Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Bubbly

To continue my explanation of why the expansionist development model is no longer viable, it's necessary to understand how the housing bubble was expanded by Federal public policy and why housing ownership became deemed a right instead of a privilege. An article by Robert Christiano, part of an excellent series on the causation of many of our current problems, summarizes the process by which we've arrived at our current unsustainable situation.

As a result of this development, SB 375 legislation in California supposedly crafted a form-based code to cut down on commuter driving, for what that's worth, to deal with greenhouse gas emissions as mandated by Federal Law. Proponents cite immense future population growth projections (not possible) and use cities like New York as a model of *form* (very large densities on Manhattan Island, dense suburban ring, exurban nearly rural). Los Angeles basin is flat and dense (thanks to Federal highway program that busted the Red Line), and this model is supposedly to be changed by SB 375 to move towards the NYC model.

Except that these RHNA assigned housing numbers and large transit-exempt projects will just make our current situation worse under SCAG's idea of "fair share" growth everywhere. This socialist effort out of Sacramento - implemented by regional agencies - seeks to spread growth everywhere. A REAL application of the form model concept would assign all the RHNA to LA's city center where there is already transit (light rail/bus) and the ability to develop the "zero energy/water footprint" in the rebuild of large projects that makes this size of population center sustainable.

The communities outside of Los Angeles would logically not need to accommodate any new growth at all under this "form model", and simply build a few good projects that are sustainable, shrink the built footprint (less building mass - not more), and restore open space and natural environment. Infrastructure improvement to return water to the aquifers is crucial, and isn't exactly rocket science. Neither are fuel-efficient hybrid cars and far lower consumption per person (save on storage locker fees, too).

So as far as I'm concerned, the whole thing is an excuse for untrammeled development to make our situation far worse than it is now, given our permanent water shortage and dwindling resources, which diminishes for everyone as population grows.