Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Richard Florida on HSR, Mega-Regions, and Our Economic Future

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

Over at The Atlantic, economic geographer Richard Florida has been writing about the economic impact of high speed rail. He believes HSR is a centerpiece of the long-term shift in America's economy - specifically in where economic activity is going to be concentrated. In a March 2009 article he argued that "mega-regions" would emerge from this recession as the location of most economic growth. Just as the "Long Depression" of 1873-1896 shifted the industrial economy from smaller towns like Rochester, NY and Lowell, Mass. to big cities like Chicago and New York, just as the Great Depression eventually produced a shift to suburbs, and as the 1970s stagflation produced a shift to the Sunbelt, the current crisis will accelerate a shift to 11 US "mega-regions". Two of them, "NorCal" and "SoCal", are here in the Golden State - and both are laid out exactly along the proposed HSR route.

The key insight of Florida's argument is that "mega-region" is more expansive than what we currently consider to be a "region." He argues that new technologies and proximity to dynamic economic centers will produce a new geography of growth:

New periods of geographic expansion require new systems of infrastructure. Ever since the days of the canals, the early railroad, and streetcar suburbs, we've seen how infrastructure and transportation systems work to spur new patterns economic and regional development. The streetcar expanded the boundaries of the late 19th and early 20th century city, while the railroad moved goods and people between them. The automobile enabled workers to move to the suburbs and undertake far greater commutes, expanding the geographic landscape still further.

Mega-regions, if they are to function as integrated economic units, require better, more effective, and faster ways move goods, people, and ideas. High-speed rail accomplishes that, and it also provides a framework for future in-fill development along its corridors. Just as development filled-in along the early street-car lines and the post-war highways, high-speed rail will encourage denser, more compact, and concentrated development with growth filling in along its routes over time. Spain's new high-speed rail link between Barcelona and Madrid not only massively reduced commuting times between these two great Spanish cities, according to a recent New York Times report, it has also helped revitalize several declining locations along the line.

What exactly does this mean for California? It means the integration of Modesto, Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield into either the NorCal or SoCal mega-region. Someone can work in Silicon Valley and live in Merced. Now, you might argue "that happens already." But there's a key difference using HSR - faster commutes at a lower cost. Freed from dependence on oil, workers will carry more take-home pay and can invigorate the economies of Central Valley cities. And companies that want to take advantage of the "knowledge economy" using the "creative class" of workers that Florida emphasizes can relocate to one of these mega-region towns, like Fresno, and attract workers from what we now consider to be a "reverse commute".

Already I'm sure this is setting off some folks' sprawl alarms. But as I have consistently argued before on this blog, there's no real reason that revitalizing Fresno or Bakersfield has to mean sprawl at all. HSR stations will themselves encourage greater urban densities. And sprawl itself was a product of the 20th century economic conditions that are dying, and in whose death the mega-region is emerging as the basis of future growth. Sprawl requires cheap oil, cheap credit and favorable land use laws. We're pretty much done with the first, done with the second (even when the credit crunch is over, credit will never again be as cheap as it was in the late 20th century), and laws like AB 32 and SB 375 are changing the third component.

Today Florida expands upon this point, responding to a point Seeking Alpha made about the resurgence of Baltimore and Philadelphia thanks to HSR, enabling those cities to tap into the prosperity and creativity of Washington DC and NYC:

Mega-region hubs are becoming more economically central to our spiky world. There's no getting around this. Chicago has in effect sucked up scads of economic functions that used to be done by other second- and third-tier Midwest cities. On the east coast, Baltimore and Philadelphia and, yes, Washington, D.C. have prospered because of transit connections, including relatively fast rail, which has allowed them to grow by hiving off pieces of economic activity attracted into the world city orbit of New York.

What we are seeing is the further deepening of the spatial division of labor: Suburbia is being stretched in a process of ever more intensive and expansive geographic development.

There's a lesson there for the industrial Midwest and for other regions of the country, North America, and the world. Those places that positon themselves for this new era of spiky, geographic growth and which have the infrastructure that connects them to major centers will prosper, while those that do not will likely fall behind even further.

