Category: Development + Urbanism

Small-Town America Is Facing Big-City Problems

“Small-Town America Is Facing Big-City Problems” on Next City by Bill Bradley
From Portland, Maine, to Traverse City, Michigan, many smaller U.S. cities are struggling with densification, NIMBY politics and housing affordability.

“As more people decide they want the open space and charm of a small town without having to sacrifice the hip restaurants, decent espresso and lively streets of a bigger city, the affordability that made places like Traverse City a dream town in the first place has begun to fade. Urbanization has been good for business — more hotels and bars mean more jobs — but now these former backwoods gems are starting to grapple with the same issues facing urban centers around the world. How do you foster smart growth in a city center without pushing the workforce to the fringes?”

The Real Source of America’s Urban Revival

“Just why young college-educated professionals might prefer to live near consumption amenities more than they have in the past is tougher to explain. The researchers are looking into several possibilities: that the urban revivalists have more disposal income, that the rise of digital location-based technology makes service amenities more valuable, and that thequality of amenities is higher in modern downtowns. Testing these ideas will be a challenge.

“Maybe Avenue Q is funnier than The Lion King,” says Couture, “but it’s hard to measure.”
http://bit.ly/1RkIy3e

The worst thing about driving is about to change

“No Parking Here” by Clive Thompson on Mother Jones

“Social critics often complain that the interstate highway system deformed the United States by encouraging sprawl. But the metastasizing of parking has had equally profound effects. On an aesthetic level, it makes cities grimly ugly. Economically, it is expensive to build. A study by the Sightline Institute found that at least 15 percent of the price of rent in Seattle stemmed from developers’ cost of building parking.”

My favorite line:

“What’s more, all that asphalt traps heat and raises the temperature of cities during the summer. Environmentally, aesthetically, and economically, parking is a mess.”

http://bit.ly/1oXNwcW

No parking here

“No Parking Here” by Clive Thompson on Mother Jones

“Social critics often complain that the interstate highway system deformed the United States by encouraging sprawl. But the metastasizing of parking has had equally profound effects. On an aesthetic level, it makes cities grimly ugly. Economically, it is expensive to build. A study by the Sightline Institute found that at least 15 percent of the price of rent in Seattle stemmed from developers’ cost of building parking.”

My favorite line:

“What’s more, all that asphalt traps heat and raises the temperature of cities during the summer. Environmentally, aesthetically, and economically, parking is a mess.”

The worst thing about driving is about to change

If you drive out to visit Disney’s Epcot center in Orlando, Florida, you will arrive at one of the biggest parking lots in America. With room for 12,000 cars, it sprawls out over 7 million square feet-about the size of 122 football fields.