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November 22, 2017, 02:16:41 pm
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Author Topic: How do you add density...?  (Read 8027 times)
PonderInc
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« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2008, 04:05:29 pm »

I don't think anyone wants to make every area in the metro region "dense."  (Some would argue that Bixby is already far too dense, with all the houses that have been built on some of the most rich, fertile, agricultural land in the region.)

Certainly, my first choice for rebuilding true urban density is downtown where it would be easy to convert parking lots to mixed-use developments.  Lofts and apartments over offices, galleries, shops, grocery stores, coffee shops, etc.  Offices over bars and restaurants. A fun, vibrant mix, all tumbled together.

However, there would be a lot of beneifit to creating dense TODs in other parts of the city.  And, of course, there will still be plenty of neighborhoods where everyone gets a house and a lawn of their preferred size/scale.
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Red Arrow
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« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2008, 11:54:09 pm »

Floyd:
Somewhere between rows of brownstones like Commonwealth Ave in Boston (where my cousin lived for a few years) and one farmhouse per square mile is urban/suburban sprawl. We probably all draw the line at a different density.  Many areas of BA, Bixby, and Jenks are as dense as Midtown Tulsa and even some areas outside but near the IDL.  Many of these areas have local retail for daily needs.  Urban activists may not appreciate the shopping strips and bigger centers at major intersections but most of us don't have to travel too far to get what we need. Life is not as sprawling as it was 35 years ago around here.

Where is the balance between a chain store and the urban locally owned store?  The chain may not have the convenience of the mom and pop store around the corner but the prices will generally be less at the chain.  Charm of the area is a nice aesthetic quality but this discussion is presently about economics.  Our family had a shopping choice while living in suburban Phila, PA.  We bought the odd loaf of bread or quart of milk at the local store but drove a few miles to the Penn Fruit, A&P,  or Acme grocery store to get larger quantities.  When we moved to near 111th & Memorial we could go about 4 miles to Bud's Thrifty Wise in downtown Bixby or about 10 miles to nearest Warehouse Market or Skaggs in Tulsa. Bud's knew he had a captive market in Bixby and priced his goods accordingly. We mostly contributed our sales tax to Tulsa.


High-density living divides the infrastructure among more people. The infrastructure required is more expensive for high density. Sidewalks are required (cost is typically passed on to the individual property owners). Water and sanitary sewer lines need to be larger. Storm sewers are required since a larger portion of the land is not available to absorb rain and snow. Higher capacity is required for electric service.  Roads need to be better quality to hold up to increased traffic, private or transit.  Public transit will be required for all the reasons discussed in other threads. Both transit and streets end up being subsidized. (Not wrong to do, just a fact.) More local parks and other public recreational areas are required.  Larger Police and Fire departments are required.  I agree a street mile per capita would be interesting. I don't believe it would be the definitive cost analysis. Everything has gotten expensive and many Americans have less percentage disposable income as they become "rich" and rise into the higher income tax brackets without any increase in spending power.  The balance of costs is probably hard to define.  To say that the cost of infrastructure is spread among more people is an over simplification.

There are some good things about high density. I am thinking mostly of the arts etc. Small towns can rarely support a theater, symphony orchestra, big sports team etc. These are quality of life items that typically only a reasonably dense city and surrounding areas can support.  Specialty shops need density to support them.  When the family moved here from suburban Phila in 1971 we found we could get anything that we could in Phila, but only the next day from Dallas.  Tulsa still has a way to go in some respects.  I like living in suburbia but don't want to live in the wilderness.  

PonderInc:
Hopefully most people on the forum don’t want all the metro area in wall-to-wall condos etc.  If someone wants that in their lifetime, maybe they should move to New York City or similar city.  More power to them.  Some of the more vocal members act as though that is their ultimate wish for the area.  As I live in north Bixby, I cannot say none of Bixby should have been developed.  If it had been done as our addition, we probably wouldn’t have the traffic we do.  One house per acre instead of 3 or 4 would cut a LOT of traffic.  If people wanted to live densely, they should have bought in Tulsa.  I hate to see farmland converted to houses, it never comes back.  Farmland and flood plain are easy to build on.  Fry ditch may be improved but if we get another 18” or so of rain in the Arkansas watershed like we did in 1986 (1988?) I think a few places near the river will get pretty damp.  Then we’ll have to buy them out at some outrageous price.