In short, Florida helps us provide a very clearly argued explanation of exactly how high speed rail is vital to California's economic future. Whereas some in this state delude themselves that the 20th century model of automobile dependence and sprawl can still somehow produce growth, Florida says that is a recipe for turning California into Michigan - too deeply locked into an economic geography that is no longer able to provide economic growth.

California has to change if we are to thrive and prosper in the 21st century. High speed rail is an indispensible component of that shift.


Anonymous said...

Well tell us the obvious! The demographers have been telling us that californias growth is going to orrcur in the central valley and inland empire. Good. now, if those cities willdo their share and go dense, it will take the pressure off other places who having all the new people dumped on them. Give the new people other options. Where are all these people coming from anyway? Put them all in Palmdale.

Anonymous said...

Pretty good arguments for why there is really no good reason to force the high speed rail line through Caltrain ROW.

In fact the Caltrain ROW is pretty akwardly located to the far western edge of this 'mega region' and isn't really a suitable spot for a line that you'd hope to serve the great California North and South mega region needs.

Why force into the Peninsula? Doesn't make long term sense.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Anon, that misses the point entirely. You need high speed rail infrastructure throughout the entire region. A "mega-region" works because key urban centers, like San Francisco and San Jose, are linked to other parts of the area.

The Peninsula cannot secede from the rest of the state. They're part of the state and part of its economy.

The Caltrain route WILL be used for HSR. That's a done deal and has been for some time.

Anonymous said...

@Anon While new growth will occur in the valley, the point of the hsr route is to get the most bang for the buck in that it will connect established economic centers, sf-sj -la-oc together quickly with express service and at the same time connect underserved and furutre growth areas both with each other sac-fno-bfd corridor and to the rest of the state including the older economic centers. The routing of hsr is a good one that covers all the bases. Travel times - even with some of the odd but necessary "detours" will still be maintained with express servce and no region gets left out. (I support taking hsr as far east as possible in the inland empire before turning south to get plenty of riverside and SB counties) The caltain row is a dense urban established rail corridor that why it makes the most sense.

Anonymous said...

The peninsula is the oldest, most industrial part of the urban bay areas history, the travel patterns were established a century ago. The peninsula from sf south along the 101 through south city, san mateo was an urban area when much of the east bay was still rural. Add to that the advent of silicon valley and you have a established corridor, dynamic corridor sandwiched between the two major and related economies of the bay area.

Alon Levy said...

Meh. Florida excels at arguing that growths occurs in and because of what he finds aesthetically attractive - GLBT, rail, the creative class. He also excels at ignoring ordinary economic history when it doesn't suit his purpose. Thus, he says that the recovery from the Great Depression was about the rise of the suburbs. He pays lip service to what most economists will tell you about Keyensian stimulus and WW2, and then goes on about his hobbyhorse without ever giving the reader an inkling of why he is right and the conventional wisdom is wrong.

Here are the facts: recovery from the Depression was about economic stimulus. This involved going off the gold standard in order to finance monetary expansion, and then engaging in deficit spending. This is how it happened in every major economy, so that by 1939, the US, Germany, Britain, and Japan had all surpassed their 1929 GDP peak, the last two by large margins. France hadn't, but it stuck to the gold standard until 1937, deepening its depression. Suburbanization had nothing to do with it. It so happens that the German stimulus projects and some of the US ones involved roads, but the British and Japanese ones didn't.

After WW2, there was a separate boom. Again, cars had little to do with it - the US only started massively funding suburbanization in 1956, a decade into the postwar boom. Before then it had still funded roads, but at roughly the same level as since the US Highway system was rolled out in the 1920s. Japan, France, and Germany had their own big postwar booms, fueled by high domestic investment and, in Germany's case, an export boom. They all had some suburbanization and some road-building, but not at nearly the same scale as the US.

ladyk said...

Well, mega region is not mega region. How they will fare in the face of expensive and scarce oil is anyone's guess. SoCal with its automobile addiction will certainly be shocked to its core. Rodney King Redux. Who knows?! Maybe NorCal will do a bit better. HSR will alleviate some of the pain and will maybe be a cornerstone in the path toward a different economy (at least in the techno-optimistic scenario). NorCal and SoCal may even merge under that scenario with the HSR spine becoming the connecting tissue between the regions.

