"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.

What Do Soccer Moms Want from Urban Planners? The Profession is in Crisis – Focusing on Millenials and Baby Boomers.

Culdesac in safe, soccer mom friendly L.A. suburb of Thousand Oaks, California, in Ventura County. Looking Northwest towards the mountains above Ojai. Thank you for the property owner for allowing entrance to her patio for photo.

(May 6, 2015, June 7, 2015)Tom Lane, Under Construction)

WARNING: There is confusion in the literature, cited below, between “households per square mile,” and, “persons per square mile.” This post is misleading since some of the stats below are incorrect. This is under construction.

So what do Soccer Moms, Soccer Dads, and their kids want from Urban Planners? Do they want to raise their kids in “Smart Growth Towers” with no private backyard for the kids to play? Or, do they want a private basketball hoop on their culdesac, or do they want their kids to play basketball where they can’t seem them at the community park? Do they want their kids to use  restrooms in dirty, public, shared backyards (community parks) next to their towers and townhomes?

The Urban Planning profession is in crisis, and has been ever since concepts such as “Smart Growth” and “New Urbanism” eliminated the virtues of a private backyard.  The profession has demonized “urban sprawl,” despite the fact that urbanized areas only cover about 1% of the lower 48 states (not even counting Alaska).

We are definitely not running out of land. Dr. Bill Fischel, Land Economist at Dartmouth University, found that even if every family of four had ONE ACRE OF LAND, that ONLY 3% of the entire lower 48 would be covered by urban development.

The calculations appear free on the web, in Fischel’s book “The Economics of Zoning Laws: A Property Rights Approach to American Land Use Controls.“  A free google preview of his calculations is found on pages 1 and 2 at this link:  http://books.google.com/books/jhu?id=wlKAfvuP59EC&pg=PA1&dq=one+acre+per+house&cd=1#v=onepage&q=one%20acre%20per%20house&f=false

One acre for every family, which is what Frank Lloyd Wright also proposed, is just 3% of all land in the lower 48.

And, Dr. Fischel considered one acre lots.  If he considered standard quarter acre lots, then it would be:  3% divided by 4 = 0.75%.   Therefore, if every family of four had a quarter acre lot, this would cover under 1% of the lower 48 – at just 0.75%.  So the fears of the anti-sprawl / pro-smart growth / pro-new urbanist lobby are irrational and unfounded.  Clearly, their motivation is due to the big dollar sign.  They want to charge high rents from their tall smart growth towers, such as in Scottsdale, Arizona, as I discuss in a series of posts. They don’t care if your children have a nice backyard, their children are living carefree on one acre estates in gated communities, attending private college prep high schools.

Over 90% of the USA Available for Two Acre Lots

This map from Randal O’Toole shows that there’s plenty of open space for housing.  Isn’t it ridiculous that planners are building expensive smart growth towers in already congested areas, when 98% to 99% of Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and Arizona exist as open space? Even Vermont, in supposedly crowded New England, is 95% open space!  Below, I demonstrate that Tempe, AZ and Las Vegas are two of the most crowded cities in the Southwest.  In fact, Tempe’s population density is 400 times higher than Cave Creek, another Phoenix area suburb.

On this map, Randal defines “Rural Open Space” are areas with less than 1,000 persons per square mile, which is equivalent to two acre minimum lot sizes. Most states are over 90% rural open space:

From: Randal O’Toole: http://ti.org/USopen.jpg Accessed: June 3, 2015 from Randal’s Web Page: http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=158

== 0 ,

The Urban Planning Profession Only Cares about Rich Young Professionals

The profession devotes too much time towards designing high density towers for so called “young professionals,” who are supposedly not married, and unlike rural folks their same age, supposedly want to be in walking distance to “bars, nightlife, and high end shopping.”

As a “young professional,” in “Generation X,” I can see the logic of being close(r) to other people my age.  Although, I live on the periphery of urban centers since I’m a huge fan of outdoor recreation, and that’s how I like to meet people, not generally in bars.

But when cities such as Seattle build MOST of their housing units as “smart growth towers,” with inadequate fenced properties for Soccer Moms and their kids, then what happens when singles in “Smart Growth Towers” get married?

In Seattle, they would have to exit the city, since there is no affordable “single family housing” in the City.

