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Retrofitting the Suburbs to be More Sustainable

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Development Retrofitting the Suburbs to be More Sustainable

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 89 total)
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  • #455117
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    James said:
    I have a hard time imagining Grandview suffering from population decline.

    Not a huge drop, but according to Census data, Grandview lost 2.4% of their population, from 6,695 people to 6,536 people.

    Bexley lost 1.1%.
    Upper Arlington gained 0.25%.

    Compare those suburbs to Grove City, which grew by 31.4% between 2000 and 2010 from 27k to 35.5k people.

    Part of the problem comes from the larger housing sizes, higher home values and higher taxes. You have aging baby boomers looking to down size and young couples/families looking for “starter homes”. Neither of which is looking for something as large and expensive as much of the housing stock in suburbs like Grandview, UA or Bexley. Not that it’s impossible to find something there… or just to rent instead of buy… but it’s still a very real issue for many people falling into those large demographic bases.

    James said:
    In addition to it being probably the most popular ‘suburb’ in the area there seems to have been more apartment construction in the past few years.

    Where are you seeing the apartment construction within Grandview Heights proper? Other than the apartments at Grandview Yard, much of the new larger development is happening right outside Grandview within the City of Columbus.

    James said:
    I’d be surprised of Grandview or UA would go so far as merging with each other let alone becoming part of Columbus. They seem to have pretty strong municipal identities. OTOH, i would have expected them to share more services but I think Grandview just rejected an offer from UA for some sharing earlier this year.

    I agree that a complete merger is silly. But more shared services could be in the future if trends of population decline continues.

    #455118
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    NEOBuckeye said:
    I think Grandview Yard may help Grandview Heights somewhat over the short term with municipal tax revenues, but longer term I am less certain of its benefit, and whether it will actually be enough to help GH remain solvent. The move away from density in the later stages of Grandview Yard’s development in favor of more suburbanesque, single use type buildings concerns me most here.

    Unless the move away from density is a short-term strategy, which I believe it could very well be. NEI launched the Arena District in 2000 with many surface parking lots surrounding it. Some of those we’re just seeing filled in today, 12 years later (the lot at the NE corner of Nationwide & Front was prime real estate used as a parking lot just a year ago). I don’t see why the same approach from the same developer couldn’t be utilized at Grandview Yard.

    NEOBuckeye said:
    The new Giant Eagle on 3rd for instance could quickly become a white elephant if Giant Eagle for whatever reason decides to close the store or otherwise goes belly up, something that does occur with large store chains from time to time.

    Heh. I don’t think anyone should count on any big box retailer or chain grocery store to be an investment that lasts any longer than 15-20 years. Great if it does, but rarely guaranteed. ;) That doesn’t mean that there’s not value in the short term. The Lennox Town Center only opened in 1997, making it 15 years old. I’d say there’s some value to that development, even if it were totally abandoned by 2017 (don’t really see that happening though).

    #455119

    James
    Participant

    Walker said:
    Where are you seeing the apartment construction within Grandview Heights proper? Other than the apartments at Grandview Yard, much of the new larger development is happening right outside Grandview within the City of Columbus.

    I’m thinking of the grandview mews, the apartments over matt the millers on grandview ave and the development at Grandview and 1st. This is the slice of grandview I mostly see, but it seems like there’s been a fair amount of apartment/condo activity in the area. I guess most of these are condos and not apartments.

    #455120

    dubdave00
    Participant

    NEOBuckeye said:
    The fiscal crisis is about here, the “cliff” in the federal budget that hits on January 1, 2013. Cities and suburbs alike are going to be hammered by it, and there is’t going to be much more time and space for denial and anger over things we should have done decades ago but couldn’t bring ourselves to do for whatever reason.

    True. But that’s like pointing to the fact that the national debt will be close to $17 trillion next year and concluding that hyperinflation must be any day from now. It’s a bit more nuanced than that. Granted, I’m no expert but I’ve grown skeptical of anyone who points to one fact or potential fact and then connects it with a larger narrative involving radical change in a short term. It’s not to say it couldn’t happen or that you’re the equivalent of the inflation-ocalypse crowd… It’s to say I’m skeptical.

