Friday, May 02, 2008

Dome films, telework & weather vs. transit, core vs. suburbs, zoning, sidewalk retail

Some miscellaneous smaller items this morning:
  • Marginal Revolution has a post on zoning in NYC, with lots of comments on Houston (use your browser search to find them - Edit menu, 'Find in this page').
"Yes, I am opposed to many forms of zoning. Without zoning our cities would be denser, more eco-friendly, cheaper to live in, more able to produce economies of agglomeration, and more immigrants would benefit from American prosperity. "
  • Evidently I'm not the only one that thinks weather should be taken into consideration when deciding how much of a push for walkability and transit-orientation is appropriate for a given city:
"As for an example of a city truly built around the car, I’d probably point to my hometown of Orlando, Florida (though in its defense, the brutal summers of Central Florida are not particularly conducive to walking and transit)."
"Fixed routes and fixed schedule like bus services won't meet their needs like they did 50 years ago, because what's inherent in the virtual world is there are no predictable schedules."
  • Joel Kotkin notes that while most of the attention of the housing crisis is focused on single-family homes in the suburbs, the urban condo market is taking a much bigger hit - and the "move into the urban core" trend is still a relatively small niche when compared to the bigger picture:
"Rarely reported, however, is the fact that more than 90 percent of all metropolitan growth in this “back to the city” decade has taken place in the periphery. One reason: 80 percent of Americans, according to numerous surveys, want to live in suburbs, small towns or the country. In addition, contrary to the notions of city planners and media cognitive elites, the vast majority of Americans prefer a single-family home to an apartment or condo. For most people, the American dream still means a house with a yard -- not a high-rise apartment.
It is also hard to make a case that urban centers are now attracting hordes of the upwardly mobile and well-off aging boomers, as is often suggested. Studies by the Brookings Institution demographer, William H. Frey, and real estate industry experts have found that relatively few well-heeled empty-nesters are deserting their suburban nests for the core. In fact, most are staying close to home, while about as many head further out than move in."
  • Neal covers a DMN story about ground-level sidewalk retail failing (i.e. staying empty) in mixed-use projects in Dallas. Developers know the market won't support it, but politicians force it anyway. I've seen similar stories on blocks of empty street retail in Portland and LA. With retail, it's all about the parking, because the residential density is never high enough to support the stores on their own.

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At 2:07 PM, May 05, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Therefore, despite the hype about families or empty-nesters, cities still attract mostly young singles, students and new immigrants. Many of these, once they are settled or reach middle age, often move out to the suburbs or to less expensive regions.

This is VERY true.


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