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Thread: People fleeing the cities?

  1. #26
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr View post
    I have only lived in the city for about 4 years of my life. I didn't experience anything special about it, besides getting used to the noise of trains. I grew up on 80 acres in a rural area and bought my first house in a rural area. I enjoy the commute and time to myself not having to fight traffic, for me it is a time for me to unwind. Furthermore, I fully enjoy my rural property, which abuts state-owned nature preserve, its peacefulness and serenity help keep me sane. I like having a yard large enough to mow with a rider and being able to pee outside (hey, I'm a guy). The city is "only" a 20 minute drive away to enjoy all the "amenities" our city offers. The city is not for everyone and as long as there are not laws requiring residency inside a city for employees, I probably will never live in one.
    I agree. I grew up on a farm in rural southwestern NYS and now live within the city limits of a small city (30,000) in a primarily rural county (150,000 pop). I looked into purchasing a rural home, but couldn't find the right match with house/land/price/commute. My neighborhood just inside the city limits allows me to have all the city "amenities" with the quiet and good neighborliness of country/small town life (Jamestown is really just a larger small town!), including a pretty good-sized lot for gardening, so it will do until I retire. Then I'll decide if I wish to stay here or maybe move back to my home town where my family still owns land. Another option I've considered is moving "south" to PA to one of the little towns around Warren, PA where the winters aren't nearly as snowy as in southwestern NYS!

    I think that one of the things to keep in mind is that many times people who move to rural areas don't necessarily move to subdivisions, at least in upstate New York. They buy existing houses in small towns or hamlets. There is more of an inventory of homes on small acreages available than one would think, either an old farmhouse that's been divided off from its original farm, or newer homes (built since WWII) on former farmland. There is also a trend for people to build new in rural areas, everything from double-wide mobile homes to log mansions.

  2. #27
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by gsys View post
    It seems to me that larger homes with fewer occupants spread out to lower densities may not be an entirely new trend, but a well-established one that parallels post-industrial development.
    I agree. I grew up in a small town outside of Philadelphia that was part of the first wave of suburban development. It was originally Lenape land, then some Dutch farmers settled there, then it was 100 acre tracts granted under William Penn. Then, in the late 1800's, wealthy Philadelphians began moving in as the farms failed and the land was subdivided and sold. This is, in fact, the first wave of suburban living - 1880s through the 1920's (Dolores Hayden's book Building Suburbia is a great document of this). The guy who built the house I grew up in - built 1917 - was an engineer that worked for a Philadelphia firm and commuted every day (by 1920 they had rail lines, a paved road and a small air strip in this town).

    I am personally not convinced that people are actually fleeing the city's of America (maybe just some cities). I recall some recent study showing that small and mid-sized cities are still adding population at a high rate, so I don't see that this trend is a reaction to urban lving in general. There was also an interesting article in the NYT about how the demographic of Manhattan has shifted to wealthy (like in the $200k's) parents of toddler-aged kids. So, maybe people are leaving places like this because of prices. If these folks want to buy a home (and especially in the context of the last 5 years' rash of sub-prime lending) they may have looked outside of the city for places to buy.

    I have also noticed a trend in the east coast cities from when I was growing up that 2nd and 3rd generation families tend to seek suburban living arrangements once their finances allow it. They are largely buying into the American narrative of having "made it" as well as the general reputation that suburban schools are better than city schools. I grew up near a large Italian American community that a generation earlier had all lived in South Philly, for example. To what degree does this kind of dynamic play into the people moving to rural and suburban areas?
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  3. #28
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    I have also noticed a trend in the east coast cities from when I was growing up that 2nd and 3rd generation families tend to seek suburban living arrangements once their finances allow it. They are largely buying into the American narrative of having "made it" as well as the general reputation that suburban schools are better than city schools. I grew up near a large Italian American community that a generation earlier had all lived in South Philly, for example. To what degree does this kind of dynamic play into the people moving to rural and suburban areas?
    Most of the middle-class people moving to east coast cities are the 2nd generation raised in the suburbs. Which is funny, because some people born and raised in Philadelphia are still trying to get out, chasing that dream in the suburbs. Some of them only last a few years and come back.

    Life in this city is a lot easier than it was 10 or 15 years ago and a lot of people who have always been here don't really appreciate it until they leave. I actually think the tide has turned, really, and most of the people who have lived their whole lives here realize that things will continue to improve.

