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Re: [LandCafe] Re: Less land for bus depots

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  • Mark Porthouse
    Hi Dave, Dan, et al, Observing from the sidelines it seems to me that Dave (and most of us) are used to public authorities taking care of the attractive
    Message 1 of 17 , Jul 31, 2006
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      Hi Dave, Dan, et al,

      Observing from the sidelines it seems to me that Dave (and most of us)
      are used to public authorities 'taking care' of the attractive urban
      environment. For those of us who aren't used to privately generated
      attractive urban environments, the fear is that LVT would cause us to
      end up with wall to wall unattractive high rise with everything crammed
      in and rather unattractive.

      As I understand it LVT merely gives a platform that enables appropriate
      provision of different environments, ranging from the rural environment
      to the urban CBD environment.

      If people want attractive urban areas to work in then the market will
      ensure that they can get that. If people put a value on extremely close
      proximity to others then the market will ensure that such areas exist.

      If a land owner wants to attract a certain market segment to occupy his
      office development then he will ensure that he uses the space he has
      available to please his potential customers - and if that means a
      Caesar's Palace driveway complete with fountains then that is what he
      will provide. But he will only provide what the marketplace desires.

      If it is only a small segment of society that wants a Parisian boulevard
      layout (or perhaps I should use Bucharest as my example of wide avenues
      and uniform buildings? and let's face it tends to be only egotistical
      dictators who have been able to push that on their populaces) then that
      small segment of society is unlikely to get it. Whilst I marveled at
      Paris for five days, just two months ago, it is not my place to push for
      that model, unless I wish to afford it and am willing to pay for it,
      along with the necessary few million others that make a city.

      Any city, under LVT, will reflect the cultural values of it's people
      (cultural values being made up of economic aspirations, desire for
      happiness, appreciation of art and nature, etc.).

      Cheers,

      Mark
      (happy to be a socialist capitalist, or is that a capitalist socialist...?)

      Wetzel Dave wrote:
      > Sorry my old mate!
      > I'm still not convinced:
      >
      > Slagging me off as a capitalist-hating socialist (which is probably
      > true) does not change my basic point that you agree you said:-
      >
      > "There is no reason why a bus terminal could not occupy the
      > bottom floors (or even the underground floors) of a tall building."
      >
      > If this is NOT the outcome that Georgists want, then don't bring it into
      > the yard!
      > You'll frighten the chickens!!
      >
      > Dave
      >
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Dan Sullivan [mailto:pimann@...]
      > Sent: Monday, July 31, 2006 5:08 PM
      > To: Wetzel Dave
      > Cc: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: RE: [LandCafe] Re: Less land for bus depots
      >
      > Always happy to clear up a paradox.
      >
      > On 31 Jul 2006 at 15:18, Wetzel Dave wrote:
      >
      >
      >>Dave Wetzel wrote on Sun 30 July:
      >
      >
      >>"As Georgists we are in danger of losing supporters for Location
      >>Benefit Levy if we suggest every bit of available town centre space
      >>will be maximised for buildings with no thought for the street scene,
      >>urban design or the city environment."
      >
      >
      >>Dan Sullivan Replied (Sun July 30, 2006): "American Georgists suggest
      >>no such thing."
      >
      >
      > Right. We do not suggest that "every bit of available town centre
      > space will be maximised for buildings with no thought for the street
      > scene, urban design or the city environment." Dave is confused by
      > another quote of mine, which he misinterprets as contradictory to that:
      >
      >
      >>But previously (Sat 29/07/2006) Dan Sullivan had written: "However,
      >>the whole point of LVT is to let the market decide what uses are worth
      >>the cost. There is no reason why a bus terminal could not occupy the
      >>bottom floors (or even the underground floors) of a tall building."
      >
      >
      > Perhaps Dave supposes that the market would decide that this is how
      > it should be, but I didn't say that. I merely said that there is no
      > reason
      > why it *could* not be this way, and that people could act rationally
      > under a tax system that reflects the market value of land.
      >
      > If people want a public bus system to take up more space, they can
      > hold more land off the tax roles for that purpose. It makes no
      > difference whatsoever whether the bus system pays land value tax to
      > the community and the community increases its subsidy of the bus
      > system to allow that, or whether the bus system is exempt from the
      > land tax. The cost is only more conspicuous if it shows up on the
      > public ledger as a payment and a subsidy than if it is merely an
      > exemption. In either case, the public can decide whether the benefit is
      > worth the cost.
      >
      > If it is a private system, such as Greyhound, then there should be no
      > subsidy. However, the city has a right to tax Greyhound for the
      > pollution it puts into the city as well as for the land it occupies. If
      > it
      > needs more land to properly dissipate the pollution, it can factor those
      >
      > costs in together. Or, it can decide that running hybrid busses on
      > electricity alone in the city would be cheaper.
      >
      > The question of pollution in the terminals is more of a private
      > question. If competition were allowed, people would choose to pay at
      > least a small premium to be able to ride busses that depart from
      > cleaner terminals. Hence it would be in the bus company's interest to
      > manage its internal pollution.
      >
      > One can disagree with these views, but what I wanted to make clear is
      > that no American Georgist argues that "every bit of available town
      > centre space will be maximised for buildings with no thought for the
      > street scene, urban design or the city environment." That's just a
      > fearful reaction by those who fear the market and do not understand
      > how well it could work when social costs are no longer externalized.
      >
      > Socialists attack the privileged market, and capitalists defend the
      > privileged market. We attack the privilege and defend the privilege-
      > free market. This upsets both the socialists and the capitalists, who
      > each see us as in the other's camp
    • Wetzel Dave
      Even with electric buses a dark and dreary underground bus station would not be an inviting prospect for bus passengers. Unlike an underground car park, bus
      Message 2 of 17 , Aug 1, 2006
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        Even with electric buses a dark and dreary underground bus station would not be an inviting prospect for bus passengers. Unlike an underground car park, bus passengers arrive early and have to wait for their bus to arrive.

