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Old November 18th, 2007, 12:13 AM   #21
theworldshallcry
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Originally Posted by DeaconBlue View Post
I'm not sure this is the real reason that people live in the burbs. In the 60's when everyone was used to living in cities, they all left for the burbs. How come? It's because you can get a bigger home for less money and more convenience. I don't want to live that way but that's what most Americans want.
Think of what was popular in those days: cars, drive-thrus, cute little TV shows taking place in prefab suburbs. Sickeningly homogeneous middle-class "communities" were the most fashionable things around. Cities were associated with violence and racial tension. The government provided trillions of dollars in subsidies for suburban development through mortgages and free highway construction.

You're right, most Americans enjoy suburban life. And today that is because of inertia. Fifty years ago, it was because the cultural and political norms of the time did their damndest to force people out of cities and into suburbs.

If, for instance, government dollars in the last fifty years were spent predominantly on rail rather than roads, we would have the world's best high-speed passenger rail system, and some of the most impressive public transportation in existence. If property taxes were to be based predominantly on land waste rather than dwelling value, owning single-family housing would be impossible for anybody but the wealthiest. In hindsight, two simple choices.

PS the Robert Moses school of societal obliteration did not help much either.

Last edited by theworldshallcry; November 18th, 2007 at 12:21 AM.
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Old November 18th, 2007, 01:55 AM   #22
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"If, for instance, government dollars in the last fifty years were spent predominantly on rail rather than roads, we would have the world's best high-speed passenger rail system, and some of the most impressive public transportation in existence. If property taxes were to be based predominantly on land waste rather than dwelling value, owning single-family housing would be impossible for anybody but the wealthiest. In hindsight, two simple choices."

Are you serious, do you really think that people would have stood for either of those things? People don't like public transportation in general, it is simply inferior to driving because you have to be on someone else's schedule. As for your tax scheme, are you out of your mind? This is the land of the free, where you can live how you want, not a land where the government penalizes you for wanting a home. Those are not realistic solutions and never will be.
D
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Old November 18th, 2007, 05:36 AM   #23
theworldshallcry
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Are you serious, do you really think that people would have stood for either of those things? People don't like public transportation in general, it is simply inferior to driving because you have to be on someone else's schedule.
It is inferior to driving because the infrastructure is physically inferior. You don't need to argue with me on that point -- I lived most of my life in Houston, and know well what driving is about.
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As for your tax scheme, are you out of your mind? This is the land of the free, where you can live how you want, not a land where the government penalizes you for wanting a home. Those are not realistic solutions and never will be.
This might be the land of the free, but what you speak of isn't free. First of all, people that don't use freeways have to pay their share of road taxes. Would you object if trillions of tax dollars are poured into rail and you don't ride trains? I believe in paying for road infrastructure solely through fuel taxes, not bond issues or income taxes or anything else. Now that's an appropriate libertarian solution: let people that use something pay for it, and leave everyone else alone.

As for land waste, it's not free either. There's a free rider effect here. You're just not used to anything other than the status quo. Who said a "home" must be a McMansion? That's a dangerously distorted stereotype -- if everybody in the world lived in their own mansion, there wouldn't even be enough space on this planet to fit those lots.

Individual landowners should pay for the share of environmental degradation, pollution, and increased congestion that their inefficient land usage causes. I believe in solutions where everybody is free to do what they want -- as you said, this is the land of the free. People can live however they want, with no law stating they cannot, but if they want to pave over paradise, they should pay dearly for it. The government wouldn't penalize you for wanting to own a home, they would only penalize you for wanting to own a socially, environmentally irresponsible monstrosity. We pave over farmland the size of a small European country every year. Is this freedom at its best, or at its worst?

Of course, this is impossible today. But 60 years ago it could easily have been implemented. Again, a seemingly small decision in hindsight. I argue philosophically -- practically, we're beyond the hope of radical solutions and can only see how things sort themselves out.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 03:55 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theworldshallcry View Post
people that don't use freeways have to pay their share of road taxes. . .I believe in paying for road infrastructure solely through fuel taxes, not bond issues or income taxes or anything else.
Table HF-10 of Highway Statistics 2004 (Bureau of Transportation Statistics) is a summary of highway receipts and disbursements--for all highways and local streets--which balanced out at $143,807 million each in 2003. It's true that $35,967 million of the receipts shown are from non-user general revenues, but motorists in turn sent at least $79,860 million of user fees the other direction, to non-highway and mass transit uses.

So highway users fall 25 percent short of paying the total direct cost of highways and streets--but remember that this is looking at all streets, even local streets that existed long before there were motorists to pay fuel taxes.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 07:18 AM   #25
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Old November 19th, 2007, 07:32 AM   #26
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Does anyone remember that History Channel competition about a year ago. Chicago beat LA and NY. UrbanLab drew up some nice ideas on what Chicagoland might look like in 2100.

image hosted on flickr






http://www.urbanlab.com/h2o/

Last edited by Chicago2020; November 19th, 2007 at 07:43 AM.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 08:32 PM   #27
Mr Downtown
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I found the growth maps, along with pointers to lots of other interesting Chicago maps, at
http://www.mapsinthepublicsquare.org/

The growth maps alone, as PDFs:
http://www.mapsinthepublicsquare.org...ago_region.pdf

Last edited by Mr Downtown; December 1st, 2007 at 09:14 PM.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 05:10 AM   #28
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Nice Find
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 07:39 AM   #29
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Awesome find! Thanks for sharing.
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