They would lose all of their friends who used to be neighbors in their former smart growth towers, due to the long commutes to “edge cities” around Seattle, with single family homes such as Bellevue, Issaquah, Sammamish, North Bend, Maple Valley, Bonney Lake, Puyallup, and the unincorporated “South Hill” area in Pierce County.

Do Planners Give Enough Attention to Retiring Baby Boomers?

As for baby boomers, once again, there is too much emphasis from urban planners on concentrating them within “smart growth towers,” such as the Mirabel Smart Growth Tower in Belltown in Seattle.

However, there is also the Mirabel golf course (spelling) in Scottsdale, with large homes on large lots, and sweeping desert mountain views.  It’s in the far north part of Scottsdale, just a couple of miles from the Tonto National Forest with hiking and biking trails. Some baby boomers are still physically fit.

Professor Arthur “Chris” Nelson of the University of Utah, has cited numerous statistics claiming that retiring baby boomers want to live in towers in congested urban environments (references needed).

But this contrasts with Professor Bill Bishop of Austin, Texas, who has also cited numerous statistics claiming that they want to retire in “exurban” areas, with homes surrounded by nature, such as the Mirabel Golf Course in Scottsdale, and small towns such as Prescott, AZ, Durango, CO, and Bend, Oregon.

However, it’s best for the free market to provide housing choices, therefore cities such as Seattle and Scottsdale should offer a variety of housing choices for all individuals.

While this is definitely true of Scottsdale where there is a huge diversity of housing choices from 500 square foot studios in “The Scottsdale Quarter” to 10 acre lots in the Pinnacle Peak area,  Seattle has decided to build nearly all new housing units as “smart growth towers.”  Only 3% of Seattle is “suburban” with single family homes including backyards, whereas 70% of Phoenix is suburban (see below).

Seattle Smart Growth Planners Forcing Families with Kids Out of Town

In Seattle, this is forcing families with kids out of the City Limits, providing a transient place that only appeals to singles for a short period of time. When they get married, they will leave, as Jed Kolko has shown (see below).

Since they leave, then Seattle has a transient population. If you are a young professional and start a business downtown near your smart growth tower, and then get married and move 30 miles away to the suburbs, that’s a long commute to downtown.

Affordable single family housing is 10 to 30 miles away, on freeways that have not been widened in 30 years. As Kemper Freeman of Bellevue Square and transportation engineer Dr. Bill Eagar point out, the Seattle freeway system reached capacity in 1992 (see this, and also this one).  Whereas in Scottsdale, SR-101 is being widened by one lane in each direction to facilitate commuting between Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale, and North Phoenix.

Scottsdale offers both multi family housing in terms of “smart growth towers,” (i.e. at The Empty Quarter), and also single family housing with private yards. Soccer Moms are happy with The City’s emphasis on controlling crime and providing very clean parks and nature preserves. But such is not the case in Seattle.

But overall, it is the Soccer Moms who should be given the most attention by urban planners.  Most readers grew up in safe suburban areas with no crime.  Other readers grew up in dangerous inner city areas, and were unable to escape to the suburbs, due to exclusionary zoning and urban growth boundaries that made it too expensive to move to cities such as Irvine and Thousand Oaks.  Boulder City, Nevada, is the nicest yet most expensive city in the Las Vegas area, but they have controlled growth only allowing a certain amount of houses to be built each year.

So, we need to create more affordable cities, with the same amenities for soccer Moms. Ultimately, new cities will control their growth, but right now in the West, there are so many regulations that it’s nearly impossible to create new master planned communities, except in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.

Rural Areas Still Growing Quickly

Jed Kolko of Trulia.Com found that rural areas are growing, so despite efforts from the central smart growth planners to stop growth to the distant suburbs, they will continue to grow:

= = under construciton

The density calculations for this graph here were used from:

1 – Most Dense – 2000+  Households per Square Mile such as San Francisco, LA, and Chicago

2 – 1000 to 2000 Households per Square Mile such as Suburban Counties such as Maricopa County, Arizona (Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale) and Contra Costa County, California (Walnut Creek-Lafayette-Concord)

3 – 500 to 1000 Households per Square Mile (such as Yakima, Washington)

4 – Under 500 Households per Square Mile (This Covers 82% of all counties, covering 27% of the U.S. population)

Note:  This chart shows the number of households per square mile, NOT the number of people per square mile.

