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Slick Vik

The End of Suburbia

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Ran across this...

http://www.mcoscillator.com/learning_center/weekly_chart/americans_really_are_using_less_gas/

The call to conserve resources and use less gasoline has been around for years. So it is interesting to get to see the actual data, and find out that we are using less.

This week's chart looks at the raw monthly numbers for total gasoline consumption in the United States. You can clearly see the strong seasonality effect of gasoline use rising in the summer months and waning in the winter. So to visualize the longer term trend, you need to somehow see through the sawtooth pattern to examine what the numbers are doing over time.

The highest single month number was 399 million gallons per day back in August 2005, when the housing boom was at its peak, and when unemployment was down at 4.9%. The collapse of the housing bubble and the associated economic slowdown has assuredly contributed to the drop-off in gasoline usage since then. The July 2012 number was 353 million, which is down 11% from that 2005 peak.

Another contributor to the decline in usage is the high price of crude oil, which gives motorists additional encouragement to find ways to consume less. More fuel efficient cars, more telecommuting, and even the re-introduction of electric cars (after a 90-year absence) have all contributed to reducing total gasoline consumption.

If we look at the per capita consumption of gasoline in the U.S., the picture gets even more interesting.

Gas Consumption Per Capita

http://mcoscillator.com/data/charts/weekly/Gas_Consump_per_Cap_2012.gif

This chart reveals that per capita consumption actually peaked all the way back in 1990, and thus a big part of the growth in total consumption toward that 2005 peak was a result of population growth. The Department of Energy data on gasoline use only goes back to 1983, so we cannot easily model this data over the entire history of the automobile. But since the 1990 peak in 12-month moving average of per capita consumption, we have seen a 15% drop in the average amount of gasoline that each person uses.

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According to the CIA World Factbook, per capita oil consumption in Belgium is higher than the US.

Belgium consumes 2.8883 gallons of oil per day per capita while The United States consumes 2.6400

This entry is the total oil consumed in gallons per day (gal/day) divided by the population. The discrepancy between the amount of oil produced and/or imported and the amount consumed and/or exported is due to the omission of stock changes, refinery gains, and other complicating factors.

Source: CIA World Factbook

 

I guess the difference is gasoline use vs oil use.

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So we will probably never run out of oil, as the cost of extracting it becomes uncompetitive. I have no opinion about suburbia. But I think you are a bit hard on the original poster and his concerns about the world gasoline has enabled. Even if hyperbolic, there is this kernel of truth: gasoline has been a miracle substance, and it seems like nothing on the horizon rivals it for energy storage. (I believe the world is still waiting on the private entrepreneur willing to assume the risks of nuclear power.)
I know that some people genuinely view the future as an interesting free-for-all, and are indifferent to the direction it takes. I don't take issue with that point of view. It is a feature of some of the world's great religions.
For some of us, though, there are things - or places, or simply ideas - worth conserving -- worth "sustaining" -- even if we don't agree on what they are.
I submit that the key sentence in the above excerpt is this:

 

This chart reveals that per capita consumption actually peaked all the way back in 1990, and thus a big part of the growth in total consumption toward that 2005 peak was a result of population growth

Whatever sustainability means to any one of us, population growth renders it moot, makes a mockery, really, of any efforts in that direction.
I am able to remember when it was a subject people discussed -- with no evil intentions -- before it became the one taboo subject, cynically filed under "racism" by people who took great glee in exploiting the confusion of the Left, and stealing a page from their book. The environmental movement has never really recovered.
Interestingly, it was about 1990, the same time we began realizing gains in efficiency again, as we had in the seventies.

 

Edited by luciaphile

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Whatever sustainability means to any one of us, population growth renders it moot, makes a mockery, really, of any efforts in that direction.

Even population growth isn't an issue long-term. The world rate of population growth peaked in the sixties and the UN estimates that the total population will peek at around 10 billion around 2100. After that, total population will start to decline, leading to less pressure on natural resources.

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Even population growth isn't an issue long-term. The world rate of population growth peaked in the sixties and the UN estimates that the total population will peek at around 10 billion around 2100. After that, total population will start to decline, leading to less pressure on natural resources.

 

The same effect will occur on Social Security and Medicare as the Baby Boomers begin to die off in greater numbers, beginning around 2030.

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The same effect will occur on Social Security and Medicare as the Baby Boomers begin to die off in greater numbers, beginning around 2030.

See, Slick, the future is already starting to look brighter.

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august1948, if you think I'll happily spot you an additional 3 billion people by century's end, then you and I probably will be forever unintelligible to one another; I apologize for not being able to communicate well enough to even try to bridge that gap.

There is no question that population will eventually contract. We are animals after all. "Decline, leading to less pressure on natural resources" is a nice way of putting it. If, however, there is any possibility you have your causes and effects backward,  that contraction will not be pretty, and is something that even those with a human-centric viewpoint might wish to see avoided.

