Here is an anecdote.
When I lived in Vancouver, BC, I noticed that the beef all strted to taste
"off" - I cut waaaay back on it because I felt like I was eating spoiled or
partially-spoiled meat, that is how nasty the stuff started tasting.
Turned out that the good Canadian beef was being exported, and teh local
stores were getting in Brazilian beef, becaust it was "more profitable".
Nobody ever asked whetehr we might want to at least have teh *opportunity*
to pay mroe for better beef - they just up and switched the supply. I
wonder whether rising fuel prices nixed that...
For both of you, you have to realize that there are different strokes
for different folks. You can't impose your views or priorities on
other and there is no, single right answer. The best you can do is
make alternatives economically feasible.
Also note that Jack couldn't answer why it is more desirable to waste time
The point was not about any/all driving, the point was about driving short
distances (that are nevertheless too long to walk esp., as I had very
specifically noted, in very hot, humid weather, or in bitterly cold
weather) to go from one cluster of small shops, to another, and questioning
whether it is efficient, and whetehrit's desireable to build more of them,
especially when that sort of stop-and-go short-distance driving is known to
both stress a car's engine, and make gas mileage plummet.
(BTW, both of whom.....?)
That is where reliance upon the gov.t to "fix things" is extremely naive,
because gov.t only changes when people demand that it change, pressure it
to do so.
OTOH, it's conversely extremely cynical to say that people simply do not
give a damn. Maybe I've just know weird people, but most of the people
I've known, and lived near, *do* give a damn - they just have no idea what
they *can* do, and they also have limited time (due to working and family
and so on) to devote to doing it. Hell, *I* don't know exactly what I, as
one person, can do. So folks end up frustrated, concentrate on work,
family, and friends, and just cope as best they can with situations they
don't like but feel they can't change. And yes, unscrupulous politicians
and business people *do* take advantage of that, and therefore can get away
with claiming that poorly-working situations are "efficient", when in
reality, they aren't, but people find ways to cope with the situations.
What appears to be "apathy" can all too often be frustration that "you
can't fight city hall", and what appears to be "efficiency" is all too
often just the fact that people can adapt to cope with all sorts of
Hmmm. I like all sorts of tech - tech improves medical diagnosis and
treatment, improves quality of live, keeps my house insulated and cooler,
powers my 4GB of RAM, allows me to ahve a nearly-zero-maintenence pool, and
But I loathe driving, and esp. loathe driving through strip malls trying to
find some store (esp. when I can get the same thing online, or when the local
stores don't even carry the item I want).
I also prefer a parking garage with areas of trees preserved (esp. when I can
walk in shade from the parking, to the store/mall) (which means a lot durint
hte SUmmer in the Houston area and other Southern cities/towns), to acres of
hot parking lots where you have to make long hikes from the car over a baking
black desoalte stretch of tar.
So that prefrence makes me a "liar" and a "technology laggard", too, I
Hence, WalMart. I usually get most of my produce elsewhere, but I can get
just about everything I need in one trip.
Not a lie, just a speculation. And erally, that sort of stpping and starting
*does* wreak havoc with one's gas mileage. WHich is why car mfgr.s have
stoppoed citing *city* MPG estimates, and only advertise *highway* mpg
I suggested electric (solar-ercharged) shuttles (which would be doable) - but
regardless of fuel/power-supply, those open air plazas remain, IMO, an
annoying pain in the bucket, and I avoid them whenever possible. The
exception is the local Lowe's/pool supply store/HEB (big grocery with good
<Now, if I have a LOT of things I need, then it's probably day-to-day
<things: frozen food, toiletries, socks, and whatever. That it's
<Walmart time. It's the ultimate in saving time and money and gas. I
<can't get specialty things there, say toner for the copies, but I can
<get photocopy paper there. But I don't go in there to "shop". I know
<what I need and I go and get it.
Most of my trips are to CostCo for food, etc, the pet store for my two
Himalayan cats, Kaiser for prescriptions/doctor appointments, and hardware
stores as needed. Not anywhere like driving around from store to store in
a strip mall.