Smart Growth Tower Rents Rising Three Times Faster than Renting a House with a Yard

While the central planners want you and your kids to live in a smart growth tower downtown with no backyard, this is becoming very expensive.  Unfortunately, your city councils and urban planners have been encouraging multi family housing, particularly smart growth towers. As a result, in 2013, apartment construction reached a 15 year high.  In most major markets, particularly in the Southwest and West Coast, it is very difficult for a family to find a house for under $100,000.

Jed Kolko, Senior Economist for Trulia.Com, reports that rents apartment rents rose 4.4% from March, 2013 to March 2014, while rental houses rose by just 1.9%.  In many cities, it is already way too expensive for a family of four to rent a smart growth tower, compared to the suburbs. For example, in San Francisco, the average apartment rent is $3350 a month, a 13% increase year over year, and in Seattle, it is $1700, a 10% increase.  Even Phoenix increased 7%, year over year.

The smart growth planners keep saying that they want families to co-exist with singles in “downtown, walkable communities.” But cities such as Portland even admit that they’re building these towers for middle to upper income individuals.  As a result, homelessness is increasing in Portland.

The Portland area’s rapid increase in housing costs was a major factor contributing to homelessness, according to the report. Gerard Mildner, academic director at Portland State University’s Center for Real Estate, said there’s not enough housing being built for people with low incomes. “We see a lot of cranes all over town, we see the appearance of housing construction. But if in fact you look at the numbers, we’re producing about 30 percent fewer housing units than we were in 2000 and 2007,” he said. “All new housing is targeted to people of higher than average income.”

Therefore, unless the planners change their mind and lower the rents, then families will rent apartments or homes in the suburbs. In the Seattle area, families can rent a house in the state capital, Olympia, in the low $1000’s. In Portland, families can move down to Corvallis or Eugene.

Even new smart growth developments in suburbs are expensive, such as Scottsdale, Arizona, as I show at this post. New smart growth developments push rents up for everyone, even families already renting single family homes. The urban planning profession is in crisis, since families with kids cannot afford to rent or buy affordable housing in the suburbs.

Nationwide, Annual Rent Increases Up to 17% Annually

Annual nationwide rent increases are really scary, well into the double digits on the west coast, with San Francisco the highest, at 17%.  Think about five years from today.  If you rent in San Francisco, your rent will double in five years (i.e. 17% X 5 = 100% of today’s rent).  In the Western Region, Las Vegas was only up 1%, annually.  Reno, is not shown.  Even Phoenix, is 7%, which would be an increase of nearly 50% in five years.

Clearly, these rent increases, with the average of 4.4% yearly nationwide (as discussed above), show that it’s cheaper over the long term to get a mortgage.  Given these recent massive rent increases, home ownership is a guaranteed way of planning your financial future, even if you’re single.  Construction of smart growth towers drives up rents on older rental properties, since in my experience such properties generally rent for 25% above the market average.

Rent Trends in the 25 Largest Rental Markets, from Jed Kolko on Trulia at:  http://www.trulia.com/trends/2014/04/price-and-rent-monitors-mar-2014/

# U.S. Metro

Y-o-Y % change in rents, Mar 2014

Median rent on a 2-bedroom unit

1 San Francisco, CA

16.7%

$3,350

2 San Diego, CA

10.4%

$1,900

3 Denver, CO

10.3%

$1,400

4 Seattle, WA

9.8%

$1,700

5 Oakland, CA

8.8%

$2,250

6 Portland, OR-WA

8.2%

$1,200

7 Miami, FL

7.3%

$2,300

8 Atlanta, GA

7.2%

$1,100

9 Phoenix, AZ

6.9%

$1,000

10 New York, NY-NJ

5.3%

$3,300

11 Sacramento, CA

4.8%

$1,100

12 Baltimore, MD

4.7%

$1,500

13 Los Angeles, CA

4.6%

$2,300

14 RiversideSan Bernardino, CA

4.2%

$1,500

15 Chicago, IL

4.1%

$1,600

16 Orange County, CA

4.0%

$2,000

17 Dallas, TX

3.6%

$1,350

18 Houston, TX

3.6%

$1,400

19 St. Louis, MO-IL

3.5%

$900

20 MinneapolisSt. Paul, MN-WI

3.5%

$1,250

21 TampaSt. Petersburg, FL

3.2%

$1,050

22 Boston, MA

1.8%

$2,300

23 Las Vegas, NV

1.4%

$900

24 Philadelphia, PA

1.0%

$1,450

25 Washington, DC-VA-MD-WV

-0.4%

$2,050

To download the list of rent changes for the largest metros: Excel or PDF. All numbers are rounded to one decimal place, so the final column might not equal the difference between the two columns to the left.

