Patrick J. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Patrick J. 
Member since Mar 4, 2017


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Re: “In Burlington, Upward Growth or 'Vertical Sprawl'?

(2/2) Building more certainly isn't *sufficient* to get more equitable access to housing, particularly for the people who are stuck waiting around for building to catch up with demand - you also need to protect tenants in other ways. But building more is *necessary* to reduce rents, unless, I guess, you're rooting for a population crash! And infill is great also, but if you don't want sprawl and even greater car-dependence, you need to make efficient use of the land you have.

"Vertical sprawl" is a great phrase from a "viral marketing" standpoint -- it does a great job of painting tall buildings as vaguely dystopian. But it's actually misleading nonsense: exactly unlike actual sprawl, which involves building out, building upwards is more energy-efficient and reduces the distances people have to travel to go about their daily business, in turn reducing reliance on cars and fossil fuels. It also better preserves land outside the city limits for other uses. And if you think tall buildings are more socially alienating and stressful than the long car commutes that are caused by actual sprawl, I'd guess you probably don't have much experience with one of the two. So some amount of building up needs to eventually happen -- even if it might offend the sensibilities of some rich pseudo-hippies to have a visual reminder that they actually live in a city (oops, sorry, I'll rein it back in).

And I mean, these buildings are seriously only three stories higher than the current tallest building in Burlington. You would think someone was airdropping in the Prudential Tower or the fricking Space Needle or something.

3 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Patrick J. on 03/05/2017 at 8:55 PM

Re: “In Burlington, Upward Growth or 'Vertical Sprawl'?

(1/2) My point was actually that San Francisco has failed to build enough housing to even come close to the increase in that city's population. The rationales people give for opposing building in SF are very similar to the ones that are currently being deployed in Burlington -- take a look at 48hills, for example, and you'll see a lot of familiar arguments. That's why I think SF is a good cautionary example; if Burlington can't create enough housing and ordinary people can no longer afford to live there, it'll end up as a similarly exclusive playground for wealthy, outdoorsy telecommuters and retirees.

And of course higher prices and construction booms go together -- when a lot of wealthier people want to move to a given area, the housing market gets tighter and housing developers realize they can make more money by building. But to conclude from this that building more causes high rents is like concluding that umbrellas cause rain.

Smearing people who want more housing to be built as being in bed with developers is also a common strategy in SF. It's kind of funny to me, honestly -- it reminds me of the "paid protestor" meme the right wing currently favors. (If I really am a paid shill, where's my check? Did it get lost in the mail?) It also conveniently ignores that a lot of the people opposing development have their own conflicts of interest: for example, many are small-time landlords or other property-owners who benefit from high property values.

3 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Patrick J. on 03/05/2017 at 8:55 PM

Re: “In Burlington, Upward Growth or 'Vertical Sprawl'?

Preserving the waterfront is one thing, but if you want to see the logical end-point of refusing to build up anywhere in the city, take a look at San Francisco, where the average 1 bedroom apartment is now around $3.5K/month. That's also the average rent in the Mission, the much-vaunted "great arts district" Florida refers to.

That area, of course, now contains very few artists (a lucky few have rent control; the rest moved to Oakland, in dangerous and quasi-legal living spaces). Artists didn't move to the Mission because of the shape of the buildings, they moved there because it was a walkable neighborhood close to good transit that used to have cheap rent. And of course because the Latinx immigrants who live there (but are increasingly getting evicted now that the neighborhood has gotten so 'hot') poured tons of hard work into making their neighborhood a livable place with local groceries, taquerias, etc.

It's funny to me that one commenter said that the more Burlington wants to become a mini Boston or NYC, the less reason there is for people to live here - most of the young people I grew up with in Burlington don't stay because there aren't enough jobs and the rent is too high! But I think the comment is telling because it presumes that everyone in Burlington moved there (or continues to live there) for "lifestyle" reasons, as a sort of reaction against big cities. As far as that goes I think Julie Campoli is dead on the money here.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Patrick J. on 03/04/2017 at 5:22 AM

Re: “'Mister Sister' Controversy Leads to Pride Center of Vermont Resignations

Penelope: "Do you have any understanding of slavery? Of Jim Crow laws? Of lynching a black child for being rude to a white person? ... If black people can deal with overt racism and being shot by police and being denied voting rights, you can deal with a guy naming his bar something you don't like."

It's funny you bring up murder here because trans women - and especially trans women of color - are disproportionately the victims of violent hate-motivated crimes and homicides. They are more so than any other minority group in the USA, when you consider how tiny a percentage of the population they are. The majority of hate homicides against LGBTQ people in 2013 were actually perpetrated against trans women (e.g. http://www.avp.org/storage/documents/ncavp_transhvfactsheet.pdf). Trans women also experience disproportionately high rates of sexual abuse and assault; some studies actually estimate that again, the *majority* of trans women have been sexually abused or assaulted. That's horrifying to me.

Personally I feel pretty disappointed, as a gay guy from Burlington, that there are so many comments from gay men who are so attached to this name that they want to pick a fight over it with some of the most vulnerable members of our community (who supported us back in the early days and then got promptly thrown under the bus by our most visible activist group, the HRC).

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Patrick J. on 03/04/2017 at 4:36 AM

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