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The Death of Suburbia Pt. 1

Discussions about the economic and financial ramifications of PEAK OIL

Re: The death of suburbia

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Thu 22 Jun 2017, 17:08:04

Sub, I just don't see that there is a problem. Here in the Silicon Valley, a group of investors buy up a square block of houses, then replace it with a small mall. There is usually at least one large store - a major brand grocery/pharmacy/bakery, or a Target store, or a WalMart, or a Lowes/Home Depot, and a half-block of small retail stores, restaurants, and professional/medical/dental offices and of course a multi-story parking spiral.

Thus our formerly high density suburbs (believe me, small postage-stamp lots) are transformed into integrated neighborhoods, with shopping every few blocks. It would have been hard to live here without a car when I moved here in 1986, now it's easy.
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Re: The death of suburbia

Unread postby onlooker » Fri 23 Jun 2017, 18:21:22

Now, now that's not fair they are all shopping online which explains
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-2 ... 6-year-low
Largest East Coast Pipeline Reveals Demand For Gasoline Is Crashing
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Re: The death of suburbia

Unread postby aldente » Sat 24 Jun 2017, 02:36:15

dolanbaker wrote:
pstarr wrote:
aldente wrote:what do you mean, or - what do you want to provoke with that comment, Pstarr?

..if I may ask--- just out of couriousity??

Didn't vt suggest I've had illicit sexual relations as a child with a member of the priesthood? Or did I misread the comment?

I think he is just implying that the priest was a paedophile, not that you were in a relationship with him.
A large number of paedophile priests have been "outed" recently so he is just extending an assumption.


pstarr is the best.. while one might be used to flying cars - there is always the conservative point of view..

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Re: The death of suburbia

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 03 May 2021, 14:53:05

More text and pictures at link below the quote.

I Did the Math on My Town’s Cul-de-Sacs. Here's What I Found.

Since reading Chuck Marohn’s Strong Towns book, I’ve been interested in figuring out if the way we’re building my town—Gallatin, Tennessee, where I work as an urban planner—is financially sustainable. My suspicion, after reading the book, browsing many of the online articles, joining the movement, and even meeting Chuck at the Power of Ten local government conference in Nashville last fall, was that we are not, but I wanted to find something concrete to demonstrate that.

The core insight (that “light bulb” moment) of Strong Towns for me was that low density suburban living requires more roads, curbs, sidewalks, and pipes than it pays for in tax revenue—meaning, it’s not solvent. It will ultimately bankrupt us. As a planner, the “badness” of sprawl was drilled into me from day one in planning school, but since that’s the majority of the development that’s still getting built these days (in smaller cities like my own, at least), I almost began to think that planners and other New Urbanist, Smart Growth, or anti-sprawl types were basically trying to convince everyone else of a position that boiled down to little more than subjective preference (or environmentalism, but that’s something people will debate as well).

What was amazing about Strong Towns was that it validated this pro-traditional, walkable town development philosophy with hard data based on dollars-and-cents: and that’s something no one can argue with (if they’ll give you a hearing). Arguing with a developer in front of a Planning Commission about density and walkability is a lot easier when my argument is, “Hey, this development is going to create too many unfunded maintenance obligations going forward,” instead of, “Hey, this development just doesn’t give me warm fuzzies.” That’s not a hit against aesthetics and intuition in planning—just an acknowledgment that money talks much louder than anything else in this society.
Doing the Math: Finding and Running the Numbers

After mulling over our situation here in Gallatin, I decided to focus on the cul-de-sac. Why? Well, as a city that didn’t start growing in earnest until the automobile age, we have plenty of them. And second, I’d read Chuck’s seminal article about the cul-de-sac. It made perfect sense. If a cul-de-sac is stripped to its essentials and brought to the bar of the balance sheet, it has nowhere to escape. It can’t offer the excuse, like most of our wide, low-density commercial roads, that it provides network effects beyond its immediate vicinity. It exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to provide access to the homes built around it. That’s why Chuck identified it as the perfect candidate for a fiscal “interrogation” and why I’m following in his footsteps.