Downtown is a really good place to start rebuilding high density.  That’s where it really belongs. Hopefully water, sewer,  and electricity are already sufficient.  Mixed use is another term that everyone “knows what it is” but no one really defines.  It could be pretty much anything next to your apartment.   I can think of several things I would consider legitimate but undesirable to live next to, but someone would probably take offense if I listed them.   Zoning history in Tulsa almost guarantees something you won’t like.  If all you get are quaint mom and pop shops etc, I agree it could be nice for those that like that lifestyle.  There is enough open space downtown to do something.  Evidently some of those parking acres are sacred.  If Tulsa really wanted to, the tax structure could be changed to discourage surface parking in favor of parking garages.  A good circulator transit system could make the idea of a few parking garages acceptable to the motoring public.  It would also help the parking perception for the BOK center and the proposed ball park.  A real (electric/rail) trolley system would encourage TOD downtown.  I don’t see any areas of the city getting any meaningful TOD with buses.   Not all TOD would necessarily be really dense.   Our family lived (before 1971) about 100 yards from a (real) trolley stop in Springfield, PA., on what is now SEPTA route 101.  There was about a block of stores with apartments above them. There were also about 6 apartment buildings, 2 story, with 4 units each about a block away. The rest of the immediate area was mostly single-family homes on about ¼ acre lots. There were some duplexes on about the same size lot.   The next two outbound stops were similar.  There was some open space beyond that on the way to Media, PA., the county seat.  Closer to Phila, the housing was typically more dense.   I expect the main difference between there and Tulsa is that the trolley was there first.  The people that moved in wanted access to the trolley.
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USRufnex
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« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2008, 02:22:38 pm »

Dang RA, you said a mouthful... [^]

I approve of urban density.  I want it.  I like it...... but most people don't, and that includes the folks who so often argue in favor of it... what's the quote?  "Be careful what you wish for?"

I am skeptical of TOD because of Tulsa's short commute times... and because most highways and streets in Tulsa are laid out logically..... streets in Boston are highly ineffecient... I don't think TOD is capable of stimulating growth by itself... most METRA stops in Chicago lack much in that catagory, and most L stops don't have a lot of TOD either... or not without additional govt subsidy in the form of TIF districts...

Besides, Tulsa is already set up for IOD... "Intersection Oriented Development."  

The problem I have is with the stupefying areas of Tulsa that don't have sidewalks but should (north of 71st on Lewis)...... and areas that have uninhabited sidewalks -- nothing quite like driving down miles of 71st St and seeing unused sidewalks on both sides of the street/highway....

Was the possibility of sidewalks in areas of urban density actually equated to a crime risk once upon a time in this city?

« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 02:42:50 pm by USRufnex » Logged
chlfan
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« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2008, 05:23:24 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by PonderInc#13;#10;
How do you add density without freaking out the neighborhood? ...

Eat a lot of protein, close doors and windows.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 05:24:36 pm by chlfan » Logged

Onward through the fog.
Red Arrow
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« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2008, 09:50:32 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by USRufnex

Dang RA, you said a mouthful... [^]

I approve of urban density.  I want it.  I like it...... but most people don't, and that includes the folks who so often argue in favor of it... what's the quote?  "Be careful what you wish for?"

I am skeptical of TOD because of Tulsa's short commute times... and because most highways and streets in Tulsa are laid out logically..... streets in Boston are highly ineffecient... I don't think TOD is capable of stimulating growth by itself... most METRA stops in Chicago lack much in that catagory, and most L stops don't have a lot of TOD either... or not without additional govt subsidy in the form of TIF districts...

Besides, Tulsa is already set up for IOD... "Intersection Oriented Development."  

The problem I have is with the stupefying areas of Tulsa that don't have sidewalks but should (north of 71st on Lewis)...... and areas that have uninhabited sidewalks -- nothing quite like driving down miles of 71st St and seeing unused sidewalks on both sides of the street/highway....

Was the possibility of sidewalks in areas of urban density actually equated to a crime risk once upon a time in this city?





I spent a lot of time on it. Boy was I sleepy at work today.

Although I personally don't want to live in the city, I approve and support density for those who want it.  Why should I object until they want to "invade" my neighborhood.

"Be careful what you wish for" goes along with Bill Cosby's routine on "Never challenge worse". Just as soon as you declare that things couldn't possibly get worse, they do.

TOD: in the case of SEPTA route 101, TOD definately followed the trolley line. That was in the early 1900s. I agree that Tulsa has a lot of IOD. Not necessarily bad if you accept the automobile.  Properly chosen light rail routes could take advantage of IOD. Park and ride commuter rail may not cause TOD but could reduce the dependence on automobiles, also a desirable goal.

Sidewalks are a tough call. I guess it depends if anything nearby is worth walking to.
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perspicuity85
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« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2008, 03:26:37 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by Red Arrow

quote:
Originally posted by perspicuity85

It really depends on where you live.  

I think that sums it up.

The negative perception about urban life...

Not wanting something for yourself doesn't require you to have a negative opinion of it.

Thus, neighborhoods with a strong sense of identity and unique characteristics are prime candidates for hip, urban, dense development

I would have thought a community with a strong sense of identity would be less likely to want to change that identity.




