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Re: [carfree_cities] Families move to the suburbs because that's where most of the affordable housing is

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  • Jym Dyer
    ... =v= Not all suburbs are the same, of course. In the U.S., some of the earlier ones, especially the streetcar suburbs on the East Coast, serve well as
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 6, 2002
      > The idea is that the children will have more playmates in the
      > suburbs. This is important to many parents.
      >
      > There are walkable suburbs with lots of spaces for children
      > including parks, stores, libraries, etc. We live in one such
      > place.

      =v= Not all suburbs are the same, of course. In the U.S.,
      some of the earlier ones, especially the "streetcar suburbs"
      on the East Coast, serve well as communities. Many of these
      have been wrecked by further suburbanization (we'll just extend
      the Interstate highway right through your town commons, that's
      the price of progress, you know), but some are intact.

      =v= The other winning situation was to be on the leading edge of
      suburbanization: a new development where on your right you've
      got a new and uncongested highway to get to the city (though it
      gets more congested the closer you get there, of course), and
      on your left you've got the great outdoors. Up into the 1980s
      this might also mean some sort of town center or walkable area,
      but the trend has been towards "anchoring" around a gleaming new
      mall, and most recently it's meant scattered strip malls.

      =v= This situation generally means the ruination of the suburbs
      that were built earlier, of course, and only lasts until new
      suburbs are built on what was once your great outdoors.

      =v= So yes, it is possible to find suburban living of some
      quality, but mostly at the expense of others: both financial
      and in terms of their quality of living.

      > Fact is, most of the affordable family housing that exists in
      > America today is found in the suburbs. There's no way around
      > that.

      =v= Except that the affordability is undercut by the many hidden
      costs of relying on cars. Of course, if you can work it out so
      that you can live in the 'burbs without a car, that's *really*
      affordable. (I did that myself for awhile, as have some of
      my carfree friends, though we all faced cultural voids. The
      parents in particular were very concerned about the effect of
      this void on their children.)
      <_Jym_>
    • turpin
      ... I live in an older suburb, called that when it was first developed in the first half of the 20th century, that is now an inner city neighborhood. So what
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 6, 2002
        --- In carfree_cities@y..., Jym Dyer <jym@e...> wrote:
        > Not all suburbs are the same, of course. In
        > the U.S., some of the earlier ones, especially
        > the "streetcar suburbs" on the East Coast,
        > serve well as communities.

        I live in an older suburb, called that when it
        was first developed in the first half of the 20th
        century, that is now an inner city neighborhood.
        So what counts as a suburb? To some extent, it
        is relative. The fringe is the suburb, right?
        Perhaps it's easier to see the issue in terms
        of sprawl than in terms of suburb vs. city.
      • demiurge1978
        ... I agree. During the 20 s new neighborhoods were built in the Outer Boroughs of NYC to serve as commuter residences , basically suburbs within the city
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 7, 2002
          --- In carfree_cities@y..., "turpin" <turpin@y...> wrote:

          > I live in an older suburb, called that when it
          > was first developed in the first half of the 20th
          > century, that is now an inner city neighborhood.
          > So what counts as a suburb? To some extent, it
          > is relative.

          I agree. During the 20's new neighborhoods were built in the Outer Boroughs of NYC
          to serve as "commuter residences", basically suburbs within the city limits.
          Construction began to wain during the Depression and World War II. Then in the
          fifties the it boomed again in the City's extremities: Staten Island, northern Bronx,
          western Queens.

          During the 20's boom, the "suburbs" were built near, or even with, rapid transit. The
          50's boom, of course, made the neighborhoods very car dependent.

          This was never enough so the sprawl just spread to Long Island, New Jersey, and
          the Hudson River Valley.