To this end I took twelve basically random cul-de-sacs in Gallatin and tried to line out and price all the infrastructure they contained. I figured out how much each household was paying, on average, towards each infrastructure type price tag. And then I subtracted the infrastructure replacement costs (amortized over the life expectancies of each piece of infrastructure) from the revenue totals and found out whether they were paying for themselves or not.

“If a cul-de-sac is stripped to its essentials and brought to the bar of the balance sheet, it has nowhere to escape....It exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to provide access to the homes built around it.”

For the traditional utilities (water, sewer, and electric), the rate structures were available online. I used average consumption per household for these resources and so was able to calculate how much the average household is paying per year. For stormwater, most households pay about $5 per month toward the Stormwater Utility Fee.

For roads, I had to do a bit more digging. It turns out our Public Works Department spends about $88,000 per year on minor repairs and our Engineering Division spends about $800,000 per year on major reconstruction of existing roads (usually bid out to a contractor). New roads are separate from these totals and are financed in various ways as capital expenditure projects. So, for my purposes, $888,000 was the magic number. This amounted to only 2.24% of the 2018 budget, and when divided out, came to $53.17 per year per household. This number was far less than the average annual amounts being paid by households for utility services—$1,512.60 for electricity, $404 for water, $404 for sewer, $472.20 for gas, and less than even the $60 for stormwater.

I took these numbers and multiplied them by the number of households on a given cul-de-sac. Then I took the inventory infrastructure I performed (by visual survey and by an inspection of final plats and master plan documents) for that cul-de-sac and subtracted the amortized annual costs from the revenue numbers. Each piece of infrastructure had a different life expectancy, so the total costs on each street had to be divided up in various ways; e.g., roads are assumed to have an average lifespan of 14 years according to our local Engineering Division, while an extruded curb can reasonably be expected to last 20 years (according to a source I found online, which is cited in the table).
Doing the Math: What the Numbers Reveal

The spreadsheet at the end of this article (and excerpted below) is the result of all this number crunching, and it’s sourced. It reveals two major things: one, our utility companies (Gallatin Public Utilities and Gallatin Department of Electricity) seem to collect enough with their rate structures to pay for the infrastructure they’ve built (water lines, sewer lines, manholes, poles, light fixtures, underground conduit, and electric line). I can’t say that for sure—all I can say is that they’re taking in more than they’re expending, at least for their street-level infrastructure. I also found that the stormwater infrastructure (pipes, inlets, and headwalls) in every case but one can be covered by the stormwater utility fees that the City collects now—and some places have very little stormwater infrastructure, so that money can go toward fixing other more complex configurations elsewhere. I didn’t account for every little nut and bolt, so it can be assumed my totals are a little low, but in general the revenue cushion was substantial enough.

However, when it comes to roads, not one of the cul-de-sacs is in the black.

On the spreadsheet you can see in detail each piece of infrastructure I isolated and priced out, and my count for each cul-de-sac. Take Lilycrest Drive, for instance.

A quarter mile of asphalt road, priced at $107,960 per mile, needing replacement every 14 years, comes to a total cost of $26,990 and a yearly cost of $1,927.86.

Next, 2,693 feet of sidewalks at $37.50 a foot comes to a total cost of $100,987.50, and if replacement occurs every 25 years (maybe it doesn’t, but that’s supposedly the standard), the yearly cost is $4,039.50.

After that is the cost of the extruded curb: $12.86 per foot for the straight portion and $22.59 per foot for the curved portion (replaced every 20 years). The curb portions come to $23,767.50 ($1,188.7 yearly) and $17,894.45 ($894.72 yearly), respectively.

The road, sidewalk, and curb together come to a total cost of $169,639.45 and an annual cost of $8,050.45.

