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Thread: Which Soon to be, up and coming City???

  1. #1
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    Which Soon to be, up and coming City???

    I am a 16 year old living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I have a great interest in cities and I am almost positive that I want to take Urban and Regional Planning in University when I graduate high school in a couple of years. I realise I am looking too far ahead, however I have always planned to eventually start my own condo conversion or development business after I have worked in Urban planning for a few years, and have gotten to know the city I work in inside out. Well I do love the city of Toronto, I feel it is way too big and developed already for someone like me to start off small and work my way up in as a developer, and that I would be better off going to a smaller city that appears to be real up and coming, with a bright future, especially for downtown development. (Please correct me if this theory is wrong)

    Therefore my question is, what U.S. sunbelt cities should I be starting to think about looking into once I have my Masters degree in Urban Planning (since I want to start off working in planning in the same city I will eventually be developing buildings in) Like I mentioned earlier, I want to be looking at smaller cities, or cities with small or empty downtowns, which look like they could start turning around and promoting downtown living and development in the next 10 years or so, so that I would likely be able to ride the front of the wave once I have graduated, and worked in planning for about 5 years or so. (So probably about 10 years from now) I realise that it may be too far away to tell, however I am just looking for some possible options. Also, I am looking for cities in the U.S. with a warmer climate.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    It's not bad to dream ahead. Just know to keep your options/avenues open. And continue to research, learn, and discover. I'm 18, and I've always known I wanted to do something geographically, and even broader in the social sciences. At age 16, I narrowed my interest down to urban planning.

    Relating to your questions: Whatever you do, don't build on the beach for you will piss off a lot of people on here, it is not smart planning, and it will likely be destroyed by forces of nature (hurricane, erosion, flood, wind, etc.) in the coming years.

    Inland, I think Birmingham, Little Rock, Jackson, Columbia, and other "old south" cities are really starting to coming around, as well as Plains cities like Oklahoma City and Wichita.

    I think people appreciate the historical, cultural, and political significance of some of these areas, and Atlanta will eventually run out of room and ideas. Suburban/fringe development is on the upswing. Political dynamics are changing. The economics of the South are a lot stronger. There's some nice colleges in some of these towns, and you want to encourage graduates to stick around. I see a lot of potential in the interior South. Good luck to ya...and don't block the beachview!!!
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  3. #3
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    Don't write off less familiar areas of the Sunbelt. Even though coastal California cities seem to be saturated with urban planners and are hemorrhaging people to more affordable ares of the country, the inland cities such as Sacramento, Modesto, Fresno, and Bakersfield are facing a growing population and are rediscovering their downtowns.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MrMan
    Therefore my question is, what U.S. sunbelt cities should I be starting to think about looking into once I have my Masters degree in Urban Planning (since I want to start off working in planning in the same city I will eventually be developing buildings in) Like I mentioned earlier, I want to be looking at smaller cities, or cities with small or empty downtowns, which look like they could start turning around and promoting downtown living and development in the next 10 years or so, so that I would likely be able to ride the front of the wave once
    Greensboro, NC
    Raleigh, NC (not that small)
    Durham, NC
    Wilmington, NC (one reason I am moving there)
    Columbia, SC
    Provo, UT
    Possibly Biloxi, MS and the panhandle of Florida

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    I think you are pretty safe in just about anywhere in the south where there is decent growth. Because revitalizing a downtown is long tedious work that often takes decades to pull off, I wouldn't necessarily limit your search to places that are just getting started in terms of developing their respective downtowns. In ten years, the same cities that are doing significant work in their downtown areas will probably still be doing work.

    Because the south is growing strongly and planning is still somewhat new to the area, planning jobs will contine to grow and pop up. I would find an geographic area that you really like, and then try to get a job, rather than trying to get a job in the perfect situation.
    Every time I look at a Yankees hat I see a swastika tilted just a little off kilter.
    Bill "Spaceman" Lee

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    Quote Originally posted by ofrc3
    Don't write off less familiar areas of the Sunbelt. Even though coastal California cities seem to be saturated with urban planners and are hemorrhaging people to more affordable ares of the country, the inland cities such as Sacramento, Modesto, Fresno, and Bakersfield are facing a growing population and are rediscovering their downtowns.
    Sacramento-most definitely.

