"Smart Growth" and "New Urbanism" Compared with "Large Lot Zoning" (Tom Lane) [ Home Page – Click Here]

(May 17, 2017) – Traditional "Large Lot Zoning" is "Greener" than "Smart Growth" within Urban Growth Boundaries . . . Copyright 2009 – 2017 . . . Tom Lane . . . Photographing California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.

International Anti-Smart Growth Web Sites and Researchers in New Zealand and Australia

Smart growth is an international trend in urban planning, and several blogs in Australia and New Zealand make articulate cases against it, as do several researchers including Hugh Pavelich and Owen McShane.

New Zealand’s Andrew Aiken, in particular, makes an excellent case against it in his You-Tube video, and associated commentary:

Smart Growth?

BEFORE YOU CAN HAVE A VISION – YOU MUST FIRST HAVE THE FACTS!

By Andrew D Atkin

This article illuminates the inherent foolishness of forced urban geographical intensification (cramming people together in high-density developments against their will).

And the urban planners debated and debated as to what would be the best way for the people to live their lives. And all the while they forget to consider if it was even their question to ask in the first place.

The following is my video introduction. I chose to provide this due to the seriousness of this particular issue.

My claim is that urban Intensification in Auckland is a serious logistical mistake. It leads to substantial economic and social costs, and in exchange for an almost negligible environmental gain. The following is my argument:

http://andrewatkin.blogspot.com/2009/06/smart-growth.html

Andrew’s theeis appears at the previous link, along with comments from readers.

_______________________________________________________

Over in Australia, the group “Save Our Suburbs Inc.” has formed.

Check out their web site at:

http://www.sos.org.au/

Of course, opposition to Smart Growth is a worldwide phenomenon, reflecting human nature. People prefer single family homes and do not want to live in high density environments. Suburbs and urban sprwal, with large backyards, lush landscaping, fruit trees, and wildlife, represent an evolutionary step forward from compact cities of the 1800’s, and overcrowded slums in developing cities.

Among many good posts on the Save our Suburbs site includes this one, on the myths of so-called sustainability and smart growth:

http://www.sos.org.au/new_sustain.html

Qouting:

“Do you want to live sustainably, reducing the impact of climate change on our planet?

Planning of the way we live, can have a significant impact. Sadly, our own NSW (New South Wales) government is implementing a discredited and unsubstantiated urban planning ideology, one that actually reduces sustainability and increases the human impact of Climate Change on our planet Earth.

How can this be so?

Doesn’t a policy of urban consolidation mean fewer car trips?

Surely packing people into existing urban spaces at higher densities means less impact on the environment, not more?

Why would our own government make such a major error?

We should first acknowledge that the urban consolidation ideology does have a certain beguiling appeal on the surface. It just sounds right the first time we hear it – and so we never question it again.

But, as is so often the case, something that seems commonsense at first glance, is actually proven wrong once we have exposed the hidden facts.

For example:

  • We (well, most of us anyhow!) have learned that our world is not flat, even though it seemed obvious to early explorers that they might fall off the edge.
  • We have learned to accept that the sun does not go around the earth, even though it certainly appears to do so at first glance.

We are about to learn that the Urban Consolidation ideology being followed by our government, is not sustainable. It actually increases the human impact of Climate Change on our planet rather than reducing it!

Let’s start by understanding more about sustainable living, and then continue by addressing each of the points in turn…

And, they provide some very good examples, with scientific evidence, such as this one on increased water pollution in smart growth environments:

5. Less pollution from stormwater runoff

a natural water soakHigh-density causes more pollution from stormwater runoff.

Single-residential dwellings typically are surrounded by natural ground surface to absorb rain water.

The increased proportion of hard surface resulting from high-density leaves less surface to perform this function. The original storm water systems cannot cope and storm water rushes into creeks carrying pollution with it. A testing program by schools has found creeks in higher density areas of Sydney are more polluted than those in less dense areas.

The Australian web site concludes with these remarks:

Under Australian conditions it is clearly apparent that retrofitted high density is less sustainable than single-residential. This may be counter-intuitive at first glance, just like saying the earth is spherical not flat, was initially considered heresy. But both these conclusions are born out by the facts.

We need to be guided by the simple insight that what works is what matters. We should not have policies driven by unsubstantiated ideology or by political donations.

It is harmful to continue forcing these policies on the Australian people. Urban consolidation is an imposed cancer growing unchecked throughout our suburbs.

It is a cancer of increasing high-rise monotony, minimal variety, paved surfaces, worsening mental and physical health and a drain on the resource and well-being of our people and of our environment.

The preceeding from http://www.sos.org.au/. Their analysis of the smart growth problem is correct, and consistent with many web sites in the United States.

_________________________________________________________

 

Hugh Pavletich, New Zealand

 

Finally, New Zealand developer Hugh Pavletich of Performance Urban Planning is internationally respected for his work on the annual Demographia Housing Affordability Surveys, along with Wendell Cox. Mr. Pavletich concluded that one’s salary should never be greater than one third of the cost of their house.   Otherwise, debt and foreclosure result, as in much of California and Florida.

