Suburban Nation The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream Written by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, and Jeff Speck Presented by Jessica Morton, Joe Dumais, and Katie Hooker
Authors’ Information • Duany and Plater-Zyberk work at a firm designing community-based neighborhoods. • Speck works with them as the director of town planning • Plater-Zyberk works as the Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Miami.
Sprawl Investigation • What is sprawl? • Where does it come from and what are the ramifications? • Why should we care about sprawl? • What problems does it pose and what are the health risks? • What can we do about sprawl? • What are the alternatives to sprawl and how can we change our neighborhoods?
Introduction • Faulty, outdated procedure has economic and quality of life impacts. Suburban sprawl is a symptom of this faulty system; the answer is a return to traditional neighborhood models. • “The deck [is] already stacked against healthy growth by municipal regulations and engineering conventions.” (101) • These conclusions are made with the understanding that: • Growth cannot be stopped • Profit-motive is not the problem with development • Most issues are inter-related
What is Sprawl? Defining Sprawl Origins Components Consequences Photo obtained from Jstor.
Defining Sprawl • Sprawl - To be distributed in an awkward or uneven manner, esp. as to take up more space than is necessary. • Suburban Sprawl – Unchecked, uncoordinated, haphazard growth outward, esp. resulting from real estate development on the outskirts of a city. The spreading of urban development into areas adjoining the edge of a city. Obtained on Google images
The Origins of Sprawl • The popularity of the automobile • Policies of such programs as the Federal Housing Administration and the Veterans Administration • “As long as zoning codes favor low-density development over the creation of compact communities, developers will not be able to shake their reputation as land rapists, as they turn farm after farm into cookie-cutter sprawl.” (100) • “Even more culpable in this scenario are those surprisingly powerful advisors to the development industry, the market experts.” (101) Levittown, the original subdivision Photo obtained from Google.
Sprawl Planning Decisions: Creating the Components of Sprawl • Low-density land use • Single-use zoning • Fast food chains, built at sites of future development • Focus on highway and parking infrastructure over public spaces
Housing subdivisions Shopping centers Business parks Civic institutions Roadways The Components of Sprawl All photos were obtained from Google.
Consequences of Sprawl • Car-dependent communities • Increased fossil fuel reliance and pollution • Traffic congestion and increased traffic fatalities • Decline in social capital • Class segregation in residential areas (housing types grouped together, like with like, McMansion with McMansion) • Increased likelihood of obesity and crime
Suburban Sprawl Unmasked • “Subdivisions can be identified as such by their contrived names, which tend towards the romantic – Pheasant Mill Crossing – and often pay tribute to the natural or historic resource they have displaced.” (5) • “The contemporary office park is usually made of boxes in parking lots. Still imagined as a pastoral workplace isolated in nature…in practice it is more likely to be surrounded by highways than by countryside.” (6)
If it has… • A center • A five-minute walk • A street network • Narrow, versatile streets • Mixed-use zoning • Special building sites (example: areas for a farmers market) …then it’s not sprawl
Sprawl Models Sprawl Resistant: Traditional Neighborhood Model Photos obtained from Google www.dpz.com
*Activity* • Here’s your neighborhood problem: traffic congestion • Tools you can use to combat it: design, policy, or management • An example: You can choose to solve the problem of crime by using design – eliminating potential hiding places and using beautiful and durable materials to display high standards of civic care; by using policy – having zoning regulations require entries and windows to face public spaces; or by using management – having the local cops get to know residents and develop a relationship with the community
Problems of Urban Sprawl • Zoning • Isolation and Segregation • Reliance on Cars and the Traffic Problem • Lack of community • Resources inefficiency • Loss of talent/jobs/resources for cities
The Problem with Zoning • Tends to make more efficient mixed land use illegal. • Separates everything from everything else. • Promotes auto-travel reliant society. • Creates segregated blocks of space rather than communities.
Isolation and Segregation • Creates isolated blocks of space rather than integrated communities • Segregates residents by separating housing types • Creates a “Move out to move up” lifestyle
Isolation and Segregation • Leads to Fragile Neighborhoods • Enforces sameness and encourages discrimination and intolerance. All photos were obtained from Google.