City Councilors and Urban Planners – “Extortion” by way of their Misguided Smart Growth Policies?

Although they don’t personally collect your rent checks, since apartment rents are going up faster than single family housing, then it almost seems like your city councilors and urban planners are committing “extortion” by issuing permits for so many apartments, with rents rising faster than homes with yards.

Jed Kolko of Trulia divided all zip codes, nationwide, into ten types of neighborhoods based on the percentage of urban, suburban, and rural land.  Below, neighborhoods 7 through 10, the lease dense with the largest lots, grew the fastest between 2011 and 2014.  In addition, the inflation rate for these properties was much less than the smart growth towers.

To be fair, a good urban planner should read these studies, and provide enough land in the city so that everyone who wants to own a home can buy one. Then, they wouldn’t be causing this “pseudo-extortion” based on overvalued ideas about smart growth towers and community building.  But this isn’t happening.  In my apartment building, there are families with kids who are skateboarding in the parking lot. Clearly, these folks would be much happier if they could afford a home with a private yard.

In other posts, I’ve discussed the mandatory urban growth boundaries as a result of state or city policies. These result in a “smart growth towers,” since there isn’t enough land for homes with yards, so developers make a fortune renting apartments in expensive towers.

1_kolko_6

From: Jed Kolko, Trulia, http://trulia.com Accessed: June 7, 2015.

Why do Central Planners Try to build Smart Growth Towers and Townhomes for Families with No Backyards near Seattle

It is amazing that the planners think that families with kids will want to live in the same buildings with singles and retired people.  Mixed use smart growth developments, such as Issaquah Highlands near Seattle (as I show at this post), offer no private backyards. Instead, kids must play in community playgrounds, outside of their towers and townhomes, instead of their own backyards where their parents see them.

Most families want low density with culdesacs for basketball hoops and skateboarding.  But the planners are increasing density in smart growth cities. Look at the density, in terms of persons per square mile, in these Arizona cities.  Without even looking at these numbers, if you have kids in a noisy neighborhood along Bell Road in North Phoenix, would you rather move to Tempe, Scottsdale,  Flagstaff, or Cave Creek? Of course, you picked one of the latter three, so here are the numbers.

Note: These numbers are U.S. Census Data, from: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/04000.html and definitely refer to “persons per square mile.” As for the other studies quoted here, the various authors reportedly meant “households per square mile.”

Tempe – 4000 (persons per square mile)

Phoenix – 2800

Tucson – 2300

Scottsdale – 1100

Oro Valley – 1100

Flagstaff – 1000

Prescott – 963

Bullhead City – 660

Sedona – 524

Village of Oak Creek – 1200

Show Low – 260

Cave Creek – 132

Note that Las Vegas, is 4300, higher than any of the above. Ugh!

In Arizona, here’s what density looks like outside of Phoenix:

z_prescott

Prescott, Arizona. Can you find “The Peaks” above Flagstaff, Arizona covered with snow in the distance?

z_cave1

Cave, Creek, Arizona, 25 miles north of downtown Phoenix. The minimum lot size is half an acre!

z_sedona1

Sedona, Arizona. Apartments are limited to two stories in height, with a maximum density of 12 dU/acre (12 apartment units per acre).

LA and Seattle – Transient Towns for Singles – In Our 30’s, We Leave!

Jed Kolko of Trulia also found that despite the attempts from “smart growth” and “new urbanism” advocates to “build community” in downtown areas with “smart growth towers” and other “smart growth principles,” that young singles eventually left to form their own households, after the age of 30.