    Also, from what I understand, the fiscal “cliff” may not even happen. Once the election is over, you can bet the “cliff” will become the talk of the 24 hour channels. Delaying or resolving it will become politically important for whoever the incoming / outgoing President is. Also, don’t you think a quick suburban demise would be a political nightmare for any Governor or President? I’d bet money that you would see calls for bail-outs, should suburbia face big problems in a short period. I’m just trying to be politically realistic. I could be wrong…

    #455121

    Lu
    Participant

    News said:
    Inner-ring suburbs talk about sharing resources

    This is an idea that I think deserves some attention. I moved here from Northern Virginia several years ago, and couldn’t believe the number of local governments in Franklin county. My jaw dropped when I saw the typical property tax bill and who gets paid – city, township, county, school district, metro parks, COSI, the library, the zoo, etc. It seems so redundant and wasteful – I’m sure each has their own HR, payroll, accounting, attorneys, etc.

    In Virginia, where property taxes are much lower, almost all local government is at the county level. The counties run everything from the the schools, police, and fire departments to the parks, libraries, senior services, etc.

    I can see residents in Bexley, Upper Arlington, etc. opposing consolidation in order to protect the exclusivity of their schools. In Virginia this is handled by having strict boundaries for each school building with no open enrollment option. Not saying that’s fair, but that’s how it’s handled there.

    #455122

    NEOBuckeye
    Participant

    dubdave00 said:
    True. But that’s like pointing to the fact that the national debt will be close to $17 trillion next year and concluding that hyperinflation must be any day from now. It’s a bit more nuanced than that. Granted, I’m no expert but I’ve grown skeptical of anyone who points to one fact or potential fact and then connects it with a larger narrative involving radical change in a short term. It’s not to say it couldn’t happen or that you’re the equivalent of the inflation-ocalypse crowd… It’s to say I’m skeptical.

    Also, from what I understand, the fiscal “cliff” may not even happen. Once the election is over, you can bet the “cliff” will become the talk of the 24 hour channels. Delaying or resolving it will become politically important for whoever the incoming / outgoing President is. Also, don’t you think a quick suburban demise would be a political nightmare for any Governor or President? I’d bet money that you would see calls for bail-outs, should suburbia face big problems in a short period. I’m just trying to be politically realistic. I could be wrong…

    Indeed, the fiscal cliff may not happen at all, and there may not be any single crisis event, but a series of smaller, cumulative shocks that add up to cause major problems. This scenario does seem more likely to me. But what is likely to happen regardless is that states, and in turn, cities and townships will increasingly have to get by even more on their own with less support from the feds. The response of the President and governors is likely to be “tough cookies, deal with it” or something to that effect.

    #455123

    NEOBuckeye
    Participant

    Lu said:
    This is an idea that I think deserves some attention. I moved here from Northern Virginia several years ago, and couldn’t believe the number of local governments in Franklin county. My jaw dropped when I saw the typical property tax bill and who gets paid – city, township, county, school district, metro parks, COSI, the library, the zoo, etc. It seems so redundant and wasteful – I’m sure each has their own HR, payroll, accounting, attorneys, etc.

    In Virginia, where property taxes are much lower, almost all local government is at the county level. The counties run everything from the the schools, police, and fire departments to the parks, libraries, senior services, etc.

    I can see residents in Bexley, Upper Arlington, etc. opposing consolidation in order to protect the exclusivity of their schools. In Virginia this is handled by having strict boundaries for each school building with no open enrollment option. Not saying that’s fair, but that’s how it’s handled there.

    Sharing services is a nice happy-happy idea that people seem to warm up to right away because it doesn’t require them to deal with large-scale change at a deeper and more fundamental level. Share a police car. Share a firetruck. I keep my mailing address. You keep yours. Deal? Everyone is happy, because they didn’t have to lift a finger to do anything more than on a superficial level.

    All I’m asking here is what happens when sharing alone isn’t enough? Which I really don’t think it will be as the article suggests. There are few people who have the guts to confront this issue and offer radical-but-genuine ideas that might just work. The alternative is to keep on whistling past the graveyard, which many of our so-called political leaders seem all too happy to do.

    #455124

    News
    Participant

    January 11, 2013 at 3:00 AM
    Retrofitting Surburbia: Bringing Life to Vacant Spaces

    American Dreamers: Does retrofitting suburbia mean reworking existing structures or tearing them down and starting over?

    Ellen Dunham-Jones: It depends. We have approximately one billion square feet of vacant retail space in the United States right now, in addition to loads of aging office parks, garden apartment complexes and zombie subdivisions. In some cases, the availability of such “cheap space” is a boon to entrepreneurs, new immigrants, and community-serving uses. Hundreds of “ghostboxes” (dead big box stores) and strip malls have been reinhabited as schools, libraries, theaters, medical clinics, gymnasia, churches and spaces for artists and restaurants.

