Seeing the Suburb vs Suburb #1 thread revive from the dead, I thought I'd post another fun one. Amherst, New York (suburban Buffalo) versus Southfield, Michigan (suburban Detroit). Borth suburbs are credited -- or blamed -- for much of the decline in their host city downtown districts in the 1970s.
Amherst, New York
Median household income:$55,427
Median family income: $68,951
Mean household earnings: $70,557
% white: 90.2%
% black: 4.3%
% Asian: 5.6%
% bachelor degree: 24.8%
% graduate degree: 22.6%
Median home value (2000): $120,000 (Census usually undervalues by about 50%)
Skyline/edge city: none, except for the midrise buildings buildings of the UB North Campus, and some hotels in the Golden Triangle area at I-290 and Millersport Highway. Most office space -- and there is a lot of it -- is located in one and two-story buildings located in scattered office parks.
Residential areas: hamlets settled in the mid- to late-1800s, Williamsville being the largest. Widescale development began in the 1920s (Eggertsville, Snyder, Williamsville), but stalled during the Depression. Development resumed in the 1950s, small Cape Cod "doll houses" inside the I-290 beltway; larger ranch houses outside. Development accelerating rapidly in the 1970s as the UB North Campus was and various office parks were built, and continues today. Most new housing are move-up to very high end single family houses, upscale patio homes, and assisted living centers . About 60% built out.
Retail districts: Niagara Falls Boulevard corridor (shared with Tonawanda) and Transit Road corridor (shared with Clarence). Most retail chains saturate Amherst before expanding elsewhere in the Buffalo area, if they even do so. Boulevard Mall is a 1960s-era mid-end mall that is healthy. No architectural regulations.
People: Original growth came from those upgrading from houses in northern city neighborhoods (Kensington, University Heights, North Buffalo) and suburban Tonawanda and Kenmore. The majority of those involved in corporate relocation to the Buffalo area settle in Amherst. Originally settled by Yankee and German-American farmers, it's now the dominant of Buffalo's two Jewish population centers; with a growing Italian-American, Asian, Asian Indian and African-American poplation.
Median household income: $51,802
Median family income: $64,543
Mean household earnings: $64,449
% white: 41.0%
% black: 55.8%
% Asian: 3.8%
% bachelor degree: 21.6%
% graduate degree: 15.1%
Median home value (2000): $156,400 (Census usually undervalues by about 50%)
Skyline/edge city: significant. Most office space is concentrated in a group of high-rise buildings that creates the impression of a medium-sized downtown district.
Residential areas: developed through the 1960s and 1970s with comfortable, larger homes marketed to middle and upper-middle income families. Now mostly built out.
Retail districts: Northland Mall, one of the first major suburban shopping centers in the United States, is now dying. Plentiful strip development with the usual assortment of middle to middle-high end natonal retailers in strip plazas and power centers. Fairly strict architectural regulations.
People: Growth fueled by white flight from Detroit. Now experiencing racial transition, as middle class blacks relocate from the host city, and whites move to communities further removed in Oakland County; Bloomfield Hills, Oak Park, Farmington Hills and so on. Once one of the most heavily Jewish communities in the United States; some Orthodox remain. City officials are actively working to promote racial integration and prevent resegregation.