Now, if the 31 homes on Lilycrest all pay their portion of the total I mentioned above for road reconstruction, $53.17 each, it becomes immediately clear that this amount ($1,648.27) does not even pay for the asphalt, sidewalks, and curbs of Lilycrest, much less any of the roadway these homes are dependent on to connect Lilycrest with other parts of the city. If these homes at least broke even and Lilycrest was covered, we could then perhaps remain agnostic about whether this suburban development pattern is sustainable. (I would maintain it’s not because how far Lilycrest is from everything else builds in hidden costs to its true infrastructure balance sheet.) But, as it is, Lilycrest is going to require an infusion of tax dollars from somewhere else to ultimately continue to do what it was built to do.

“[Cities that are growing] can effectively mask the financial strain of aging infrastructure...by getting large infusions of new infrastructure...This works for as long as growth keeps going. But one day it will stop.”

What about the budget? Why aren’t we in more pain if the amount we spend on these roads is woefully inadequate to pay for their eventual and impending replacement? Chuck says cities like us that are growing (take a look at the news—the Nashville metro area, of which we’re a part, is growing like a weed) can effectively mask the financial strain of aging infrastructure by getting large infusions of new infrastructure. In effect, the tax revenue generated by new, developer-built infrastructure pays for the reconstruction of aging infrastructure. This works for as long as growth keeps going. But one day it will stop, and we’ll wish then that our streets and infrastructure were self-sustaining. Suburbia is not. It must be propped up by federal subsidies.
What Would Make Us Fiscally Solvent?

What would make it fiscally solvent? I guess there are two options: raise the taxes or increase the density.

Raising taxes would entail at least a couple hundred dollars extra per year for each household (for Lilycrest each household would have to pay $206.52 more a year just to break even). And of course, that might still not be enough—we’d really need an accurate accounting of the entire city to say for sure how much the taxes needed to go up.

The other option is increasing density. However, we’re talking about a lot more density in these places. Take a look at the dwelling unit per acre numbers I’ve crunched that reveal just how dense each of these streets would have to be to pay for itself at the current tax rate.

Each table below shows how many dwelling units per acre (DU/Ac), the average lot width (Avg. Lot width) that each street contains, and, to the right of that, its road maintenance revenue balance. The first table is the existing conditions. Notice that DU/Ac ranges from 2.37 to 3.72 and average lot width ranges from 48.74 to 88. Now look at the DU/Ac and average lot width columns in the second table. These have been adjusted to make all the balances positive. You can see that some cul-de-sacs will require densities of as much as 16.29 dwelling units an acre to break even (Lilycrest is the biggest one). If we rule out multi-family type developments and confine ourselves to townhome-style development, lot widths would have to be as narrow as 14.4 feet on Foxland Boulevard. That’s very urban.


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Re: The death of suburbia

Unread postby Newfie » Mon 03 May 2021, 18:56:05

Funny, I had posted this in the Degrowth Thread. :-D
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Re: The death of suburbia

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 03 May 2021, 21:09:50

Newfie wrote:Funny, I had posted this in the Degrowth Thread. :-D


Scary, after all these years we are thinking too much alike on some things!
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Re: The death of suburbia

Unread postby jawagord » Mon 03 May 2021, 22:11:40

Tanada wrote:More text and pictures at link below the quote.

I Did the Math on My Town’s Cul-de-Sacs. Here's What I Found.

Since reading Chuck Marohn’s Strong Towns book, I’ve been interested in figuring out if the way we’re building my town—Gallatin, Tennessee, where I work as an urban planner—is financially sustainable. My suspicion, after reading the book, browsing many of the online articles, joining the movement, and even meeting Chuck at the Power of Ten local government conference in Nashville last fall, was that we are not, but I wanted to find something concrete to demonstrate that.

The core insight (that “light bulb” moment) of Strong Towns for me was that low density suburban living requires more roads, curbs, sidewalks, and pipes than it pays for in tax revenue—meaning, it’s not solvent. It will ultimately bankrupt us. As a planner, the “badness” of sprawl was drilled into me from day one in planning school, but since that’s the majority of the development that’s still getting built these days (in smaller cities like my own, at least), I almost began to think that planners and other New Urbanist, Smart Growth, or anti-sprawl types were basically trying to convince everyone else of a position that boiled down to little more than subjective preference (or environmentalism, but that’s something people will debate as well).