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august1948, if you think I'll happily spot you an additional 3 billion people by century's end, then you and I probably will be forever unintelligible to one another; I apologize for not being able to communicate well enough to even try to bridge that gap.

There is no question that population will eventually contract. We are animals after all. "Decline, leading to less pressure on natural resources" is a nice way of putting it. If, however, there is any possibility you have your causes and effects backward,  that contraction will not be pretty, and is something that even those with a human-centric viewpoint might wish to see avoided.

Whether or not you want the additional 3 billion, they're on the way. Really long-term the decrease might cause some issues but that's realistically centuries away. Since we're near the top of the curve already, you could project that in two hundred years or so we'll be back to today's 7 billion. If the curve on the downside is the same we'll be back to 1 billion in about 400 years. Tying the "peak population" back into the "peak oil" argument, we'll see a gradual decrease over hundreds of years which will make it easier to adapt and overcome problems that might arise.

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I'm not disputing that reliance on fossil fuels is a problem, I just think that the analysis and conclusions drawn from that documentary were particularly shoddy.

I'm less concerned about overall population and more concerned about the impact of economic development that's occurring in certain countries. Very difficult to begrudge them an opportunity to improve their lives, yet at the same time, the number of registered cars in China has gone from 2 million in 2000 to 233 million in 2012 and that's still pretty low given a population of 1.3 billion people. The impact of China and India moving to comparable levels of energy usage as the countries in the first world is a far greater concern to overall energy consumption than the sustainability of suburbia.

Let's face it, suburbia is urbanizing anyway. Look at The Woodlands as an example. It is rapidly becoming a self-contained community with a high percentage of residents living, working, and shopping in the immediate region. The explosion of office construction up there is just going to intensify that trend.

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livincinco, I applaud you for returning the topic to suburbia, from which I had led it astray; but I have to say, my head aches from the idea that you are concerned about increasing consumption in the "developing" countries -- and yet you cite as an example the country that took population seriously, that successfully controlled its population. If its resource use is worrisome to you, what does that augur for the rest? Yet you are certain you are not concerned about "overall population."

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livincinco, I applaud you for returning the topic to suburbia, from which I had led it astray; but I have to say, my head aches from the idea that you are concerned about increasing consumption in the "developing" countries -- and yet you cite as an example the country that took population seriously, that successfully controlled its population. If its resource use is worrisome to you, what does that augur for the rest? Yet you are certain you are not concerned about "overall population."

I'm not meaning to minimize the impact of population growth, I'm strictly looking at it as it relates to energy consumption. I'm less concerned about the impact of overall population growth from that standpoint because the highest birth rates are generally in the poorest countries. Assuming that continues, their impact from an energy consumption standpoint is minimal. The impact of economic growth and moving people to a higher standard of living is much more significant.

If we assume that a high percentage of the additional 3 billion people are born into poverty, and I believe that to be a correct assumption because infant mortality is dropping in many countries, then their energy impact is relatively low. However, if China and India with about 30% of the current world population raise most of their population to something close to first world levels than there's a huge energy impact.

I've listed a couple of examples of per capita electricity consumption by reference. All are listed as annual usage - watts/person.

United States - 1,363 watts

Taiwan - 1,082 watts

China - 397 watts

India - 85 watts

Ethiopia - 5 watts

To use a really simple example that I know is full of holes, the energy impact of 1 billion people raising their electrical usage from China to Taiwan levels is about 700 billion watts. The impact of adding 3 billion people at Ethiopia levels is only 15 billion watts.

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Thank you for taking the time to find those numbers. To be clear and candid, my interest is habitat loss.

I'm not sure whether you were thinking simply of diminishing fossil fuels, or of greenhouse gas production. If the latter, then electricity consumption, especially coal-powered, is the most important metric; it was eye-opening to me, though, to learn what a close second open cooking fires are:

 

http://www.epa.gov/sciencematters/august2010/cook-stoves.htm

 

The last time I was in a Luby's cafeteria, my kid was about fourteen years old, and not small for his age. When it came time to pay, I noticed they hadn't charged me for his dinner. I pointed this out. "Bébés eat free," she said.

"But he's --"

"Bébés eat free," she repeated stonily.

 

I'm not sure why this popped into my head. I guess it was the thought of 3 billion babies, placing no strain on the environment. Anyway, you went along with my wanting to discuss population today, and that was kind of you.

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Thank you for taking the time to find those numbers. To be clear and candid, my interest is habitat loss.