          -alex
        • J.H. Crawford
          ... It s a little hard to say, and it isn t a fixed target. Parts of suburban Los Angeles are getting redeveloped at densities that are urban. It s not
          Message 4 of 6 , Apr 8, 2002
            turpin said:

            >I live in an older suburb, called that when it
            >was first developed in the first half of the 20th
            >century, that is now an inner city neighborhood.
            >So what counts as a suburb? To some extent, it
            >is relative. The fringe is the suburb, right?
            >Perhaps it's easier to see the issue in terms
            >of sprawl than in terms of suburb vs. city.

            It's a little hard to say, and it isn't a fixed
            target. Parts of "suburban" Los Angeles are getting
            redeveloped at densities that are urban. It's not
            happening all at once, but densities are increasing.

            I think density is the real measure--places that
            are low density are suburbs (or rural areas).
            Places that are high density are clearly cities.
            There is a gray zone in the middle where it's not
            easy to say. The gray zone is actually hardest to
            deal with--it's too dense for cars to work, but
            it's not yet really dense enough to support good
            public transport.

            High-density ex-urban towns (such as some of the
            early commuter rail and tram-based developments)
            are of high enough density to support reasonable
            public transport, AS LONG AS THE TRIPS ARE TO
            DOWNTOWN, which is how it always was. One of the
            tragedies of the 20th century is that we took
            most of the important institutions out of downtown
            and scattered them almost at random around the city.
            This mistake will take a century and trillions of
            dollars to fix, but I think it's going to have to
            be done. (In these towns, local circulation can be
            on foot or by bike.)




            -- ### --

            J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
            mailbox@... Carfree.com
          • Bike To Work Week
            ... Sure, cities are more expensive to live in, but my wife and I can afford to pay a higher percentage of our income for housing because we spent a much
            Message 5 of 6 , Apr 8, 2002
              At 07:51 PM 04/05/2002 -0800, John O. Anderson wrote:
              >The idea is that the children will have more playmates in the suburbs. This
              >is important to many parents.
              >
              >There are walkable suburbs with lots of spaces for children including parks,
              >stores, libraries, etc. We live in one such place.
              >
              >I had wanted so much to live in the city, but the bottomline was price.

              Sure, cities are more expensive to live in, but my wife and I can afford to
              pay a higher percentage of our income for housing because we spent a much
              smaller fraction of it on transportation than the average US household.
              And, of course, that percentage would be smaller still if the subsidies for
              roads (paid for, in part, from our property taxes, by the way) were removed.

              >
              >Downtown there was nothing acceptable anything near our price range.

              I don't know what's "acceptable" to you, but to many of my friends, it's
              nothing less than a house two or three times the size of ours on a lot
              that's ten (or 100) times bigger. We found a house downtown that we could
              afford because our conception of the space we need is much smaller than the
              average US household (in part because we don't need or want a 1000 square
              foot garage, or the land it sits on, to hold two cars and a riding lawn mower)

              >Fact is, most of the affordable family housing that exists in America today is
              >found in the suburbs. There's no way around that.

              In part because, in the US, we build new infrastructure in the suburbs at
              the expense of maintaining the existing infrastructure in the city. and I'm
              not just talking about roads, but also police and fire stations, school
              buildings, hospitals, librairies, and conduits for sewer, water,
              electricity, natural gas, etc. So "the way around that is to spend money
              maintaining (actually, at this point, repairing) existing urban
              infrastructure and cease building anew. One reason we don't is because most
              (80-90%) of the money to build new roads is doled out by the State And
              Federal Departments of Transportation, but maintaining those roads after
              they are built is left entirely up to local governments. So of course local
              governments are eager to spend 10 cents on the dollar for infrastructure
              expansion that "creates jobs", but much less eager to spend a dollar on
              maintenance.

              >
              >Hopefully in the future more affordable housing will be built in urban
              >areas, but for now, the pickins' are slim.

              Again, if you can spend a higher percentage of your income on housing and
              less on transportation, higher housing prices become more "affordable".

              Chuck Strawser
              Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin
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