.


« Ramp-o-licious Downtown- Part 1 | Main | Ramp-o-licious Downtown - Part 3 »

Comments

Contrarian

Your Ebasco posts handily illustrate a claim I made in a comment a week or so ago --- namely, that urban master planning (of the sort produced by professional planners) is a huge waste of money. Cities never develop in accordance with those plans, because the market inevitably seeks and supports development different from that contemplated in the plan, and the market is not predictable. No more than 10% of the Ebasco plan was ever implemented, and those elements are now considered to have been detrimental. Did the taxpayers get their money's worth there? Today's plans will seem just as quaint 40 years from now.

Those plans do, however, raise the cost of development, and thus the cost of living for people living in the cities subject to them. They inform or entail zoning decisions, design controls, height limits, and numerous other legal obstacles to development which developers must overcome or circumvent before they can proceed with the projects the market demands.

Another recent post of yours illustrates the latter point --- the post regarding the Upper Falls II site adjacent to the Flour Mill. Presidio is apparently now specializing in guiding prospective projects through the regulatory minefields, then selling the property to a real developer who lacks that arcane expertise (or just doesn't wanna be bothered with it). Which, of course, adds substantial and totally unnecessary costs to the project.

METROSPOKANE

Development follows pipe and pavement. Pipe and pavement are directed by plans.

Your land has value because it is serviced contrarian. That same value is protected because of zoning.

As for Ebasco, they were mainly engineers (likely traffic) not land use planners. And anyways, our beef has been with their transportation solutions which are excessively engineered and specifically auto-centric. And although we like to poke fun at some of their ideas from 46 years ago, they also had some very progressive ones, such as reclaiming the area known as Riverfront park, the falls, and the river. And it set the stage for Expo 74 which did some tremendous things for downtown and Spokane.

Sorry to disagree with your Utopian vision of a world without planning, but those 'unnecessary costs' do a fine job of protecting something pretty precious to most people namely property values and the commons. One thing you fail to address is that most people are more likely to invest where things are more predictable and where they can expect a certain level of return. This goes for the land market as well. Zoning provides that predictability and stability. Nobody loves excessive regulation, (in fact we think the less the better) nobody says any kind of planning is perfect but most people investing their hard earned income will take the predictability and constraints of zoning over what you offer, which isn't entirely clear.

For all the failure of planning downtown has seen something in the realm of $3billion in investment over the past decade - so some property owners appear to be dealing with this excessive burden you call planning.

If you want a place to post your manifesto, derail conversations, and argue with a bunch of professional planners then might we suggest cyburbia.org? There you'll get all the attention and conflict you need.

MK

Thank you Metro, thank you.

MK

Thank you Metro, thank you.

Leio

I have to say I do like the tree lined road and apparent green space by the river of this particular part of the plan.

Transplant

An interchange is still proposed for that location. Metropolitan Mortgage had it in their plan for the Summit Property and now it's in the plan for Kendall Yards. There are, for the first time, animated simulations of the interchange. That’s its fullest realization to date.

BWAB

What's with the Ted Kaczynski guy?

Contrarian

"Development follows pipe and pavement. Pipe and pavement are directed by plans.

"Your land has value because it is serviced contrarian. That same value is protected because of zoning."

Certainly not. Only infill development follows pipe and pavement. Real growth necessarily occurs around the periphery of developed areas, where there are, as yet, no pipes or pavement (cities don't built roads and lay utility lines to nowhere --- usually). The developer extends roads and utility lines, where that is feasible (which the city then usually owns). Infill development then normally follows. The value of intervening land does indeed then rise, not only because those services are now available, but because the market has signalled that higher and better uses are now possible for that land. The driver is the developer (actually the market); not the local politicians or their planners.

Of course, this natural process is now called "sprawl" instead of "growth" (a favorite planner's Newspeak term).

You can protect property values by ordinary legal means, e.g., via nuisance lawsuits, or even with sane zoning laws based on that principle. Reasonable zoning does not require trying to master plan an entire community.

