Transportation and Generational Analysis, Part 1

A benefit of working for the Boomer Project is the opportunity I’ve had to look at some issues of long-standing personal interest, such as transportation, land use and the environment, through a new lens: the generational perspective. Each generation — the Silent/G.I. generation, the Baby Boomers, GenX and GenY — has a unique zeitgeist shaped by the times in which they were raised. As a result, individuals as far apart politically as, say, Gooze and myself, have strong generational similarities. Like other Boomers, we largely define ourselves by our work. We value being in control. We challenge authority.

John Martin, the CEO of the Boomer Project, brings generational analysis to many of the same fields of interest that I have examined on the Bacon’s Rebellion blog. John also happens to run the BP’s sister company, the Southeastern Institute of Research (SIR), where he has conducted extensive marketing surveys for a variety of transportation agencies. One of his many insights is that GenY, weaned on electronic media and the green movement, approaches transportation very differently than do the Boomers who are now in charge of government agencies and public policy making.

Recently, John addressed the George Washington Regional Commission in Fredericksburg in a session that was covered by the Free Lance-Star. I quote liberally from the coverage published in last week’s newspaper:

Generation Y–people born after 1982–are constantly updating their whereabouts in real-time through text messaging, cell phones and the Web.

This need for constant social interaction and feedback means ridesharing will come naturally to them, said Martin…

“They’re so hyperconnected,” Martin said. Generation Y’s interest in the environment, volunteerism and civic duty will combine with this trend.

During the summer spike in gas prices, all age groups said they reduced their driving — but the greatest reduction was among Generation Y drivers, Martin said.

Though many Generation Y members are still in school, they have already organized online. According to Martin’s presentation, if MySpace were a country, it would be the 11th largest nation in the world.

This technology-savvy population will be comfortable working on the go, and telecommuting will undergo a shift, Martin predicted.

Generation Y workers will demand greater schedule flexibility to balance family and social time. Baby boomers see work as part of their identity, and will be reluctant to stop working. …

Around 4 million workers telecommuted in 1990. Today, that number has grown to 24 million people. By 2010, 40 million people will work from off-site locations, Martin predicted. … Soon enough, even the language to describe the practice will change.

“Telework is really remote work,” Martin said. “It’s work. Eventually, work is going to be work no matter where it’s done.”

Because GenYs respond differently than previous generations did, public policy ideas that did not work with older generations may succeed with them. Carpooling is one. As John has marveled in conversations around the Boomer Project, GenYs are hyper-connected, and they use tools like MySpace and Craig’s list to arrange car pools with one another. This spontaneous, bottom-up response to high fuel prices is something no government agency ever could have organized.
Telework is another idea that could be revivified. The idea of “telecommuting” sounded great in theory back in the 1990s but collided with the social realities of the Baby Boomer mindset. As John noted in Fredericksburg, however, GenY will take to telework like ducks to water. Even more encouraging, there are hints that GenYs may prefer to live in more compact, more balanced communities than the dysfunctional human settlement patterns bequeathed by the elders. (If we could just get them to stop text messaging while driving, they could prove a real boon to transportation efficiency!)
As more ground-breaking research emerges from the Boomer Project and SIR, rest assured that I will report it here.

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43 responses to “Transportation and Generational Analysis, Part 1”

  1. Headline: New York City Grew, but Traffic Didn’t

    As the city’s economy soared and its population grew between 2003 and 2007, something unusual was happening on the streets and in the subway tunnels.

    All those tens of thousands of new jobs and residents meant that more people were moving around the city, going to work, going shopping, visiting friends. And yet, according to a new city study, the volume of traffic on the streets and highways remained largely unchanged. Instead, virtually the entire increase in New Yorkers’ means of transportation during those robust years occurred in mass transit, with a surge in subway, bus and commuter rail riders.

    “What you see is that for the first time since at least World War II, all of the growth in travel in the city has been absorbed by non-auto modes, primarily by mass transit,” said Bruce Schaller, New York’s deputy transportation commissioner for planning and sustainability, who wrote the study to be released on Monday."

    Could it be that Blackberry's are replacing automobiles?

    Is there redemption for Tysons?

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    “And yet, according to a new city study, the volume of traffic on the streets and highways remained largely unchanged.”

    I think the word is maxed out.


  3. re: …”..All those tens of thousands of new jobs and residents meant that more people were moving around the city, going to work, going shopping, visiting friends…”

    so .. tell me again why we need “more places” if we can grow in population and jobs and economy without more traffic and congestion?

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    It doesn’t say there is not mroe traffic and conestion, just not more auto trffic int he city.

    Transit ridership is up, so you can expect that transit congestion is up. When was the last time you rode a New York Subway?