What was amazing about Strong Towns was that it validated this pro-traditional, walkable town development philosophy with hard data based on dollars-and-cents: and that’s something no one can argue with (if they’ll give you a hearing). Arguing with a developer in front of a Planning Commission about density and walkability is a lot easier when my argument is, “Hey, this development is going to create too many unfunded maintenance obligations going forward,” instead of, “Hey, this development just doesn’t give me warm fuzzies.” That’s not a hit against aesthetics and intuition in planning—just an acknowledgment that money talks much louder than anything else in this society.
Doing the Math: Finding and Running the Numbers

After mulling over our situation here in Gallatin, I decided to focus on the cul-de-sac. Why? Well, as a city that didn’t start growing in earnest until the automobile age, we have plenty of them. And second, I’d read Chuck’s seminal article about the cul-de-sac. It made perfect sense. If a cul-de-sac is stripped to its essentials and brought to the bar of the balance sheet, it has nowhere to escape. It can’t offer the excuse, like most of our wide, low-density commercial roads, that it provides network effects beyond its immediate vicinity. It exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to provide access to the homes built around it. That’s why Chuck identified it as the perfect candidate for a fiscal “interrogation” and why I’m following in his footsteps.

To this end I took twelve basically random cul-de-sacs in Gallatin and tried to line out and price all the infrastructure they contained. I figured out how much each household was paying, on average, towards each infrastructure type price tag. And then I subtracted the infrastructure replacement costs (amortized over the life expectancies of each piece of infrastructure) from the revenue totals and found out whether they were paying for themselves or not.

“If a cul-de-sac is stripped to its essentials and brought to the bar of the balance sheet, it has nowhere to escape....It exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to provide access to the homes built around it.”

For the traditional utilities (water, sewer, and electric), the rate structures were available online. I used average consumption per household for these resources and so was able to calculate how much the average household is paying per year. For stormwater, most households pay about $5 per month toward the Stormwater Utility Fee.

For roads, I had to do a bit more digging. It turns out our Public Works Department spends about $88,000 per year on minor repairs and our Engineering Division spends about $800,000 per year on major reconstruction of existing roads (usually bid out to a contractor). New roads are separate from these totals and are financed in various ways as capital expenditure projects. So, for my purposes, $888,000 was the magic number. This amounted to only 2.24% of the 2018 budget, and when divided out, came to $53.17 per year per household. This number was far less than the average annual amounts being paid by households for utility services—$1,512.60 for electricity, $404 for water, $404 for sewer, $472.20 for gas, and less than even the $60 for stormwater.

I took these numbers and multiplied them by the number of households on a given cul-de-sac. Then I took the inventory infrastructure I performed (by visual survey and by an inspection of final plats and master plan documents) for that cul-de-sac and subtracted the amortized annual costs from the revenue numbers. Each piece of infrastructure had a different life expectancy, so the total costs on each street had to be divided up in various ways; e.g., roads are assumed to have an average lifespan of 14 years according to our local Engineering Division, while an extruded curb can reasonably be expected to last 20 years (according to a source I found online, which is cited in the table).
Doing the Math: What the Numbers Reveal

The spreadsheet at the end of this article (and excerpted below) is the result of all this number crunching, and it’s sourced. It reveals two major things: one, our utility companies (Gallatin Public Utilities and Gallatin Department of Electricity) seem to collect enough with their rate structures to pay for the infrastructure they’ve built (water lines, sewer lines, manholes, poles, light fixtures, underground conduit, and electric line). I can’t say that for sure—all I can say is that they’re taking in more than they’re expending, at least for their street-level infrastructure. I also found that the stormwater infrastructure (pipes, inlets, and headwalls) in every case but one can be covered by the stormwater utility fees that the City collects now—and some places have very little stormwater infrastructure, so that money can go toward fixing other more complex configurations elsewhere. I didn’t account for every little nut and bolt, so it can be assumed my totals are a little low, but in general the revenue cushion was substantial enough.

