Monday, December 07, 2009

Some Tips On How To Destroy A City

This was something I wrote two years ago on the Pittsburgh Metroblog which seems worth putting up again. It relates to a few future posts.

One bunch of people who are likely to want to come to Pittsburgh are urban planners. This isn’t a complement; Pittsburgh is almost a lab experiment in poor government and bad urban design and It’s kind of famous for it. So,it may be that people may want some tips on how too screw up their towns too. These tips are most useful if you are looking to screw up a city with a small land area (by which I mean -in the city limits) and are great for places with lots of hills, rivers or other barriers.

Here are just a few. I will come back with more.It’s a two part strategy to destroy the value of urban land; quality of life and tax base while at the same time making it easy and cheap live outside the city.It’s proven and has worked great here.

Tear holes in your city and stick in as many highways as you can. Highways that will divide and cut through existing business districts are the best. You must have major highways cutting into your downtown!! Remember, you don’t want people to live in the city especially wealthy people.

Raise Taxes in the city to pay for it and your other plans. Well, just raise taxes for any reason really.

Cut and remove as much mass transit as you can. Transit is needed to have a dense city and you don’t want that.

Add as much parking as you can. You can build huge garages to help waste tax money but you mainly need huge areas of plain old surface lots.

Put huge Sports Stadiums in or near the key areas of the city. Since they are usually empty, they are are like putting extra fancy holes in the town. they waste lots of tax money and best of all they need tons of parking!!! (remember you don’t have mass transit.)The key is to put these holes in or just near the downtown and make sure that a sea of parking lots sit on the most useful city land.

Try to remove as many mixed uses of land as you can. Say that offices should not be near homes or stores etc… This requires more driving, more and wider highways and more and more parking holes in the city. It also will likely cause lots of traffic and pollution which will chase people out of town. Remember to raise taxes or borrow to pay for the roads.

Use all kinds of anti walking policies. Shoppers usually walk and you don’t want that. Get rid of sidewalks and use highways with walls to cut up areas.

Basically, It’s a progressive strategy. You set in motion a chain reaction that requires more and more of the same–more holes and lower densities require more driving and more holes in the city and so on. For example, chances are that your downtown retail will start to die off– so you say you need to add more parking or perhaps pay the retailers to stay. Some people might start to feel bad about their town as you destroy it (by now your suicide rate might be up) so they need cheering up with some other new stadium.

You can do it to!!!

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