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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2006, 8:42 AM
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USA Sprawl Festival continued: San Antonio

Link to the first thread in this series.
USA Sprawl Festival

Or, click on the following links to see just individual cities in that thread:

Kansas City
Some northern Denver suburbs
Albuquerque
Seattle
Las Vegas
Dallas-Fort Worth
Some western & southern Minneapolis suburbs
Orange County, California
Philadelphia
Tucson
Orlando
Northern Virginia/DC
Cleveland
Houston
Atlanta
Indianapolis
Long Island, New York
Jacksonville
Boston

And the 2nd round ones:

Phoenix-East
Phoenix-South
Phoenix-North
Phoenix-West
Portland
Silicon Valley
Los Angeles
San Bernardino County
San Diego - south
San Diego - north
Buffalo
Broward County, Florida
Dallas-Fort Worth II
Riverside County, California
Denver - south suburbs
Orange County II
Bergen and Passaic Counties, New Jersey
Milwaukee
Columbus
El Paso, with some Juarez

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS









Close-up of fancy houses.




Close-up of average, somewhat older houses.




A break from the sprawl. Wild area south of the city.


An older but fashionable, in-city neighborhood.




Semi-rural area out on the fringe.


Tennis and golf.


Plenty of lots still available.


Looks like some sort of fancy resort.




Industrial/business park. Lots of parking.


More industry. With less parking.




Even with all the parking, most of the spaces are taken.


Wal-Mart.


Some lots still available in the development on the right. Hurry and get one before they're gone!


New shopping center in a new neighborhood.


This was interesting. It looked like an old mall on the city's north side that was being dismantled. Off to the right there was an abandoned Sears. Wonder what they're doing with this?


This was just to the north of the abandoned mall, across the freeway.


Office park. Lots of parking!


Close-up of houses hidden in the trees.


Typical business park.


Apartments.


Bored yet?


Some people have a short commute.


Typical corner business district. Notice the road-widening on the right. Gotta make room for more!


Are you sure you aren't bored yet?


In case you weren't sufficiently bored, there's more on the way.


Some older stuff, with a few newer houses here and there.


Poor part of town. With the requisite junked cars in the backyard.


No so sprawly. I guess this would be classified as a "working class" part of town.


More "working class" stuff.


More apartments.


Zzzzzzzz . . .
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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2006, 9:35 AM
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Where in the world are you finding these, Bond? Do do Austin next, (if you have them).
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Old Posted Dec 7, 2006, 1:07 PM
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http://local.live.com/ ... click on the "bird's eye view." They don't have it for every city, but quite a few do. Be sure to try out the new 3D feature it's amazing. Have fun.
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Old Posted Dec 7, 2006, 2:35 PM
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I wish these photos were taken during the fall or spring when things would be nice and green. It's amazing that San Antonio, a city with an incredible central core that everyone loves, is so typical of U.S. cities with the suburban spawl. When you drive into San Antonio from Austin, the development extends out about 30 miles (solid). Of course, Austin is the same way. Is there a large U.S. city that isn't that way? I haven't found one yet, but would like to.
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Old Posted Dec 7, 2006, 6:45 PM
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this is perhaps one of the most depressing things i've ever seen.
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  #6  
Old Posted Dec 7, 2006, 7:06 PM
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I used to live two blocks from that wal-mart, trust me it's alot better than the flea market that used to be there. The abandoned mall, is Central Park Mall, but the Sears is still open, waiting for the area around it to be turned in to Park North Plaza. If you wanted to put up a real abandoned mall you should look at I-35 and walzem. The building with no parking is Brooke Army medical center, known all over the world as a leader in burn recovery and a Level 1 trauma center. It caters to both retirees and active duty.
to those who say it's depressing, remember San Antonio isn't a wealthy city by any means. Those tract houses represent struggle from those working class poor neighborhoods, brighter futures for people's children, not having to worry about drive-by's at night or drug dealers on the corner.
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Old Posted Dec 7, 2006, 7:44 PM
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Hmm...
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  #8  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2006, 4:19 AM
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"to those who say it's depressing, remember San Antonio isn't a wealthy city by any means. Those tract houses represent struggle from those working class poor neighborhoods, brighter futures for people's children, not having to worry about drive-by's at night or drug dealers on the corner.[/QUOTE]"

Wow....thanks for bringing us all back to reality. There's not a large city in this country that doesn't have the same issues San Antonio does with poverty and a struggling population. As much as I detest urban sprawl myself (used to live in it), it seems that most people I know who are part of it are perfectly happy. I work at an agency of about 3,000 people, and the vast majority live in the burbs, either by choice or by financial limitations. And again, they seem to love it. I'm new to the forum, but my take is that most forum visitors are love dense urban cores (as I do). And there's nothing wrong with that either.