The not-so-optimistic line of thought probably won't see much merit in Florida's prediction of a creative 'knowledge economy' in ever more concentrated urban clusters. Unless those clusters are self-sufficient in most ways, one could predict a wave of 'relocalization' and 'deglobalization' that turns Florida's predictions on its head. The inflow of cheap goods and resources (from abroad) will be impeded and thus the basis for mega regions to go off and specialize in ever higher spheres of the global knowledge economy will be restricted. That could actually result in internally diverse mega regions that somehow still contain the 'creative class' but to a lesser extent than predicted.

Alternatively, the geographic expansion he talks about could come in the form of a dithering dispersal in lieu of further clustering as mega regions become unattractive to business and in terms of living conditions, or even unviable. Even large-scale HSR may not be able to keep things together. But the more [electrified] rail the more glue -- which is why large-scale rapid rail (capacity, capacity, capacity!) is so important.

One thing is for sure. Without a strong electrified rail/HSR component there won't be growth of a positive kind in California or in the rest of the nation/world. One of the alternatives is chaotic growth rising out of economic uncertainty (e.g. Lagos). Clearly not desirable.

Anonymous said...

jim, where do you think all the new people have been going? What was the percentage growth of cities in the central valley over the last ten years compared to SF or LA? Many, many, many times higher.

Anonymous said...

Peninsula service? Perhaps, although arguable that there's a bigger population to the east, particularly when growth is factored in.. But certainly not located on the caltrain ROW - the geography of the Caltrain ROW is pretty well removed from how people need to travel. Doesn't makes sense at all to tuck this into a unreachable corner. But you'd need to live and commute in the bay area to understand the ease of use differences between Caltrain ROW, 101 (which is just 1-2 miles east) versus 280, versus 680, versus 880- all basically running the length of the mega-region, but some much more accessible, and sensible for travel corridors than others.

By the way, I'm confused now by the whole conversation on the proposed As stadium to be directly juxtaposed to Dirdon. I understood that the beauty of HSR was locating it in the heart of metro hubs - that the proposed HSR stations would spring forth a new dense housing urban community (the CHSRA website shows this artistically/graphically in their little HSR demo, with all kinds of high rises springing up around Diridon station.) But you place a huge Baseball Stadium (how often are those used, 2-3X per week, 6 months out of the year, pretty much precludes the walkable livable dense urban hub concept. Esp since you've got the HP Pavilion there too.

This doesn't sound anything like the CHSR conception of why the stations need to be in certain places nor does it leave room for the concieved TYPE of value they'll bring. (Its a different type of customer to&from the area, certainly - but frequency? and long distance trippers?)

Sure HSR might wisk Dodgers or Angels fans at 150 bucks a pop to a few A's games... Really? is that what HSR to Diridon is supposed to provide?

If the Diridon HSR Urban village concept is fizzling, then why Diridon? Can't caltrain or Bart serve an adequate purpose of shuttling bay area fans to As games and HP Pavilion events - and HSR funds can then be spent on true HSR in real transit oriented development settings?

(Think about how big a stadium site is... if the stadium's coming, how does that allow for a walkable urban village going up around Diridon)

ladyk said...

off topic: BTW the new annual infrastructure report of the Urban Land Institute is out. It says quite a bit about mass transit, transportation infrastructure in general, financing, comparisons to other countries etc.

Anonymous said...

@Anon when built out, the san jose area will hav caltrain hsr and bart, the arena and the stadium and high density residential I don't see how one precludes the other? In san deigo there is a great neighborhood around the ballpark there just as there is a neighborhood being built around att park in sf.It will be a couple of decades before the rail projects are done, the economy springs back but the gourndwork will have been laid. good planning for the future.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone want to read something from a guy named after a state of doofuses?

Robert Cruickshank said...

Alon, I don't think Florida's point and yours are totally incompatible. Suburbanization was well under way in the 1920s, but arrested by the Depression. I tend to agree that Florida doesn't provide enough emphasis on the Keynesian elements of the New Deal - but at the same time, his point is the same that we US historians have long identified, which is that the stimulative effects of the New Deal tended to reinforce the suburbanizing trend. That didn't totally reveal itself until the end of the war, but the decisions made particularly regarding housing, the way the HOLC and FHA drew the lending maps, wound up dramatically reinforcing suburbanization. FDR's policies of growing the middle class provided the wages to make it possible.

