Monday, February 09, 2009

Duany: 'What do we do with this mess'?

The last of today's live blogging from the forum on North Carolina: Good Growth State, in Raleigh, put on by the N.C. State Institute for Emerging Issues. Disclosure: Not really live now, the forum's ended for the day and I lost my Internet connection about 3 p.m. ....

The day's last two speakers were Rand Wentworth, president of the Land Trust Alliance, a national group providing services to the nation's 1,500 land trusts, and New Urbanist architect/planner Andres Duany.

From Wentworth:

  • North Carolina leads the nation in loss of farmland and open space.
  • North Carolina's strongest draw for tourism is "scenery."
  • In the future, the best-paying jobs will go where the most talented people want to live.
  • The belief that new growth brings in enough revenue to pay for itself is "fool's gold."
Duany was trying to find silver linings in the bad economic situation. "So many certainties are broken," he said. "It's going to be a marvelous period for ideas."

He talked a lot about how to retrofit the post-1980s suburbs. "What do we do with this mess?" he asked. "They're going to be the albatross around our neck. Also the great possibility."
His pitch No. 1: Fill in the expanses of space at the fading malls with housing, offices, schools, churches, post offices, etc., and create town centers. They're all located at key intersections already, and so easier to serve with good bus or even rail transit service. Local governments should just grant the density needed to them, and allow as-of-right development (well, with a few rules), he said.
  • Another pitch: Add mixed use at the entrances to subdivisions. Buy about six houses and the big "entrance sign" areas to build some multistory, multi-use buildings.
  • No. 3: "You have to think of parking garages as 'infrastructure,' " he said, responding to the topic of the day. "I don't see what's so hard about that."

10 comments:

triadwatch said...

No. 3: "You have to think of parking garages as 'infrastructure,' " he said, responding to the topic of the day. "I don't see what's so hard about that."

the City of Greensboro needs to hear that

RecycleBill said...

Keith, You mean these empty Greensboro parking garages? I think the public would be better served if they were converted to downtown vegetable gardens.

You'll notice the parking lot one block to the west (Commerce Place) is slammed while the 2 parking garages are empty.

meckdeck said...

Andrés Duany is welcome to go back to Paris and/or Cuba. Or buy the spaces he thinks need to be something different outside of American urban cores. Charlotte's attempt to turn itself into Portland South in search of New Urbanism hipster cred has been a multi-billion dollar disaster.

JAT

Obama Brother 1 said...
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Anonymous said...

High paying jobs will go where the talent lives? Naive, unrealistic, and ignorant come to mind as reactions. The reality has always been that people go where the job that they find best suited to them is located.

That won't change simply because "talent" is not some universal feature that cuts across industries, nor is it something that causes people to have an affinity for similar amenities. Both the competencies required for a specific industry and/or a specific position, and the ability to excel at those competencies are completely individual.

The idea behind this silly concept is, of course, that talented people all share a desire for similar lifestyles and a city must provide them that lifestyle in order to attract high paying jobs. It simply can't stand any realistic economic scrutiny. companies move for economic reasons and RECRUIT the talen they need. IT ought to be self-evident that no person can afford to move to an area because of the amenities and wait for a job to be moved to the area so that they may then be employed appropriately. It simply isn't the way the real world works.

Want high paying jobs? Create a business climate that makes the location competetive with others and insure that there is good market access. That largely means deal with the basics first: police crime, create schools that work, and don't over complicate the regulatory process. Build and maintain roads adequate to move product to market and customers to the company. And then keep the tax and fee structure reasonably low. EVERYTHING else comes after that.

Anonymous said...
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triadwatch said...

billy, I was just being funny in all the talk about the elm street development and taking away parking spaces.

Anonymous said...

Another pitch: Add mixed use at the entrances to subdivisions. Buy about six houses and the big "entrance sign" areas to build some multistory, multi-use buildings.

Boy, I suggest you pick up yer shovels and yer pick axes and go back where ya came from.

Don't idiots like this realize that people move to certain "area types" to get away from other "area types". Why would anyone in a sub-division want multi-story multi-use buildings built at the entrance to their quiet communities.

Anonymous said...

Meckdeck,

How do you know? It has had time to develop. Nothing happens overnight. Have you noticed investments and density growning around lightrail. If not, try look at property values in Starmount.

Anonymous said...

"1980s suburbs. "What do we do with this mess?" he asked. "They're going to be the albatross around our neck"

Unlike the new urban condos which are.......