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American Cities are Really Suburbs

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American Cities are Really Suburbs

Unread postby Pops » Tue 26 May 2015, 08:46:58

This story on fivethirtyeight describes how a researcher asked people if they lived in an urban, suburban or rural area.

"Residents of ZIP codes with more than 2,213 households per square mile typically described their area as urban. Residents of neighborhoods with 102 to 2,213 households per square mile typically called their area suburban."


This guy gives better narrative.

The interesting part was how low the density actually was even in the biggest cities. 3 of the largest 10 cities in the US are more suburban than urban.

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Re: American Cities are Really Suburbs

Unread postby yellowcanoe » Tue 26 May 2015, 09:11:16

It would be more accurate if the statistics were for metropolitan areas instead of cities. For cities like New York, Chicago and Boston it is obvious that the city boundaries only include the urban core and that there must be substantial suburban areas outside of the city boundaries.
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Re: American Cities are Really Suburbs

Unread postby Pops » Tue 26 May 2015, 09:33:10

Accurate how?
MSAs are large. In order to figure out how people view their neighborhood he needed a smaller unit.
That is the study really, how urban do Americans perceive their area to be.
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Re: American Cities are Really Suburbs

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 26 May 2015, 10:24:30

I would take issue with 0 percent for Detroit. The vast area of the city is made up of neighborhoods filled with tract houses dating from 1900-1970. Almost all of those neighborhoods are subdivisions that simply follow the city street grid pattern instead of the cul-de-sac happy curvy private subdivisions built post 1970 all over America. If you are driving in any of the surrounding suburbs of Detroit and point your car towards the heart of the city you know when you have entered the city limits by the sudden decrease in street surface quality and the rapidly expanding number of empty lots and abandoned housing. There are scores of blocks of residential neighborhoods surrounding Detroit that for all appearances were suburbs 40 years ago.

Two things killed Detroit, the I-75 and US-23 expressways were built and cross connected with I-275, I-94 and I-96. This fast road access allowed people to build just outside the city limits on all sides to escape the high taxes in the city while keeping their city jobs. The other thing that killed Detroit was taxes spent in very unintelligent ways. Instead of being used to improve city facilities that would make people want to live there the taxes were spent in a notoriously corrupt fashion to build a new and several times expanded International Airport and to resurface those freeways that made travel away from the city so easy. I-75 has been resurfaced so many times in my lifetime I lost count, while at the same time surface streets and bridges have fallen into very poor condition.

It wasn't 'white flight' that killed Detroit, it was mass flight. As a percentage of population just as many non-white private home owners moved away as white. The urban core who barely get by didn't leave and that skews the statistics a great deal.
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Re: American Cities are Really Suburbs

Unread postby GoghGoner » Tue 26 May 2015, 12:26:37

US isn't really very dense. Of course, places like Phoenix probably shouldn't be inhabited at all. A while ago, I crunched the numbers on amount of arable land per person and came up with a number that we could feed ourselves without FF fertilizers or tractors.
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Re: American Cities are Really Suburbs

Unread postby dinopello » Tue 26 May 2015, 14:36:42

You basically have to agree on definitions. There is the governmental definition (municipal boundary with a Mayor governing is the city), there is the "tall building" or density definition that are problematic.

The most accurate I think is to say that Urban places have urbanity - i.e. urban amenities (art, culture, jobs, cuisine, religious and civic institutions etc) - all within a human scale (walkable) area. Sub-urban places are places that lack many or most of these attributes.
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Re: American Cities are Really Suburbs

Unread postby Pops » Tue 26 May 2015, 16:05:55

I think density is key Dino because without it you cannot support the mixed use that makes walkability viable, there has to be enough people in walking distance to allow your shop or office turn a profit.

But this talks about using an arbitrary political boundary to determine density is misleading. LA is actually denser than NYC if you count the entire metropolitan area. But of course the core city is no comparison to NYC in either population or jobs...

As does this page:

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Re: American Cities are Really Suburbs

Unread postby dinopello » Tue 26 May 2015, 17:05:12

Pops wrote:I think density is key Dino because without it you cannot support the mixed use that makes walkability viable, there has to be enough people in walking distance to allow your shop or office turn a profit.


I'll grant you that proximity is key and in that sense a certain density is critical. I've been to small villages in Crete (prob. less than 1000 pop) that have a much more intense urbanity than say Houston, Tx. There is a danger in talking about density to American audiences in particular. It conjures up urban canyons of glass and steel which is not at all what is needed for functional urban environments. Most European cities are multiples more dense and have no buildings over 5 stories. Also, the tendency in America is to not work toward a plan but to build what the market wants and you end up with mono-use density which is much worse than sprawl in many ways. These are the high rise office parks and residential towers not connected to anything other than highways and "the town house" with no town in site. This is why I like to communicate with examples. I always ask about specific places people have in mind. But if you want to metricize it - measure connected, proximate uses. Kind of what the "walkscore" is trying to get at. Beyond that it is all about the "quality" of the environment which is also hard to quantify.
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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby donstewart » Sat 18 Mar 2017, 15:09:08

Gasoline Cliff
Those 'disappearance of gasoline demand' graphs appeared for the first time years ago. Zero Hedge featured them, with a 'sky is falling' message. There was some scratching around and most people concluded that it was meaningless. Perhaps it is because a 'refinery sale' doesn't include sale to a blender?