    Modesto-Yawwwwwwwn

    Fresno-116 degrees F (or bone chilling grey fog/smog during the winter), high, high crime rate, corrupt local government, and an amazingly bland sprawlscape, plus 16% endemic unemployment. Nope, unless you can work for the more charming suburb of Clovis..

    Bakersfield-I've heard it's decent, but the surroundings have towns with names like "Taft" and "Oildale." With only 5 inches of rain on average, how nice would it be.

    I would suggest instead other, smaller, and more northern inland cities like Chico (a college town to boot), Redding (blah town with a scorching climate, but a great forested mountain and reservoir setting immediately outside town), Santa Rosa (still expensive, but better than the central Bay Area. It's in a beautiful wine country setting), Lodi, a small, wine-growing Central Valley town with some great planning downtown.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    St. George area of UT. Unbelievable growth rate.
    Summit County, UT. ditto
    Utah County, UT ditto

    The list goes on and on, I would imagine that the same would be true in every other wothwestern state.

    I think Santa Rosa would be an incredible setting to be in.

  8. #8
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Las Cruces, New Mexico. I'll recommend it since they got a new PD last year. Diverse as hell, growing rapidly, well-educated population, wins all sorts of "best place to/for [X]"-like awards, but it has a downtown that is almost completely dead exceot for some offices, local and county government, and a used book store. It's ripe for revival, though; it's completely surrounded by residential areas, it's at most 15 minutes away from the furthest reaches of the city's sprawl, and residents aren't reluctant to leave their neighborhoods for shopping, dining and entertainment. Eight inches of rain a year; it's actually very green in some areas.

    A few others on my up-and-coming list:

    Grand Junction, Colorado: isolated but very liveable city that is laid back and quite easy on the eyes. The downtown is small, but it's healthy. The population used to be Alberta-like; now it's swinging heavily towards the young, outdoorsy crowd. Good weather, too.

    Greeley, Colorado. It's more likely that nearby Fort Collins will break out and become Colorado's third major city, but you said "small or empty downtowns", and Fort Collins has a downtown that is extremely busy. Greeley can only benefit from riding real estate prices in the Fort Collins, Boulder and Denver's northern suburbs. Mild winters; there's snow, but a lot of sun.

    I'll second St. George, but be aware demographics there skew old.

    IMHO, steer clear of Pueblo, Colorado; most Texas cities, and anyplace in Wyoming. The Central Valley cities in California have reputations as havens for the Dale mourning n' meth crowd.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    The Central Valley cities in California have reputations as havens for the Dale mourning n' meth crowd.
    YEah. Plenty of "3"s in my neck of the woods, which is kinda the transition between the "I'll only have organic, free range tofu and artisan, cloud forest coffee" Bay Area.

    The population boom is not all Dalites, though.

    Sacramento is blossoming as a city-during my 15 years in nothern California. it has changed in visible ways for the better as an urbane, interesting place. And, we government planners played a big role in that transformation (the Capital Area Development Authority has done some amazing projects-and stabilized the central midtown area long enough to allow the changes to blossom). It may be hot, but the third best "urban forest" in the world mitigates that. And, it's by no means perfect-the downtown core itself needs big help, there are neighborhoods that are still struggling. A great place for a young planner to come in.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    I'll second St. George, but be aware demographics there skew old.
    ...and skew polygamist.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Anywhere here in S. Florida would be a great opportunity. There are cities here with ambitious redevelopment plans on a scale unlike anywhere else in the U.S.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Sacramento ...may be hot, but the third best "urban forest" in the world mitigates that.
    BKM, what is this urban forest that you speak of? I'm curious to know about this even thought it's slightly off topic from what the original post is about.

    For MrMan, why aren't you looking into areas of Canada that have a warmer climate than Toronto, which doesn't have, imo, an extremely bad climate in terms of temperatures?

  13. #13
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    BKM, do you have any pics of Sac's Fabulous 40's (the Avenues?). Nice neighborhoods. A lawyer friend of mine lives out in the 40's. I think you have to be a lawyer or doctor to live out there.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    BKM, do you have any pics of Sac's Fabulous 40's (the Avenues?). Nice neighborhoods. A lawyer friend of mine lives out in the 40's. I think you have to be a lawyer or doctor to live out there.
    You certainly do now. Sacramento is "cheap" only in comparison to, say, the Penninsula. A small, not particularly elegant cottage on 35th Street (hardly the heart of the district) would go well into the $400's, if not creeping above that. If you want to live on 45th Street, the "peak," you're probably well over $1 million. There is also Land Park, a fantastic 1920s-1950s suburb in South Sacrmento that is very beautiful-and bicyle friendly.