A lot of my shopping of course is on the Internet especially for items that
often are not even in local stores. Even clothes and shoes have a far
wider selection on line than local stores.
OK, that *is* a point. But I think there is a differnce between strip malls,
and "open air plazas". A reasonably-local strip mall has a Super Wal-Mart,
Lowe's, pool supply place, and large grocery that has good produce - there is a
closer WalMArt, which I go to moer often, but I combine trips whwere possible;
tHer are otehr things in the mix, but I don't pay attention to them.
But a strip mall is different (or at elast, here is different here) from the
local "open-air plazas", which have no large anchors and consist mostly of
small "trendy"/"upscale" stores that spell shop as "shoppe".
I don't know, of course, whether that holds true elsewhere...
It is obvious that the owner of the mall wants to attract as many people as
possible to make a lot of money. Why would that be surprising? People
that become rich tend to be very good at their job.
I would not expect a planning commission to do anything significant. Most
Government planners that I have experience with are far too incompetent to
do anything that will turn out to be attractive to consumers.
THat's a consideration.
I don';t think it's "governemtn" alone - that's too dangerous.
What the originally-posted artice didn't talk about was how much business
the place actualyl does.
Personally, I don't like the open plazas I've seen. Again, not the same in
this areas as strip malls. Strip malls here are pretty much exactly that -
almost linear in layout. THey usually have at least one large "anchor"
store, and often more (like teh one complex that cosists mainly of the
Super WalMart and the Lowe's, with some space on th eopposite side fo the
parking lot devoted to a fast food restaurant and some small stores, one fo
which is the pool supply store).
In all fairness, I was the one, not AMy, who mentioned "shoppe", because
locally, yes, the open-air plazas (where the clusters of stores are spread
out and you have ot drive around between them) *DO* tend to have trendy
upscale "shoppes". (I don't think I said "uppity", IIRC I said
"upscale"...) I also said that I think it's goofy to have that sort of
thing here, because a significant part of the year is *so* hot and humid
that it's nasty to have to go back and forth to the car - and that the
local one I know of has never, that I've seen, had a full parking lot. I
also was the one who said that parking garages with covered walkways to
stores are preferable in a hotclimte (and prob. also a very cold one) to
making people go back and forth to their cars to get from store to store.
I *do* think that open plazas with widely-separates closters fo stores are
IMo not practical (hence, "goofy") and yup, I do hate them and don't use
them. Again, tho', locally, not the same thing as a strip mall, whcih *do*
tend to cluster stores together (and have smaller parkling lots in between)
such that one *can* walk between smaller stores - so, if you have to get a
Father's Day card and tehn develop some film, i'ts not all that far to walk
from the card shop to the place that develops film (and tehn to a couple
THat being said, I do think that AMy tends to rely too heavily upon teh
concept of governemnt regulation - on the very surface of it, it can sound
good, but in practice, gov.t all too often does *not* encourage creative
thinking, innovation, or, really, honesty and ethical behavior.
Do I think that planning could be done better? You betcha! But putting it
into the hands of gov.t is *not* an answer. If it were, we'd already have
better planning. WHat is the answer? Well, I don't really know, other
than that people need to look at situations and see what works well, and
what works poorly, eliminate the latter, and concentrate on the evolution
of what works well. Unfortunately, gov.t tends to do more of teh same as
has already been done, meaning that what works poorly is generally *not*
eliminated. ANd the only way to change *that* is to get better people in
office - but you can't get better people in office if voters prefer quippy
(or snarky) sound-bites to actual information, and prefer candidates who
trell them what they want to hear, rather than those who tell them what
they need to hear. SO, in essence, as with everythign else in a
republic/democracy, it has to start with We The People. If peole don;t
vote intelligent folks into office, and if people don't want to exert
themselves to put pressure on their elected offocials to come up with
better ways of doing things, then they've only themselves to blame when
things get done poorly - because simply voting for some schlepp, and then
leaving everything in the hands of said schlepp with Zero oversight, only
*encourages* inefficiancy, unintelligent choices, and even lack of ethics.
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