I'm not sure whether you were thinking simply of diminishing fossil fuels, or of greenhouse gas production. If the latter, then electricity consumption, especially coal-powered, is the most important metric; it was eye-opening to me, though, to learn what a close second open cooking fires are:

http://www.epa.gov/sciencematters/august2010/cook-stoves.htm

The last time I was in a Luby's cafeteria, my kid was about fourteen years old, and not small for his age. When it came time to pay, I noticed they hadn't charged me for his dinner. I pointed this out. "Bébés eat free," she said.

"But he's --"

"Bébés eat free," she repeated stonily.

I'm not sure why this popped into my head. I guess it was the thought of 3 billion babies, placing no strain on the environment. Anyway, you went along with my wanting to discuss population today, and that was kind of you.

I was thinking specifically about energy consumption along the lines of the peak oil conversation that we were having earlier in the thread. I agree that there's a whole host of problems that would come from another three billion people being on the planet.

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Since we haven't pounded this subject into the ground quite enough yet, some analysts are starting to forecast that demand for oil is reaching a plateau.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-05-01/peak-oil-is-back-but-this-time-its-a-peak-in-demand

From the article above...

Substitution with natural gas in several areas of the economy that have historically used oil almost exclusively, including light-duty vehicles (which are 95 percent petroleum-fueled), shipping, and rail, is another factor cited in both reports. It takes a prolonged period of large price spreads between commodities before consumers make the switch, says Eric Lee, commodities strategist and co-author of the Citigroup report, because of the significant capital investment required. This is happening now in the U.S., thanks to the shale boom, with fleets including United Parcel Service (UPS), FedEx (FDX), and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), among others, moving to natural gas.

Someone should make a documentary about how "Peak Demand" is going to mean the end of poor companies like Exxon and BP. And look, all those Walmart trucks that are going to make the Yale Street bridge collapse are helping to bring it about.

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Someone should make a documentary about how "Peak Demand" is going to mean the end of poor companies like Exxon and BP. And look, all those Walmart trucks that are going to make the Yale Street bridge collapse are helping to bring it about.

 

You didn't know that ExxonMobil is the largest natural gas producer in the US, did you?

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You didn't know that ExxonMobil is the largest natural gas producer in the US, did you?

Oh, darn! Now the evil oil companies are adapting to changing circumstances. How will we ever get rid of those pesky suburbs now? ;)

I still think someone should make a documentary so we'll all know what the party line is.

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Or, you could simply buy their stock like I did.    :)

Unfortunately, I invested all my money in Solyndra. :(

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Unfortunately, I invested all my money in Solyndra. :(

 

You can blame GM for that too, just like with the electric streetcars. Has something to do with the # of Buick sales in China linked to Chinese complicity in keeping the price of solar panels artificially high by creating so much smog that sunlight reaching planet earth has been reduced, thereby forcing Americans to use ever-increasing amounts of fossil fuels to power their lives of conspicuous consumption.

 

I think I've got that right but sometimes Slick Vic is kinda hard to follow...

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You can blame GM for that too, just like with the electric streetcars. Has something to do with the # of Buick sales in China linked to Chinese complicity in keeping the price of solar panels artificially high by creating so much smog that sunlight reaching planet earth has been reduced, thereby forcing Americans to use ever-increasing amounts of fossil fuels to power their lives of conspicuous consumption.

 

I think I've got that right but sometimes Slick Vic is kinda hard to follow...

Thanks for setting me straight. All this time I thought it was the Obama administration that led me astray. After all, if the government guarantees half a billion in loans, it's got to be a good investment, right? Right? ;)

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Sorry, I just can't seem to walk away from this thread. Below article titled "What if we never run out of oil?". It has a good analysis of peak oil theory and its flaws.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/05/what-if-we-never-run-out-of-oil/309294/

 

iivincinco, thanks, that was very clearly written. I kind of skimmed the geopolitical upheaval part (though I have to admit the specter of Japan contesting sovereignty over natural resources caught my attention for some reason). And I was alarmed at how it ended: "Could the breaking of the ice to mine the caged methane cause another catastrophic release of that worst of greenhouse gases like the one that is thought to have produced the Great Extinction between the Permian and the Triassic, which killed off 70% of terrestrial vertebrate and 96% of marine species? Experts say possibly so."

Okay, it didn't. But it did raise one dispiriting issue after another (though not for suburbia and not for anyone's Exxon stock).

Since it was once so commonly thought that we would "get it all," leaving only a negligible unrecoverable amount in the ground, I didn't really grasp the furor over Peak Oil. What does it matter? We're going to burn it. Then "all" turned out to be shale gas and tar sands and unimaginably deep-ocean drilling and so much more than originally thought, and I was given to understand that we would get it as long as it paid to do so.Then in the last couple months methane hydrates suddenly stopped being a footnote.

I'm back to thinking we will get it all, but actively hoping, this time, that we will not.