" . . . most people investing their hard earned income will take the predictability and constraints of zoning over what you offer, which isn't entirely clear."

Maybe I can make it clearer. I'm suggesting that Spokane create a legal and political environment where natural urban growth can occur --- where developers with a vision can realize that vision without running a gauntlet of bureaucratic impediments erected pursuant to the visions of planners who imagine they are seeing the future, but are actually stumbling around in Plato's Cave.

Planners envision everyone living in closely-clustered, highrise cubicle nests. 95% of people prefer to live in detached, single-family dwellings with an ample yard. Planners envision everyone traveling via government-controlled mass transit systems operating over fixed routes with fixed schedules; 95% of people prefer to travel via their personal autos, over their own chosen routes and according to their own schedules. In short, planners view the inhabitants of cities as herds to be managed, not as separate individuals, each with his/her own interests, preferences, and dreams.

Who gets to say where people live and how they travel --- they themselves, or bureaucrats?

"If you want a place to post your manifesto, derail conversations, and argue with a bunch of professional planners then might we suggest cyburbia.org? There you'll get all the attention and conflict you need."

Eeek! Is that an invitation to quit challenging the conventional wisdom in your forums?

METROSPOKANE

Thanks for the lesson on how development occurs. I think we've got that one down.

"Planners envision...preferences, and dreams."

Shall we just queue the music right now? You've hangups with regulations and planners; we have hangups with really lame development that creates places that aren't livable or comfortable.

Sorry, C- you really are missing the point of this site which is to cover and discuss what's great and not so great about our community in terms of architecture, design, neighborhoods, real estate, and transportation. Discussion about landuse is boring as hell to pretty much everyone (save you and I).

If you want to talk on a philosophical level about constitutional, policy and regulation issues as they relate to private property rights there are probably better forums than this.

I think your place is a great starting point, and agree that we should strive to, as David Sucher puts it: "Set the fewest rules possible and get out of the way" I appreciate your thoughts and think we likely overlap on a few things but for the sake of everyone visiting let's keep it light and witty shall we?

sustainable

agree with METRO - trying to finish up urban planning school myself I can attest that Contrarian's views of planning sounds more like a Shawn Hannity diatribe than an actual analysis of development today.

Two things: as far as I know planners don't want people to live in cubicles. I can ask some professors to find out for sure though. Second - Let's even say 95% of people want to live in in SFR's with a giant yard today. Working in the construction industry I can tell you that people desire that which we give them. If you give people cool smaller houses with great amenities and some parks nearby they might prefer that to the giant house with huge yard mess that we have today.

Contrarian - if your crusade to keep all of us living as happy little isolated consumers Spokane will be in worse shape. Bring your diatribes to the Fox News Channel where they can be appreciated.

Contrarian

Sustainable --

"Working in the construction industry I can tell you that people desire that which we give them."

Sorry, but that oft-repeated canon of leftish thought is nonsense. People desire *some* of the things presented to them, and reject many others. Products are introduced in the market every day; most never survive a year.

"If you give people cool smaller houses with great amenities and some parks nearby they might prefer that to the giant house with huge yard mess that we have today."

Perhaps. The way -- the only effective way -- to test that hypothesis is via the market, i.e., by building a few of the houses you describe and seeing how well they sell. The market will proceed to satisfy whatever demand is thus expressed. What you don't do is assume, based on the false premise that consumers are currently being duped by manipulative corporate shysters, that there is such a demand and then impose regulations that attempt to force development in that direction. That is bueaucratic arrogance: "having been duped by corporate manipulators, you are too brainwashed to know what is good for you, or even what you really want. Hence we bureaucrats must make those decisions for you."

Transplant

“New urbanism” sales account for roughly 10% of real estate transactions in the U.S., or so the figure was when people were talking about it. Most outlets, from NY Times to USA Today, used that figure.

The comments to this entry are closed.

feeds

proud sponsors

photo pool

  • www.flickr.com
    photos in Metrospokane Visit & contribute to the Metrospokane photo-pool