However, when it comes to roads, not one of the cul-de-sacs is in the black.

On the spreadsheet you can see in detail each piece of infrastructure I isolated and priced out, and my count for each cul-de-sac. Take Lilycrest Drive, for instance.

A quarter mile of asphalt road, priced at $107,960 per mile, needing replacement every 14 years, comes to a total cost of $26,990 and a yearly cost of $1,927.86.

Next, 2,693 feet of sidewalks at $37.50 a foot comes to a total cost of $100,987.50, and if replacement occurs every 25 years (maybe it doesn’t, but that’s supposedly the standard), the yearly cost is $4,039.50.

After that is the cost of the extruded curb: $12.86 per foot for the straight portion and $22.59 per foot for the curved portion (replaced every 20 years). The curb portions come to $23,767.50 ($1,188.7 yearly) and $17,894.45 ($894.72 yearly), respectively.

The road, sidewalk, and curb together come to a total cost of $169,639.45 and an annual cost of $8,050.45.

Now, if the 31 homes on Lilycrest all pay their portion of the total I mentioned above for road reconstruction, $53.17 each, it becomes immediately clear that this amount ($1,648.27) does not even pay for the asphalt, sidewalks, and curbs of Lilycrest, much less any of the roadway these homes are dependent on to connect Lilycrest with other parts of the city. If these homes at least broke even and Lilycrest was covered, we could then perhaps remain agnostic about whether this suburban development pattern is sustainable. (I would maintain it’s not because how far Lilycrest is from everything else builds in hidden costs to its true infrastructure balance sheet.) But, as it is, Lilycrest is going to require an infusion of tax dollars from somewhere else to ultimately continue to do what it was built to do.

“[Cities that are growing] can effectively mask the financial strain of aging infrastructure...by getting large infusions of new infrastructure...This works for as long as growth keeps going. But one day it will stop.”

What about the budget? Why aren’t we in more pain if the amount we spend on these roads is woefully inadequate to pay for their eventual and impending replacement? Chuck says cities like us that are growing (take a look at the news—the Nashville metro area, of which we’re a part, is growing like a weed) can effectively mask the financial strain of aging infrastructure by getting large infusions of new infrastructure. In effect, the tax revenue generated by new, developer-built infrastructure pays for the reconstruction of aging infrastructure. This works for as long as growth keeps going. But one day it will stop, and we’ll wish then that our streets and infrastructure were self-sustaining. Suburbia is not. It must be propped up by federal subsidies.
What Would Make Us Fiscally Solvent?

What would make it fiscally solvent? I guess there are two options: raise the taxes or increase the density.

Raising taxes would entail at least a couple hundred dollars extra per year for each household (for Lilycrest each household would have to pay $206.52 more a year just to break even). And of course, that might still not be enough—we’d really need an accurate accounting of the entire city to say for sure how much the taxes needed to go up.

The other option is increasing density. However, we’re talking about a lot more density in these places. Take a look at the dwelling unit per acre numbers I’ve crunched that reveal just how dense each of these streets would have to be to pay for itself at the current tax rate.

Each table below shows how many dwelling units per acre (DU/Ac), the average lot width (Avg. Lot width) that each street contains, and, to the right of that, its road maintenance revenue balance. The first table is the existing conditions. Notice that DU/Ac ranges from 2.37 to 3.72 and average lot width ranges from 48.74 to 88. Now look at the DU/Ac and average lot width columns in the second table. These have been adjusted to make all the balances positive. You can see that some cul-de-sacs will require densities of as much as 16.29 dwelling units an acre to break even (Lilycrest is the biggest one). If we rule out multi-family type developments and confine ourselves to townhome-style development, lot widths would have to be as narrow as 14.4 feet on Foxland Boulevard. That’s very urban.[/b]


