Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

PghUSA

How to stop the sprawl

9 posts in this topic

To make this realistic I would put it like this:

If you were Mayor or Governor (since the states usually have much more power) of a Metrocity such as Miami-Dade or Indianapolis, Jacksonville or Louisville--A city that could if it wanted to have the whole metroplex encompassed in its boundaries because it did have enough space and enough resources (parks, riverfront, airport, major retail area, themeparks etc.) all inside--how would you close the gate and stop the sprawl at the city limit line?

I put "Governor" there because they would have the bully pulpet to control growth in the nearby counties where the Mayor could offer incentives but couldn't prevent a county with aspirations from diverting some growth from the urban core and increasing its tax base.

To really stop the sprawl once in for all--although it would sound a little tyrannical--you would need that power to hold development to a certain point. I know in Seminole County Florida (metro Orlando) they took 1/3 of the whole county and are ceasing any further development (out by Geneva and Chuluota) save the sparse few homes out there now. I also know some cities through zoning and other means perserve certain areas, if not declaring it a state park or wildlife area is also in the cards.

Just wondering about ideas on that. My opinion that all cities should be granted Metroplex boundaries as determined by the US Census would make this question answer itself, then every mayor could control growth and development in a uniform way. Interested in hearing others thoughts on this :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I'm not sure I follow, but here's some ideas.

Take zoning over a certain density away from county goverments. County life should be rural.

More funding for mass transit.

Move state (or county or what have you) offices from suburban to urban locations.

Create "Metro" regional councils which would take some county powers away and move them up the chain. For instance, the Miami Metro Council would include Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. It would have control of transit , freeways, airport/seaport authority, maybe a sports authority etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A way to stop sprawl: build tall and dense. Building tall allows more ppl or offices to be stuffed in on the same amount of space. Skyscrapers are 'space savers', they can contribute to growth but not sprawl. Building single-story structures and/or single family houses takes up a lot of space and if the region is experiencing explosive growth, the sprawl would be explosive also, globbing up pristine land. If building tall is not an option, redevelopment could be. Most big cities have holes, slums or low-density development near their urban core that could be redeveloped into a denser, nicer neighborhood. It would also patch up holes within the city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are great ideas, I especially like your view that Metro South Florida is all three counties, I do see NIMBYs and suburban councils opposing that though.

I know I got long winded up above, what I envision is country and then city/or subdivisions no suburb or outlying counties or towns chasing away development dollars. I get so tired of all the problems--traffic, services, land waste etc. I just feel like putting up a Berlin wall sometimes lol. Cities and Counties have done that in a way sometimes with "preservation areas" or declaring areas state parks or through zoning. Just wondering what tools everyone on the board would use. Not a big player of SimCity but I wonder if they have ways that through the democratic process you can "guide" development away from outlying areas (zoning, parks, perserves, incentives etc.).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I ruled the city, here is what I do: put together a density by force plan that many suburbian NIMBYs may consider "evil." *evil laughter* hahahahhahaha Here goes:

- Tear down single story individual housing in the city core and put three story housing in its place, such as condos or apartments. Otherwise, just uproot every other house and stack it on one another.

- Evacuate suburbians from the suburbs into the cities. The new three story housing should be up and ready to move in. This is to increase density from 3,000 ppl per sq mile to 10,000 or more.

- Leave the suburbs permanently desolate once the suburbians move into the now densified city.

- Close down box stores in the burbs and demolish them for good. In the city, build more cornerstores for everything: food, merchandise, etc.

- Drop bombs on the abandoned burbs. And turn it back into farmland, making it a law against rebuilding the burbs again.

- Tear down the freeways and put an elevated rail in its place. Turn ten lanes into ten car trains, and freeway ramps to stations.

- Narrow the streets down to make it pedestrian friendly, and an enemy to cars. The more human traffic, the better.

Now that is what I would do; otherwise it's just my urbanite fantasy talking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Create strict zoning ordinances that create mixed use, business, commercial, industrial, and residential districts clearly defined. Create a strong central business district for non-industrial businesses.

2) Create a public transit ordinance where everyone is within walking distance of transit services that run regularly. Begin smaller cities and beginner systems in larger cities with usable bus transit, then build rail transit where busses feed off this.

3) Start tearing down and rennovating areas, then rebuild them and integrate salvagable old buildings into a new urban landscape.

4) For the sprawl that would still exist create the maximum land use available and grid the major road systems around development to improve traffic flow.

5) Level the tax base where "suburbs" and "urban" regions pay equal amounts and promote business growth in the center via breaks and incentives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very cool ideas! I have wondered about this kind of thing for awhile now . . . Pittsburgh's financial woes has much to do with sprawl (city only 55 sq. miles!), I was picturing this as a regional or county based policy but heckles those are great ideas to use some free market methods to increase density and financial investments. Keep them coming this really gets to the heart of the rip in modern America for me (burbs vs. urban).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This might not have to do with governorship but I had an idea to create little urban clusters in the western suburbs of South Florida. You see, our road system in the suburbs really isn't that conducive to pedestrian traffic. So (and this will go against many urban rules) I say we turn our backs to the 6-lane highway that has so plagued our cities!

With mostly parking garages facing the suburban road, we would then create a sub-fabric of urban streets in a town center setting. Everything a citizen would need would be within walking distance, so you wouldn't have to leave and venture out to the big wide road. Each urban center would have transit, to better connect the region as a whole.

Imagine all the land that wouldn't be gobbled up, if we built up! And these new urban communities would promote people to walk and ride transit. I don't blame some people for not riding transit, because out in the burbs, nothing is worth walking to, and it's too spread out.

OK, I'll stop talking now, lol.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Greenbelts and zoning are too obvious methods, but both have poor track records. Zoning all too often gets changed by developer interests and municipal budgets that needs the ratables; greenbelts gets leapfroged. Both often get attacked by advocates of affordable housing. And we wouldn't want to be anti-growth would we? So how about differential property tax rates, depending on what you think is fair:

In urban areas, to encourage developement, particularly infill on vacant land: shift the property tax rate to land rather than improvements. Thus an empty lot will pay almost as much property tax as a lot with a small house on it. This will add to the incentive to develop the property.

In rural areas, to discourage subdivision and developement: shift the tax rate to improvements rather than land. Thus a farm with one house on it will pay a small about of property tax, but once subdivided into tract housing, the taxes will be quite high, making development in rural areas less attractive.

This might help to achieve some of our goals in controlling sprawl, but the affect on affordable housing is open to debate. Does this close off the suburbs, exurbs, and rural areas to the poor and lock them into the cities?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.