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AMAZING post on "Rapid Streetcars and Suburban Retrofit"

Go read it all (or here), it's chock full of great analysis and linky goodness. I'll excerpt what I see as the key analytical tools:

However, it's pioneering in outer suburbia and the stereotypical bedroom communities that is my focus here. If we have a design pattern that can be established in outer suburbia, can be reproduced in outer suburbia, and offers the opportunity for ecologically sustainable settlement in outer suburbia - then the massive amount of capital investment in outer suburbia over the past thirty years no longer acts to lock us into an unsustainable economy.

This is the sort of analysis Stirling would like, since the idea is to put otherwise dead capital to use in the peak oil environment. Or Atrios. SUPERTRAMS!

In short, the current design pattern for outer suburbia acts like a Berlin Wall between where we are and where we need to go, and the hope is to find a reproducible design pattern that acts to open the existing locked gates in that wall and to build new open gates in.

The design pattern I am focusing on here is the Suburban Town and Village pattern built around a Rapid Streetcar corridor.

More, more, more! I'm just picking great stuff at random, here:

The core problem here, recall, is that "... the liabilities attach to the land, not the people, so when the bill comes due, people can just move out, leaving behind an impoverished, decaying husk. It's like being able to run up a huge credit card bill in somebody else's name, then skip town."

Mining existing economic inefficiencies to boost development means there is growth in value to help share this burden. And this is true even in the context of a stable economy rather than a growth economy. Rather than suffering through an ongoing decline in real property values, this provides the basis for experiencing an increase in real property values. And in the face of an increase in real property values, there are far more opportunities to find funding for presently unfunded liabilities.

Indeed, one of sources of the unfunded liabilities, and a major inefficiencies of sprawl development, is the cross-subsidy by more densely populated areas of new sprawl development that automatically follows charging a flat rate for utility hook-ups. Given the infill nature of the new development taking place in this design pattern, that can be reversed with the full support of infill developers by establishing a system of hook-up discounts for new developments that are more compact than the existing area average. Given cost-plus hook-up charges, this can largely eliminate the inefficient cross-subsidy.

Note how the post follows the money. But in a nice way, with a vision of a sustainable future!

Great, great work.

NOTE Plus, there's a Midnight Oil YouTube!

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