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Thread: Slurbs? The cities are losing?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Dec 2001
    West Valley, AZ

    Slurbs? The cities are losing?


    The article indicates that City's are not going to rebound, the suburbs are king and for the last 50 years traditional cities have been loosing population.

    The author goes on to illustrate a point that when 1,000 move into a city, urban planners and city officials declare victory that people are moving back into the city as the convienently ignore the fact that 10,000 have moved to the suburbs.

    He goes on to critisize planners who have organized civic events, art districts, and encourage singles, dinks, and empty nesters to live in the city. He indicates that planners have forgotten about good schools, crime, and public infrastructure maintenance.

    Incorrect data and plenty of presumptions create a load of crap. City's have been on the rebound... not all, but many have stablized their population drop and some of shown increases in population. The suburb may be the middle class families domain, but the city is still a focus of energy, inspiration, and collaboration of different people and different ideas. Cities provide the dynamic randomness that can't be recreated in a modern day suburb/exurb.

    The author assumes that our economic, transportation, and energy situations will not change and will always favor development of suburbs. City development was not always fashionable either... and until the advent of industrialization, mega cities were completely unfathomable. Things change, and it is negligent to ignore the fact that things will change again. Maybe cities won't become dominant, maybe small communities and hamlets scattered throughout the country will become fashionable and efficent.

    The author indicates that with advances in telecommunications, living in the city is not required anymore because people can work anywhere.. That being the case, soon we'll tele-purchase our groceries, furniture, and housing needs. We'll tele-educate our children in our own homes.. We'll tele-commute by working from home. It really won't matter where we live.. Families could even live... in the city? hmmm.

    I won't wear blinders and insist that the suburbs are not currently king. They seem to get the lionshare of residential development. They seem to appeal most to families. Cities, on the whole, seem to struggle to attract the middle class base.

    Cities have their own problems, and as suburbs mature and reach the maturity our traditional cities have, I expect suburbs will be inflicted with their own debilitating problems that will force an exodus somewhere else. The modern industrial city in America was about 100-125 years old when the heavy declines occured. The oldest suburbs are 3/4 of the way there.

    Planners do all that they can or are allowed to do to plan for the cities, suburbs, and rural areas. As advisors, all they can do is advise. Implementation and creation is up to the politicians and developers.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  2. #2
    Member japrovo's avatar
    Mar 2003
    Blacksburg, VA
    From your description it smelled like a Joel Kotkin-based rant and low and behold it was Kotin. Kotkin has made a great living for himself out of being the all purpose anti-Florida for the media---sort of a dial-a-quote machine (not that Florida is guiltless of such activity either!).

    City vs. suburb---its all so old school---the truth is we all live, work and play in regions. We pay taxes to cities or suburbs but that doesn't mean that localities have to function in exactly the same way in the marketplace which is essentially what this article (channeling Kotkin) tries to say.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Future Planner's avatar
    Jan 2005
    On the edge
    Although many cities are still losing popultion, plenty of others are certainly gaining. For example, downtown San Diego has had a NET GAIN of 1,000's probably way over 10,000 by now, since the 80s.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
    Jan 2005
    Land of Confusion
    The reality is far more complicated than all these city-bashers make it out to be. There is a high demand for living in urban locations, but in places that have safe, attractive, neighborhoods and access to jobs. Cities that have this are booming and consequently many people can't afford to live in them (Boston, NYC, SF, Chicago, Wash.). Then you have Detroit, among others (we can all agree on Detroit so I don't want to list any others for fear of pissing folks off ). Anyway, my point here is that in the market for livable urban locations supply isn't matching demand.

    But to say that cities aren't desirable because they don't have everthing that a suburb has- mainly good schools and well-maintained infrastructure- is bull****. The types of people that want to live in cities don't want the same things that the suburbs offer, which I think japrovo was alluding to.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian brian_w's avatar
    Jan 2005
    Kenosha, WI
    wow, couldn't stomach reading that whole article. This guy sounds like one of those that if he doesn't see immediate results, then its not happening. The comment was made before that supply is nowhere reaching demand, and I think that is so true. Every time I make it into downtown Milwaukee or its Historic Third Ward, it seems like more condos are going in, more restaurants and bars opening up, etc etc. That's why we get paid to do what we do. We look past the next week and look at trends that will carry us into the next 5, 10, 15 years and beyond.

  6. #6

    Oct 2004
    Arlington, Va.
    Quote Originally posted by japrovo
    From your description it smelled like a Joel Kotkin-based rant and low and behold it was Kotin. Kotkin has made a great living for himself out of being the all purpose anti-Florida for the media---sort of a dial-a-quote machine (not that Florida is guiltless of such activity either!).
    Yeah, Kotkin is making a name for himself by kicking a dying dog...He says that the suburbs are growing faster than the city and gets published??? I don't expect originality in everything that I read, but come on, surely someone who studies cities and architecture for a living can come up with a better analysis than that the cities have declined because they neglected their schools and crime...And yet he says such utterly simplistic things and people quote him!

    The obvious truth is that cities have, generally speaking, rebounded since their nadir. But they haven't returned to what they were 100 years ago. And the suburbs, now the outer suburbs, are getting the lion's share of almost all metro areas' growth. And unless we truly have a global energy crisis on our hands, these general trends aren't likely to change any time soon. Now, someone out there quote me.

  7. #7
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    Bump from PLANetizen forum.

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