Watch a 4 minute video of Mr. Pavletich at this link, from New Zealand TV. Hugh emphasizes that right now, only 0.67% of New Zealand is urbanized, and consequentially, there is no land shortage or need for smart growth.

Below, insigths from Hugh from his web site: http://www.performanceurbanplanning.org/welcome-story.html)

“It is clear from the Annual Demographia Surveys and the vast amount of other credible international research, that housing prices should not exceed three times gross annual household incomes. Further to this, households should not have to burden themselves, with in excess of the equivalent of two and half times their gross annual household income with mortgage debt.

This is something people within Australia and New Zealand (and other countries too for that matter) were not aware of, until the Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey’s were generated.

To be clear – as I explained within a November 2009 article The curse of politically engineered research, an affordable urban housing market can be defined as follows –

“For metropolitan areas to rate as “affordable” and ensure that housing bubbles are not triggered, housing prices should not exceed three times gross annual household incomes.

To allow this to occur, new starter housing of an acceptable quality to the purchasers, with associated commercial and industrial development, must be allowed to be provided on the urban fringes at 2.5 times the gross annual median household of that urban market.

The fringe is the only supply or inflation vent for an urban market. The critically important Development Ratios for this new fringe starter housing, should be 17 – 23% serviced lot / section cost – the balance the actual housing construction. Ideally through a normal building cycle, the Median Multiple should move from a Floor Multiple of 2.3 through a Swing Multiple of 2.5 to a Ceiling Multiple of 2.7 – to ensure maximum stability and optimal medium and long term performance of the residential construction sector.”

___________________________________________________________


And, Owen McShane is Director of Resource Management Studies in New Zealand. Owen was one of the first individuals to publish a paper on the effects of land use regulations on the housing market, in 1996.  His paper, “The Impact of the Resource Management Act on the housing and construction components
of the Consumer Price Index,” can be read at this link:
http://www.rmastudies.org.nz/issues/303?task=view

Owen has also written articles on housing affordability in US publications,  including New Geography and elsewhere, with archives at this link.

___________________________________________________________

Finally, facing smart growth policies in Australia, the group “Save Our Suburbs Inc.” has formed.

Check out their web site at:

http://www.sos.org.au/

Of course, opposition to Smart Growth is a worldwide phenomenon, reflecting human nature. People prefer single family homes and do not want to live in high density environments.  Suburbs and urban sprwal, with large backyards, lush landscaping, fruit trees, and wildlife, represent an evolutionary step forward from compact cities of the 1800’s, and overcrowded slums in developing cities.

Among many good posts includes this one, on the myths of so-called sustainability and smart growth:

http://www.sos.org.au/new_sustain.html

Qouting:

“Do you want to live sustainably, reducing the impact of climate change on our planet?

Planning of the way we live, can have a significant impact. Sadly, our own NSW (New South Wales) government is implementing a discredited and unsubstantiated urban planning ideology, one that actually reduces sustainability and increases the human impact of Climate Change on our planet Earth.

How can this be so?

Doesn’t a policy of urban consolidation mean fewer car trips?

Surely packing people into existing urban spaces at higher densities means less impact on the environment, not more?

Why would our own government make such a major error?

We should first acknowledge that the urban consolidation ideology does have a certain beguiling appeal on the surface. It just sounds right the first time we hear it – and so we never question it again.

But, as is so often the case, something that seems commonsense at first glance, is actually proven wrong once we have exposed the hidden facts.

For example:

  • We (well, most of us anyhow!) have learned that our world is not flat, even though it seemed obvious to early explorers that they might fall off the edge.
  • We have learned to accept that the sun does not go around the earth, even though it certainly appears to do so at first glance.

We are about to learn that the Urban Consolidation ideology being followed by our government, is not sustainable. It actually increases the human impact of Climate Change on our planet rather than reducing it!

Let’s start by understanding more about sustainable living, and then continue by addressing each of the points in turn…

And, they provide some very good examples, with scientific evidence, such as this one on increased water pollution in smart growth environments:

5. Less pollution from stormwater runoff

a natural water soakHigh-density causes more pollution from stormwater runoff.

Single-residential dwellings typically are surrounded by natural ground surface to absorb rain water.

The increased proportion of hard surface resulting from high-density leaves less surface to perform this function. The original storm water systems cannot cope and storm water rushes into creeks carrying pollution with it. A testing program by schools has found creeks in higher density areas of Sydney are more polluted than those in less dense areas.

The Australiam web site concludes with these remarks:

Under Australian conditions it is clearly apparent that retrofitted high density is less sustainable than single-residential. This may be counter-intuitive at first glance, just like saying the earth is spherical not flat, was initially considered heresy. But both these conclusions are born out by the facts.

We need to be guided by the simple insight that what works is what matters. We should not have policies driven by unsubstantiated ideology or by political donations.

It is harmful to continue forcing these policies on the Australian people. Urban consolidation is an imposed cancer growing unchecked throughout our suburbs.

It is a cancer of increasing high-rise monotony, minimal variety, paved surfaces, worsening mental and physical health and a drain on the resource and well-being of our people and of our environment.

The preceding from http://www.sos.org.au/.  Their analysis of the smart growth problem is correct, and consistent with many web sites in the United States.

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This entry was posted on 1810 by in Australia, New Zealand.

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