Fw: Peeved at the pump

From: Innovatia <dennis@innovatia.com>
Date: Tue May 18 2004 - 22:01:07 EDT

Dr. Blake Nelson <bnelson301@yahoo.com> hit upon a topic I researched while
on my local county land use planning committee: urban planning:

> 3. Quite frankly, the problem seems to be one of
> urban planning and population density. When I moved
> into urban Washington DC we got rid of both our cars.
> There is no practical need for them. I intentionally
> don't live in a gigantic house way out in the suburbs
> because 1) I dont want the commute, 2) it is
> environmentally problematic to do so for a host of
> reasons I won't go into about suburbs and exoburbs,
> and 3) I have no desire to equate social status with
> square footage.
> 4. Once urban density reaches a certain level of mass
> transit is close enough to anywhere you might
> reasonably need to go and economical. The problem is
> urban planning and massive urban sprawl. Glenn's
> point may be true in rural areas with low population
> density such as I used to live in before DC and in
> some cities in the US -- mainly Midwest and West --
> that have lousy urban planning and are so sprawling
> and have such lousy public transit that one needs a
> car. Punitive gas taxes may not be a one size fits
> all answer, but (the lack of) urban planning is simply
> out of hand and some high population density cities
> could simply do without personal cars within a certain
> distance/population density from their core.

I wouldn't put too much faith in urban planners. There is one large city in
the U.S. which has not had any zoning, and that is Houston, Texas. It's
layout patterning is indistinguishable from urban-planned cities. Urban
planning amounts to yet another govt boondoggle whereby those with the bucks
buy exceptions to the plans.

Zoning divides cities into functionally distinct areas, separating
residential, commercial, and industrial functions. This not only creates the
necessity for commuiting, it deprives kids of industrial junk in their
neighborhoods to inspire their sci-tech minds. The result is the
intellectual sterility of the suburbs.

> In other words, these issues are complex and involve a
> host of other variables that are affected when one
> tries to tamper with one variable and unless one
> thinks these things through thoroughly, most solutions
> are worse than the original problem.

Urban planning falls in this category. Urban areas are too complex to yield
to such planning. It is an example of a non-problem which urban planning
itself has elevated to the status of a problem.

Dennis Feucht
Received on Wed May 19 18:59:03 2004

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