    New Yorkers endure the longest commutes in the nation. Try to tell me that at least some of them could not live happier, more productive lives, with more time for their families, and more time in some clean air, if there were some “more places” for them to live and work.

    Even if, they are doing exactly as they please, New York is still apparently maxed out with respect to Auto traffic. There are some things you cannot do on foot or by subway. The people who need to do those things will find themselves limited by lack of automotive infrastructure, and that is opportunity and probably business lost.


  5. Anonymous Avatar

    New Yorkers endure the longest commutes in the nation.

    …”..All those tens of thousands of new jobs” mean that a lot of those people moving around in the city don’t live there. Their automotive requirements have simply been exported to the far fringes of the commuter rail system, same as METRO has done.

    And that’s if you beleive there are actually tens of thousands of new jobs in New York – especially now.


  6. “Could it be that Blackberry’s are replacing automobiles?”

    Or is it Indians replacing Americans?

    If you can telecommute to New York from Baltimore, you can telecommute from Bangalore.

    And the wages in Bangalore are about 1/4 those in Baltimore.

    The term “slippery slope” was invented for situations like this.

  7. Anonymous Avatar


    “As a result, individuals as far apart politically as, say, Gooze and myself, have strong generational similarities.”

    Give me a break. I am three weeks older than you. I went to Woodstock in 1969 and was getting tear gassed by cops in DC; you were in the Young Americans for Freedom arguing about such things as whether the Dillon Rule should apply as Nansemond County became the City of Suffolk. I went to college in Boston listening to Young Socialists arguing whether their sister groups were too “Trotskyite; you were wearing a coat and tie at UVA in Charlottesville talking about TJ.


  8. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    I’m not sure that I would buy what these guys are selling. They say that the Boomers are work oriented, that they plan to keep on working until they die because it’s their breeding. Then I watch rich aging boomers sitting in a fancy theater listening to old geezer rock groups who made their name at Woodstock. I think what really happened is the drop out generation ran head long into American business reality. Boomers didn’t invent the cube or commuting, it was forced on them by a business model in which control is paramount. This same control has evolved into more than employees to include even the smallest asset. And while GenY may be online savy, they too will encounter the new age of “just in time” which has little regard for free thinking roles played out on MySpace.

  9. E M Risse Avatar

    When EMR agrees with Darrell Chesapeake, watch out!

    Darrell is correct that painful economic reality will trump all the techno whiz bangs of excess afflunce and Mass OverConsumption made possible by burning through Natural Capital.

    Here is a quote from Chapter 20 of TRILO-G, see second crical issue “not addressed”:

    “Such a case is reported in the British Medical Journal and featured in a story titled “Happiness Can Spread Among People Like a Contagion, Study Indicates.” (Rob Stein in the 5 December 2008 WaPo.) The details of the study and its findings are important but the spacial distribution of those who spread happiness is startling. Who spreads happiness the most effectively? The study put it this way:

    “Degrees of separation: Increase in the chance that you will be happy if the following people are happy:”

    Next-door neighbor 34%
    Nearby friend 25%
    Nearby sibling 14%
    Spouse 8%

    What does this say about the importance of the Dooryard and the Cluster? This data confirms the importance of the organic components of human settlement that are genetically hardwired in the human brain.

    Two critical issues are not addressed:

    The Household / family dispersion question: For 60 years members of families acted on the belief that cheap travel – especially InterRegional air service – could preserve the best of what it meant to be a member of a “family” (e.g. “home for the holidays”) and take advantage of InterRegional economic and social opportunities. At the same time generations and siblings could avoid nearby family members “sticking their noses in other peoples business.” Those days are gone.

    The cost of air travel – and the cost of all ways to physically span distance – will never again be “cheap” in relationship to other necessities of life, to say nothing of the necessities of high technology / high consumption lifestyles trapped in dysfunctional settlement patterns. With “families” scattered across the nation-state and the Globe what will change? See definition of “Household” and reasons TRILO-G no longer uses “family” to describe those who live in a dwelling unit in GLOSSARY.

    The electronic socialization question: How stable and lasting is the electronic “connection”provided by MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Bebo and the rest of the electronic social networking crutches – to say nothing of Cell Phones, Texting, IMing and Email – in the face of spacial isolation? Can happiness spread by electronic connection or only by physical proximity? With no feasible way to achieve Critical Mass and physical proximity other than via Fundamental Transformation of human settlement patterns will bytes mutate genes? So far the market says NO.

    The workplace issues are as important. With jobs harder to find and workers in remote nation-states far cheaper to hire, the management / employee security impediments to Telework which SYNERGY has studied since 1969 are becoming more important not less important. Again the market shows that Critical Mass and physical proximity trump technology as in the past.