Most of us react to feats of engineering with awe; I certainly do. It's a rare person who can understand technology -- and also think critically about it. I know someone like that, and I admit I am influenced by him. Richard Muller has been like that for me, as well. I recommend "Energy for Future Presidents," though, being a physicist, he is a partisan of nukes, as all physicists seem to be, and makes big allowances for it that he grants to no other energy source. 

I think that's why, reading that article, I was as usual simultaneously impressed with the engineering prowess of the petroleum industry, from such simple beginnings (for familial reasons also, perhaps - father, uncle: petroleum engineers, other uncle drilling company corporate lawyer) but this also ricochets in my head, as that technology and its implications become more and more bewildering and complicated: why did people despise Jimmy Carter for suggesting we put on sweaters? (No one need reply that sheep may cause a catastrophic methane release comparable to ..., &etc - I see it coming.) And where would we be if that hadn't aroused such a backlash? It seemed like conservation and renewables were going to be the next Industrial Revolution, not natural gas. What was particularly un-American about that?

At this point the only relevance of the idea of Peak Oil seems to be, whether we arrive at a global consensus that Peak Oil should be self-imposed; and whether the world's superpower would look beyond the current bonanza to use its waning clout in that direction.

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That's what I thought was interesting about that article. I thought that it really nicely touched on the fact that alternative energy development has really been tied to the argument that we have to develop them because we're running out of oil. Well, if we really aren't running out of oil anytime in the foreseeable future that conversation changes significantly and we really have to evaluate how we're going to utilize energy in the future.

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The minute someone delivers an electric car that provides a range that allows a full day of driving without requiring a recharge at a competitive price, or a comparable innovation, the whole game changes. I would argue that the probability that happens in the next twenty years is high.

I heard a while back that one possibility for range in electric vehicles is battery packs that are easily swappable. You would drive around as needed and when your battery started to get low you would pull into the equivalent of a gas station where you would swap out your depleted battery for a fully charged one, kind of like how you swap an empty propane cylinder for a full one.

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For today's entry I am happy to return to Washington Post commentator Roger Lewis, whose April 23 column analyzed market forces now favoring walkable neighborhoods over the automobile-dependent, sprawling subdivisions that characterized most U.S. land development in the late 20th century. In particular, Lewis—sounding very much like the esteemed professor of architecture that he is—says that now-declining "suburban planning and zoning templates were predicated on four key assumptions":

  • America had an unlimited supply of land;
  • Automobiles and road building, thanks to inexpensive and presumably inexhaustible supplies of petroleum, would forever satisfy metropolitan transportation needs;
  • Grouping homogeneous land uses, not intermixing them, would best protect property values, especially for residences; and
  • The only way to realize the American dream was to own and inhabit a mortgaged house.

Today, all four of those assumptions have collapsed or are in the process of collapsing. We now know that much of our land, especially in and around metro areas, should not be developed, because of risk (flooding, wildfire, landslides); limited resources (water); or ecological value. There is considerable variation in these factors from one place to another, but the supply of land in regions experiencing growth can no longer be seen as "unlimited." Gasoline prices are back up to four bucks a gallon and, as global supply declines and demand for oil grows in developing countries, are surely going to continue to grow over the long term.

Lewis explains:

Much of America's land cannot or should not be developed. Dependency on oil and limitless use of cars pose daunting environmental, economic and geopolitical problems. Homogenizing and grouping land uses impede walkability, diminish transportation efficiency, waste energy and promote social segregation, all without necessarily enhancing real estate values. And when home ownership dreams recently became financial nightmares, many Americans discovered that having a house and a mortgage might not be all they were cracked up to be.


 

Much of the rest of his column is devoted to changing demographic forces, which I have covered repeatedly: the projected growth in housing demand is going to come largely if not entirely from young people who are much more comfortable with urban lifestyles than their parents, and from retiring baby boomers who no longer have large families living at home that need large amounts of house and yard space. Both groups value easy, walkable access to amenities at least as much as, if not more than, the benefits of a subdivision lifestyle based on driving significant distances and caring for lawns.

We will still have continuing demand for large-lot suburbia, but the portion of the housing market that will seek it will be much smaller than it once was. In the 1960s families with kids made up half or more of American households; that portion is down to a third and projected to shrink further to only a quarter.

Beyond demographic shifts per se, Canadian urban observer Wendy Waters (in her blog All About Cities) attributes the increase in demand for walkable places in part to changes in the larger economy and culture, including these:

  • Maturation of the knowledge economy, reliant on the Internet, that has benefited from a very urban workforce constantly looking for inspiration;
  • De-industrialization in many metro areas as manufacturing declined either outright or as a percentage of employment (while service and knowledge jobs grew);
  • Generations X and Y started to make their ideas and culture felt in cities, as they embraced an experience economy over a consumer goods and large-home-and-car based one;
  • Women's higher rate of degree attainment resulted in career women selecting short commutes and urban living (with the trade-offs) over suburban homes;
  • The fertility rate edged up slightly, likely as younger Boomer and older Gen-X women who had postponed children had one or two children but didn't give up urban living or urban careers and wanted short commutes;
  • Millennials defining freedom as their "first iPhone" rather than first car, and driving less;
  • More recently in 2008 and now in 2011, high gas prices are encouraging more people to rethink automotive lifestyles.