One also has to consider the state-level New Deals, many of which were expressly suburbanizing in character. CA spent a lot of bond money on building roads to the suburbs, including the first freeways (the Pasadena Freeway opened in 1940, for example, and the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges gave a lot of fuel to the suburbanization engine).

Rob Dawg said...

Live in Merced, work in SF. Oh you mean sprawl. Kewl. CAHSR subsidizes sprawl.

Alon Levy said...

Anon at 12:53: SF and Silicon Valley may not be the largest population clusters, but they're the largest clusters of destinations for travelers. SF is a major tourist destination, and SV is a major destination for business travel.

Robert Cruickshank said...

ladyk, you make excellent points, ones I very strongly agree with. As with Alon's points I think they can be reconciled with what Florida is, rightly in my mind, predicting. A "mega-region" may actually make it more possible to relocalize, ironically enough.

Ultimately what I see as valuable about Florida's arguments is they indicate HSR is valuable under different scenarios. Florida is basically assuming that the general trajectory of capitalist development will continue in spite of the current recession, although that recession will alter the geography of where economic growth occurs. In that scenario, HSR is necessary for California to avoid being trapped in the 20th century and going the way of Michigan.

I'm with you on this, ladyk, in that it's very possible we will see something else entirely - a climate shock and an energy shock that will cause even more fundamental dislocations and leave us worse off unless we develop electrified mass transit. SoCal is indeed much worse off than the Bay Area in this respect, although the Bay Area's resilience in the face of an oil shock is overstated.

Either way, HSR is valuable and even necessary. So are local rail solutions, of course.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Rob, did you just skim over entirely the part of my post where I addressed that very argument?

Alon Levy said...

Robert: the Great Depression arrested both urbanization and suburbanization. Major industrial cities as well as their suburbs saw lower population growth in the 1930s and 40s than in the 20s - for example New York grew at 23% in the 1920s, 8% in the 30s, and 6% in the 40s.

It's true that the stimulus in the Depression helped fuel auto-oriented suburbanization. This, however, is not what Florida's saying. He's saying that it was Depression-era economic trends that favored the suburbs, rather than government spending and redlining. This is a critical distinction: he's trying to portray the rise of mega-regions as a natural consequence of the 2008-9 recession, rather than as a consequence of a string of government policies he would like to see enacted.

Alon Levy said...

Ladyk: one of the things we learned from the stagflation episode in 2007 and early 2008 is that the first world is essentially impervious to oil shocks. Rising oil prices created some discomfort in the exurbs, and caused transit ridership and hybrid sales to rise somewhat and VMT to drop, but neither trend was very large. There were small long-term changes in behavior, but that was it.

Compare that to the food riots and export restrictions in several developing countries, or even the stories of manhole theft in American cities, and you'll see that the sky didn't fall. It turns out that being rich covers problems of finite resources.

Rafael said...

Maps of US megaregions by:

Who's Your City?, Richard Florida's web site. Looks like he may be a closet Pastafarian ;^) His map also includes Canadian and Mexican megaregions and the site offers similar ones for Europe and Asia. They could be useful to test the hypotheses regarding the relationship between megaregions and HSR service.

SPUR, which has published on the Northern California megaregion. Note that this map from 2007 includes Las Vegas in the Southern California megaregion.

Alon Levy said...

The algorithm is apparently based on looking at satellite photos. This becomes really skewed with urban areas that are close but do not economically interact.

The results of this are at their worst in Asia. Japanese urban geographers consider the Taiheiyo belt, running from Tokyo to Fukuoka, to be the Japanese equivalent of BosWash. To split that belt into three regions, and include the Sea of Japan coast in the regions, is like to have one Boston-NY-Albany-Buffalo-Toronto-Cleveland-Detroit region and a separate Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington-Pittsburgh-Columbus-Cincinnati region. Europe is problematic as well - are Lyon and Barcelona really more closely integrated with each other than with Paris and Madrid respectively?