Reliance on Cars and the Traffic Problem • Creates an area entirely dependent on cars for travel • Because of this dependence, design focuses on unimpeded auto travel. • While good for cars, this is detrimental to other forms of travel such as walking or biking • Pedestrian danger increases as well as drivers feel safer speeding and driving carelessly
Reliance on Cars and the Traffic Problem • The Auto-reliant system requires massive road construction • As more roads are constructed, more people take advantage of them producing induced traffic congestion • Traffic congestion motivates construction of more new roads, which in turn induce more traffic
The Lack of Community in the Sprawl • The highly segregated car dependent system requires people to spend much of their time driving • Instead of interacting meaningfully with others, people spend most of their time competing with them for road access
The Lack of Community in the Sprawl • Remaining time not spent driving is spent confined in the cookie cutter housing cluster • With nothing to differentiate any given suburban sprawl area from another, a sense of unique place fails to develop • Without a sense of place or opportunities to meaningfully interact with each other, communities fail to form and people are left in a void
Resource Inefficiency • New Suburban sprawl areas require massive amounts of resource expenditure to create. • The isolated and auto-reliant setup waste huge amounts of time and energy in transit • Huge amounts of resources are also expended on maintaining and expanding roadways
What the Cities Lose • Suburbs are perceived as better places to live, thus those who can leave the cities do so • Businesses leave along with the people • The poor who are unable to leave are left behind in an economically weakening area • This leaves cities with a shrinking resource base with which to try and deal with increasing problems
What the Cities Lose • This in turn further motivates people to leave, which further worsens the situation, creating a vicious cycle All photos were obtained from Google.
Old communities No population growth Where city infill is possible When it will promote: Unnecessary automobile use Unnecessary greenfield development Model Exceptions:
The Duany, Plater-Zyberk, and Speck Plan • Mixed-use development • Connectivity • Discipline of the neighborhood • Making transit work www.Google.com/images
Mixed-Use Development • Residence • Shopping center • Workplace • Civic buildings
Connectivity • Neighborhoods should meet • Avoid collector roads • Highways should skirt towns
Discipline of the Neighborhood • Pedestrian Shed • “the five minute walk” • Use natural features • Zone buildings by size • “Pocket parks” • Culture to nature • Urban to rural Rural preserve Suburban General urban Urban center Urban core
Making Transit Work • Frequent and predictable • Direct, logical route • Safe and dignified stops www.tfhrc.gov
The Specifics of the TND Plan • The Streets • The Buildings • The Parking • The Style
The Streets • Residential street • Yield streets • Travel lanes 10 ft. • Parking lanes 7 ft. Westhaven Katrina Cottage
The Buildings • Houses close to street • Encourage sociability • Retail without setbacks • Taller is better
Parking and Style • Mixed-use parking • “If every building were to croon at once, nothing could be discerned from the cacophony” (211).
*Activity* ~ let’s try it again • Here’s your neighborhood problem: traffic congestion • Tools you can use to combat it: design, policy, or management. Use the knowledge we’ve given you; try utilizing a different tool this time. • An example: You can choose to combat the problem of crime by using design – eliminating potential hiding places and using beautiful and durable materials to display high standards of civic care; by using policy – having zoning regulations require entries and windows to face public spaces; or by using management – having the local cops get to know residents and develop a relationship with the community
MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY GOV Agenda setting Rewrite regulations TND ordinance Be proactive Think Globally Public participation Set an example REGIONAL GOV Create strong regional governments Create detailed plans Create physical plans Government
STATE GOV “Tough love” programs Affordable housing Educational goals FEDERAL GOV Public transportation Tax policies Federal incentives Equal education resource distribution Coordinate policies Public support for Private initiatives Government cont.
Conclusion • A faulty, misguided system gives birth to suburban sprawl, which needs to be replaced by healthy, traditional neighborhood models. • Batavia, Illinois • Appleton, Wisconsin • Portland, Oregon
Discussion: • Of your solutions to the traffic congestion problem, which would be most effective? Why? • How realistic is the TND model? • How do the authors’ professions affect your opinion of their solution?