Saturday, March 06, 2010

Destroying the 'Drive 'Til You Qualify' myth

RALEIGH – I’m blogging today from the N.C. State Urban Design Forum. Topic du jour: “Creating Value: Designing for Resilient Cities.”

9:55 a.m. HUD official Shelley Poticha just finished speaking. Her remarks have a clear bearing on the patterns of city growth all over the country. She spent several minutes destroying the "Drive 'Til You Qualify" myth – the real estate sales push to just get farther and farther out from a city until housing costs drop to where you can afford a mortgage.
But the current housing bust, she says, is showing the failure of that myth. There's a convergence of evidence that a host of problems – job loss, obesity, asthma, racial and economic segregation, loss of wildlife habitat, "our dangerous dependence on foreign oil" – all stem at heart from the "dangerous mismatch between where we live and where we work."

"All the evidence is now aligning to show this "Drive 'Til you Qualify" myth ... is one of the single most destructive decisions we ever made," she said.

10:55 a.m. – Something to think about. Speaker Jim Held of UrbanGreen, a real estate adviser and planner, talks about the need to think of cities not as a place but as systems. Systems regenerate and evolve. As with any living natural system, they need diversity and connectivity, among other things. He showed a subsidized housing project in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood with several hundred units. "Mono-cropping" has not led to a resilient neighborhood," he said. Plans now call for re-establishing the street grid of 100 years ago, before modernists in mid-century planned the disconnected street patterns.

AND - He talked about ways to nurture entrepreneurs - are you listing, Tom Flynn of the City of Charlotte? Flynn, of the city's Neighborhood and Business Services Department, has been tasked with seeing what more the city can do to help small businesses.

Here's one idea –food entrepreneurs. A nonprofit in San Francisco, La Cocina, aims (next part is from its Web site) "to cul­ti­vate low-income food entre­pre­neurs as they for­mal­ize and grow their busi­nesses by pro­vid­ing afford­able com­mer­cial kitchen space, industry-specific tech­ni­cal assis­tance and access to mar­ket oppor­tu­ni­ties."

With the huge and growing thirst for local foods in Charlotte, surely there's a way to help start-ups find commercial kitchens and find more markets.


consultant said...

""Drive 'Til you Qualify" myth ... is one of the single most destructive decisions we ever made," she said."

Yes, yes!!!

Brought to us by that evil cabal: bad developers and their evil henchmen: The National Association of Realtors.

I'd say 98% of realtors who sold a home in the last 10 years is guilty of fraud and/or conspiracy to commit fraud.

To to all the realtors, brokers, mortgage bankers, lazy govt. officials, etc. Do the right thing. Turn yourself in. If that's asking too much, try to find a real job where you're not destroying America.