For HSR purposes, the maps are fairly useless, as well. Japan's main HSR line runs along the Taiheiyo belt from Tokyo to Fukuoka, with separate lines going north from Tokyo. European HSR lines look nothing like the megaregion maps - the main system goes from Paris to London, Brussels, Strasbourg/Cologne, Lyon/Marseille, and Geneva. The Spanish lines not only ignore the maps, but also serve cities not in any megaregion, like Seville. If you look at air markets instead, then you see a similar picture - Lyon/Barcelona is a marginal market despite the lack of HSR service, while Madrid/Barcelona is still going strong.

In other words, the algorithm conflicts with the reality of intercity transportation needs, as well as common sense. I'd throw out the algorithm before I'd throw out reality.

Anonymous said...

Like BART the HSR has sprawl enabling potential if it is allowed to be hijacked by developers. Palmdale is the sprawl of the future, fueled by the HSR detour.

In the end there is no such thing as "smart growth". There is just more growth or less growth.

urban planner said...


What you know about sprawl and land development could be put in a thimble. You spew just plain garbage.

Brandon in California said...

I do not believe HSR will have a significant influence on suburban sprawl. This state is projected to grow to 60 million people by 2050. That is a lot of people. And much of that growth is expected to occur in the San Joaquin Valley because of cheap and available land.

That will occur with or without HSR.

HSR may allow folks to move from the SF or LA regions to the Valley and allow a reasonable commute. Well, some may call it reasonable. I would not.

But, what kind of numbers would that theoretically be? Daily ridership is anticipated to be in the 300k range. Or, thereabouts. (That is daily trips, not people).

And, a large share of that are professional or tourists or day trips.

Some will be for commute purposes... but I cannot image anything more than a nominal number for 60-90 minute trips from the valley into LA or SF or Sacramento. Such a number would certainly be under 30,000-50,000. Given that the Valley will add millions... that share is extremely small.... and not worth referencing or discussing.

Unknown said...

Rob Dawg said...
Live in Merced, work in SF. Oh you mean sprawl. Kewl. CAHSR subsidizes sprawl.
btter they live out there than here. Besides hsr will enable jobs to also be in merced where the cost of doing business is lower, while still giving business concerns compete connectivity to the whole state. As we know, there will be growth in california and we aren't going to let them all live in bay area, especially in Sf. So they will have to live somewhere and hsr will make that doable. That doesn't mean sprawl Sprawl is miles of suburban tract homes. Those valley cities are more than welcome and able to build denser cores. Now, if people don't want that, and continue to wan the house, yard and two car garage, then they are going vo move to merced anyway. Unless we seceded and close the borders, which Is my preference, people are gonn keep coming, They have to live someplace. And it won't be here.

Unknown said...

Anonymous said...
jim, where do you think all the new people have been going? What was the percentage growth of cities in the central valley over the last ten years compared to SF or LA? Many, many, many times higher.
yes Im aware of that. and growth will continue there. That's why they are using 99 and not 1-5 and thats why the valley needs to be connected with the industrial cores. and thats what hsr will do. Connect the old and established with the new and upcoming and make th e state's population even out a little by giving everyone more mobility. Its the whole basis of the project. HSR will be to the state , what bart is to the bay area.

Anonymous said...

( i guess google mail is somehow tied to this blog as it keeps changing my screenname) Anyway, was the appontment of the peer oversight mentioned here already? The oversight will include amtrak /capitol corridors Skoropowski which is good news. finally some actual railroad people will be involved to keep an eye on the tired recycled california politicians.

Anonymous said...

This mega region concept as pushed by SPUR is nothing but a power grab. There's no way that northern californians are gonna go for it. People outside the bay area don't want anything to do with the bay area's as, lifestyle, government, or growth. Folks up in placer county won't accept it, Nor Butte, nor Yuba. The better solution is to cap population growth in california. We don't have the water or the power grid to support it. Especially as we rely more heavily on electricity form other state while currently trying to force renewable energy, which will never produce enough power for current needs let alone all that growth. When will be happy, when the whole state is one big over run third world shithole? Enough.