Thanks again for the reminder.
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  #9  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2006, 8:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinFromTexas View Post
Where in the world are you finding these, Bond? Do do Austin next, (if you have them).
They don't have coverage of Austin (yet). I've checked many times. If they ever do come out with coverage of it I'll definitely do it.
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  #10  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2006, 4:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coddat View Post
to those who say it's depressing, remember San Antonio isn't a wealthy city by any means. Those tract houses represent struggle from those working class poor neighborhoods, brighter futures for people's children, not having to worry about drive-by's at night or drug dealers on the corner.
Sprawl is ugly and depressing to begin with, but San Antonio's about the ugliest of the ugly. And I call bullcrap on your rose-tinted ode to the working class tract house. San Antonio's suburbanization is largely due to people from out of the area moving in (expanding economy, military presence, etc.) and are not part of that cycle you described.

San Antonio has not had the same scale of problems with drug dealers and drivebys like many other cities. excuses. you want to look at 'tract housing' that represents the struggle and escape from working class neighborhoods? look at brooklyn, or somewhere else, but not schertz or universal city.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2006, 6:29 PM
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Wow, that is some ugly development.
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  #12  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2006, 7:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbeiter View Post
Sprawl is ugly and depressing to begin with, but San Antonio's about the ugliest of the ugly. And I call bullcrap on your rose-tinted ode to the working class tract house. San Antonio's suburbanization is largely due to people from out of the area moving in (expanding economy, military presence, etc.) and are not part of that cycle you described.

San Antonio has not had the same scale of problems with drug dealers and drivebys like many other cities. excuses. you want to look at 'tract housing' that represents the struggle and escape from working class neighborhoods? look at brooklyn, or somewhere else, but not schertz or universal city.
I'm not saying it's pretty, and I would love it if everyone could live in an alamo heights, or monte vista enviroment, but they can't. You should be better informed however, San Antonio's military presence has been on the rapid decline for about a decade, coming with the closure of Kelly and brooks AFB, now will Lackland AFB losing the majority of it's programs San Antonio can hardly be called military city.
You talk about drug dealers and drivebys like you know San Antonio, but aren't you from Austin,but now you live in brooklyn? What do you know? Do you know of neighborhoods called gunrise (sunrise), places where police no longer offer protection. or the Glen which no city will annex because the cost of police protection is too high. The Glen recently lost all section 8 funding because it's too dangerous! "SAHA is phasing out the subsidized housing program by mid-fall 2007 in The Glen and adjacent Camelot II neighborhoods because of rising crime, unsafe conditions and uncooperative landlords renting to Section 8 clients, the city's housing agency said" from the San Antonio express news http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/...o&mysa_login=1 What about a whole 1.1 million square foot mall abandoned because of drivebys in the parking lot? you didn't know about that did you? If you want to pick on sprawl, pick on the mcmansions of the Dominion and Stone Oak. Don't pick on the 90,000 dollar houses of live oak and Converse, besides most of those house in the photos look like they are from out by seaworld, not schertz or universal city.
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  #13  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2006, 9:35 PM
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I think these threads would be more informative if every picture was accompanied with a corresponding map detailing the location of these neighborhoods and their distance from downtown. San Antonio's history of suburban development is not typical, in that many dense suburbs sprung up around each of the half-dozen or so military installations around town over several decades. The really disgusting stuff is that far west and northwest stuff, and Stone Oak. Hell, Stone Oak looks like Austin. Yecchh. I was born in town, in an apt complex in Alamo Heights, but my parents moved to an $80,000 house on the NW side of town in the early '80s because they couldn't afford to live in 78209 anymore. This was before this decidedly non-San Antonio residential growth we've seen in the past decade and a half on the north side.

What I don't understand is how the developers in the pre-sunbelt cities of the northeast can be seen as any more scrupulous than the sunbelt developers. Had it been economically sound for them to build way out and exploit urban flight in the early part of the century, they would have done it then. They eventually did anyway.

