inner-city then - already has. Now we are witnessing a new migration of the inner-city, due to gentrification - which is not neccessarily a case of lower income residents seeking a better life in the suburbs.

So - sprawl will continue, some people want to live in the inner-city, others will choose - though often not to their fault - in the suburbs / exurbs. As business centers decentralize, the automobile will continue to be a neccessity. Otherwise, the only option we have had is to densify the city center & provide transit. So at least a fraction of the metro could exist in a somewhat sustainable measure.

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Absolutely, until a clear policy regarding suburban development is initiated, inner-city growth is irrelevant. Atlanta is redeveloping within the inner-city at a significant rate, but it doesn't effect how much the metro sprawls. That said - I don't think that sprawl is occuring at the expense of the inner-city, at least anymore. That would have been the case 1 decade ago & back to the 1960's, but whoever had the chance to leave the inner-city then - already has. Now we are witnessing a new migration of the inner-city, due to gentrification - which is not neccessarily a case of lower income residents seeking a better life in the suburbs.

So - sprawl will continue, some people want to live in the inner-city, others will choose - though often not to their fault - in the suburbs / exurbs. As business centers decentralize, the automobile will continue to be a neccessity. Otherwise, the only option we have had is to densify the city center & provide transit. So at least a fraction of the metro could exist in a somewhat sustainable measure.

When you consider some of this inner city growth in Atlanta, Novare has been a trailblazer in regards to recognizing and reacting to those economic factors. Due to the fact that they are focusing on relatively affordable condo developments in the inner city, they've been able to grow their business significantly. I'm not convinced the condo market is saturated, when you consider the HUGE market for people who want to live in the city, but can't afford it.

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It highlights that, in spite of the reemergence of high-density living in some American cities, the laws of economics are still driving sprawl.

I'm not sure if people are really leaving urban areas to live in exurbs. They're often fleeing the suburbs of northern cities for suburbs in southern cities. It's just a matter of the south being cheaper. The South is booming at a transitional time. 10 years ago, suburbs would have been the only option. 10 years from now, who knows? New Urbanism, peak oil, and global warming are all very powerful wildcards.

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In most cases - it's people fleeing the suburbs for the exurbs. Otherwise, the people in the exurbs, were already there. THis makes it more difficult to distinguish from the suburbs, because often due to the distance, exuruban towns were able to develop as sattellite cities independantly. This brings up the other option, not only are there exurban populations pre-existing, but another in migration would be from neighboring rural counties.

So to summarize - exurban areas, which includes existing developed areas, attract neighboring suburbanites & neighboring rural county populations. The exurbs provide 'relief' from the diversifying & densifying suburbs & economic relief for the isolated & impoverished rural communities.

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The automobile does make it easy to exploit the land in the South. This isn't just driven by local politics but national politics as the federal government makes hundreds of billions of dollars available each decade via the Federal Highway Trust fund to build roads.

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The automobile does make it easy to exploit the land in the South. This isn't just driven by local politics but national politics as the federal government makes hundreds of billions of dollars available each decade via the Federal Highway Trust fund to build roads.

In addition, it's a lot more squeamish about supporting mass transit. If the government mandated mass transit projects for cities above a certain size, and incorporated that into its function for sustaining growth, our cities would look very different.

Urban areas are more heavily congested, and there's very little advantage living in them unless you get express access to everything in them.

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Urban areas are more heavily congested, and there's very little advantage living in them unless you get express access to everything in them.

I live in a downtown area, and I think it's less congested than the suburbs. From about 2PM-7PM, the main roads in the suburbs are practically grid-locked, and there are simply NO other options but to drive. Yeh, I guess most people would think downtown would be harder to get around, but in my experience it isn't. Traffic is lighter, and most importantly, you don't have to travel as far to do your shopping, etc.

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I live in a downtown area, and I think it's less congested than the suburbs. From about 2PM-7PM, the main roads in the suburbs are practically grid-locked, and there are simply NO other options but to drive. Yeh, I guess most people would think downtown would be harder to get around, but in my experience it isn't. Traffic is lighter, and most importantly, you don't have to travel as far to do your shopping, etc.

I think the problem worsens when companies move out of downtown. Downtown Dallas has become more of a banking and legal hub while the Fortune 500 companies are largely located in the nearby suburbs or in suburban North Dallas. Although the "reverse commute" against traffic is more bearable for those living downtown, most choose the cheaper housing and short commute of living near the suburb they work in. I know this isn't necessarily true of other cities but it's a trend that may make downtowns more important as cultural, entertainment, and dense residential hubs than economic engines in the future.

This is a good discussion. I thought the post that opened the thread was really an interesting viewpoint.

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I live in a downtown area, and I think it's less congested than the suburbs. From about 2PM-7PM, the main roads in the suburbs are practically grid-locked, and there are simply NO other options but to drive. Yeh, I guess most people would think downtown would be harder to get around, but in my experience it isn't. Traffic is lighter, and most importantly, you don't have to travel as far to do your shopping, etc.

I agree.....here in Charlotte, of the 20 most congested intersection in the city, only 1 is within the 3-mile "original" parkway around the center of the city (Charlotte 4).....the rest are in relatively low density areas characterized by large clusters of residential which are isolated from large clusters of commercial development, connected by only a few thoroughfares.

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Looks like the states who grew the most will have the most problems with water. They are in the driest part of the country. If for some reason water dries up, they are in for some big time problems.

Water not oil, is going to be be the most valuable commdity in the future.

We may be force to live in areas that we may not like, just to get water.

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