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Lecture 4

GGRB05 Lecture 4 - Suburbs and Sprawl

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Shaun Tanaka

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GGRB05 Lecture 4: Suburbs and Sprawl (24 September 2013) Next week: guest speaker “…we make our surroundings, and then our surroundings make us: and at the moment they are a working model of hell” Norma Pearson, ‘Hell is a Suburb’ Suburbs and Sprawl - Developing on periphery of cities – periphery always being pushed - Sprawl o Idea on periphery – development and highways, car-dependent o Moral attributes to certain places The Physical Characteristics of Suburbs - Low density development - Location at, or close to, the urban fringe - High level of owner occupation - Politically distinct - Middle, or upper middle class - Exclusively residential, implying that residents must commute beyond the suburb to work - ^they don’t tell the whole story Suburbs - Bedroom community – where they sleep, but not where they work - T. Jackson – common theorist o Social homogeneity – white elites, though different ethnicities service homes o Economic dependence on cities – industrial, not to create distancing (shorten commutes) o Sprawling geographic forms Edge City and Technoblurb - Describe importance - More serviceable - Typically built along highways - Ex. 404 – industrial cities - Greater profits can be made by building on new land Auto-dependent suburbs - Prominence to cars - Cars most important technology in facilitating suburban expansion - Highways - Lack centers GGRB05 Lecture 4: Suburbs and Sprawl (24 September 2013) - Gridiron to cul-de-sac plan o Gridiron – allows for multi-use o Cul-de-sac – roundabouts – breaks communities, creates useless space, longer travel time Streetcar suburbs - Suburbs building up along streetcar lines - Ex. Scarborough Town Centre - Ex. St Clair streetcar suburb - Walkability – walkable city -Toronto or Los Angeles -Commercial sprawl – most big cities (around suburbs) -Suburban Office Parks – intentional places outside of city in suburbs Working Definition of Sprawl 1. Low residential density (usually far more residential than nonresidential) 2. Unlimited outward extension of new development 3. Spatial segregation of different types of land uses through zoning regulations 4. Leapfrog development 5. No centralized ownership of land or coordinated planning of development 6. All transportation dominated by privately owned motor vehicles 7. Fragmentation of governance authority over land uses between many local governments 8. Great variances in the fiscal capacity of local governments because the revenue-raising capabilities of each are strongly tied to the property values and economic activities occurring within their own borders 9. Widespread commercial strip development along major roadways 10. Major reliance upon the filtering or “trickle-down” process to provide housing for low-income households Origins of Sprawl - Utopian Ideas o Associated with the idea of the good life o Idea of fresh air, closer to nature, security, healthy lifestyle, better development for children, women away from messiness o Idea of pleasures of home ownership o Idea of self-sufficiency (‘master of your own being’) o Natural landscape – calming effect to city life o Privacy – physical space from neighbours, man/woman’s space, ideals of morality (no crowding or poor sanitation) GGRB05 Lecture 4: Suburbs and Sprawl (24 September 2013)  Allowing space to escape from cities  Escape from fear of crime, fear of urban diversity, people of affluence to separate themselves o Prohibiting public access to public spaces – gated communities o Lifestyle places o Gated golfcourses o Age – discrimination - Automobile age o Doesn’t allow for walkable communities o Transportation technologies relied on o Directly reliant on federal funding - Zoning - Federal Housing Policy and Subsidies o Grants and loans o Further development so that war veterans could afford houses  Allowed expansion of suburbs The Costs of Sprawl - Unintended consequences o Climate change and air pollution o Obesity o Social alienation o Farmland loss o Natural loss (wildlife habitat) o Government subsidies and costs of maintenance (the 55 billion dollar story) o Oil dependence - Emphasis on Smart Growth o Promoting better housing and environmental quality 15 ways to fix the suburbs 1. Give up big lawns a. Make houses cheaper 2. Bring back the corner store a. Fundamental uses, walkable cities 3. Make streets skinny a. Instead of broad streets 4. Drop the cul-de-sac
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