無名 - wu ming said...

the mega-region thing as it relates to HSR is a fair point, but i generally find florida's arguments to be pretty weak, more of an exercise is patting his type of people on the back for being generally better than everyone else, than a real comprehensive analysis.

as for jim's rant about nor cal, as a lifelong denizen of nor cal east of the carquinez, i have to say that it's only really true for people way outside the megaregion we're talking about. people who live on the 80 corridor, or the 580 corridor, or the sacramento area, do in fact often go into the bay area for concerts, sports games, to see friends and family, to commute for jobs or for meetings, to buy stuff, for weekends or vacations. many of the people in non-bay area nor cal grew up in the bay area, but had to move out because it was too goddamned expensive to make ends meet, or because that's where the job was, but they keep their connection. economically, all that organic produce that graces the tables of SF and oakland's gourmet restaurants and farmer's markets, all of the wine, all of the bay area's data centers are located out here. and a ton of people make the commute daily, by train or car.

the capitol corridor is packed. 80 and 580 are parking lots on weekends. hell, i have to drive on local roads in davis on fridays and sundays because of the huge bolus of bay area folks driving through town to go to and from tahoe. the area already functions as a region, even as there are subregions within it with accompanying rivalries, etc. conservatives might talk smack about berkeley or SF on occasion, but they still go there fairly often.

we are one region, what remains is to do a better job linking the various parts together so that it's insulated from the effects of rising oil prices and doesn;t choke up when the population continues to grow, because of both in-migration (domestically and internationally) but more importantly because people have children.

what will make the state a third world mess is if we fail to provide functional infrastructure and government services out of a misplaced assumption that we can freeze time or just look out for one's neighborhood and screw the rest of y'all. we are one region - more than we're one state, honestly - and we'd do well to build this train so that we can continue to be so.

無名 - wu ming said...

as for the silly "why the peninsula?" comment upthread, we'll put the HSR line there because it's between two major urban cores, and has a nice strait wide rail ROW with a rail service that while improvable is already successfully shaping the peninsula into a rail commuting corridor. it's the obvious place for it by nearly any manner of estimation.

and quite frankly, when the price of gas gets up around $5 or higher, you NIMBYs are going to freak the fuck out if there isn't a close peninsula stop for you to use. i fully expect you guys raising a stink in 2020 about putting in more peninsula stations or something, because "the peninsula and silicon valley are very important and rich and we deserve this!"

Anonymous said...

@wuming - yeah well I know all bout the success of cap corridor and all, but I guess im thinking of those folks up there - and I have family there- in placer, yubay, colusa, butte, and so forth. they just spit when you mention the bay area and they are horrified at the prospect of any of our newfangled bay ways rubbing off on them. I eman I get where they are doming from, they have plenty of elbow room up there and want to keep it that way - with their lace doilies, and the strawberry pies, and corner stores, and early american furniture and mauve carpet. Yeah i know all about it. I have a feeling for all the effort and big ideas, every step, every day into the future, will consist of battles just like the one on the peninsula. Between the inability of these mega regions's individual constituencies to get on the same page, to the complete break down in state politics, budget and ability to govern, this state is on a bad path. I mean I hate to sound like those nasty ex pats up in oregon but they do have a point.

Rafael said...

@ rob dawg -

terminology alert:

sprawl = expansion of cities via new districts/subdivisions at the outer margins and/or infill development between cities and existing suburbs. Either way, low-rise and car-centric. It's hard to provide decent public transportation in sprawl areas because of the low population density.

exurbanization = people living in one city and working in another, typically quite far away. Promotes rail transit and mid-to-high rise residential and commercial real estate development near train stations to increase local population density. That in turn makes connecting local transit and networks of bicycle paths worthwhile.

The BART model of driving to the nearest station and parking there for free is very suboptimal. One of the problems is that redevelopment of areas near downtown stations is a slow and expensive process. In addition, California seismic codes makes mid-rise buildings fairly expensive. It's either 1-3 stories with wood framing or 7+ with a steel skeleton. Masonry is not a viable option, even in the Central Valley which is virtually devoid of known active faults.

Alon Levy said...

Rafael: where does your terminological distinction come from? I haven't seen it in the urban planning literature I've read. Usually both what you call sprawl and what you call exurbanization are called sprawl, and distinguished from densification of the existing urban area.

