Are there better alternatives to urban sprawl sitting right under our cities' noses?

as far as you can see. I-5. I-205. I-405. I-505. soon they'll run out of numbers.

what is a better alternative to cities building "OUT"?

Answer:
I fully support the idea of growing stuff on the roof.

However, I take issue Byderule, that 3 stories is all people can bear without eating their babies!

I think the height depends on the access to light, ventilation and a connection with nature or an open space ... such connection can consist of a distance view. The urban problem of every building being 16 stories high piled one adjacent to the other where all you get is a view of is the family living in the building opposite... then I suppose would consider eating my babies. There are some very wonderful buildings where living between floors 9 through to 40 stories up is quite a treat. Adjacent to Hyde park.. overlooking Sydney Harbour towards North headlands for example.. few city views are as fine.

This "issue" Byderule alludes to can be avoided by careful planning of buildings and streetscapes. Buldings arranged along reticulation systems can oscillate in height to form man made peaks and valleys .. we can, as byderule suggests smother them in growy things rather than signage (viva Las Vegas) . and this would be my environment of choice... but all in all.. more than 3 stories high is a must have situation. This strategy makes for reduced urban sprawl. Many of our cities... look at Beijing. . started out as a three storey city.. (it is now a much taller city ~ taller by the minute) but as a three storey city it suffered considerably from sprawl.. and it was a bicycle city 25 years ago when I was there. Pity it didn't stay that way.

People will move to places that they want to live for economic, social, cultural and environmental reasons. Urban sprawl is seriously problematic. Urban consolidation is what is necessary... let's go for green consolidation if we can.
Most communities other than a few urban downtown areas have height limitations that prevent building *UP*.
Building 'Up.' Many cities have enacted height limitations on buildings, forcing an outward move rather than a more efficient use of land. Recently, Seattle revisited legislation restricting height of buildings due to excessive sprawl, and came to the decision to increase the maximum height permitted.

This type of movement is gaining ground in many communities where residents are forced to battle hours long commutes because the only affordable housing is available on the outskirts of the urban areas and businesses are assuming control of the land closer to the city center.

As an example of how this change has started to effect Seattle, Safeco, a large insurance company based in Seattle, until recently had multiple buildings in the Seattle area, but are now moving to consolidate their operations under one roof in the downtown area.
increasing taxes, taxing based on housing density, not square footage. 50 apartments on an acre of land should be taxed MUCH lower than a single family dwelling on an acre of land. Even if the house is the same sq ftg as one apartment.
There are lots of alternatives. Like where I live--in an intown neighborhood a 5 minute train ride from downtown Atlanta. Strictly middle income, a shopping center in walking distance. Parks (including running trails), mixed income housing, both apartments and single family homes. And you can walk down the street anytime, day or night,and not be bothered. We use the car maybe 1-2 times a week--just don't need it more than that.

It's not th espace--its how you use it.
(one of the "revitalized" areas of Atlanta, GA, if you're curious)
Check out this book: "Bulldozer in the Countryside" by Adam Rome--a history of the origin, growth, and environmental impact of America's suburbs. Top scholarship and very readable.
PERMACULTURE ANSWER

going up is unhealthy after 3 stories

going out kills to much nature

so going out with Nature on top is the only option

apart from mass depopulation.

existing cities have uneven buildings to considder roof gardens and the air is far to poluted.

URBANISATION IN A SUSTAINABLE ,AUTOSUFICIENT & HEALTHY MANNER

They did some experiments with rats in highrise building conditions and after the 3rd story they began to get weird
by the time they were on twenty they went insane and ate their own babies .

this gives you some idea what the bosses must be like in the penthouse offices

So 3 stories is a reasonable healthy hight for humans they have discovered BOTH MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH

so we cannot put to many people on top of each other
technically it is an impossible task to ensure a continues supply of good air for everybody
and the mental effects are drastic ,
but we can blend people into and under the landscape
------------------------------...
there is an Architect who designed a city in China that blended totally into the landscape ,the farmland ending on top of all the equal level roofs ,with the farmers moving about on bridges

All the rooms would have the sun at least once a day,The city to utilize all their own byproducts as gas for cooking or compost
With solar energy to power the lot

The land above would produce all the food and meat for the city

A totally autosuficient concept ,with argiculture build in in a sustainable way.

Very technical and advanced
it is talked about on this youtube at the end
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iorjz8itv...
------------------------------...
So the answer is urbanisation incorporated with agriculture

Agro urbanization,coupled to Agro forestry.

food and animals with in forests
and people hidden 3 levels underneath the farms ,all housing having what is called living roofs(have done some myself with pasture and goats on the roof ,and seen many of these) ,with pasture and vegetables ,this would also keep the dwellings cool.

IN THE PAST
Montezuma looked out of his window one day and saw all his peasants in huts of adobe as a blemish on his panorama ,and he ordered the people to hide themselves beneath beautifull flowers (deoderant was not so big in those days),and so the central Americans were motivated to build living roofs ,turning their village in to a garden with themselves hidden with in ,So the idea is by no means original
Babylon was doing very similar things using sophistcated building methods and stone

This concept can spread into the country with out depleting it
leaving room for expansion


choosing a site
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;...
water harvesting
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;...
biodiversity
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;...

the rippling effect
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;...

organic pest control & growing your own food
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;...

you have had all this before No??
There is an alternative to building out. Building multiuse communities. In NY City there are many people that are born live and die all within 12 square blocks. Everything they needed was in those 12 square blocks. The carbon production of never leaving those 12 square blocks is minimal. We should be shopping locally as much as we can anyway.
Population control.
If you build up, as in multi floors it is great, it keeps lots of people confined to one target area for the next set of plains. be sure to put a big red X on the top floor.
some drastic change in future civilisation is essential for survival. we have definite alternatives. but these alternatives does not look convenient initially, nobody prepares to introduce this. hence all of us to wait for disaster to happen before we introduce these drastic changes. we do have better living methods!

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