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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 15:37:17

pstarr wrote:The United States is still sending its precious agriculture resource out the exhaust pipes of its automobiles . . . for no good reason :-x

As Kunstler said "The project of the American suburbs is the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world."
Last edited by Tanada on Mon 20 Mar 2017, 03:01:53, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: fixed broken quote
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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby AdamB » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 18:10:23

onlooker wrote:As Kunstler said "The project of the American suburbs is the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world."


While grand social commentary from a theater major might have value..somewhere..in this world, the quality of sources matter, and Jim has been coming up short for a LONG time now.

Ask him opinion on a broadway show if you'd like, but his experience seems to begin and end right at the door to that one.

http://peakoildebunked.blogspot.com/200 ... tiest.html
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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 18:15:01

So you dispute "The project of the American suburbs is the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world."
I think I will keep you on ignore for awhile
“When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.”
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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby pstarr » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 18:18:19

Adam is a cornucopean. He likes traffic jams, and truly believes belching carbon out his tail pipe is progress. It's where he does his best thinking. Like the above.

honk if you are trapped :?
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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 18:21:29

pstarr wrote:Adam is a cornucopean. He likes traffic jams, and truly believes belching carbon out his tail pipe is progress. It's where he does his best thinking. Like the above.

honk if you are trapped :?

:lol: :lol: :lol: :P :P :P
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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby onlooker » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 18:23:39

I think the extra carbon monoxide is getting to Adam's brain :-D :lol: :lol:
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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby asg70 » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 20:54:48

onlooker wrote:So you dispute "The project of the American suburbs is the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world."
I think I will keep you on ignore for awhile


That statement is by definition subjective. Those who live in and enjoy the suburbs and don't care about energy don't feel it was a misallocation of resources. I mean, there are anti-civvers that feel that agriculture was the greatest mis-step of mankind. There is no unanimity when it comes to these things.
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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby Cog » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 21:07:28

It might surprise city dwellers but there are those of us who don't fancy living in a multi-story rat cage.
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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby godq3 » Sun 19 Mar 2017, 23:37:30

onlooker wrote:"The project of the American suburbs is the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world."

If only people want to work for this goal (suburban life), then it's not missalocation. The world economy's purpose is to use as much energy as possible, so urban sprawl is good for the world economy.
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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby donstewart » Mon 20 Mar 2017, 00:30:26

Suburbs; Exurbs; Country Houses; Eco-Villages in the Forest; Fires; ETP
If you believe that climate change is increasing fire risk in places from Tennessee to California to Alberta, and if you believe that Peak Oil in one form or another is reducing our ability to fight fires, and if you agree that a house in the woods is exceptionally exposed to forest fires...then I recommend reading the following.

I sent it to Albert Bates as a question on his current series of posts about what we need to do to both sequester carbon and reduce consumption of natural resources. He did publish the question, but has not responded. If you have no idea what M. Kat Anderson and Bill Gammage were talking about, I suggest a quick search on their books. You will see pictures which are worth a thousand words.

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I learned a week ago that Earthhaven Ecovillage was threatened by the same fires that burned Gatlinburg, TN as well as lots of other forest lands across the Southeastern US. (Earthhaven, along with The Farm, were 2 positive examples you cited in terms of ecovillages sequestering carbon because both had extensive forests) I remembered reading a recent story about someone who was caught up in a California wildfire, and she was talking about how the current crop of wildfires would never have happened under the management practices of the native Americans. She referred to M. Kat Anderson’s book Tending the Wild. I also remembered having read Bill Gammage’s book on Australia…The Biggest Estate on Earth.

An essential feature of both the California and Australian management practices was fire. In California, Anderson argues that fire increased the harvest of acorns, a major source of food. In Australia, Gammage builds a case for increased productivity of the regularly burned land.

I was recently in the national forests on the headwaters of the Gila river in New Mexico. There was a forest service sign saying that, 500 years ago, you would not have seen any tall trees due to periodic fires.

Before Columbus, long-leaf pine forests, which are fire adapted, stretched from Virginia to Texas. With climate change probably increasing the chance of more fires like the summer of 2016, do you think reforestation efforts should aim at the more ‘savannah like’ or the ‘dense forest’ model? If planting trees to sequester carbon is a foundational part of what we need to do, it seems we need to first establish what sort of forest or savannah we are trying to grow.

It seems doubtful to me that our declining society would be successful in suppressing fire. Is it time to learn to live with it?

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Re: On The Thermodynamic Model of Oil Extraction by Hill’s G

Unread postby onlooker » Mon 20 Mar 2017, 01:55:51

asg70 wrote:
onlooker wrote:So you dispute "The project of the American suburbs is the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world."
I think I will keep you on ignore for awhile


That statement is by definition subjective. Those who live in and enjoy the suburbs and don't care about energy don't feel it was a misallocation of resources. I mean, there are anti-civvers that feel that agriculture was the greatest mis-step of mankind. There is no unanimity when it comes to these things.

Does not merit a reply
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