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I’ve been living on a cul-de-sac since 1992, almost 30 years with the same road and I expect it will easily last another 30 years. The traffic is low and the vehicle speeds are low which probably account for the great shape the roads are in. Either we build roads a whole letter better in Canada or “I did the math” used highway road data for a suburb road. As usual another bogus hatchet job on suburban development.
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Re: The death of suburbia

Unread postby careinke » Tue 04 May 2021, 01:11:21

jawagord wrote:
I’ve been living on a cul-de-sac since 1992, almost 30 years with the same road and I expect it will easily last another 30 years. The traffic is low and the vehicle speeds are low which probably account for the great shape the roads are in. Either we build roads a whole letter better in Canada or “I did the math” used highway road data for a suburb road. As usual another bogus hatchet job on suburban development.


The whole article is collectivist BS advancing the Great Reset/2030/Woke agenda. The goal is to move all the free range slaves into high density cities where their movements can be controlled/monitored while simultaneously grabbing control of the food supply. The suburbs will be taxed out of existence with the property defaulting back to the banks. All in the name of fairness and equity over equality.

How about instead, you give the cul-de-sac roads back to the property owners and let them worry about access. A third of an acre could become a producing asset for food, herbs. medicines, meat, fiber, and energy, and small local businesses. Add in some agorist grey market stuff like barter a local or crypto currency, and you have a regenerative neighborhood instead of a destroyed one.

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Re: The death of suburbia

Unread postby Newfie » Tue 04 May 2021, 07:09:35

I didn't follow the details enough to declare it a hatchet job, OTOH it sounds about right in that we do not sufficiently plan to care foe our infrastructure.

On the larger picture there is an awful lit of critical infrastructure we let run down and that we have not allocated sufficient maintenance funds. We can do better when the consequences are big and close; airport runways are kept up. Many highways and bridges are well maintained.

Secondary bridges, mass transit, gas and water mines, transmission systems are all in some stare of decay. Urban housing stock is a disaster. Our urban school are a huge mess due to under funding and miss management. If you consider our kids education as infrastructure for our future then that is really bad.

Here I see folks cutting forests to plant solar farms. About as stupid as you can get.

So do I believe we have our infrastructure priorities screwed up? Hell yeah.
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Re: The death of suburbia

Unread postby Pops » Tue 04 May 2021, 07:46:41

jawagord wrote:I’ve been living on a cul-de-sac since 1992, almost 30 years with the same road and I expect it will easily last another 30 years.

I was going to say the same. I've never actually seen a curb replaced, patched from root damage maybe. And "replacing" a cul de sac road? chip seal or recoat maybe but surely not every 15 years. If they were replacing every mile of subdivision roadway every 15 years the guy wouldn't need to go digging for the numbers.

And frankly, even though modern construction methods/materials are improved, they are also "optimized", i.e. only as good as they need to be. 30 years most tract house themselves are going to be needing work. The frame and foundation might be good but every system will be nearing it's end from roof to siding to windows and mechanicals. In 20 years they aren't going to replace the infrastructure if the houses are failing. They are going to patch it just like they are going to patch the house.

OTOH, I saw read a report once about how 100 years ago infrastructure would last 100 years simply because the materials available were cruder but stronger and overbuilt, 50 years ago it would last 50, 25 years ago 25 - if that. Not sure how true that is but especially 25 years ago there was lots of technology that seemed a miracle but turned out to be a boondoggle.

Not that lead pipes weren't.
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Re: The death of suburbia

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 04 May 2021, 10:44:51

Pops wrote:
jawagord wrote:I’ve been living on a cul-de-sac since 1992, almost 30 years with the same road and I expect it will easily last another 30 years.

I was going to say the same. I've never actually seen a curb replaced, patched from root damage maybe. And "replacing" a cul de sac road? chip seal or recoat maybe but surely not every 15 years. If they were replacing every mile of subdivision roadway every 15 years the guy wouldn't need to go digging for the numbers.