    READ MORE: http://www.good.is/posts/retrofitting-surburbia-bringing-life-to-vacant-spaces/

    #455125

    News
    Participant

    Sustainable Cities and Revising Suburbia
    Posted May 24, 2013

    Suburbs are notorious for being environmentally unfriendly and socially unhelpful. Neighbors are generally tucked into huge homes separated by sprawling lawns and utilise a transportation system focused exclusively on cars. If places like that seem to be stuck in a 1950s mentality, well, that’s because a lot of them were built then and the design doesn’t seem to have changed much over the years. If anything, the 1990s McMansion boom in the U.S. took it to an extreme, leaving acre after acre covered with cookie-cutter houses and enormous driveways.

    READ MORE: http://sustainablecitiescollective.com/urban-times/153026/revising-suburbia

    #455126

    bman
    Participant

    I love these threads … Makes me chuckle!

    #455127

    Alex Silbajoris
    Participant

    and the little plastic castle is a surprise every time

    #455128

    gramarye
    Participant

    gramarye said:
    Realistically, sustainable suburbs will only be achieved through technology, and in particular developments in the energy and transportation fields (the two fields on which the suburbs trail the cities the most in terms of efficient uses of resources). Most particularly, I mean rooftop solar panels at a cost per kWh equal to or less than power from the grid (“grid parity”), and electric cars of a size and comfort level to be viable for a family.

    I saw that I said this in this thread more than a year ago. Technological and business developments in the past year have done nothing to convince me I was wrong and a lot to convince me I was right. The Motor Trend Car of the Year is an electric luxury sedan (the Tesla Model S).

    The solar industry continues to mature in both the commercial and academic prototype levels. SolarCity (which shares a founder with Tesla in Elon Musk) has been ona tear. And on the research side, Stanford has come out with the first solar cell made of 100% carbon, which can actually be painted on. It’s inefficient compared to the more advanced cells that use more expensive materials (including gold), but eliminating the more expensive materials means it doesn’t have to perform as well to be cost-effective. It’s still not commercially viable, but the promise of even economy-grade solar cells that can be made exclusively from one of the most abundantly occurring materials in the universe would shift the sustainability debate by an order of magnitude. And, of course, the roof of an average suburban ranch home can support a slightly more elaborate setup than a simple thin-film coat.

    I have less information on where the legal environment has come, e.g., which states have adopted laws that default to allowing residential solar cell owners to sell electricity back to the grid if they produce more than they need to consume. I have a feeling that will shift, though.

    #455129

    News
    Participant

    Suburban Sprawl to Power Cities of the Future
    July 30, 2013

    A city’s suburbs could hold the solution to dwindling fuel supplies by producing enough energy to power residents’ cars and even top up power resources, pioneering new research has found.

    READ MORE: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130730091150.htm

    #455130

    gramarye
    Participant

    A long article that I just spotted on RealClearEnergy, on a related subtopic:

    The Future of Energy: Why Power Density Matters

    The Future of Energy: Why Power Density Matters

    What would a low carbon energy system look like? (And let’s avoid such fanciful ideas as “zero carbon,” because that would be truly self indulgent.) In essence we would get as much electricity as possible from some combination of renewable and nuclear energy, and electrify as many aspects of our energy systems as is feasible. Predicting the relative composition of such a system is a largely fruitless exercise. However, we can say something about the extent to which it a low carbon energy system will be distributed and “local”. This confidence comes from the difference between the high physical concentrate of energy use in cities, and the relatively low physical concentration of renewable energy resources.

    The lower power density required to power sprawling suburbs may be a major mitigating factor in their predicted decline. Of course, the ideal here would most likely be houses that are densely packed but only one story (i.e., oodles of surface area) and all structurally engineered to have 100% of their roofs covered with PV panels.

    #455131

    News
    Participant

    25 years later, what can we learn from New Urbanism?
    by Dan Malouff • August 21, 2013 11:22 am

    It’s been 25 years since development started at Gaithersburg’s Kentlands, America’s first year-round new urbanist community. With a quarter century of experience under our belt, not to mention a major shift in American development patterns, what have we learned?

    When new urbanism hit the big time in the late ’80s and early ’90s, central cities were still declining, and suburbs were still focused around enclosed shopping malls. Generations of Americans had grown up driving around the suburbs, thinking of urban places as crime-ridden ghettos.

    READ MORE: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/19914/25-years-later-what-can-we-learn-from-new-urbanism/

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 89 total)

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