Urban Fold

City Deficits "Driven" by Suburban Patterns

As San Diego is paralyzed by the cost to maintain its infrastructure, Howard Blackson revels in a eureka moment, provided by Chuck Marohn, in recognizing the city's explicitly suburban pattern of development is a well-documented financial blunder.

Much of the projected city deficits these days are due to "upgrades" to existing infrastructure that require wider, faster roads, and other auto-centric design and programming. Blackson reviews last week's analysis of San Diego by Strong Town's Chuck Marohn, and suggests the first step to solving urban woes is to understand the root problem:

"I contend that we also need to reassess how we calculate for our current infrastructure deficits. Our deficit numbers include retrofitting older urban streets into wider, faster, more suburban thoroughfares in order to achieve the mythical Level of Service C, which in fact creates more congestion. We also calculate for conventional storm drains that move water as fast as possible from point A to Point Sea; rather than promoting a more economical and ecological Light Imprint network approach. And, our new park standards require large acreage, more expensively programmed, because it's easier to maintain with fewer city workers. These improvements are assumed to be built in a suburban pattern, which is impossible to build in existing neighborhoods where the deficits exist. According to Dr. Einstein, my city is clinically insane for using conventional suburban development patterns and regulations over and over again and expecting different urban outcomes."

Thanks to Hazel Borys

Full Story: Infrastructure Deficit Disorder: The Doctor is In

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