  10. Anonymous Avatar


    When we cut everyone’s consumption in half, the rich people will still be rich, and the poor people will be dead.


  11. Anonymous Avatar

    As I recall, many of the Boomers embraced environmental issues (a/k/a ecology), railed against big companies and the military-industrial complex, and lived in some pretty tight quarters. Many people do enjoy urban living. But then many have children. Something about kids and crappy schools — the kind that are always found in urban areas, in large part because urban areas see government as a source of jobs and patronage. Blago wasn’t the first and he won’t be last.

    Gen Ys will not live in urban hovels once they start raising children.


  12. Anonymous Avatar

    “Hunter Says:

    December 11, 2008 at 6:07 pm
    Why can’t the coasts generate the electricity they need on their coasts? When do we need a huge gubbement project to crap up the open areas in the Midwest and Southwest with windmills and solar panels? If life on the coasts isn’t sustainable in a no-carbon footprint manner, then it should move elsewhere. It’s not my fault that millions of people are living in LA and NYC without any “green” power sources. Tell those folks to use less and not destroy the desert I live in. This is just more coastal urban-centric arrogance.”

    From the Common Tragedies blog

    Well, Hunter, I suppose they could all move to the desert, where you live.


  13. Anonymous Avatar

    “California, the leading U.S. state on climate change, set detailed goals on Thursday to cut greenhouse gases and address global warming but faced criticism the plan’s economic assumptions were hopelessly optimistic…

    Critics have urged the board to reconsider, including some economists who argue the analysis is full of rosy assumptions and ignores potential problems.”

    Mathew Kahn

    Posted by RH

  14. Anonymous Avatar

    TMT made my point for me but as a Gen Y I just wanted to share the above is true

    As soon as my friends get married and want to start a family its goodbye Arlington hello Reston/Herndon Ashburn and in some cases even Lessburg.

    Oh and in terms of each generation is different I hate those big broad brushes. Its true that many people in my generation use facebook but its also true company culture is not going away. Especially so in Washington DC.

    We have gotten some small victories with some flex scheduling and telecommuting but its still more about putting in your time to advance in an organization. (And you wonder why we switch companies so much)

    To add both of those options are whitecollar only. A store clerk or manufacturer person can’t work remotely or flex schedule.


  15. Anonymous Avatar

    “….some people may assume that Obama’s infrastructure plan will mostly benefit the largest cities. On the contrary, suburbs and small towns may have the most to gain. While big cities will see some revival, it is really the perimeter suburban and ex-urban areas surrounding America’s large cities that stand to gain the most from new infrastructure funding. Tired of long commutes and keen on sustainability and community, suburban citizens have already expressed interest in transforming their areas into densified microcities by building town squares and mixed-use spaces and incorporating public transportation. “

    The story goes on to point out new emmphasis on brownfield revival and TOD, as well.


  16. E M Risse Avatar

    “Many people do enjoy urban living…

    … But then many have children..

    …Gen Ys will not live in urban hovels once they start raising children.”

    No need for them to live in urban hovels becuse Balanced Communities with from 10 to 20 persons per acre at the Alpha Community scale are great places to raise kids.

    See “A Yard Where Johnny Can Run and Play” 1 Dec 2003

    It is a clear that you are a 12.5 Percenter but statements like the above undermine your sound views on other topics with the 87.5 percent that think differenly than you.


  17. E M Risse Avatar

    “TMT made my point for me but as a Gen Y I just wanted to share the above is true.”

    What is “true?”

    “As soon as my friends get married and want to start a family its goodbye Arlington hello Reston/Herndon Ashburn and in some cases even Leesburg.”

    Your GI is showing. Reston/herndon, Ashburn and Leesburg are all inside the Clear Edge.

    Depending on where these friends work they may well be contributing to the evolution of Balanced Communities.

    Changes are that they live in dwellings that meet the 87.5 Percent Rule.

    “Oh and in terms of each generation is different I hate those big broad brushes. Its true that many people in my generation use facebook but its also true company culture is not going away.”

    On this we agree and when the budget get tight the difference in generations gets less.

    “We have gotten some small victories with some flex scheduling and telecommuting but its still more about putting in your time to advance in an organization.”

    True again.

    “And you wonder why we switch companies so much.”

    But if your friends contribute to a greater J / H / S / R / A Balance that is a good thing.


    PS. Before they buy suggest they read “A Place Where Johnny Can Run and Play.”

  18. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    "The story goes on to point out new emmphasis on brownfield revival and TOD, as well."

    Hope it works out better than this one. From what I'm seeing, TOD is just another endless hole to throw tax money into. It's like LRT, start with a small rail, then 'in order to make it successful' it needs extended.