Many people do have a negative perception of urban life.  I was not supposing that everyone that prefers country living has a negative perception of urban life.  I was specifically  focusing on those who do carry a negative perception of urban life and city-dwelling in general.  In the past few decades, many people, including myself, have grown up in secluded suburban neighborhoods with parents teaching them that the city in general was scary and dangerous.  From my experience, the choice of living in a low-density area goes way beyond just personal preference-- it has been perceived as a matter of safety.  In my opinion these perceptions are often exaggerated and/or completely innaccurate.  

Next comment:
The addition of density doesn't have to change the identity of the community.  If a community has a strong sense of identity, there is more likely to exist a demand for the development of businesses that reflect that identity.  Of course, there usually has to be something that reflects community identity in the first place, which can really be anything from a park, to a theater, or a statue, whatever the local neighborhood identifies with.  It can be especially challenging to add density to isolated low-density neighborhoods, because the isolated conditions can prevent continuity between residential areas and recreation or business.

So, without being too confusing, density creates density.  It's typically more difficult to add density to younger (post-1950s) neighborhoods because land development styles of the past 50 years have usually been increasingly low-density and auto-dependant.  For example, the neighborhoods in the Cherry St. area have a sort of continuity with Cherry St. itself, which features a dense street-front.  The continuity between residential areas and recreation, entertainment, or business areas can help create a sense of unique community identity.  Unique community identity spurs density, and density spurs unique community identity.
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Red Arrow
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« Reply #36 on: August 11, 2008, 11:45:36 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by perspicuity85
In the past few decades, many people, including myself, have grown up in secluded suburban neighborhoods with parents teaching them that the city in general was scary and dangerous.  From my experience, the choice of living in a low-density area goes way beyond just personal preference-- it has been perceived as a matter of safety.  In my opinion these perceptions are often exaggerated and/or completely innaccurate.  

Safer was probably true in many cases decades ago.  Lines have blurred now.  I forget which one, but a famous bank robber said he robbed banks because that's where the money was.  There are more interesting targets outside of inner urban areas now than there used to be.

Next comment:
The addition of density doesn't have to change the identity of the community.  If a community has a strong sense of identity, there is more likely to exist a demand for the development of businesses that reflect that identity.  Of course, there usually has to be something that reflects community identity in the first place, which can really be anything from a park, to a theater, or a statue, whatever the local neighborhood identifies with.  It can be especially challenging to add density to isolated low-density neighborhoods, because the isolated conditions can prevent continuity between residential areas and recreation or business.

I was thinking of identity more along the lines of a housing addition being developed as a group rather than individual houses over a long period of time. Identity could also involve similar economic or social backgrounds.  I know I don't have the income to move to McMansionville.  Actually, I don't want to. I identify more with large lot and medium size house.  It could be just as valid to say the development SE of 111th and Memorial.  Added density within our addition would be difficult, thank goodness. Higher density is, however, surrounding us. The nearby neighborhoods have smaller lots.  The strip of small stores just north of 111th on the east side of Memorial are the automobile age equivalent of Cherry Street.  I don't see a neighborhood group saying they need a grocery store, clothing store, and hardware store because we all live next to, for example: Swan Lake. I won't say it cannot or does not happen but I would not have guessed it. I would have guessed the desire for the stores would be more centered on not wanting (or being able) to go very far to get those commodities. It even applies with cars to some extent.

So, without being too confusing, density creates density.  It's typically more difficult to add density to younger (post-1950s) neighborhoods because land development styles of the past 50 years have usually been increasingly low-density and auto-dependant.  For example, the neighborhoods in the Cherry St. area have a sort of continuity with Cherry St. itself, which features a dense street-front.  The continuity between residential areas and recreation, entertainment, or business areas can help create a sense of unique community identity.  Unique community identity spurs density, and density spurs unique community identity.



I re-found a brief history of Cherry Street by Michael Bates.  http://www.urbantulsa.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A15542

I am sure the local residents wanted local businesses.  The development along Cherry St was probably influenced as much by the fact that early on there was nearby service by street car and the fact that part of 15th street was designated as US64 for many years. The houses on 15th were replaced by businesses. I expect that people didn't want their front yard on a major through route and the opportunity existed to sell to a commercial endeavour. Nothing wrong with that. The way the buildings were constructed was a sign of their time.  I have to agree, the nostalgic value of Cherry St is better than the car centered strip zones will ever be.

Just a little to the north, 11th St was US66.  It too developed commercial areas.  I would be surprised to see any real business development along the N-S residential streets between 11th and 15th beyond the first or 2nd lot away from 11th or 15th. (Sort of like some of the businesses near Main St. in Jenks.) These areas are more what I had in mind about not wanting to change.  The main N-S arterials are of course attractive to businesses.
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