Is sprawl not social engineering towards a different end?
Yes indeedy. Sprawl is the product of social engineering on probably the largest scale we’ve ever seen in the US. I watched the incredible Pruitt-Igoe Myth documentary last night and it references this — the way that local and federal government stepped in to allow the white-flight and sprawl boom to happen in the 1950s-60s.
New zoning regulations ensured that the only form of development possible in many counties was detached-use sprawl for the middle class (with no chance for apartments to accommodate low-income people). Highway infrastructure accommodated the commuting needs of people in this car-oriented environment, while making alternative transportation options infeasible in much of the landscape.
Charles Marohn calls sprawl the US “suburban experiment” and, economically, a failed one. I think we’ll need to let a generation of baby boomers pass us by, though, before the US can accept that this is indeed a failed experiment in social engineering. Too many people are emotionally attached to car-centric subdivisions and strip malls as the best development form possible — and blind to the government intervention that made this form not only possible but obligatory.
Cul-de-sac fixes for aging, active and or densifying communities.
I think the very fact that you’re adding more parking in these scenarios should point out that this still isn’t walkable/sustainable urban design.
American metropolises have sprawled outward for several decades now, and we all know the narrative. Cities lost population while their suburban counterparts grew. While many viewed these boom times as progress, it is now becoming evident that the decision to sprawl outward was a short-sighted policy decision, and is costing American taxpayers dearly. More from CNN:
Every time a new, spread-out subdivision is built far away from existing infrastructure, somebody has to pay for a bunch of roads that serve a small number of residents. And sewer and water lines too. And fire trucks that must travel farther to serve fewer people. And police cars. And ambulances. And school buses. And dial-a-ride buses. And – in many parts of the country – snowplows.
The cost is enormous…Cities can sometimes stay in the black temporarily by approving new development and getting new revenue to pay for the costs. But that’s really just a Ponzi scheme…Balanced budgets don’t just happen. They happen because someone took the time upfront to check the costs and to evaluate what we can afford and what will add the most value.
Definitely an interesting concept. I am all for utilizing rooftops, especially in true Corbusian fashion with green roofs and giving back to nature what the footprint of the building has taken. I appreciate the attempt at bringing in some green, but why plop down a piece of the suburbs on an urban rooftop? That’s just…. odd… and nonsensical, in my opinion.
This is a cool concept! It needs some refining, but I like the idea.
Link!: The suburbs didn’t start out sinister and evil. At first they were relatively dense and based around public transportation. These were the Streetcar Suburbs.
These are the only kinds of suburbs I would ever willingly live in, as I believe that so many (American) suburbs are truly ‘sinister and evil’ in the mindset and lifestyle they tend to promote.