Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

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Kriegsspiel
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Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by Kriegsspiel » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:53 pm

http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2016 ... edestrians
Really Narrow Streets

http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2016 ... le-to-keep
"What is going on in the doughnut of despair surrounding downtown Detroit is not a policy choice. It is a consequence of policy choice. There is no bringing back the illusion of wealth or, to paraphrase Tomas Sedlacek, Detroit can not get back its unsustainability. Now what?"

Donut of despair.

http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2016 ... in-in-game
More RNS.

"Clarence was a professional photographer. His job was to photograph the existing deplorable state of the place so as to record and justify the demolition. Fast forward 108 years later and his photographs have survived. They are heartbreaking to look at. They show small streets and ‘laneways’ full of people talking together, kids playing together, men in business attire seemingly doing business together. They show urban density with dignity. They show how people naturally chose to build and how they chose to live. Hardly a building setback to be seen."
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Re: Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by flyingpylon » Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:43 am

Thanks for sharing this, interesting stuff at Strongtowns.org. Some of the issues described in The Growth Ponzi series may be contributing factors to issues between Baby Boomers and generations that came after them.
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Re: Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by Kriegsspiel » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:54 am

Agreed, that is an interesting series. This is a quote:
If you want a simple explanation for why our economy is stalled and cannot be restarted, it is this: Our places do not create wealth, they destroy wealth. Our development pattern -- the American style of building our places -- is simply not productive enough to sustain itself. It creates modest short-term benefits and massive long-term costs. We're now sixty years into this experiment, basically through two complete life cycles. We've reached the "long-term", and you can clearly see we've run out of options for keeping this Ponzi scheme going.
Lots of parallels here with what Really Narrow Streets guy and PointedStick riff on. I think it was on RNS that he talks about how Chinese workers "take" our jobs because they're willing to work for much less. Yet they're still able to save a substantial part of their income, and it's because the places they live and work don't extract too much wealth from them.
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Re: Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by Kriegsspiel » Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:08 am

Whoops, and I wanted to also mention that this was one of the themes in John Michael Greer's "Retrotopia" series on his website. In the Lakeland Republic, counties could vote on what level of infrastructure they wanted to have. So if you wanted to have very low taxes, your county would maintain 1840s level infrastructure of dirt roads. Or you could have higher taxes and gravel roads on par with 1865. Or even higher, and have paved roads, or even higher and get paved roads + streetcars.

Oh hell, here it is:

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/ ... habit.html
“Restos?”

“You don’t have those out your way, do you? Here the two political blocs are Conservatives and Restorationists; Conservatives want to keep things pretty much the way they are, Restos want to take things back to the way they used to be. Okay, lay your head back.” I did, and he draped a hot damp towel over the lower half of my face, then went back to trimming. “Used to be about half and half, but these days the Restos have the bigger half—all the rural counties going to lower tiers, and so on.”

“Hmm?” I managed to say.

“Oh, that’s right. You probably don’t know about the tiers.”

“Mm-mh.”

“It works like this. There are five tiers, and counties vote on what tier they want to be in. The lower the tier, the lower your taxes, but the less you get in terms of infrastructure and stuff. Toledo’s tier five—we got electricity, we got phones in every house, good paving on the streets so you can drive a car if you can afford one, but we pay for it through the nose when it comes to tax time.”

“Mm-hmm.”

He took off the towel, started brushing hot lather onto my face. “So tier five has a base date of 1950—that means we got about the same sort of services they had here that year. The other tiers go down from there—tier four’s base date is 1920, for tier three it’s 1890, tier two’s 1860, and tier one’s 1830. You live in a tier one county, you got police, you got dirt roads, not a lot else. Of course your taxes are way, way down, too.” He put away the brush, snapped open an old-fashioned straight razor, and went to work on my stubble. “That’s the thing. Nobody’s technology gets a subsidy—that’s in the constitution. You want it, you pay all the costs, cradle to grave. You don’t get to dump ‘em on anybody else. That’s what the Restos are all up in arms about. They think something in the budget is a hidden subsidy for I forget what high-tier technology, and that’s a red line for them.”

