Scandinavia and the World
Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9875706:


Lands of two wheels 5 10, 10:21pm

Sorry, but that doesn't follow.
The town nearest me did grow up in the age of the automobile, but there are plenty of broken teeth along the areas that predate it. Buildings ripped out for parking and drive-throughs. I've seen old photos of the downtown area, and it looked much better before. Especially one bank at the corner, which, back in the 70's I'd guess, a fine old brick building was replaced with a modern monstrosity, with fake (painted steel) windows looking out onto the street, setbacks on one side giving up enough room for a whole additional building, and a LOT of lanes of drive-through to cross to stay on the sidewalk on the other side.

There is at least one city in the Netherlands that was famously bombed flat in WWII. They rebuilt in the US style, all multi-lane highways, and then rebuilt that into something that is more bicycle-centric.

Modern development, in the US, is built with the car in mind, but many of the older suburbs were built around the streetcar. In many cases, highways HAVE been bulldozed right through the center of existing cities, splitting those cities in half, displacing hundreds of (mostly poorer and less politically connected) families, and reducing the quality of life for those who remained.

I say the first thing to do is recode zoning. Allow shops in neighborhoods, (but put the onus on them to control their parking situation, maybe by eliminating on-street parking; most places don't need more than a few spots at a time anyway). Allow apartments on Main Street, (and encourage them). Automatically allow more housing units, by predicating automatic permission on it not being TOO much more than what already exists. 30% of houses in the area are 2-storey or larger? You can build a 3-storey. 30% have 4 storeys? 5 storeys are now on the table. There are 2 households per typical lot in 30% of the spaces? Triplexes are now pre-cleared. No paperwork. No variances. The next step is automatically available when a threshold is reached.