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02-12-2013, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by powerstuck View Post
The generation of today is perfectly fine with having 0.2 kids (statistically speaking) so suburbs may on a downhill definitely. Cities everywhere are doing more and more compact building. Even Quebec City who has one of the lowest unemployment rates in North America. Constructors everywhere are buying bungalows, putting them to ground and building 8-10 condos on a 2 story building.
I don't think we can speak in terms of "everywhere" if we're bringing Quebec City into the discussion. Canadian cities develop differently than American cities for a variety of reasons, and I don't think we can really say that there are singular trends that affect Quebec City, Vancouver, Miami and Dallas equally.

The problem is, back in the 80s, cities developed wide and large. They put sewers and unlimited water supply in middle of nowhere, but today, when those utilities have reached their useful age, and need to be changed, it's a hell of a pain to have to excavate 100s of miles of street roads and spend millions and millions in repairs. So cities have been waking up and started developing a bit more in their core instead of going for the big green plains on the outskirts.
I know what you're saying here about the pendulum swinging back toward core development, but I think you're giving a partial view that excludes some pretty important factors.

This process began as far back as the 1920s with streetcar suburbs, accelerated in the 1950s with automobiles and highway development, and reached a crisis point in the 1980s and 1990s. The bounce-back actually began about 20 years ago and slowed down dramatically in the past 5 years as real estate values crashed. Looking only at the past 20 years as a sort of linear trend is deceptive.

Also, while it's a pain to completely replace suburban infrastructure, that doesn't mean the solution is to abandon it. I think most city planners would say that the ideal solution is to enhance infrastructure where it already exists and use it to build more intelligently in places where people want to be. That's why "new urban" theory tends to focus around town-center development in the suburbs.

Back in 2000, a bungalow on the outskirts of Quebec was 120k, 150k for a nice one with a pool and big terrain. While a condo downtown was 200-250k. Today, the same bungalow is 400k and the condo downtown is 425k.
I don't want to get into an extended debate about real estate values -- but suffice it to say, what you are describing is not a sustainable trend. Reference: the past 5 years.

Working for a school board, I can tell you that most young families of today live in the pain life of dump the kids at 6:30AM at the kindergarten, commute to work for two hours, work, commute back for two hours, pick up the kids from kindergarten at 6pm and go home. And all that just to be able to afford that crappy 300-400k bungalow with a pool that you have time to use twice per summer.
Again, I don't want to get into an extended debate about this -- but suffice it to say, a 4-hour daily commute is not at all representative of "most' young families' experience. If anything, you're just speaking in pure stereotype in that paragraph.

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