Sunday, September 04, 2011

Wonky Urban Planning Post

Effective urban concentration.

This is one of those topics that gets me all riled up.


Pete said...

I agree the municipal / bureaucratic disconnect that exists between the city and the suburbs is to blame for much of the sprawl and civic dysfunction that exists in the US's metro areas. Americans aren't stupid, per se, but are racist, gerrymandering, sticks-in-the-mud. People move to the suburbs to tune out and be among their own kind, whatever that is.

The only way to achieve what the author is suggesting is to make Seattle's first couple rings of suburbs part of Seattle proper. Any other type of committee or action council will be ineffective.

The article implies that there isn't a government body that could take regulatory action regarding the pollution of Puget Sound. Would this not be the State's Environmental Protection Agency? I'm surprised the article didn't address why the EPA was toothless, in this case.

Good article.

Don Jason said...

One thing is geography, and another a certain sense of history and ultra-micro-regional politics. My mother lives in the first ring of suburbs and travels a grand total of 18 minutes without traffic to get to the inner core of high rises for work. But there are large bodies of water on either side (Puget Sound & Lake Washington) and this downtown core is only three miles wide requiring rather monumental bridges to connect the region. This underlines the "traveling into the city" context even if the aging first ring of suburbs has become one of the biggest districts of growth as well as economic and ethnic diversity since at least the 1990's. (One of the biggest employers, Microsoft, is around the corner creating a reverse rush hour effect.)

Any move at consolidation or even better transit interconnectedness inevitably gets bogged down in redundant overlapping bureaucracies and political hyper-regional hysterics played out often in direct vote initiatives.

This model definitely plagues progress of any kind in California, I am not so sure for other places that have acute infrastructure and environmental issues in the United States.

Pete said...

Yes. The automobile is definitely the culprit. I'm hoping that this will become a self-rectifying problem in the post peak oil world.

There is definitely a siege mentality in first ring suburbs. For example, the Klan marching in Skokie.