Though to be fair, sprawl has been going on for a couple of centuries. The City of London's population peaked at 208,000 in 1700, and then decreased to 128,000 by 1800 and 27,000 by 1900 as people moved out into suburbs like Westminster and the East End. It's just that pedestrian- and transit-oriented suburbanization created areas whose urban form isn't that different from that of the older core, except perhaps that they have wider streets.

Rafael said...

@ Alon Levy -

urban planners may have their heads stuck in the sand, but for us on this blog the distinction is the relationship between real estate development strategies and the mode(s) of transport that are best suited to them.

HSR does enable long-distance commuting but only for those who live fairly close to the origin station and work fairly close to the destination station. In that sense, HSR facilitates walkable high-rise neighborhoods built for cycling and transit use, because familes who choose to live there will not easily afford multiple cars. There will still be some roads, but they'll be narrow and feature low speed limits / speed bumps and, parking will be scarce.

Conventional sprawl is about large areas of cheap housing made possible by cheap gasoline and roads funded by taxpayer dollars. Exurbanization is about the HSR version of transit villages and business parks close to mass transit. It drives densification instead of infill development.

In other words, HSR may depress housing values in e.g. Silicon Valley by removing the artificial scarcity imposed by local development plans that restrict new starts/remodels to low rise designs. However, HSR will not generate lots and lots of additional car traffic - at least not in the long run. It usually takes a while for existing areas to be redeveloped.

Rob Dawg said...

Robert Cruickshank said...
Rob, did you just skim over entirely the part of my post where I addressed that very argument?
Quite the contrary. You have to accept the mild criticism in the context. Richard Florida is an advocate of compact multi-use nodal high density high value urbanism. In this context HSR actually dissipates some of the advantages claimed for Creative Class Nexuses.

Rafael, my definitions of sprawl and exurb have been accepted and debated for more than a decade. Please don't try to start a pissing match by presuming to lecture for a position of superiority. As Alon has already pointed out your attempts at description are far from the norm.

Anonymous said...

"HSR facilitates walkable high-rise neighborhoods built for cycling and transit use, because familes who choose to live there will not easily afford multiple cars. There will still be some roads, but they'll be narrow and feature low speed limits / speed bumps and, parking will be scarce"

Rafael - by your own definition then - Diridon as an HSR station doesn't makes sense - doesn't make even a split second's worth of sense. Why? Because DIRIDON STATION is going to be surrounded by blocks and blocks and blocks of SPORTS STADIUMS (new A's stadium, HP Pavilion, and tons of PARKING for those stadiums).

NOT ANYTHING of the sort of what you've described. The HSR station in San Jose needs to be moved to a neighborhood oriented location more conducive to housing growth. City of San Jose has that Diridon area slated for a MUCH different profile than what you're describing.

IMHO, CHSRA made a grave early mistake by limiting their route potentials to existing ROW - this is creating more trouble than trouble avoided.

bossyman15 said...

well then don't put so much parking spaces around the stadium. if they want to go to sport event then take transit. problem solved!

Morris Brown said...

Robert keeps telling everyone, there are only a few NIMBY's and others are against the project and they should just be ignored.

Well, Belmont and Burlingame just joined the consortium that had Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo already involved. In addition San Mateo, and others further north are putting together their own group.

We are talking here about city Councils, who were elected to represent their voters.

Now I don't claim, everyone involved in these efforts is against the project, but for sure almost everyone involved is against the implementation of the project that has thus far been proposed by the Authority.

Burlingame was very strong and is saying tunneling is the only option and otherwise no project.

This nonsense that tunneling costs would have to be born by the local communities is out of the question. Only possibly San Jose and SF with their very large populations, could even begin to think about paying such huge amounts.

Opposition is growing and growing fast. Then I hear about opposition coming on board down south as well.

Clem said...

This nonsense that tunneling costs would have to be born by the local communities is out of the question .

The simple and logical consequence of your stance is that tunneling is out of the question.

Opposition is growing and growing fast .

Opposition to HSR in general? Don't think so. What is growing is opposition to building HSR willy-nilly without regard to community impacts.