  19. Anonymous Avatar

    “…10 to 20 persons per acre at the Alpha Community scale are great places to raise kids.”

    Geez, my dog needs an acre.


  20. Anonymous Avatar


    First, glad to see we agree on most things

    So its inside the clear edge but guess what

    Commute times goes from 10 minutes to minimum 1 hour.

    Only option is to travel by car. Before you say Metro silverline is coming. Have you looked at how long it will take to get to Arlington (Middle ground between downtown and Tysons) At least 45 minutes and $7 bucks EACH way.

    I am in the Ray Hyde TMT camp of more places

    It can work. We need more jobs in Ashburn and Woodbridge and less downtown. (The tech corridor helps in Loudoun but more business needs to be in Prince William)

    but all of us need to realize people change jobs ALL the time.

    Example: Another friend works in Dulles Corridor buys in Ashburn so far so good right. New contract is in Arlington.

    What are his choices

    Move, change jobs, or hellish commute. These are the types of messed up options we as 20 somethings face all the time. Heck everyone faces these issues across generations.

    Its gotten so bad some of us are moving. Oh wait housing bubble burst whoops. I will still most likely depending on what grad school I go to.


  21. Anonymous Avatar


    EMR would most likely want you to use the dog park.

    Of course since you propably actually have a dog as opposed to the city mini domesticated cat version your dog would propably cause total chaos :-p.

  22. Anonymous Avatar


    The Fruitvale story seems ugly. I hope it is not typical of transit oriented developments, but I’m afraid there has been a lot of political pressure fed with hyped up dogma, when as the story points out, the facts have not been well tested. And as the story points out, Fruitvale has been well supported by nonprofits. In a market scenario it would have folded by now.

    Maybe Fruitvale needs a new name.

    My point in the post above was only that there is at least some evidence in the press that people seeking “balance” are not necessarily seeking it in the inner cities or at 20 persons per acre.

    I don’t have any beef with balance: EMR seems to be correct on that point. I just believes that he errs on two things. One is that Urban living is somehow more efficient than sprawl (probably true for really egregious sprawl, probably not true for places that are seriously overdeveloped).

    The other is that he can somehow preserve everything outside the clear edge by making it a) worthless or impossible to develop, and b) taxing it to death (the 10x rule).

    It’s pretty obvious that land preservation is his overarching goal, never mind anything that represents economic reality or social justice.

    My concept of balance includes the idea that open space is critical to urban living, and it must somehow be paid for. We just do not fully understand what the mass, energy, and amenities flows are and what they are worth. Or who owns them.

    As a result my (unproven) theory is that it is the URBAN spaces that are at least as likely to be not paying their full locational costs as the suburbs or (non existent, according to EMR) rural spaces.

    So, I brought up the posted a reference to the article on expanding edge cities and places like Warrenton / Fredericksburg / Front Royal to show that I am not “almost alone in my thinking”.

    I mentioned the TOD and brownfield development aspects of the story so that I could not be accused of cherry picking the facts.

    No doubt, there are plenty of facts to show that mass transit is not a good fit or a good expenditure of money in some places. In fact, the places it works well are pretty rare. it is much easier to make an argument for it if we view mass transit as one part of an overall transit system which includes adequate facilities for autos – and enough space to use them.

    That’s why EMR’s constant tirades (along with many other people’s) against the auto are so tiresome, unhelpful, and wrong. In a post below, two of EMR’s anonymous supporters with strangely similar spelling habits blast Winston and Shirley’s book about mass transit costs and benefits, when they obviously had not read it.

    The book may be right or wrong, but there is no point and little benefit in simply bashing it, without countervailing evidence. Likewise, I believe it does less than nothing for environmental supporters to make claims that are patently and obviously false. To say things like a guy that drives five times as far uses five times as much fuel is so false that it undermines credibility, and hurts all environmental arguments. We need to be real, and realistic, not act like morons and nut cases.

    It is bad PR and it makes the environmental movement appear irrational. I don’t happen to believe the movement is irrational, but many of it’s supposed practitioners and supporters are.

    I found the Winston and Shirley book persuasive. My own experience in using mass transit nowhere near matched the rosy descriptions one often reads. I see descriptions of benefits that my professor of Advertising English and Logic would have laughed off the page, and yet they get published over and aver until they are accepted as real.

    Just like the TOD dogma, which we have yet to see a lot of real benefits from. My most recent example comes from the Bay Journal where there was a positively gleeful story about a guy who had taken it upon himself to make his home runoff free. The article went on to suggest now that we know it is possible, it should become a region wide goal. There was no mention of costs, but from some of the description of what was done, I could easily see it could cost plenty, and produce unanticipated problems.