Los Angeles, and Seattle, due to Smart Growth Towers, are very urban cities, when looking at zip codes (from Kolko’s study, see graph below).  But once people get married, they leave to find homes with private yards and better schools.

Therefore, it seems that densification of urban centers with Smart Growth Principles is not a good idea, since towers are not “family friendly environments.” As hard as the central planners have tried to make central cities good for families, they have failed, since Kolko still finds a mass exodus to the suburbs for people in their 30’s.

One group that remains in the central city environment is the gay community. But even they will not stay forever, as they may find their significant other and move to the suburbs. While they may stay longer than straights, they will eventually leave.

The central planners would be better served to stop trying to densify downtown areas with tall towers. Perhaps the architectural preservation committees could get involved, and prevent classic downtown Victorian and Mid-Century Modern homes from being bulldozed for smart growth towers.

Note that Kolko’s graph below is from a survey of readers since the U.S. census does not show “suburban” zip cides (i.e. single family homes) vs. “urban” zip codes (i.e. apartment towers) within a city. Instead, the U.S. census categorizes everything within city limits as urban, and everything outside as rural.

Therefore, Kolko surveyed his readers to find out if they called their neighborhood “urban, suburban, or rural.”  Readers considered zip codes of 102 to 2213 households per square mile as “suburban,” over 2213 as “urban,” and under 102 as “rural” (1 household for every 6.3 acres).  Therefore, the red bars on the graph below show the percentage of suburban households. Cities with smart growth policies, such as L.A., Seattle, and Denver, have a low percentage of suburbanites.

Kolko found that the survey participants were mostly accurate in describing the line between urban, and suburban. For example, zip code 91367 – Woodland Hills, California – was described by survey participants – as suburban – at 2213 households per square mile (3.5 homes per acre).

1_kolko - Copy

From: Jed Kolko’s data in Jordan Weissman’s article “Almost Half of America’s Biggest Cities Are Basically Built Like Giant Suburbs.” From: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2015/05/22/urban_density_nearly_half_of_america_s_biggest_cities_look_like_giant_suburbs.html Accessed: June 7, 2015

1_kolko_3

From: Jed Kolko, http://trulia.com Accessed: June 7, 2015

What Happens at City Council Meetings?

Attend any city council meeting, and see how much time is spent discussing “Smart growth” and “walkable communities” and “new urbanism.”

Nobody talks about saving downtown historic architecture. Instead, they talk about bulldozing it, and replacing it with tall “smart growth towers.”

Is the profession giving enough time to the requirements of soccer moms? How about the housing needs of retired baby boomers?

For the most part, neither of these groups do not want to live in smart growth towers.

In the Bay Area, City Councilors are talking about Smart Growth Towers, as part of “Plan Bay Area” that is required for all cities in the Bay Area.  Even New Urbanist Advocate Johnny Sanphillippo, of Joel Kotkin’s “New Geography,” and the web sites “Strong Towns,” and “Granola Shotgun,” does not like the Smart Growth Towers, pictured here. He writes:

“Now… I live in a compact, dense, transit oriented neighborhood in San Francisco that I think is amazing. But when I look at what’s being built in the far flung suburbs I find nothing to love about any of it. The scale is overwhelming. Each of these complexes occupies a massive super block. And it’s not just the size per se that I don’t like. It’s the fact that these buildings have all the drawbacks of density without any of the compensating urbanism. Where are the shops on the ground floor? Where’s the corner grocery? Where are the cafes and nightclubs? Where are the intimate little restaurants and pocket parks? Where are the vibrant walkable places? There just aren’t any. These places are as lifeless as any cul-de-sac, minus the space and privacy provided by a tract house with a yard. It’s not a good combination.” -John Sanphillippo at http://granolashotgun.com/2015/06/06/stack-and-pack-vs-smear-all-over/

Since 2009 when I saw smart growth towers for the first time, this is the only time I have ever seen an advocate for smart growth, or new urbanism, criticize members of their own profession.

Nobody Wants To Live in these Super Blocks (That term, is Johnny Sanphillippo’s Term, Not Mine)

This new term “Super Block” to describe massive, Smart Growth Towers, belongs to Johnny Sanphillippo, just as “Pack and Stack Housing” belongs to the Anti-Plan Bay Area folks, and apparently, “Smart Growth Tower” belongs to me.  Anyway, except for those who wish to retire in downtown condos, retirees are living longer and prefer an active lifestyle in “exurbia,” i.e. places like Pismo Beach, Truckee, Redding, Auburn (CA), and Durango.

