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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Families move to the suburbs because that's where most of t

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  • T. J. Binkley
    ... Talking economics shouldn t be anathema. And while removing subsidies for suburbanites will make suburbs more expensive, it won t make the city
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 6 10:18 AM
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      Joel:

      > > When the subsidies for suburbanites are removed,
      > > the city will become cheaper.

      Turpin:

      >Exactly!
      >
      >But remove the subsidies, and the choices
      >available will change, and businesses and
      >builders will respond to that. But we're
      >talking economics, again, and to some, that
      >is anathema.

      Talking economics shouldn't be anathema. And while removing subsidies for
      suburbanites will make suburbs more expensive, it won't make the city
      cheaper---especially in the minds of that young couple with two kids who
      want three bedrooms and a semi-private patch of grass nearby, whose primary
      consideration is home price.

      Joel:

      >(The city is) intrinsically more efficient it
      >its use of land, energy, and utility construction.

      Great reasons to live in cities---perhaps even to subsidize their
      construction and maintenance.

      >Without the $10/gallon (yes, you heard right) subsidy of gasoline,
      >it would be much cheaper to live in the city.

      As gas prices approach $10 a gallon, demand for housing near job centers
      (and transit lines), will skyrocket. The price of existing homes in
      cities, and the price of undeveloped and underdeveloped land nearby will
      increase accordingly. The conversion of all these inefficiently built,
      semi-urban areas into compact, sustainable cities will require enormous
      amounts energy, capital, and no small amount of very inefficient utility
      reconstruction and expansion.

      A hundred-and-fifty years ago, the costs of horse-and-buggy travel insured
      that only the very wealthy could afford to live in suburbia. Yet then as
      now, a comparably-sized home cost even more in the city.

      As anyone who has given up their car knows, its much cheaper to GET AROUND
      in the city. But LIVING in the city, has never been, nor will it ever be,
      cheap. To suggest otherwise, is to play into the hands of the cityphobes,
      as the smart-growth-ers do when they claim that densification and rail
      transit will "decrease congestion" or improve air quality.

      -TJB
    • Jym Dyer
      ... =v= The latest U.S. Census showed a trend of minority races increasingly moving into the suburbs. This was played up in the American media with the same
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 6 10:38 AM
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        > Or if generations of Americans had not been hypnotized into
        > seeing the suburb as the very essence of the American Dream
        > by an endless barrage of televised nonsense underwritten by
        > auto makers and others who stood to gain most from a flight
        > from the cities...

        =v= The latest U.S. Census showed a trend of minority races
        increasingly moving into the suburbs. This was played up in
        the American media with the same barrage of nonsense: blacks
        are now living the American Dream and everything's wonderful,
        so let's just ignore all those other statistics that prove
        that we live in a deeply racist society.

        =v= Census data, or at least what's been reported so far,
        doesn't break this out, but I suspect there are two other trends
        underlying this one:

        o white gentrification destroying affordable housing in
        cities, and

        o old suburbs reliant on now-heavily-congested roads,
        anchored on now-dead malls, with crumbling infrastructure
        (e.g. 50-year-old sewage systems that must be overhauled).

        Are racial minorities once more getting the shaft, now under
        the guise of the American Dream?

        > Big bills are coming due, and can't be avoided for long.

        =v= That's right. While it's pretty easy to build brand new
        infrastructure on what was once open land, especially when it's
        being subsidized in the name of progress, the maintenance of
        sprawling roads, water and sewage systems is staggeringly
        expensive. Bills coming? Time for the white folks to leave!
        <_Jym_>
      • Doug Salzmann
        In a message sent Today, Elena Williams wrote: - I am youngish (30), have a new baby, and although my husband and I - didn t organize with our friends, per
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 6 5:22 PM
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          In a message sent Today, Elena Williams wrote:

          -> I am youngish (30), have a new baby, and although my husband and I
          -> didn't organize with our friends, per se, we have lots of pals on
          -> every block of our section of town. [Snip]

          Way to go, Elena. You and your friends and family are writing the next
          chapters in the history of our cities -- and helping to show that what
          should be done can be done, and can be rewarding and satisfying.

          -> From what I've seen in towns in other states, there are always those
          -> houses, circa 1930s, that are close to downtown and have a few, if
          -> not quite a few, brave, innovative people moving in, fixing things
          -> up.

          Yep. I began learning about cities and the ways they work (and don't)
          when I stumbled into the rebirth of a Philadelphia neighborhood 30 years
          ago. North America is full of city centers and close-in, older suburbs
          like yours that can again become rich, thriving (and
          carfree!) neighborhoods.

          It's especially nice to hear from people who are participating in
          neighborhood improvement while honoring and supporting the current
          residents and workers who "were there first." It's important to find ways
          to prevent renewal from becoming gentrification -- with the resulting
          displacement of earlier residents and Balkanization of neighborhoods by
          income level.

          -Doug
        • T. J. Binkley
          ... ...then the fleeing suburbanites would have had to pay for a bigger share of the cost of those roads. This would have slowed the flight somewhat. ... This
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 7 8:07 PM
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            Joel:

            > -> When the subsidies for suburbanites are removed, the citiy
            > -> will become cheaper. It's intrinsically more efficient it
            > -> its use of land, energy, and utility construction. Without
            > -> the $10/gallon (yes, you heard right) subsidy of gasoline,
            > -> it would be much cheaper to live in the city.

            Doug:

            >Also, if the entire nation's money had not been used to build the highways
            >leading from the cities to the suburbs, while the cities struggled to fill
            >potholes with a declining tax base...

            ...then the fleeing suburbanites would have had to pay for a bigger share
            of the cost of those roads. This would have slowed the flight somewhat.

            >Or if generations of Americans had not been hypnotized into seeing the
            >suburb as the very essence of the American Dream by an endless barrage
            >of televised nonsense underwritten by auto makers and others who stood
            >to gain most from a flight from the cities...

            ...then a small percentage of those who fled, might have stayed (in the city)

            >And then there's the fact that postwar federal mortgage programs were
            >deliberately used to promote the growth of the 'burbs and the
            >decimation of the cities...

            This was a crime. But for influence on the growth of the suburbs, it still
            pales in comparison to larger reality of increasing incomes coupled with
            the widespread (unfortunate, misguided, even tragic) desire for private
            space (a bigger house, with a bigger yard), and peace and quiet.

            The American bias against cities goes all the way back to the founding of
            the republic (see Daniel Lazare: "America's Undeclared War - What's Killing
            Our Cities and How We Can Stop It", for an excellent review of the early
            history). But seemingly everywhere in the world, including places with
            very different histories, whenever poorer families acquire sufficient
            means, they look for a bigger home, on a quieter street. Even in (around)
            the great cities of Europe, the dominant growth pattern is SUBurban, and
            car ownership rates and vehicle miles traveled increase every year.

            When we look at the larger picture, the task at hand becomes clear:
            demonstrate to home buyers that their needs and desires can be met with a
            different type of neighborhood.
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