    One line that gave me a good chuckle was the usual one about animal feces being flushed from the roadways into the streams. I’m thinking gee, if there that much, I’d be more worried about the roadkill being flushed into the streams. And I KNOW that kind of comment makes me sound like an environmental blasphemer, but I just can’t help it because such claims are made so earnestly.

    I wonder how many 4-H clubs there are in Alpha communities with 20 persons per acre?

    It isn’t so much that EMR and I disagree about balance: I just think that a top with a larger wheel is easier to balance and spins longer than one with r=5. Also, I think balance is a dynamic condition, while EMR and many other conservationists think it is something that can be frozen or preserved in perpetuity. My concept of what is sustainable does not imply that sustainable and perpetual are related.


  23. Anonymous Avatar

    I used to have a huge Dalmation that I took to the dog park. I generally had the place to my self after a few minutes.

    When I unleashed him he would roar around the park so fast he threatened to stir up a tornado.

    But it might have had something to do with the fact I named him “Lawsuit”.


  24. listening to folks, I get this:

    We do not have the right kind of transportation system to support our current centralized jobs configuration

    … NOR…do we have the right kind of transportation system to support a “More Places” configuration either..

    …if the idea is that when someone takes a new job with a similar, but different commute in the opposite direction – that there is still no other option other than rush hour solo automobile and attendant congestion.

    EMR’s answer to this is that you simply need to live closer to where you work AND take public ..multi-passenger transportation.

    Folks find that answer unacceptable because people can’t buy and sell houses everytime they (of their working spouse) changes jobs.

    but then.. how many folks think the current method of solo commuting at rush hour is sustainable if the area grows further?

    so, here’s the money question:

    What kind of a transportation system would we need / should have for a “more Places” configuration?

    no blather.. no 1000-word tomes about lint in the navel and other non-responsive tactics…

    just a straight-up, simple, answer..

    what kind of a transportation network would we need for a “more places” solution?

  25. Anonymous Avatar

    If the jobs situation is overly centralized,ther is no transportaion network that works. And Larryis oversimplifying again. Transportation is only part of the problem with overcentralized and overdeveloped places.

    We actually do have a lot more unused capacity to suport a “more places configuration, but a) we won;t admith it, and b) using unused capacity still amounts to loss of LOS, which nimby’s won;t abide for (having ogt their capacity for free previously).

    Furthermore, to the extent that we do not have a more places configuration, it is because the new urbanists have been insisting for thirty years that this is not the way to go, and fighting tooth and nail. So we now have a self-fulfilling prophesy in which NONE of our needs or options have been adequately addressed.

    Instead of planning a building for what was obviously happening, we tried to hold back the tide and convince people they “ought” to do something else “for the public benefit”

    Or more accurately, because I’ve got the vote and I won’t pay.

    One of the big drawbacks of transit is that it is not amenable to change. We built a radially oriented Metro system, with two tracks, and now we are stuck with it. And having discovered how hideously expensive METRO is we now plan two new lightrail systems to expand it, so pretty soon we have still more modal interchanges to eat time, and more bureaucracy to raise the price.

    Larry is oversimplifying again by posing this as a solo commute or not exercise. He is oversimplifying by assuming that size of the area increases congestion. Or that reverse commuting takes as long and costs as much as congested commuting. Or that people who drive long distances cause more congestion.

    All of that may appear to be true, and not necessarily be so. All of those issues have solutions we have never tried. I’ve suggested that people should get paid for operating car or van pools, and been laughed at. But we could achieve this just by deregulating taxicabs.

    We can support a “more places” configuraton if we decide to do it. But it means we have to think about an INTEGRATED auto and transit solution instead of throwing up still more false arguments like solo commuting.

    I think it is obvious that a more places configuration would llok more like a planar polyphenyl atomic configuration – a bunch of medium sized interconnected nodes. The transit trips need to be long enough that it pays to park and get on the train, and have few enough stops to make the trip worth while.

    The more you think about it, the more the trains system has to look like the auto system instead of the giant starburst that we have now. You need multiple rails, just as you need multiple lanes. Fill in between the nodes with zip cars, taxis, jitneys, and anything else on wheels that works. Make sure you have plenty of parking, especially at the periphery. Stop claiming street parking as if it was owned by the neighborhood, and recognize that for what it is: a land grab and subsidy by and to the landowners.

    Let the transportation engineers figure it out, instead of the urban planners. Then tell the urban planners, look, this is all the transportation you get. At least here. You want more tranportation build it in another place. Then, to keep sprawl in check, stop trying to make vacant land worthless: the more valuable youlet it become, the less will be used for something else.

    you want more car pools, thenm pay people to operate them. You want more farms asn open space and parks, then pay people to operate them. Incentives work.