    It's actually really interesting (and refreshing) to watch your teenage neighbors as they transition from ghetto to cosmo. They get old enough to start venturing out of the neighborhood on their own and suddenly they realize that there's this whole huge world out there and they start to take pride in the fact that it's all at their fingertips. One day you hear the italian kids parroting their parents talking about how smelly asian cooking is then two years later you see them drinking bubble tea and chowing down on bahn mi.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta View post
    Most of the middle-class people moving to east coast cities are the 2nd generation raised in the suburbs. Which is funny, because some people born and raised in Philadelphia are still trying to get out, chasing that dream in the suburbs. Some of them only last a few years and come back.

    Life in this city is a lot easier than it was 10 or 15 years ago and a lot of people who have always been here don't really appreciate it until they leave. I actually think the tide has turned, really, and most of the people who have lived their whole lives here realize that things will continue to improve.
    Are things actually getting better in Philadelphia? A few days ago I saw a story on the national news that 25% of Philly's population lives below the poverty line. It also said the city's murder rate is the highest in the nation.

  5. #30
    Unfortunately, this article is pretty irresponsible journalism. The couple statistics it grabs from the Census look to be from this report on Domestic Net Migration, which is talking about the movement of households within the country, discounting immigration. Outside a couple parts of the Rust Belt, all major metros in the US are growing.

    Further, the flight of native-born Americans is not to non-metropolitan areas as much as it is to many of the medium and smaller metropolitan and micropolitan areas. People are moving from the fringes of the LA metro to the fringes of the Phoenix metro, and from the fringes of the NY metro to the fringes of the Atlanta metro. People aren't so much leaving NYC for rural Nebraska en masse, as the article seems to be trying to suggest. Most non-metropolitan areas are fairly stagnant. The Great Plains continue to empty out. People continue to move to metropolitan areas-- although they are moving to the fringes of them. Immigrants are more than making up for the losses in the expensive markets like NY and LA.

    This article is quoting some woman named Wanda Urbanska who's trying to sell a book, not accurately describe demographic trends. In fact, this Urbanska woman herself left LA for a small town in North Carolina and it looks like she makes a career out of promoting "back to nature" living in small towns. This is pretty much a press release masquerading as a news item. Google "Green Acres Effect" and you don't find too many relevent references other than links to this same article on ABC's site. She appeared on Good Morning America to promote her book, and it looks like they created this article in response to her claims... it's just pathetic that this one article seems to have recieved so much press.

    Here are the Census' most recent actual estimates for the biggest metros between 2000 and 2006. Note that the percent change is all positive numbers. Off the top of my head, I think Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Buffalo are the only big metros that are still in the negatives.

    Metro area 2000 pop. 2006 pop. Pct. chg.
    New York 18,323,382 18,818,536 2.7%
    Los Angeles 12,365,619 12,950,129 4.7%
    Chicago 9,098,615 9,505,748 4.5%
    Dallas-Fort Worth 5,161,518 6,003,967 16.3%
    Philadelphia 5,687,141 5,826,742 2.5%
    Houston 4,715,402 5,539,949 17.5%
    Miami-Dade 5,007,988 5,463,857 9.1%
    Washington 4,796,180 5,290,400 10.3%
    Atlanta 4,248,012 5,138,223 21.0%
    Detroit 4,452,557 4,468,966 0.4%
    Boston 4,392,340 4,455,217 1.4%
    San Francisco-Oakland 4,123,742 4,180,027 1.4%
    Phoenix 3,251,876 4,039,182 24.2%
    Riverside, Calif. 3,254,821 4,026,135 23.7%
    Seattle-Tacoma 3,043,885 3,263,497 7.2%
    Minneapolis-St. Paul 2,968,817 3,175,041 6.9%
    San Diego 2,813,833 2,941,454 4.5%
    St. Louis 2,698,672 2,796,368 3.6%
    Tampa-St. Petersburg 2,396,013 2,697,731 12.6%

    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    Are things actually getting better in Philadelphia? A few days ago I saw a story on the national news that 25% of Philly's population lives below the poverty line. It also said the city's murder rate is the highest in the nation.
    I don't think 25% is much worse than it used to be. That's certainly not the worst in the country either. There are a whole slew of far worse cities. Philly's shown up at the top of a lot of lists of "worsts" for counties-- because the city and county are coterminous, whereas a place like Camden or Gary has suburbia surrounding it to statistically wash it out. The murder rate is also not the highest, but it's probably the highest of the 10 biggest cities at the moment. Baltimore is still killing (pun intended) Philly this year, per capita. Violent crime in Philly peaked in the early 90s or so I believe? It's been higher than usual the last two years but still not up to 80s/90s crack epidemic numbers.
    Last edited by passdoubt; 05 Apr 2007 at 5:40 PM.