And frankly, even though modern construction methods/materials are improved, they are also "optimized", i.e. only as good as they need to be. 30 years most tract house themselves are going to be needing work. The frame and foundation might be good but every system will be nearing it's end from roof to siding to windows and mechanicals. In 20 years they aren't going to replace the infrastructure if the houses are failing. They are going to patch it just like they are going to patch the house.

OTOH, I saw read a report once about how 100 years ago infrastructure would last 100 years simply because the materials available were cruder but stronger and overbuilt, 50 years ago it would last 50, 25 years ago 25 - if that. Not sure how true that is but especially 25 years ago there was lots of technology that seemed a miracle but turned out to be a boondoggle.

Not that lead pipes weren't.


I think it all depends on where you live and what the standards are. The first subdivision I ever lived in repaved the streets as in ground down the surface and put new/recycled paving back when the neighborhood was 20 years old, and it was needed because the streets were coming apart. On the other hand where I live now the climate is nearly identical but the street is over 40 years old and regular maintenance like tar filling any new cracks while they are small has kept the streets here in good condition. The town where I live replaced the main street and decided to take the extra step of replacing the water lines at the same time so that the old lines wouldn't damage the new street as they aged out. That main street with high traffic had been under discussion for several years before the village council gathered enough funds to do both phases of the project at once, but it was done right the first time and redone right the second time and I anticipate it still being in good shape from this project when I shuffle off my mortal coil.

The village where I live now has tough standards and they pay off in the long run to everyone's benefit because things last. In places where the officials are short sighted for any reason whether it be the penny wise but pound foolish problem or a little kick back corruption from contractors or any other reason things do not last. Yesterday I had to take a trip up I-75 which is a concrete paved expressway around here. I crossed the state line and immediately started encountering potholes and crumbling pavement. Then after 10 miles suddenly the road was sound with very few cracks and no actual potholes. I know for a fact that that entire stretch of I-75 was repaved less than 20 years ago and they repaved it all the way from the state line through Detroit and on to Flint. The only reason for the terrible workmanship and quality in those first ten miles is a different contractor won the bid for each chunk of the project. In order for one section to be fine and the adjoining section lousy the state/federal oversight of the contractors work has to be a factor. Good contractors tend to do quality work even if nobody is watching while lousy contractors need constant oversight or they will cut every corner til it bleeds. A competent bureaucracy would track the quality of the work done and reject future bids from bad contractors but if you suggest such a thing you get howls of discrimination. Well when it comes to government spending on infrastructure you NEED discrimination in the quality sense, otherwise you end up wasting a ton of funds that could be better used elsewhere.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Re: The Death of Suburbia Pt. 1

Unread postby Pops » Tue 04 May 2021, 13:01:18

Right. Part of it too is the big new idea. Highways and interstates get terrible pounding. Back when, they tried the concrete sectional roadway (whatever the term) which soon turned into a series of ramps when the leading end of each section broke from the next and sank. I-44 in SW MO was a kidney beater before the US replaced the whole thing. I drove I-5 through Seattle pulling an empty horse trailer back 20 years ago and couldn't go overt 35mph.
The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves -- in their separate, and individual capacities.
-- Abraham Lincoln, Fragment on Government (July 1, 1854)
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Re: The Death of Suburbia Pt. 1

Unread postby jedrider » Tue 04 May 2021, 13:23:54

The problem is solving itself, concerning low-density cul-de-sac living. Land and construction prices are rising sharply. This is a market forces, self-solution. On the other hand, keeping open space OPEN SPACE is another terrific idea that you almost never hear about, as it is so politically toxic, especially to conservatives who will make a fuss and a row over practically anything, even toilet bowls and incandescent lightbulbs.

In California, we're exploring the managed retreat idea and our governor is being subjected to a recall vote right now (may not be unrelated).

I don't know about suburbia dying, but politically, we are dying right now.
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