    But then, you also have to decide how much you are REALLY willing to pay as opposed to getting what you want for free.

    The reason we don’t havemore carpools is that the payback isn’t sufficient for the aggravation. So, if YOU want other people to caar pool the n YOU should be willing to pay them to do so.

    That is what we do with METRO: we charge people half price to ride. and that is why we can’t afford more Metro.

    My suggestion is that if you have enough open space to make the nodes sustainable, then the train trips will be long enough to be worthwhile, and anything in between can be private or shared autos, depending on where you live.

    EMR will say we just don’t have the energy to move things, or won’t soon. but I claim that having enough space to move efficiently is enough energy saver to overcome (some of) the distance. Freight rail isn’t making any money when one train is stting on a siding waiting for another to pass.

    Stop arguing about cars vs transit and start thinking INTEGRATED SYSTEM. And while you are at it, throw in all that J/S/H/x/y/z stuff as part of the system, and then add a good big liberal dose of freedom to do as you please on top of that, meaning you need stll more space – just for all the stuff you didn’t plan for, or the master planners don’t want.

    Mostly, set reasonable parameters,and then don’t let stupid things happen – Like what is going to happen to Tysons corner, and then call itOK because it is TOD.


    Oh crap, can’t do that, it’s a windfall for the land “speculators”.

  26. question two:

    What would be the primary difference between “more places” and “scatterization”?

    now remember.. we’re trying to keep blather to a minimum here.

    and also remember.. I’m only asking questions here and don’t believe that I attempted to simply anything…

    bonus question:

    what is the single biggest impediment to “more places”?

    Hint: NIMBY’s usually don’t oppose more jobs closer to home.

  27. Anonymous Avatar

    I’ll take a stab at question 2.

    Before I go I think this is tough because I think everyone on here is smart and we all have different ideas. I will add that Rays last couple posts have been very good on this thread IMHO. So limited blather.

    Scatterization is what we have currently sort of helterskelter whatever.

    In my view more places would be a bunch of college towns all over the place. So what do collegetowns have?

    Highly educated workforce
    Mix of housing (dense and not)
    Mix of businesses
    Low crime

    Larry already gave away the hinderment. NIMBYs hate residential development actually that hate any development. There are lots of NIMBYs in the nieghborhoods surrounding Tysons Corner for example.

    (Don’t really blame them. Imagine going from a cow pasture to living next to Downtown Bethesda in less than 30 years)

    I think EMR goes a bit too big with his alpha community. I would model off of a Beta type community say 50,000 max ideally.

    Existing cities would stay and rural would stay. Over time ideally I would have say a mix of 25% Alpha urban. 50% Small/town Beta and 25% rural.

    Local transport could be done via electric cars (less than 40 mile travel radius) For travel between Beta communities we have the interstate system which would eventually transform into highspeed rail similar to the format in Europe. (Actually the whole Beta idea is pretty similar to Europ sure you have your london paris amsterdam but you also have a bunch of smaller beta villages.)

    Feel free to rip this apart :-p


  28. Anonymous Avatar

    “If you think about it, it cannot be an accident that it is the same 15-year period when communism fell, when command-and-control corporations like General Motors and IBM had to be drastically restructured, when planning ministries throughout the developing world were closed down, and when the Japanese model of industrial policy proved to be a complete failure.

    There is something about this epoch in history that really puts a premium on incentives, on decentralization, on allowing small economic energy to bubble up rather than a more topdown, more directed approach, that may have been a more fruitful approach in earlier years.”

    M J Perry.

    Notice the emhasis on DECENTRALIZATION as good economic policy.

    So much for central urban planning.


  29. Anonymous Avatar

    “What would be the primary difference between “more places” and “scatterization”?”

    I think it is pretty obvious, symantics aside.

    A place has a name, and scatterization is a bunch of nothing. But even this is changing. The census bureau now has a new name for disaggregated rural zareas that generate substantial amounts of business.

    Maybe we should forget about scatterization and just focus on whether any work is happening.

    When I think of more places, I just mean more peripheral towns with jobs that reduce central commuting. They don’t even need to be new places. there are brownfields in the Exurbs, too. Marshall has a big new stone emporium located at the railroad tracks where the feed mill used to be.

    “what is the single biggest impediment to “more places”?”

    Inertia, perceptions, tax incentives, trying to multiply by zero(no place “there” yet). But look at Manassas/Gainesille/Haymarket. They planned to revitalize the entire south side of the city with strings of industrial parks and put in a bypass to feed them. It seems to have worked,especially with FBI coming to town and FAA across the border at Vint Hill.

    Then there is the Nissan Center Fiasco.