    I've actually not taken a lot of pictures in Sacramento. I took a few completely unsuccessful shots of duplexes that I hoped to send to Nerudite, but the lighting was all wrong. It's a hard place to shoot because of the tree cover.

    BKM, what is this urban forest that you speak of? I'm curious to know about this even thought it's slightly off topic from what the original post is about.
    I may be exagerating somewhat-it's a statistic I've heard/read in multiple places. The reason for the claim is that the City of Sacramento is lushly streetscaped with mature street trees in almost every neighborhood. And, they seem to replant them pretty well. Even the newer neighborhoods in the city have some successful tree plantingts. Riverlake, for example, has a huge median in the main boulevard lined with absolutely gigantic pear trees. Amazing during spring bloom (or, probably right now with fall color).

    The City also has a first rate urban park system, including a 35-mile-long riverside greebelt, parts of which are heavily forested with native oaks and cottonwoods, other parts are graced by more formal, traditional urban parks and recreation areas.

    The high sunlight, good valley soils, and imported water all seem to help trfees grow very well in Sacramento.

    I'm taking a few days off-maybe I'll go bicycling there this weekend!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    To be honestly simplistic about you question, just get your degree at a school in, or close, to a city that you’d like to live in. Where it is doesn’t really seem to matter. Get involved in a local Community Development Corporation (CDC) and/or get a good internship and the rest will take care of its self.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller
    Anywhere here in S. Florida would be a great opportunity. There are cities here with ambitious redevelopment plans on a scale unlike anywhere else in the U.S.
    And plenty of hurricanes to allow you to wipe the slate clean and start over.
    Every time I look at a Yankees hat I see a swastika tilted just a little off kilter.
    Bill "Spaceman" Lee

  17. #17
    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    I agree that St. George and Washington county is an up and coming area. I’ve said this before, it’s what I call the “New West”. Mountain time zone states that will dominate the next wave of growth. It may not last 100 years but that’s were it’ll be. Now, not all of this will be in the Mt. time zone, but I’m saying think out side the box. Here is a few others (maybe)

    Metro’s and cities in this area include,

    Idaho:
    Boise
    Coeur d’ Alene

    Colorado:
    Denver
    Colorado Springs

    Montana:
    Billings
    Missoula

    Nevada:
    Reno
    Extreme Vegas area’s, like Mesquite

    Utah:
    Provo
    St. George/ Washington

    South Dakota:
    Sioux Falls

    Texas:
    Larado
    What the hay, all TX border towns (& AZ.)

    Bill

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  18. #18
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    I don't know how small you are looking to go, but here's a few from Texas:

    San Marcos: a drinking town with a college problem. Wait, that's not right... It's a town of close to 60,000 when class is in session (Texas State University) and is about 30 miles south of Austin. It has a historic downtown that is populated with several bars and was made famous for a Newton Gang bank robbery in which they used too many explosives to blast a safe, resulting in shattering every window in downtown. There is broad support for redeveloping the downtown area to get more residential down there as well as retail and professional offices. A few projects are just getting going, including their first loft development (redevelopment of an old church), so now would be a good time to try to slip in on the ground floor of that. On top of that the Director there would be one hell of a mentor as she is very well known in planning circles. This town is all about environmental protection as well, if you are in to that kind of thing.

    Bryan and College Station: Sister cities. They've got some new leadership and some fairly impressive planning stuff going by Texas standards. I don't know much about the downtowns, but Bryan's is probably less developed. I really expect this area to start taking off in a similar manner to the research triangle in North Carolina.

    Denton: Another Texas city showing some promise. Not the prettiest thing on earth, but from what I'm hearing at conventions they are turning it around. I will almost guarantee you that their downtown is dead, though I haven't visited based just on what I've seen in North Texas. They have a top 10 school for public affairs in University of North Texas if you want to go after a PhD later on. Dallas/Fort Worth area is where you can see the most progressive planning in the state (and also some of the worst), though Austin is trying to catch up.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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