“Mm-hmm,” I said again.
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Re: Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by Pointedstick » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:00 pm

I've been loving this series. Great stuff.

The problem is cars and houses.

Cars are horrendously expensive for families earning less than like $50k a year, because probably both parents are working and need their own vehicles, which together cost $7-20k a year depending on how far they drive and how badly they botched their choice of vehicle (lots of poor people driving SUVs and trucks). In some families kids get their own cars and it become an even bigger slice of the family budget.

Housing is also horrendously expensive because most of the housing stock consists of free-standing houses that are too large for the average American family of today. I think the average size is like 2,800 square feet. At $100/sf (flyover country price), that's almost 300k, which is incredibly expensive. The bigger the house, the bigger the repair bills with anything breaks. Large lots compound the problem because you need to take care of that land, which is either time-consuming or expensive (usually expensive because nobody has time to do yard work anymore it seems). And the large lots further separate the houses from anything you can walk to, so you need to drive more, so you get closer and closer to everyone needing their own car.

Add in high health insurance costs and tuition at private schools and colleges and you get a pretty good picture of why people who live in this way are financially sinking while people who avoid it are doing okay.
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Re: Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by clacy » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:26 pm

Pointedstick wrote:I've been loving this series. Great stuff.

The problem is cars and houses.

Cars are horrendously expensive for families earning less than like $50k a year, because probably both parents are working and need their own vehicles, which together cost $7-20k a year depending on how far they drive and how badly they botched their choice of vehicle (lots of poor people driving SUVs and trucks). In some families kids get their own cars and it become an even bigger slice of the family budget.

Housing is also horrendously expensive because most of the housing stock consists of free-standing houses that are too large for the average American family of today. I think the average size is like 2,800 square feet. At $100/sf (flyover country price), that's almost 300k, which is incredibly expensive. The bigger the house, the bigger the repair bills with anything breaks. Large lots compound the problem because you need to take care of that land, which is either time-consuming or expensive (usually expensive because nobody has time to do yard work anymore it seems). And the large lots further separate the houses from anything you can walk to, so you need to drive more, so you get closer and closer to everyone needing their own car.

Add in high health insurance costs and tuition at private schools and colleges and you get a pretty good picture of why people who live in this way are financially sinking while people who avoid it are doing okay.
I love my bubble in suburbia with big houses and SUV's. To each their own I guess. I can't think of anything worse than raising my kids in a small urban dwelling and walking everywhere, but that option exists too for those that want it.

The nice thing about this country is that you get to chose where and how you live for the most part.
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Re: Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by TennPaGa » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:32 pm

Somewhat off-topic...

I am enjoying posts in The Archdruid Report as well. Thanks Kriegsspiel.

(A nice little line from A Few Notes on Burkean Conservatism:

In today’s America, conservatives who actually want to conserve are as rare as liberals who actually want to liberate.)
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Re: Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by MachineGhost » Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:35 pm

Pointedstick wrote:Add in high health insurance costs and tuition at private schools and colleges and you get a pretty good picture of why people who live in this way are financially sinking while people who avoid it are doing okay.
Really? Do you think such people as below are financially sinking? They are the epitome of high living standards. Why should they have any right to whine or complain?

Image

Lets see, they're saving away an amazing $36K a year, taking $18K worth of freakin' vacations all over the world, only the best private schools for their kids as well as a wide array of college-entrance pleasing extracurricular activities for them. No doubt preparatory school and an Ivy League college is in their future only for them to repeat this high level of success all over again for an entirely new generation all the while getting a continuous wealth transfer from their parents.

I'm somehow not supposed to be feeling envious? It just seems to me if you can't compete and succeed with what the definition of social signaling success is under capitalism, you wind up rationalizing your decisions on being a loser. If that is just doing "okay", its not for me.
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Re: Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by dualstow » Tue Jul 19, 2016 3:03 pm

Good stuff.
I live on a small street & have been reading 'Antfragile' here and there. Had never heard of strongtowns before.

