Slash and burn [was: Re: [Fwd: [urb-eco] 101 Project Could Take 800 Homes]]
- This is yet another example of the mentality that vehicular movement
takes precedence over absolutely everything else, including your
private property [which could be DOT taking domain on your house, or
Code Enforcement telling you that you must have parking at your
I am currently living in an "inner suburb"--house built in 1964, on
"only" a 14,000 square foot lot [living with parents--I did not choose
this place :-)]. Down the hill from here, the city has had to buy a
few houses that were built in the 1970s and demolish them to build a
new stormwater retention pond. Why do they need a pond? To accomodate
new suburban development/roads several miles away, leading to another
problem related to going carfree:
I see a serious sustainability problem here if we build houses, only
to be torn down 30 years later to accomodate new development
elsewhere. Within about a mile of my house, I can count 5 major
abandoned storefronts: Publix, Winn-Dixie, Discount Auto Parts, Eckerd
Drugs, and Service Merchandise [they abandoned one store and moved
into a newly built mall-attached storefront across the street, only to
go bankrupt 6 years later]. Not one of these stores lasted as long as
30 yeas. If the abandoned K-Mart [which was razed and replaced by a
Publix last year] sets any kind of example, these places will spend
roughly 10 years abandoned [and turn into unofficial homeless
shelters/crack dealerships] before they are razed to make way for
other chain stores abanodining their previous property in favor of a
newer, bigger, relocated store.
This is "destroying the future generations' life quality" as I can see
it. Today's new commercial developments are practically disposable,
or, as I call it, modern-day slash-and-burn. The most recent example
is that the local Wal-Mart serving the northeast "rich white suburbs"
has moved about three miles north, abandoning a storefront that was
less than 20 years old, on a road that I have seen go from 4 to 10
lanes. So building abandonment is not just for inner suburbs--it's in
the "rich white suburbs" too.
If we go carfree, we are going to have to be more sensible in building
sustainability. A carfree city should not not have abandoned 10,000
square foot stores all over the place. Since our carfree city would
not have land-use policies encouraging slash-and-burn [and developers
know that they won't be getting free roads and stormwater], they
ideally would start accomodating business change by remodeling
A different version of this happens with residences too. I don't see
it as common to have an old quality house razed [except for the
super-expensive canal-front properties in south Florida, where wealthy
land buyers will have 5 year old McMansions razed for their own
custom-built McMansions], but I've heard some people say that old
houses are for "starting out" your family, and once you reach your 40s
and have the money, you should buy a lot and have a new house
custom-built. I'm sorry, but that's just not very sustainable.
We also need to stop building ultracheap new houses with plastic
interior doors, styrofoam-like synthetic stucco, slab foundations, and
the like. The only way I can see to do this it to enforce a stricter
residential building code, since commercial home builders seem less
likely these days to care enough to build decent houses.
Plus, this accounts for a lot of concrete, wood, steel, and everything
else that goes into a building.
> > Nearly 800 residences, including houses and apartment buildings,could
> > be demolished to make way for the proposed widening of the VenturaCalifornia
> > Freeway from Studio City to Thousand Oaks, according to the
> > Department of Transportation.fired,
> Effectively those planners are just fools. I wonder why they're not
> because they're destroying the future generations' life quality inthat
> area, even if one's home is not demolished.
Check this out- Charlotte requires money to tear down vacant big boxes up
Get out and fight for these kind of things in your town- they're not
perfect, and they still acknowledge a commitment to courting big-box
retail development, but they do put it in a more sustainable context.
> Within about a mile of my house, I can count 5 major
> abandoned storefronts: Publix, Winn-Dixie, Discount Auto Parts, Eckerd
> Drugs, and Service Merchandise [they abandoned one store and moved
> into a newly built mall-attached storefront across the street, only to
> go bankrupt 6 years later]. Not one of these stores lasted as long as
> 30 yeas. If the abandoned K-Mart [which was razed and replaced by a
> Publix last year] sets any kind of example, these places will spend
> roughly 10 years abandoned [and turn into unofficial homeless
> shelters/crack dealerships] before they are razed to make way for
> other chain stores abanodining their previous property in favor of a
> newer, bigger, relocated store.
- "Developers have countered that the chains that stamp out big boxes
will simply move outside the county limits if they can't build what
they want within Charlotte's planning jurisdiction, which includes
much of the unincorporated part of the county."
Call me a paranoid doomsayer, but I have a feeling that this will
happen here. The Tallahassee city limits do not blanket the whole
county--in fact, the city limit lines are pretty much gerrymandered,
snaking out to reach some suburbs that want to be in an incorporated
city, and bouncing back where there are neighborhoods whose residents
don't want to pay city property tax.
I believe our new Wal-Mart is outside the city limits [unincorporated
Leon County], nixing any city ordinances. Our sprawl hinges on the
ever-changing city lines, and I fear the day when it reaches the
county line and we start getting suburban sprawl in south Georgia.
That's when the political nightmares would start with who is
responsible for roads, schools, and emergency services.
As much as I really don't want to see the carnage, I will be
interested to see what happens to our suburbs in the long run, say,
the next 50 years. Suburbs really aren't old enough to see the true
test of time--Tallahassee's oldest sprawl-malls were built in the
1970s. Are we going to continue a slash-and-burn cycle? Will my kids
know a true urban area where Mom or Dad don't have to drive them
everywhere? I hate to discuss family, but will my hypothetical wife
insist on living in a suburb to escape the deteriorating urban
neighborhoods? I honestly do not want my children to spend 18 years
living in a vinyl McHouse and attending a school that looks more like
an aircraft hangar, complete with 100-yard grass buffers on all sides
and chainlink fences.
Am I ranting? Yes. Am I paranoid? Yes. Am I looking too far forward?
Maybe. However, these are legitimate concerns. I have lived in seven
different residences my whole life, the oldest built in 1918, the
newest, 1972. I've been fortunate to always live in a convenient
location. My children might not be as fortunate to have such choices.
If my son stays after school for a band rehearsal, I want him to be
able to reasonably walk home. I don't want to hear my children whining
about having cars from 16th birthday to the day I give them cars. Oh
yeah--and I don't want a deputy at my door to tell me that my daughter
died in a car accident.
I guess I'll have to wait it out to see what happens.
> Matt,boxes up
> Check this out- Charlotte requires money to tear down vacant big
> front now.context.
> Get out and fight for these kind of things in your town- they're not
> perfect, and they still acknowledge a commitment to courting big-box
> retail development, but they do put it in a more sustainable
- Matt wrote:
"Call me a paranoid doomsayer, but"
Okay, you're a paranoid doomsayer. I sympathize with your frustration, but
don't let it lead to paralysis. I highly doubt a big box ordinance like
Charlotte's will drive where big boxes get built as much as roadway
improvements and population. Of course, assuming there is some kind of
county, you could get them to pass a similar ordinance. The rural character
argument will probably resonate with either.
One thing the boxes don't want you to know is that they pick their locations
very carefully, and then threaten to move if they don't get their way. A
lot of them will make concessions in order to be in a prime retail location.
Of course, getting politicians to stand on such firm ground is the trick.
Anyway- you're certainly allowed to be angry with the status quo; I know,
I've been there. However, find an idea for change and improvement you can
get behind, and stick with it. That's the best way to help ensure your kid
can one day walk home from band practice, unless he's got an interest in the