        I'm suggesting in order to attract motorists from cars to bus we should be arguing that LVT would encourage the best possible design standards - better than anything the profit-driven capitalist system can provide.

        In London we are trying to improve our transport system, with over 6m bus passengers a day, we have already achieved a 40% growth in bus patronage since the Mayor was first elected in 2000 and a 4% modal shift from car to public transport.
        Best Wishes,
        Dave

        Dave Wetzel
        Vice-Chair TfL
        Tel: 020 7126 4200
      • Terence Bendixson
        I live in Chelsea in London in a house built in 1880 (now converted into flats) surrounding a park or, as we call it, a garden square. Those of you who know
        Message 3 of 17 , Aug 1, 2006
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          I live in Chelsea in London in a house built in 1880 (now converted into flats) surrounding a park or, as we call it, a garden square. Those of you who know London will know that the inner city contains hundreds of such squares the earliest dating from the 18th century (Covent Garden which copied the Place de Voges in Paris was earlier though it consisted not of lawns but of trees planted in gravel) and the most recent from the 1930s.

           

          At the time the developers, often landed freeholders who, through leasehold tenure, retained a long-term interest in the property, saw the garden squares as part of the marketing of the adjoining houses – most of which also have their own private gardens. Some squares have churches in parts of them – also part of the marketing of the houses.

           

          So there you have an example from the days before modern town planning when some landlords zoned as well as developed. But it is the case that, with few exceptions, only developers aiming at the prosperous middle classes adopted this form of development.  Developers catering for less well-off markets did not provide garden squares and it was only later that municipalities, starting, I think, with Liverpool at Victoria Park, got in on the act. The lower ends of the market could not support the cost of open space.

           

          Terence Bendixson

           


          From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Paul Metz
          Sent: 31 July 2006 15:14
          To: ' Dan Sullivan '; 'Wetzel Dave'
          Cc: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [LandCafe] Re: Less land for bus depots

           

          Yes, Central Park and many other (manmade or not) public goods are paying for themselves - or could do so if LVT were collected on the surrounding land.

          A park usually is not a result of LVT, however, but of planning, zoning or however it is named, in the first place. I am convinced that still every day developers try to buy or lease land in parks.

           

          The real matter is whether LVT can not only replace property-related taxes, but also zoning. To make the point, it would be interesting and educational to have proof of parks developed by private companies and making a profit and generating a tax base. That could perhaps make zoning unnecessary.

           

          Paul Metz

           


          From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Dan Sullivan
          Sent: zondag 30 juli 2006 20:10
          To: Wetzel Dave
          Cc: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [LandCafe] Re: Less land for bus depots

          On 30 Jul 2006 at 17:53, Wetzel Dave wrote:

          > In the UK
          we have trains which use diesel-electric but also just
          > electric with overhead power supply lines via a pantograph and third
          > rail using a sliding shoe conduct the electricity to the motor. Our
          > Thameslink service (which I was involved in re-opening in the 1980s),
          > trains run through London
          linking north and south. We had to have
          > special electric trains with pantographs and sliding shoes as north of
          > the Thames is overhead supply and south
          is 3rd rail.
          >
          > As Georgists we are in danger of losing supporters for Location
          > Benefit Levy if we suggest every bit of available town centre space
          > will be maximised for buildings with no thought for the street scene,
          > urban design or the city environment.