Insert: Plot: Apartment Tower Superbloc

Not only that, but if you combine single family households with retirees (who, generally both want homes with large private yards), then an urban planner should spend well over 80% of their time planning for families and retirees !

But that is not happening!  City Council meetings mostly concentrate on land use issues involving smart growth towers and upregulating density to accomodate higher densities for young professionals.

But some of these young professionals would like to live in houses. What if you just earned an auto mechanics degree, just got a job at the local auto dealership, but repair and collect cars on the side?

What has your local urban planner done for you, so that you can have a fenced in three car garage?

They’ve done nothing. For your age (my age, too – generations X and Y), they are deluded into thinking that we all want to live in Smart Growth Towers, where working on cars is against HOA regulations !

But I think you see my point, that urban planners and city councilors spend WAAAAAAAY too much time planning “smart growth towers,” and NOT NEARLY enough time on issues important to Soccer Moms and Retiring baby boomers, such as Open Space, Parks, Playgrounds, Trails, etc.  Nor do they spend enough time allocating land for affordable housing for young singles who are in the trades, and want to have cars, horses, plants, gardens, etc. etc.

Here in the Western US, Farmland is Too Expensive to Live On

It’s too expensive to live on farmland here in the Western U.S., due to the central planners and their smart growth. For example, here is Ojai, California, an hour from Los Angeles near Santa Barbara, where the average rent is about $1100, and the average home price is about $700,000, within this beautiful, peaceful valley of orange trees.

However, families from all over do move to Ojai, and nearby Thousand Oaks, due to the schools. But there are not enough places like this in California due to growth regulations. As a result, California has horrible public schools that perform very poorly nationwide.

z_ojai

Ojai, California.

Among the rolling hills of low density Thousand Oaks, California. The prototypical master planned suburb for soccer moms.

Among the rolling hills of low density Thousand Oaks, California. The prototypical master planned suburb for soccer moms.

Most People Want To Live in Rural and Suburban Areas

Jed Kolko asked people where they live now, and where they would like to live in five years. Most people chose either the suburbs, or rural areas:

1_kolko2

From: Jed Kolko http://trulia.com Accessed: June 7, 2015

On that note, most of the land area around the L.A. city limits (in black, below) is suburban or rural. This map from Jed Kolko shows L.A. and Orange Counties, but does not show Ventura, San Bernardino, or Riverside Counties, where nearly all of the land is still rural, due to smart growth and/or growth management:

1_kolko_5

Las Vegas Builds a Giant Downtown Park – But It’s “Too Close to all the Activity”

Designed to be family friendly, Las Vegas builds a giant downtown park for kids with hundreds of acres. However, it’s still “too close to all the activity.” It’s ironic that a gambling city would do this.  Nevada has very little “smart growth,” so far.  Perhaps the smart growth cities will take note of what Vegas did for their Soccer Moms?

z_vegaspark

Las Vegas’ brand new giant downtown park, for the Soccer Moms, Soccer Dads, and their kids.

Cities with Affordable Single Family Housing Do Not Build Smart Growth Towers, and Remain Suburban

The central planners in places such as Phoenix have not encouraged as much smart growth. As a result, The City is 70% suburban, compared to just 3% in Seattle.

Just like Phoenix, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho (NM), and Salt Lake City provide affordable housing in suburbs. Below are very nice large lots, with sidewalks, lots of newly planted trees, sweeping mountain views, and close access to Utah Lake and the national forest.

Affordable housing in Mapleton, a suburb southeast of Salt Lake City, $180,000+.

Affordable housing in Mapleton, a suburb southeast of Salt Lake City, $180,000+.

Boulder-Pearl-Street

Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall and its many cafes and businesses is a great place to meet your future significant other, but not a good place to bring your kids through if you’re a soccer mom. That’s the problem with cities such as Boulder and Seattle, who build virtually all of their new housing as “smart growth towers.”