    There is a lot of literature on the optimuym size town or city. I think 50K is probably too small, but a bunch of 50 k nodes relatively close might work. I’d push for 200K and make them a little farther apart.

    Don’t like the idea of clar edge, either: it is too restrictive of growth. Some places have opted instead for green wedges, that can grow as the city grows. Makes a lot more sense to me.

    Some Nimby’s are opposed to new jobs, because they bring development, and that brings higher taxes (less efficient as you get bigger). I’ve seen it several times in Fauquier. Some guy comes in with a plan that will bring jobs, and the first question is (threatingly) “Where will you get the workers from?”

    Which is obvously a prejudiced and unfair question, along the line of “When did you stop beating your wife?”


  30. well.. I don’t think folks in Fredericksburg would be opposed to new jobs…in the least

    I think Fauquier is a definite anomaly in this regard.

    If you start at Frederickburg and etch an equidistant arc around DC through Va…with the exception of Facquier .. most of the others would fall all over themselves for more good jobs and the local workers would flock to a chance to get out of their daily commute.

    so.. it’s not like places like Fredericksburg would not (and actually have) offered incentives for NoVa-type jobs.

  31. Anonymous Avatar

    Agree it is an anomaly, but I’ve seen it happen.

    May change when people start getting hungry.


  32. E M Risse Avatar


    “We need more jobs in Ashburn and Woodbridge and less downtown.”

    You are right but that is NOT “more places.” That is Balancing the places we have.

    Greter Ashburn and Greater Eastern Prince William could be Balanced Communities with a lot more Jobs and Services (See definiton of “Services”.)

    So could Greater North Arlington and Greater South Arlington but with far more Houses, fewer Jobs, fewer Services — etc.

    All four of those must evolve to be Balanced Communities within a far more Balanced National Capital SubRegion in orde for the Washington – Baltimore New Urban Region to become a sustainable Region.

    Greater Fredricksburg, including Disaggregated but Balanced components of the in the Countryside in places that fall in Spotsylvaina, etc. must also be Balanced.

    Same is true for Greater Fauquier where EMR has been working to get more Jobs and Services for years. They just need to be within the Clear Edges around the components of the Balanced but Disaggregated Community.


  33. E M Risse Avatar

    “These are the types of messed up options we as 20 somethings face all the time.”

    Part of Balance is making the right choices. In the coming realtiy, there will be fewer chances of changing Jobs to imporve status. Sorry.

    More fair allocation of costs will make Balance much more attractive.

    “Heck everyone faces these issues across generations.”



  34. E M Risse Avatar


    Now, do not be frightened by this but you are starting to get it.

    “I think EMR goes a bit too big with his Alpha Community. I would model off of a Beta (EMR appreciates your use of the term Beta but that is not the definiton — see below) type community say 50,000 max ideally.”

    The scale of the Alpha Balanced Community varies with the distance from the centroid of the Core of the New Urban Region.

    To be a Balanced Community you need a Community Hospital, Community Theater, Community College, etc. so you can achieve Balance of J / H / S / R / A.

    Inside the Clear Edge around the Core of one of the 10 largest NURs (Wash-Balto is number 4 in US of A, number 5 in North America) You have to be around 300,000 to acheive Aphpa Community status (e.g Greater North Arlington if it were balanced with enough Housing for the Jobs).

    Given the scale of the Core of Greater Tysons Corner, with three or four Core Villages around shared-vehicle system Ziggurats, plus Vienna, McLean etc. you might have to go up to 500,000 to get Balance but there would be plenty of room for openspace and dog parks — TMT you just need to learn how to run the numbers.

    As you move away from the Clear Edge (R=25 + / – ) you can get smaller Balanced by Disaggregated Communities in the Countryside.

    There are plenty of potential (Beta means a place has the potential to become Alpha) Communites that could achieve Balance.

    However, they are in places like Iowa and Montana, ususally in USRs or at the edge of NURs. Many are capitols or college towns that import cash and so can achieve Balance with a smaller Critical Mass.

    Is Cville inside but near the edge of the Wash-Balto NUR or is it in the Appalacian USR?

    Now we know that Winchester is in the Wash-Balton NUR, that is clear. And Fredericksburg is in Wash-Balto, unless someone can show it is in the Richmond NUR.

    “Existing cities (you mean ‘existing urban agglomerations,’ right?) would stay and rural (you mean ‘Countryside,’ right?) would stay.”

    “Over time ideally I would have (you mean ‘achieve a popoulation distribution of …,’ right?) a mix of 25% Alpha urban. 50% Small/town Beta (you mean Balanced by Disaggregated, right?) and 25% rural (you mean Countryside, right?).”

    Sorry, that could have been a really rational goal in 1920 and is not far from the 1926 H. Wright plan for New York State.