I'm also fascinated with Detroit. The documentary 'Detropia' on Netflix is pretty interesting.
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Re: Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by Kriegsspiel » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:21 pm

MachineGhost wrote:
Pointedstick wrote:Add in high health insurance costs and tuition at private schools and colleges and you get a pretty good picture of why people who live in this way are financially sinking while people who avoid it are doing okay.
Really? Do you think such people as below are financially sinking? They are the epitome of high living standards. Why should they have any right to whine or complain?

snip

Lets see, they're saving away an amazing $36K a year, taking $18K worth of freakin' vacations all over the world, only the best private schools for their kids as well as a wide array of college-entrance pleasing extracurricular activities for them. No doubt preparatory school and an Ivy League college is in their future only for them to repeat this high level of success all over again for an entirely new generation all the while getting a continuous wealth transfer from their parents.

I'm somehow not supposed to be feeling envious? It just seems to me if you can't compete and succeed with what the definition of social signaling success is under capitalism, you wind up rationalizing your decisions on being a loser. If that is just doing "okay", its not for me.
I think PS was talking about normal people, not the richest people in the history of the planet.
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Re: Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by Pointedstick » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:42 pm

clacy wrote: I love my bubble in suburbia with big houses and SUV's. To each their own I guess. I can't think of anything worse than raising my kids in a small urban dwelling and walking everywhere, but that option exists too for those that want it.

The nice thing about this country is that you get to chose where and how you live for the most part.
Sort of. There are a lot more opportunities to live in suburbia than there are to live somewhere pleasantly walkable, and that's a problem. I agree that more options are better than fewer. I like my current living situation which is basically right on the edge of suburbia, within walking distance to nearly everything I want. Granted, it's a walk that anecdotally only seems to appeal to men, not women, bolstering Mr. Really Narrow Streets' argument that car-dependent settlement patterns are hostile to women (and children) and one of the best way to see more sexy women on a regular basis is to live somewhere where walking is pleasant. Cars make you fat and ugly, not sexy and beautiful (this goes for men too!).

http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archiv ... 22108.html
http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archiv ... 21311.html

MachineGhost wrote:
Pointedstick wrote:Add in high health insurance costs and tuition at private schools and colleges and you get a pretty good picture of why people who live in this way are financially sinking while people who avoid it are doing okay.
Really? Do you think such people as below are financially sinking? They are the epitome of high living standards. Why should they have any right to whine or complain?
Is your brain broken? You're talking about the extravagant luxury spending of people making half a million bucks a year. I'm talking about the lower middle class. If you make $500k a year you can realistically afford whatever you want with even the tiniest attempt at financial efficiency. This has nothing to do with urban design patterns that encourage car and single family home ownership that is financially challenging for people with more normal incomes.

The absolute lowest I've managed to get my car costs down to is about $2,500 a year. That's 16% of a minimum wage full time job's yearly take-home pay. Maybe without car ownership, a minimum wage job would actually be close to a livable income, hmm?
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Re: Strongtowns.org Antifragile series

Post by pugchief » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:52 pm

clacy wrote:
Pointedstick wrote:I've been loving this series. Great stuff.

The problem is cars and houses.

Cars are horrendously expensive for families earning less than like $50k a year, because probably both parents are working and need their own vehicles, which together cost $7-20k a year depending on how far they drive and how badly they botched their choice of vehicle (lots of poor people driving SUVs and trucks). In some families kids get their own cars and it become an even bigger slice of the family budget.

Housing is also horrendously expensive because most of the housing stock consists of free-standing houses that are too large for the average American family of today. I think the average size is like 2,800 square feet. At $100/sf (flyover country price), that's almost 300k, which is incredibly expensive. The bigger the house, the bigger the repair bills with anything breaks. Large lots compound the problem because you need to take care of that land, which is either time-consuming or expensive (usually expensive because nobody has time to do yard work anymore it seems). And the large lots further separate the houses from anything you can walk to, so you need to drive more, so you get closer and closer to everyone needing their own car.

Add in high health insurance costs and tuition at private schools and colleges and you get a pretty good picture of why people who live in this way are financially sinking while people who avoid it are doing okay.
I love my bubble in suburbia with big houses and SUV's. To each their own I guess. I can't think of anything worse than raising my kids in a small urban dwelling and walking everywhere, but that option exists too for those that want it.

The nice thing about this country is that you get to chose where and how you live for the most part.
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