As far as San Antonio's "ugliness:" San Antonio has character (and I'm not talking about the Riverwalk here) that goes back 300 years. It is alive; not thriving, but toiling. There is blood in those buildings; in the dreams of poorer families who believed, misguided or not, that their salvation was in owning a home. And they don't buy the McMansions in this thread. I don't know those people, and I don't care to. There are families who survived the violence of the Alazan Apache Courts of the late '80s and still live inside "the loop." And families like mine, who moved out to the 'burbs too long ago and regret it now. San Antonio isn't pretty, clean or filled with steel and glass. There is a superficiality to that kind of develoment which a lot of San Antonians resent (hence the rivalry w/Austin and its "contact highs" and cookie-cutter bohemia. Austin, Portland, Boulder, where am I again?) Here's a pic of the neighborhood where my band practiced for years in my drummer's house (which was his mother's and grandmother's house). To me, this is what San Antonio neighborhoods looked like.
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  #14  
Old Posted Dec 8, 2006, 9:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coddat View Post
You should be better informed however, San Antonio's military presence has been on the rapid decline for about a decade, coming with the closure of Kelly and brooks AFB, now will Lackland AFB losing the majority of it's programs San Antonio can hardly be called military city.
I am very well informed - you're just not reading my statements completely. Most of the suburbia we saw pictures of were obviously developed in the postwar era, pre 1990 - at the height of San Antonio's military-industrial-complex expansion. The suburbs pictured are definitely tied to the military bases, even if a lot of people who inhabit the houses don't work for the military.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coddat View Post
You talk about drug dealers and drivebys like you know San Antonio, but aren't you from Austin,but now you live in brooklyn? What do you know?
If you look at statistics, which I have, and don't resort to emotional responses like you have, you'll see that San Antonio historically has a lower crime rate than many of the other cities I was comparing it to. The bottom line is, you rose-tinted this $90,000 a house suburbia as if it was some kind of result of masses-yearning-to-breathe-free, when it really wasn't. It was postwar expansion - San Antonio is growing because of migration like it always has - it was just military-related before the 1990's. Why is it that the north, west and northeastern parts of the city have expanded but the south hasn't? You know the answer and I don't have to say it.

Bottom line is, San Antonio's got some ugly-ass sprawl, and this is merely just an aesthetic opinion. At least Phoenix's sprawl has some kind of hypnotic geometric appeal to it.
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  #15  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2006, 12:45 AM
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I see your suburban San Antonio Wal-Mart and raise you the West Charleston Wal-Mart in urban Las Vegas.

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  #16  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2006, 1:30 AM
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San Antonio's problem is 90% perception; it has a hard time drawing attention to itself from within its' own state. It has always been treated differently than Dallas or Houston, though historically it was the dominant city in the state until the early 20th century.

These days, most Texas homebuilders/developers seem to turn their attention to Austin first, when it comes to building some creative and interesting homes.

San Antonio deserve's a lot more. It has the type of history and pedigree that everyone on this board admires; an old-world (for us) city that has grown organically for almost 300 years. In terms of 'new' old-world charm, San Antonio should be in a league with New Orleans or Boston.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2006, 3:26 AM
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In terms of 'new' old-world charm, San Antonio should be in a league with New Orleans or Boston.
I beg your pardon?!?

New Orleans and Boston have functional urban environments and blocks of gorgeous and well-preserved buildings. San Antonio has a few of those and a small, walkable urban environment around Riverwalk. Unfortunately, most of the city (that I have seen, at least - and I thought I saw the "nicer" parts) is boring and unattractive sprawl. The city may have a rich history, and as many of you like to use the word "soulless" in connecton to sprawl, this history does NOT show through in the bland, boring architecture surrounding the city's core. San Antonio was one of the few places I have ever been in which both the inner and outer neighborhoods equally disappointed me. Yeah, lots of it is working class and not "fancy" like some of the "boutique cities," but when I compare that with working class parts of Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, or Chicago these cities' vernacular working/middle class neighborhoods just blow San Antonio away.
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Old Posted Dec 9, 2006, 4:14 AM
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Please re-read what I said. SA 'should' be in a league with these cities, I didn't say it was. Frankly, it deserves a fate better than what has happened to it in the last 40 years.

There was alot destroyed in the late 60's for the sake of urban renewal, the ugly hemisphere plaza/arena/tower being one result.

It just seems to me that SA is still paying for this mistake, long after cities like Boston have been able to recover from similar self-inflicted wounds. I don't think anyone on this board is about to admit that the City Hall, the central artery and the destruction of the west end were proud moments for Boston...

Last edited by vertex; Dec 9, 2006 at 4:19 AM.
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  #19  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2006, 4:37 AM
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I'm amazed at how a few members get their thrills by being so nasty (e.g., instead of constructive criticism, spewing out statements like "your skyline is crap", etc.). Sometimes people do it in order to rationalize to themselves that they're city is better...it's a "bully" approach. Every city is what it is, the good and bad. I've spent a lot of time in S.A. and love a lot of it. And the parts of it that aren't so attractive visually happen to have real people living there. In most cases the last thing on their minds is whether their neighborhood meets the criteria of some distant critic.
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  #20  
Old Posted Dec 9, 2006, 5:05 AM
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I don't see what people are getting so het up about, really. This stuff doesn't look any worse than the sprawl from any other arid area. I certainly don't think, as others are saying, that it's the ugliest sprawl shown in this series.
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