Friday, July 11, 2008

Reuters: Suburbs Feeling the Pinch

I know, I know, same story, different day.

This is nothing new. People just didn't realize it. I can't tell you how many times I met with city officials for the first time here, there, everywhere, and they were in the midst of internal crisis because they just got a price tag on infrastructural upkeep.

The irony is that the most "conservative" of places, i.e. the most laissez-faire when it comes to development and property rights, end up having the highest tax rates (hardly conservative) to support that style of development.

Here is the important part:

One such place is Stapleton, on the site of what used to be Denver's airport. Its developer, real estate company Forest City, puts homes within walking distance of schools and stores while linking them to the workplace by public transportation.

Resident Evelyn Baker says Stapleton appeals to a "cheapskate" side of her nature that favors towing her offspring about in a trailer attached to her bike over paying for gas for her car.

"We're a family of four with two young kids and the obligatory yellow Lab, but we've managed to get by with one car," said Baker, who has lived here since April 2006.

And, with gas prices above $4 a gallon, Baker said her move to Stapleton feels like a smart decision both because of lower day-to-day costs and the durability of her home's value.
[I'm sad blogger is having difficulties and I can't play with font colors]

I was worried about Stapleton. It's a bit generic. It's a bit suburban, in that the mix is mostly single family housing and the uses are still fairly segregated. It's not well-served by transit yet and the most damning of all? It's got NO little blue google dots (one of my indicators for sacred places within the community).

But it is gridded out, in terms of its street network. There is a variety of housing types, sizes, and affordabilities, so it's good to see it's possible to live there with one car and that the home values are holding steady. This is the model most suburbs should look to as the regenerate.