Some observers suggest that 2010 U.S. census data contradict these trends. Don't believe them.

For example, conservative pundit Wendell Cox has made much of the fact that the overwhelming majority of U.S. metro-area growth from 2000 to 2010 took place in suburbs, not "historical core municipalities." Well, sure it did. But:

These aggregate numbers mask some very important facts, including that, in between, say, 1960 and 2000, many central cities were in severe decline, due to "white flight" and all sorts of perceived urban problems. But for some tragic exceptions like Detroit, that decline now has either slowed dramatically or reversed. In D.C., for example, the central city is growing again after 50 years of decline and ironically, a new concern of some is that "white flight" is now to the city, not away from it. New York, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio also grew. This is where the change is.

In addition, the distinction between "central city" and "suburb" is simply not what it once was. Inner-ring suburbs now are part of the central city in every way other than the arbitrary jurisdictional lines that mean little economically or environmentally. In his blog West North, my friend Payton Chung points out that the supposed "suburban" district of Friendship Heights Village, in Maryland but adjacent to the D.C. city limits, is "the single most densely populated place in the entire country, with 79,556 residents per square mile. Even Manhattan only clocks in at 69,468 per square mile."

Another friend, Chris Leinberger, argues in enlightening commentary for The New Republic that the real juice in the market is with the growth of "walkable urban places," regardless of the technicality of which jurisdiction they happen to fall within:

Core cities are comprised of pedestrian-oriented urban places, how Jerry Seinfeld lived, but they also include auto-centric suburban places, like the San Fernando Valley in the city of Los Angeles or the Palisades in the District of Columbia. Likewise, the suburbs of those core cities include classic subdivisions and McMansions, like the home of Tony Soprano, but they also include booming places like Old Town Pasadena, Reston Town Center near Dulles Airport outside D.C., and revitalized Jersey City and Hoboken, NJ, on the other side of the Hudson River from Manhattan.


The issue is where are walkable urban places being built, and they are being built in both central cities and the suburbs surrounding them. My 2007
of the walkable urban places in the top 30 metros showed 50 percent of them were in central cities and 50 percent were in the suburbs. In the metro area with the most walkable urban places, the Washington region, 70 percent of the walkable urban places were in the suburbs. These included Bethesda and Silver Spring in suburban Montgomery County, nine places in suburban Arlington County (like Ballston and Crystal City), and the newly built Washington Harbor in suburban Prince George's County.


 

"R.A." explained last month in a blog hosted by The Economist that, gross city/suburban numbers aside, the shift in relative demand for central city living ("that demand for central city life has grown relative to demand for suburban life") has been dramatic. The writer also agrees with Chris that, even where suburban growth is taking place, much of it is in an urban form. But the truest indicator may be what has been happening with regard to home prices and values. Here's R.A. on that point:

Suburbs have seen massive housing growth and rapid population growth, but prices in central cities have soared, even in many places where population numbers are level or falling. If no one wanted to live in central cities, prices for homes there would not rise. And indeed, several decades ago, prices for homes in big central cities were dropping. But that trend has clearly reversed. You can't draw conclusions about demand shifts from population numbers alone.


 

As I wrote some time back, when the housing market recovers, smart growth will claim a larger share than in the past. We're already seeing it, and we are only going to see more. As Roger Lewis pointed out in the Post, we now know that the key assumptions that supported the sprawl paradigm are not valid.

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/04/how-history-killed-the-suburb/237815/

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A more demographically complex society induces cultural and economic shifts, including perceptions about urban life. Reportedly a majority of Americans, especially young adults and senior citizens, now prefer living in walkable neighborhoods and sustainably designed communities characterized by diverse land uses and a broad array of civic amenities. Their close-to-home wish list includes: transit access; plenty of shopping; cultural, recreational and entertainment venues; parks and playgrounds; good public schools; health-care services, and job opportunities. Affordable housing is also on the list.