    Now nearly 75% already live inside Clear Edges and are URBAN no matter how some scream and deny it — there is vacant and underutilized land INSIDE the Clear Edges for the other 25% but that would leave the Countryside “empty.”

    As we document in The Shape of the Future the big challenge will be to UnUrbanize land, no Urbanize more of it.

    Only about 5% live in patterns and at densities that will preserve Countryside. And about 5 percent are now ingaged in NonUrban economic activity. They would get along fine except they have to navigate (economically, socially and physically) around
    the scattered Urban citizens.

    Data shows about 20% of the dwellings make up 80% of the dysfucntional settlement patterns.

    See, NMM you are almost there.

    Fourth graders understand functional human settlement pattern very well — something about genetic hard wiring / genetic procivities. By the time most are 30, they have been corrupted by Business-As-Usual.


  35. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    geeze, what was the question? Oh yeah, more places.

    Short and sweet.

    San Fran has more places and lots of transit. The inner circle is San Jose up to Oakland. The outer circle goes from Santa Cruz to Walnut Creek/Concord. Each is an independent city with it’s own downtown jobs. The bay area basically has three ways in or out. And every day they are jammed to the gills with cars from Salinas, Modesto, and Fairfield.

    I lived in Alameda in the 70’s. Had a one room apartment 5 min. from work that cost half my paycheck. I moved the family to Santa Cruz, where I saved money but only visited on weekends. The weekdays I lived on the ship. Nothing has changed really, only the rich or subsidized live in the bay area. The middle class followed my lead over the years as they moved to the outer ring and finally to the hinterlands.

    More places merely means more people chasing our capitalist reality.

  36. Anonymous Avatar

    Couple things


    Good guesses on the use of terms

    I think this goes back to Larrys point. North Arlington and Tysons don’t want the housing to support the jobs there.

    Tysons Corner should be a good experiment to see if a suburban area can be transitioned to an urban area and at what cost. (Is all this money worth it?) or should we let the market decide and continue to build up along the Toll Road/tech corridor eventually moving out along the Green way

    I agree USA is mostly urban living now. Interesting stats on the 5% who are truely rural. I am assuming they still need cars otherwise how would they get anywhere


    Totally agree. DC isn’t quite as bad as San Francisco but its still the same principle. Housing costs are very expensive in downtown and once you start a family you have to live inside a postage stamp condo or endure a hellish commute.

    Moving to the new thread


  37. E M Risse Avatar

    NMM we are on the same page. See edit below.

    “Tysons Corner SHOULD (empahis added) be a good experiment to see if a unBalanced area of scattered Urban land uses can be transitioned to a Balanced component of Urban settlement (a Balanced Alpha Community) and at what cost — and at what savings over continuation of the existing dysfunctional settlement patterns.”



  38. Anonymous Avatar

    Costs for transforming Tysons. Who pays, both the direct out-of-pocket and indirect costs? The landowners sure as ____ are trying not to do so. The second draft of the Tysons Land Use Task Force’s position paper on an implementation corporation — a form of a Community Development Authority is seeking tax money from the Fairfax County General Fund to fund its operations. Gee, with a $650 million budget shortfall for fiscal 2010, this suggestion is beyond the pale. Let’s raise residential real estate taxes and increase public school class size to fund the windfall dreams of the landowners.

    Blago would fit in well here in Fairfax County.


  39. Anonymous Avatar

    “You are right but that is NOT “more places.” That is Balancing the places we have.”

    Yeah, well, OK. But this is a nitpick. the fact is that there is no “place” in Ashburn, yet. Besides, Ashburn itself is a new place that didn’t exist at all only a few years ago.


  40. Anonymous Avatar

    “Balance of J / H / S / R / A.”

    Needs one more.

    T for transportation. It is the string that helps keep the others balanced.


  41. where does the replacement part for your washing machine come from in a “balanced” community?

    Is it produced within that community or is it produced within the NUR and inside the clear edge or is it produced in a USR?

    For each of the above – how does it get from where it is produced to your broken washing machine?

    I agree.

    there must be a “T” in the equation and to not have it is a serious omission.

  42. Anonymous Avatar

    Replacement parts for a washer?

    Surely you jest. Don’t we just throw those things out? I did it last week, and by the time I got through I would have been better off to trash the thing.


  43. alright then…

    replacement parts for your hip

    same question different part

    Is EMR going to manufacture hip replacements in a balanced community?

    or inside the clear edge of a NUR?

    will hip replacements be allowed to be manufactured in a different NUR and’s that word.. transported to the NUR that needs them?

    Hey .. what if NUR #2 manufacturers implants but not hips..

    do you think NUR #1 could “trade” with NUR #2 using the transportation network to move the goods?

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