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Old 05-06-2011, 10:45 PM   #1
BostonUrbEx
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How do we get people to move from suburbs to cities?

I have a question as to what happens to the suburban homes if it suddenly became radically popular to move to the cities or was legally mandated or something? People just abandon their homes? Doesn't seem likely to ever happen. I'm just curious as I'm sure many would like to see metropolitan contraction.
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Old 05-07-2011, 03:31 PM   #2
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Re: How do we get people to move from suburbs to cities?

I see less suburban neighborhoods being developed and more small towns turning urban with the land left we do have staying untouched more likely.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:20 PM   #3
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Re: How do we get people to move from suburbs to cities?

I can't really imagine people leaving Arlington, Belmont, Newton, Waltham, Malden, Melrose, and the rest of the suburbs to crowd into Boston. The city simply isn't big enough for that.
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Old 05-07-2011, 10:51 PM   #4
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Re: How do we get people to move from suburbs to cities?

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I can't really imagine people leaving Arlington, Belmont, Newton, Waltham, Malden, Melrose, and the rest of the suburbs to crowd into Boston. The city simply isn't big enough for that.
I don't really imagine anything inside of 128 needing to shift further into Boston. Generally, I view the areas you mentioned as "urban sprawl", but outside of 128 as suburban sprawl. Not technically true to the meaning of those words I suppose, but as I see it, Boston could successfully be limited to a 10 miles radius (128) of dense urban area as it would fill in. It may not be a stellar standard as is, but I think it could do nicely with some sort of sprawl restriction outside of that.

I say 128 should be a road for thru traffic to avoid the city or for those on the fringe to get to another point on the fringe.
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:40 PM   #5
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Re: How do we get people to move from suburbs to cities?

An alternative might be to see these suburbs rebuild themselves with higher density and expand the T to connect them better into the transportation network. It's worked for some places.
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:08 PM   #6
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Re: How do we get people to move from suburbs to cities?

End busing

Provide school vouchers to the poor, local charter schools, and allow for more private schools too.

Disband public housing complexes, except those for the elderly and significantly disabled.

Do not allow a concentration of Section 8 vouchers in a single building or geographic location.

Do all this and watch the main phobias keeping suburbanites and families from wanting to live in Boston disappear.
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Old 05-09-2011, 03:25 PM   #7
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Re: How do we get people to move from suburbs to cities?

How about just letting people live where they want to live? I realize this is an academic exercise and shouldn't be taken too seriously, but I think it is an off-putting mentality ("how do we, who are superior because we visit a greenmarket and bike to work, break the bad habits of the proles?") that has been taken up with militant vigor by groups ranging from the StreetsBlog types to DOT officials intent on plopping down TODs wherever possible.

People who read/participate in this and similar fora like cities. It's part of who we are. Other people don't; that's part of who they are. I find it creepy that anyone would consider those who don't want to live in the city dysfunctional or in need of "correction" or "re-education" (after all, the majority of people with children prioritize, for good reason, schools, safe streets, backyards, and the convenience of doing most of your errands in a car that can carry groceries, baseball equipment, backpacks, coffee mugs, and your kids; if most parents prioritized proximity to hipster cafes, we'd end up with a lot more screwed-up future adults).

Moreover, as obvious as this point is, it should be asked: Is there any greater usurpation of an individual's freedom than telling him (or her) where he (or she) must live?

I think Lurker is right in his prescriptions for how to convince people who naturally find cities appealing to move into the city. For the rest of the non-city dwellers (i.e., those who just don't want to live in the city), let them live, just as you would like to be left to live. After all, we don't like it when the likes of Marty Walz try to force those who like city life to live in the suburbs, as it were.

A far more relevant question is: How does Boston become a better city? That itself, without worrying about how to urbanize Newton or Burlington, is difficult enough: residential can't be built near the BCC; nothing can be built near the "Greenway"; nothing is getting built in many infill locations/lots (from the obvious like Filene's to the more complicated like the air rights over the scars created by the Mass Pike or the SE Expressway); and plenty of neighborhoods within the city (the Allston railyards, or across the river in the Northpoint area) are essentially empty.

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Old 05-09-2011, 04:14 PM   #8
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Re: How do we get people to move from suburbs to cities?

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An alternative might be to see these suburbs rebuild themselves with higher density and expand the T to connect them better into the transportation network. It's worked for some places.
This seems more practical then suburbs being abandoned.
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