Shifting demographics, along with increasing consumer interest in a more-urban existence, are redefining the real estate market. This requires rethinking how we plan, regulate, design and build — or rebuild — parts of suburbs and the cities they encircle. To respond to evolving market forces, new templates for truly smart growth are needed. Such templates must do the following:

 

l  Focus on and fit designated areas within municipalities and suburban counties where new development or redevelopment is feasible and desirable. Growth that is smart and sustainable also means conserving what is valuable, including existing structures and neighborhoods.

l  Proactively supersede conventional, obstructive zoning restrictions, enabling private- and public-sector initiatives that create the kinds of neighborhoods and communities many people desire and can afford.

l  Serve a broad cross-section of people, not just the affluent. In particular, templates must include financial strategies for expanding and maintaining a community’s inventory of affordable housing, especially rental housing.

l  Set high standards for urban design and architecture that address multiple aspirations — aesthetic, functional, economic, technological, environmental — and establish a process for enforcing standards and meeting aspirations.

l  Ensure that rules governing the process of planning, regulation and development are clearly spelled out; that the process is transparent, and that all stakeholders, including residents, public officials, property owners, business interests and developers, participate constructively in the process.

 

Roger K. Lewis is a practicing architect and a professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Maryland.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/shaping-the-city-seeking-a-new-template-for-truly-smart-growth/2011/04/15/AFQShSPE_story_1.html

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Some observers suggest that 2010 U.S. census data contradict these trends. Don't believe them.

 

This is the easy way around reality. Explaining it is much harder.

 

Good luck. Oh, and call me when the suburbs stop growing. Not decline, just stop growing.

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This is the easy way around reality. Explaining it is much harder.

Good luck. Oh, and call me when the suburbs stop growing. Not decline, just stop growing.

Vik's new strategy is to post things he finds on the web verbatim. Because if someone wrote it, it must be true.

Hey Vik, how about instead of posting someone else's blog entries you just provide a link and then give us your analysis?

Edited by august948

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Actually, there used to be a forum rule against posting entire copyrighted articles. I guess Vik doesn't have to follow those rules.

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"Generations X and Y started to make their ideas and culture felt in cities, as they embraced an experience economy over a consumer goods and large-home-and-car based one"

 

:lol:  yep those Gen X &Y's participation in America's culture of consumption is obviously on the wane in favor of the experience of staring down for endless hours into their iPads/Pods/Phones, only occasionally taking a break to adjust their ear buds

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"Generations X and Y started to make their ideas and culture felt in cities, as they embraced an experience economy over a consumer goods and large-home-and-car based one"

:lol:yep those Gen X &Y'sparticipation in America's culture of consumption is obviously on the wane in favor of the experience of staring down for endless hours into their iPads/Pods/Phones, only occasionally taking a break to adjust their ear buds

Interesting that Gen X entered household formation age from the mid-80's to the late 90's just as master planned communities and larger house sizes started to become popular.

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I was going to post comments about this today, but then last night I had a revelation.

 

I realized that I had been brainwashed by General Motors, the Federal Government, and the Oil Companies.  I never wanted a house in the suburbs or a car.  I only purchased those things because of their manipulation of my thoughts.  It is clear to me now that these things are evil and I have repented.

 

I sold my car and my house in the suburbs and I moved to a 4-6 story apartment building in Midtown with space for ground floor retail that is within walking distance of light rail so that I could live a more authentic life.  I know that this is more authentic because the representative of the corporation that built the apartment complex assured me that each of the hundreds of 4-6 story apartment buildings with space for ground floor retail that they own is completely authentic.  I'm ready for the end of oil because I live a completely sustainable lifestyle here in Midtown and I'm absolutely certain that all of the products that I consume are produced close to Midtown or are transported on the light rail so that no roads are necessary to bring them here.

 

I didn't realize how miserable I was before, but now I'm completely happy living exactly as man is meant to live, in dense, but not too dense, neighborhoods of mid-rise apartments with lots of room for ground floor retail.

 

I'm so excited about my new lifestyle that I'm telling all of my friends to move here as well.  We really won't be living as we're meant to live until all 6 million of us live inside the loop and we've covered the entire area with completely authentic mid-rise apartment buildings.

 

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Vik's new strategy is to post things he finds on the web verbatim. Because if someone wrote it, it must be true.

Hey Vik, how about instead of posting someone else's blog entries you just provide a link and then give us your analysis?

 

Experts have been predicting the imminent demise of the suburbs since the 1950s so they're clearly on borrowed time.

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I was going to post comments about this today, but then last night I had a revelation.

I realized that I had been brainwashed by General Motors, the Federal Government, and the Oil Companies. I never wanted a house in the suburbs or a car. I only purchased those things because of their manipulation of my thoughts. It is clear to me now that these things are evil and I have repented.

I sold my car and my house in the suburbs and I moved to a 4-6 story apartment building in Midtown with space for ground floor retail that is within walking distance of light rail so that I could live a more authentic life. I know that this is more authentic because the representative of the corporation that built the apartment complex assured me that each of the hundreds of 4-6 story apartment buildings with space for ground floor retail that they own is completely authentic. I'm ready for the end of oil because I live a completely sustainable lifestyle here in Midtown and I'm absolutely certain that all of the products that I consume are produced close to Midtown or are transported on the light rail so that no roads are necessary to bring them here.

