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View Diary: Cars Cause Republicanism (338 comments)

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  •  The First Sprawl (none)
    Were streetcar suburbs. Most of Chicago's Elevated was built out into open prairies by land speculators. Now they are high density urban corridors. Same for LA and San Franciso. Suburban development followed the interurban lines.

    Yerkes was a scam artist. But he built the  Chicago Loop and a large part of the London Underground. Insull monopolized electric rail by his control of utilities. Southern Pacific Railroad controlled the Pacific Electric empire in California. They were the dot com bubble of their time. Most of the weaker rural serving lines went under in the Depression. The larger urban based trolley and interurban systems lasted into the early sixties.

    Postwar Sprawl has become a national myth. I liken it to Westward Expansion. There is some truth in it and there is some complete bullshit.    

    "Hey buddy, do you mind putting out that cigarette?"

    by ILDem on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 09:03:04 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  those first burbs (none)
      interesting that those first suburbs are generally all considered to be in-town nowadays, and urban by today's suburban standards.

      as white (or bacon?  can't remember) theorized, cities used to grow to be about an hour or so across, and the streetcars enabled an hour to be a larger distance.  (could also be why the urban-based systems lasted longer than the rural ones--they operated outside the one-hour rule.)

      but with today's sprawl, we've entered a new concept where there is no need to re-connect to the core and there is no "time limit" on size.  the organism no longer has the same limits on its growth, and for that reason I think it's a bit disingenuous to compare the early streetcar suburbs to today's sprawl.

      •  If the Road Grid (none)
        was infinitely expandable we wouldn't be complaining about sprawl and gridlock in our large metro areas. Pouring more concrete is increasingly not an option. Infill and urban reuse will help. So will building more dedicated mass transit.

        I think cities with infrastructure in place for  higher population loads like Cleveland will have increasing cost advantages against the sprawltowns needing serious transit investment.  

        "Hey buddy, do you mind putting out that cigarette?"

        by ILDem on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 02:37:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  definitely (none)
          it's why I have mixed emotions about my choice of neighborhood here in atlanta.  on the one hand it's well-suited for infill and larger population and even relatively well-connected to transit.  on the other hand the total disconnect of the infrastructure ringing this entire city may eventually make it nearly impossible for us to get in and out.  a 2 or 3-hour trip to the country could easily turn into 6, and could choke down the city as the major engine of growth.

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