          American Georgists suggest no such thing. One of our favorite
          examples is Central Park in Manhattan . The land value premium that
          attaches to land near Central Park is much greater than the land value
          that would come from letting Central Park be developed. This
          indicates that Central Park pays for itself and that no revenue is lost
          by keeping it as an open park. It also suggests that other large parks
          would command similar premiums.

          Our objection is to exemptions is mostly for privately owned
          facilities. If the public wants open space for its busses, and is willing
          to forego direct land rent income that would come from putting that
          land to a higher use, then it should by all means do so. Even if the bus
          company paid the land rent, the taxpayers could reimburse that
          amount for the advantages they appreciate.

          On the other hand, American superhighways take up so much land
          that there is a strong argument for charging them rent. Even though
          the taxpayer would cover that rent as well, it is likely that people
          would be aghast when they see just how much highways cost in terms
          of lost land.

          Again, land value tax does not dictate any particular use. It just
          dictates that people take into account the value of the land used, and
          that they do not make decisions with disregard for waste.

          -ds

        • Jeffery J. Smith
          ... Yet parks exist now in poor neighborhoods and would flourish in neighborhoods where people did not pay tax on their structures and found jobs helping
          Message 4 of 17 , Aug 1, 2006
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            On Aug 1, 2006, at 1:19 AM, Terence Bendixson wrote:
            >
            > The lower ends of the market could not support the cost of open space.

            Yet parks exist now in poor neighborhoods and would flourish in
            neighborhoods where people did not pay tax on their structures and
            found jobs helping develop formerly under-used sites held back by
            former speculators.

            SMITH, Jeffery J.
            President, Forum on Geonomics
            jjs@...; www.geonomics.org
            Share Earth's worth to prosper and conserve.
          • Dan Sullivan
            ... Then don t build one. There is nothing in LVT that makes you build something that makes no sense. Really, it s all a question of cost and benefits. How
            Message 5 of 17 , Aug 1, 2006
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              On 1 Aug 2006 at 8:13, Wetzel Dave wrote:

              > Even with electric buses a dark and dreary underground bus station
              > would not be an inviting prospect for bus passengers. Unlike an
              > underground car park, bus passengers arrive early and have to wait
              > for their bus to arrive.

              Then don't build one. There is nothing in LVT that makes you build
              something that makes no sense. Really, it's all a question of cost and
              benefits. How much more do you suppose people would be willing to
              pay to be able to wait for busses in an airy park? Let them pay that
              premium, which will cover the land value tax, and let them have the
              airy park.

              On the other hand, if the customers do not value the airy park, and it
              is only valued by elitist planners who suppose themselves to know
              what is good for the customers better than the customers do, then the
              airy park will probably be a mistake. However, as I am neither a
              customer nor a planner, it is not for me to say one way or the other.

              > I'm suggesting in order to attract motorists from cars to bus we
              > should be arguing that LVT would encourage the best possible design
              > standards - better than anything the profit-driven capitalist system
              > can provide.

              LVT would indeed encourage the best design standards, because it
              makes the best design into the most profitable design. Although the
              battle right now is between subsidized cars and subsidized busses, a
              truly efficient system would have very little of either. People would
              arrange their lives so they could do almost everything on foot, just as
              they did for thousands of years before cars and busses came along.

              > In London we are trying to improve our transport system, with over 6m
              > bus passengers a day, we have already achieved a 40% growth in bus
              > patronage since the Mayor was first elected in 2000 and a 4% modal
              > shift from car to public transport.

              Fewer people in cars is a good thing, but more people in busses is not
              a good thing in itself. Busses also consume precious resources, and
              busses also pollute. They merely consume and pollute less than cars,
              which only makes them good by comparison, the way corn chips are
              healthy in comparison to potato chips. It makes far more sense to tax
              pollution and resource consumption, period, than to subsidize an
              alternative that merely consumes and pollutes "less." Then people will
              find ways to ride far less cars, and also ride less in busses. With fewer
              people riding busses, we needn't worry that much about elaborate bus
              terminals.

              -ds
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