I didn't realize how miserable I was before, but now I'm completely happy living exactly as man is meant to live, in dense, but not too dense, neighborhoods of mid-rise apartments with lots of room for ground floor retail.

I'm so excited about my new lifestyle that I'm telling all of my friends to move here as well. We really won't be living as we're meant to live until all 6 million of us live inside the loop and we've covered the entire area with completely authentic mid-rise apartment buildings.

Unfortunately for densification, the family that bought your house and car moved out of a 1 bedroom apartment inside the loop because they wanted a yard and better schools at a price they could afford. GM got us again!

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Unfortunately for densification, the family that bought your house and car moved out of a 1 bedroom apartment inside the loop because they wanted a yard and better schools at a price they could afford. GM got us again!

 

I have a feeling he thought ahead and demolished the house prior to leaving, and was sure to leave lots of solvents and heavy metals strewn about the property to ensure it wouldn't be livable for hundreds of years.

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I have a feeling he thought ahead and demolished the house prior to leaving, and was sure to leave lots of solvents and heavy metals strewn about the property to ensure it wouldn't be livable for hundreds of years.

Wait a minute. I thought suburban properties weren't livable because they don't have access to light rail. ;)

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I have a feeling he thought ahead and demolished the house prior to leaving, and was sure to leave lots of solvents and heavy metals strewn about the property to ensure it wouldn't be livable for hundreds of years.

 

Let's put it this way.  General William Tecumseh Sherman would have been proud!

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Has the rise of the New Urbanist "walkable urban, mixed use, transit-oriented development (TOD), smart-growth, complete streets, (etc)" model already been rendered obsolete, or at least of questionable long-term value, by the realities of 21st century professional career paths?

 

According to my 34 yr old daughter, the very demographic (age 20s to 40s upwardly mobile professionals) the New Urbanists seek to attract to the city center stay at 1 job on average only 3-5 years then move on. Since "moving on" might just mean to a different part of town in addition to another city/state, what urban area could possibly build enough walkable/TOD/etc development to accommodate that kind of mobility without continuing to rely primarily on the automobile or some other non-fixed mode of transit?

Edited by IHB2

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Has the rise of the New Urbanist "walkable urban, mixed use, transit-oriented development (TOD), smart-growth, complete streets, (etc)" model already been rendered obsolete, or at least of questionable long-term value, by the realities of 21st century professional career paths?

 

According to my 34 yr old daughter, the very demographic (age 20s to 40s upwardly mobile professionals) the New Urbanists seek to attract to the city center stay at 1 job on average only 3-5 years then move on. Since "moving on" might just mean to a different part of town in addition to another city/state, what urban area could possibly build enough walkable/TOD/etc development to accommodate that kind of mobility without continuing to rely primarily on the automobile or some other non-fixed mode of transit?

 

Most european cities have such good transit systems that it doesn't matter where your job is you'll have a good way to get to work. In the US I'd say New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, and Philadelphia are good examples.

 

DC should be the model for Houston they got started relatively late and look at what it has now.

 

Denver will be very impressive once it's all done too.

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Most european cities have such good transit systems that it doesn't matter where your job is you'll have a good way to get to work. In the US I'd say New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, and Philadelphia are good examples.

 

DC should be the model for Houston they got started relatively late and look at what it has now.

 

Denver will be very impressive once it's all done too.

 

Houston is very impressive now. Or was, until the transit dweebs started ruining everything with light rail that just destroys traffic patterns. Many of my regular travel routes were far easier before I had to start figuring out how to get across the stupidly placed light rail lines. My preference would be to rip out all the rail and improve bus service. There is not a valid argument for having light rail in Houston. Plus, the city would be a better place without all the whiny  "walkable this, walkable that" advocates who want to remake the city I've lived in for almost 40 years into something different.

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Houston is very impressive now. Or was, until the transit dweebs started ruining everything with light rail that just destroys traffic patterns. Many of my regular travel routes were far easier before I had to start figuring out how to get across the stupidly placed light rail lines. My preference would be to rip out all the rail and improve bus service. There is not a valid argument for having light rail in Houston. Plus, the city would be a better place without all the whiny  "walkable this, walkable that" advocates who want to remake the city I've lived in for almost 40 years into something different.

 

One light rail has destroyed traffic patterns? There are a number of streets parallel to Main and Fannin that you can take to avoid them.

 

Also, Houston was a city full of streetcars before it was remade into a freeway heaven. People could have been saying the same thing when streetcars were being shut down one after another.

 

And yeah, those people encouraging walking are just dumb. We Houstonians just want to walk to our driveway and from the parking lot to the mall or the office!

