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4827Re: Americans want to live in big homes in the exurbs?!

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  • dubluth
    Jun 9, 2002
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      Thanks for bringing this article to our attention. The features that
      people want from their homes are surely a central issue in
      implementing car free cities.

      Surveys respondents, only 5% of whom said they would like to live in
      the central city, were in all likelihood thinking of cities as they
      know them with the noise and pollution of cars and the physical
      imposition of vehicles' hazardous spaces slicing through the city. A
      car-free city would be a very different creature -- full of people,
      but not congested with automobiles.

      Joel Crawford's reference design includes interior courtyards that
      include green space, though not necessarily trees, outside the
      windows of most buildings. Trees were an essential feature for 1/3
      of respondents' homes according the survey. Living area may fall
      short in the reference design as compared to respondent's desired and
      actual homes. The single family occupying a small narrow building
      described on page 169 will have floor space of 1,560 to 2,400 square
      feet if the home consists of all four floors. A family occupying
      only the upper three floors will have 1,040 to 1,800 square feet.
      This compares to the median respondent's home size of 1,700 square
      feet and desired home size of 2,071 square feet. As I understand it,
      the effect of increasing home size is reduced density and less
      effective transportation (slower transportation for a given
      population served, because of the need for more stops along a longer
      route or longer walks to reach the station)

      The floor area a home contains is one of the things that go into a
      lifestyle. By focusing in on home size, I don't mean to imply that a
      home in a car-free city would necessarily have to have the same floor
      area as a home in an auto-centric culture if both were providing the
      optimal level of service to the occupants in their respective
      environments. Home size is an important consideration because it
      influences density, and is therefore is an important feature of city
      design.

      Of course, price is a limiting factor in purchases. While that might
      seem to constrain families in the square footage they acquire, a more
      efficient transportation system that excludes cars would free up a
      tremendous amount of income, as well as time. Therefore, even in an
      urban area, the homes people could afford may be larger with the
      result that the system less dense and not as efficient, if efficiency
      is measured as passengers moved by transit in a given amount of
      time. In the auto-centric mode in which we operate, people tolerate
      significant commute times. I like the idea of making foot travel the
      source of any necessary increases in travel time that is associated
      with lower density. The rail system retains most of its efficiency
      and people get more exercise, which may not be such a bad thing.

      Bill
      >
      > http://www.austin360.com/statesman/editions/saturday/business_1.html
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