Every week we read more than we can write about on the blog. To avoid letting good commentary and research fall by the wayside, we’re going to publish weekly excerpts from what we’ve been reading.
The theory put in place in 2013 was the 70:40 model – the council would aim to get 70% of new development inside the metropolitan limits as they were in 2010, plus areas rezoned since then, but would have the flexibility for up to 40% to be in greenfields outside the old limits. The council would set a 30-year goal for all urban development to be inside these fences, though plan changes & consents for external development would still be possible.
The hearing panel won’t have the economic analysis before it to justify doing away with the concept in its entirety, though there’s been plenty of time to do that job properly since the Productivity Commission had a shot in 2012 at analysing what it deemed a flawed concept.
Critics of the rigid boundary concept had thought the council’s own capacity for growth studies would provide answers, but that source of information has kept changing, been redefined, and information from the newest version is not only still on the way but won’t give the definitive answers showing how the existing boundary has affected costs.
This is the first entry in Dey’s coverage of the Unitary Plan hearings, which is well worth reading. Articles in the series (thus far):
Articles in the series:
UP1: The PAUP, the MUL, the RUB, the RPS & the LRP – the what-the?
UP2: Council tells panel the evidence backs compact city, and new urban boundary will work
UP3: Paper on preferred form an important backgrounder
UP4: Fairgray doesn’t fix on the far horizon, but says million new Aucklanders will fit in
UP5: Rule changes would shorten land supply and discourage new villages
UP6: McDermott argues for better ways than compact city to accommodate growth
Emily Badger, The American decline in driving actually began way earlier than you think, Washington Post:
I mentioned last week that car travel in America appears to have peaked backed in 2004. Since then, “vehicle miles traveled” per person in the U.S. have been falling or flat-lining, prompting a fascinating debate over whether we’re witnessing some fundamental shift in the American relationship to the car, or some economic blip instead.
Timothy J. Garceau, a Ph.D. candidate in geography at the University of Connecticut, and professors Carol Atkinson-Palombo and Norman Garrick offer a different way to think about the answer. In research they presented this week at the annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, they looked at travel data not at the national level, but by state instead.
Their results further challenge the argument that Americans have merely been driving less of late because of the bad economy: Washington state experienced “peak car travel” all the way back in 1992, and Nevada, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia all did before the new millennium. By this measure, peak car happened in D.C. in 1996.
Hamish Campbell, “Popular New Zealand Road Names“:
|4||State Highway 1||125||2,168,214|
Anna Maria Barry-Jester, “Why the rules of the road aren’t enough to keep people from dying“, Fivethirtyeight:
“The engineer will usually calculate the load a beam must bear and then design it to hold some percentage of higher load, for safety. When building roads, the 85th percentile calculates the speed the engineers hope or intend people will travel, but then it’s used to design a road to meet that speed at a minimum, with a factor of safety allowing for faster travel,” he told me.
In other words, by adding additional “safety” to the road, it is designed to make people comfortable going faster than the engineers’ intended speed. This is known as the interpreted design speed (the speed people actually feel safe traveling), which is often significantly higher than the intended design speed. Think of a subdivision with wide, flat roads. The speed limit may be 25 mph, but you feel utterly comfortable doing 40.
Anne Gibson, “Housing warning: It’s an Ireland repeat“, NZ Herald:
Precisely the same factors that plunged Ireland into its housing crisis last decade are now in play in New Zealand and could spark a big correction, says a leading Auckland fund manager.
Milford Asset Management executive director Brian Gaynor said house prices might come down “10, 15, 20 or even 25 per cent” and he cited the former Celtic Tiger as a warning.
Westpac’s chief economist, Dominick Stephens, shares Gaynor’s concerns, and said the outlook was for a possible 5 per cent adjustment by 2018.
“Our forecast has been for declines of 2 per cent per annum in 2017 and 3 per cent in 2018, so 5 per cent overall,” Stephens said.
“But there’s a wide range of possibilities and a sharper decline is certainly a possibility.”
Ireland’s house prices stabilised in 2007, then started falling until the second quarter of 2010, by which time they had dropped 35 per cent.
Andrew Price, “The Negative Consequences of Car Dependency“, StrongTowns:
I’ve lived in both cities (taking transit and walking everywhere) and suburbs (working in a suburban office campus and driving everywhere.) When I lived in the city, I used to have random encounters with strangers, often daily. These were usually nothing more than simple interruptions. The elderly lady that asks for help at the train station. Overhearing the couple’s conversation behind me on a bus. The homeless man asking for my spare change. These people were rich and poor, old and young. Even though the idea of being forced to interact with strangers sounds undesirable, there’s something very human about feeling that you are part of a living world. I was never the most sociable child, so these random encounters played an important part in developing my social skills and feeling comfortable around strangers.
Living in the suburbs, I have eliminated most of these random encounters.
Jason Burgess, “Mighty Mouse“, Renovate Magazine:
Being domiciled in a space the size of a hotel room might not be everybody’s idea of living, yet with property prices soaring, traffic jams stalling and downtime getting shorter, there are some compelling reasons why astute buyers seeking the convenience of an urban lifestyle are now looking to apodments as their choice of future living.
Think about it – a bigger life does not necessarily mean a bigger house. Technology coupled with transformable furniture makes it possible to trick out a modest sized pad with all the bells and whistles of a manse thrice the size, for a fraction of the price.