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Has the rise of the New Urbanist "walkable urban, mixed use, transit-oriented development (TOD), smart-growth, complete streets, (etc)" model already been rendered obsolete, or at least of questionable long-term value, by the realities of 21st century professional career paths?

According to my 34 yr old daughter, the very demographic (age 20s to 40s upwardly mobile professionals) the New Urbanists seek to attract to the city center stay at 1 job on average only 3-5 years then move on. Since "moving on" might just mean to a different part of town in addition to another city/state, what urban area could possibly build enough walkable/TOD/etc development to accommodate that kind of mobility without continuing to rely primarily on the automobile or some other non-fixed mode of transit?

I'm a few years older than your daughter and in my experience seems to bear that out with an average stay at one employer of 3.8 years. Each time I changed jobs, I went either to another part of the city or to another city entirely.

An even more interesting trend for city and transit planning is working remotely either from home or from bare-bones remote offices in the suburbs that don't require people to brave rush hour traffic and thus reduce the need for additional transit improvements. If that trend continues, there might be less demand for centralized environments like downtown and more development of edge cities closer to the suburbs.

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I'm a few years older than your daughter and in my experience seems to bear that out with an average stay at one employer of 3.8 years. Each time I changed jobs, I went either to another part of the city or to another city entirely.

An even more interesting trend for city and transit planning is working remotely either from home or from bare-bones remote offices in the suburbs that don't require people to brave rush hour traffic and thus reduce the need for additional transit improvements. If that trend continues, there might be less demand for centralized environments like downtown and more development of edge cities closer to the suburbs.

 

People who work from home are usually the first ones to get laid off. Just saying...

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People who work from home are usually the first ones to get laid off. Just saying...

Is it scary that people might eventually not need to go downtown in great numbers? Seems like that's the optimal and most economic solution to rush hour congestion.

I've been working from home for over 7 years, much greater than my average stay at other employers. My experience has been that people either get laid off because the company is tanking and management fires people to cover their own managerial incompetence and/or because those laid off have noticeably lower productivity. Either thing can happen whether or not you are working remotely.

Edited by august948

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People who work from home are usually the first ones to get laid off. Just saying...

 

Or you just made that up without data to back it up.  Just sayin...

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Is it scary that people might eventually not need to go downtown in great numbers? Seems like that's the optimal and most economic solution to rush hour congestion.

I've been working from home for over 7 years, much greater than my average stay at other employers. My experience has been that people either get laid off because the company is tanking and management fires people to cover their own managerial incompetence and/or because those laid off have noticeably lower productivity. Either thing can happen whether or not you are working remotely.

 

It seems optimal but from my experience with management and seeing how other companies operate I notice the people who work from home get the ax first.

 

Also, I believe two companies banned working from home recently, Yahoo and Best Buy.

 

I read articles with data to support this just need to find it.

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People who work from home are usually the first ones to get laid off. Just saying...

 

[Citation Needed]

 

Further -- Some cities actually give businesses tax breaks for having their employees work from home, and have special business licenses for home-based businesses.  The idea is that it saves the city money on infrastructure for people to work right where they are, instead of constantly having to build and maintain roads and mass transit systems.

 

If a company is in a situation where it has to fire an employee, and it's getting tax breaks for employing the one at home, you can bet it will be the cubicle monkey who gets the heave-ho.

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It seems optimal but from my experience with management and seeing how other companies operate I notice the people who work from home get the ax first.

Also, I believe two companies banned working from home recently, Yahoo and Best Buy.

I read articles with data to support this just need to find it.

Both Yahoo and Best Buy have fallen on hard times. Speculation is that Yahoo's move is in part to reduce it's workforce by voluntary attrition rather than having to lay people off.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/petercohan/2013/02/26/4-reasons-marissa-mayers-no-at-home-work-policy-is-an-epic-fail/

Best Buy didn't end their program, just changed it to require manager approval.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/05/technology/best-buy-work-from-home/index.html

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I read articles with data to support this just need to find it.

Let me help you out, here are some I found on a quick search...

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/marissa-mayer-is-wrong-working-from-home-can-make-you-more-productive/273482/

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/freakonomics-radio/can-working-home-increase-productivity

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4057-telecommuting-makes-better-employees.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/opinion/sunday/working-from-home-vs-the-office.html?_r=0

From they NYT article:

Proponents of telecommuting, however, point to numerous studies showing that people who work from home are on average more productive than other workers and that telecommuting cuts down on traffic during peak hours, reduces companies’ real estate costs and improves employee morale, leading to less turnover. Ten percent of American workers spend at least one day a week clocking in from home, according to government data. The percentage of people working exclusively from home climbed to 6.6 percent of in 2010, from 4.8 percent in 1997.

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