How to Save the Profession

The profession would no longer be in crisis if sprawl was no longer demonized, and urban growth boundaries were eliminated. This would allow affordable single family housing on greenfield land (i.e. undeveloped land, such as State Trust Lands which are auctioned in Arizona). None of the cities in the Phoenix area have urban growth boundaries. The metro can continue to expand with homes starting in the $100’s towards the south and west. New master planned communities such as Vistancia in Peoria (photos) allow soccer moms every amenity they want.

Scottsdale, is too expensive for most middle class families and soccer moms, but the “concept” of Scottsdale (i.e. large shopping malls, open space, bike lanes) is being replicated in new suburbs west of Phoenix, and also near Tucson such as Oro Valley.

But California’s high impact fees, urban growth boundaries, and CEQA rules make it impossible to build affordable housing in nice, master planned communities complete with parks and swimming pools like you see in Phoenix.  One place that comes close is Lincoln, California and adjacent Rocklin, California + El Dorado Hills + Folsom + Roseville. But they are too expensive. You would have to be an executive at Intel in Roseville, CA to afford those places.

But Intel is also in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a great place for families, where homes start in the 100’s, with less environmental regulations and lower impact fee rates.

So fortunately there are still a few affordable places for the soccer moms, where the urban planning profession is not in crisis.

Smart Growth Planners Destroying Dreams in Backyards

Parents and their kids have dreams for their backyards.  Look at this ad from a recent Costco sales flyer. How many of these items would you like to buy for your backyard?  You can’t, if you live in a Smart Growth Tower or Townhome, where the yard is shared:

Tom Lane     May 6, 2015,
June 3, 2015     June 7, 2015     Under Construction

More Later.

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Rio Rancho and Albuquerque, New Mexico. NO URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARIES = AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Salt Lake City – Rio Rancho, New Mexico – NO Urban Growth Boundary = AFFORDABLE HOUSING on LARGE LOTS – More Photos Forthcoming

Mysterious Massive Walls and Clearcutting at Issaquah Highlands … vs. Green Neighborhoods in Arizona and Oregon … Click Here …

Durango Smart Growth – La Plata County Comprehensive Plan – Cancelled (Nov. 23, 2011) – CLICK IMAGE for Plan Maps and Photos –

* NEW * October 8, 2011, Seattle – KEMPER FREEMAN VIDEO – If You Drive, Vote YES on I-1125, Kemper Freeman on TV-W w/ Doug MacDonald

Dr. Bill Eager – “End Gridlock Now” – Stop Seattle Gridlock Today

Kemper Freeman Sues a Third Time over Seattle Light Rail – May 9, 2012

SEATTLE – Why Washington’s Anti-Tolling and Anti-Transit Initiative (I-1125) Didn’t Pass (12/6/11) – CLICK IMAGE of the skyline from West Seattle –

* HEY SEATTLE * – VOTE YES on Kemper Freeman’s Initiative I-1125 – Protect Your Gas Taxes and Tolls – Stop Illegal East Link I-90 Light Rail – Stop the Destruction of Downtown Bellevue with an Ugly Transit Oriented Development -CLICK HERE –

Salt Lake City’s Legacy Parkway – A Green Solution for Seattle Gridlock

*CETA* Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives (Seattle) – John Niles – August 22, 2011 Letter to Ray La Hood advocates Bus Rapid Transit on I-90

* SEATTLE DISPLACEMENT COALITION * – John Fox and Carolee Colter – Defending Lower Income Apartment Residents against Greedy Smart Growth Developers and Seattle Politicians – CLICK HERE for web site & columns –

*GREEN ALTERNATIVE * to Smart Growth – *WATCH VIDEO* from Pique Architects – Do They Present Something SIMILAR to the “LANDSCAPE URBANISM” Concept of Harvard’s Dr. Charles Waldheim? Image Source: http://vimeo.com/user4133046/videos – Pique LLC of Bend, Seattle, & Montana –

* SMART GROWTH * – The Wolf at Your Front Door – You Tube – (5 Minutes) – Image Source: http://www.youtube.com/user/regsgridlock –

Stop Obama’s Smart Growth … Preserve Organic Farms and Parks on Acreage … We Have No Choice but to Vote Republican … The Truth from Talk Host Mark Levin … Defending Private Property Rights Every Day – Coast to Coast, 3P-6P, Pacific … CLICK for Free Archives.

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