  6. #31
    Here's a much better article from last year in USA Today, that actually does describe what's going on:

    "It's not just the decade of the exurbs but the decade of the exurbs of the exurbs," says William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution. "People are leaving expensive cores and going as far out as they can to get a big house and a big yard. Suburbia is moving much further out." ...

    Immigrants, as they were for much of the 1990s, are the main reason many urban counties and older suburbs are gaining population. More than 180,000 immigrants settled in Harris County, Texas, home of Houston, from 2000 to 2005, offsetting the net loss of almost 123,000 people to other counties.
    Please reference this one, and not the original article.

  7. #32
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    Are things actually getting better in Philadelphia? A few days ago I saw a story on the national news that 25% of Philly's population lives below the poverty line. It also said the city's murder rate is the highest in the nation.
    That's funny b/c we were just discussing this over drinks, it was on 60 minutes right?
    It's not news here. Well, it's news but it's not new. It's been on the news every night since last summer. IMO it only encourages the punks "out to rep' for their 'hood"

    The murder rate went up slightly last year from the year before and this year it's pretty much the same.

    The problem here lies partially with the mayor and police chief and mostly with the courts/legal system. They can't or don't want to make charges stick and the thugs are out on the streets over and over again.

    http://inquirer.philly.com/graphics/murders_map/
    Zoom in, change up the race, sex, and age of the victims on this map and it's pretty clear who's at risk and who isn't. The only time a murder gets any real face time on the news is when it's an average joe caught up in the mix. Which is rare. If it's two guys with criminal records playing wild west in the Badlands it's not going to see primetime.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  8. #33
    And as people move farther out, the core not only dies, but so does the inner suburbs... Hopefully people will realize what they are doing and planners/developers will stop their idiocy.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta View post
    That's funny b/c we were just discussing this over drinks, it was on 60 minutes right?
    It's not news here. Well, it's news but it's not new. It's been on the news every night since last summer. IMO it only encourages the punks "out to rep' for their 'hood"

    The murder rate went up slightly last year from the year before and this year it's pretty much the same.

    The problem here lies partially with the mayor and police chief and mostly with the courts/legal system. They can't or don't want to make charges stick and the thugs are out on the streets over and over again.

    http://inquirer.philly.com/graphics/murders_map/
    Zoom in, change up the race, sex, and age of the victims on this map and it's pretty clear who's at risk and who isn't. The only time a murder gets any real face time on the news is when it's an average joe caught up in the mix. Which is rare. If it's two guys with criminal records playing wild west in the Badlands it's not going to see primetime.
    I think it was a nightly news feature on cbs... Anyway, I agree that crime cycles depend more on the courts/legal system more than anything else. A very small percentage of the population commit the vast majority of violent crime so keeping them in the can can really skew figures. Boston is finding this out now with a recent crime wave that has been attributed to the baddies from the 90s being let out of jail.

    But- to get back to my original point- have things improved for Philly's poor or are you talking in terms of improving conditions for young professionals in Center City?

    BTW: map will be useful to my visit next weekend

  10. #35
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hilldweller View post
    But- to get back to my original point- have things improved for Philly's poor or are you talking in terms of improving conditions for young professionals in Center City?

    BTW: map will be useful to my visit next weekend
    Well, Center City has long been safe for everyone and these days young professionals live in a lot of places outside of Center City. At this point there are more young professionals outside of CC than in.

    Are things for Philly's poor improving? Are conditions for poor people improving anywhere? I think the answer is, generally, no. Mostly, the working class and working poor here are moving to the suburbs where there lives will probably improve. More quickly so for the working class.

    As immigrants and yuppies replace the working class and come into more and more contact with the poorest of the poor my guess is that things will improve for them. I'm not saying that's how it should be, just what i see happening. I think the next generation of ghetto poor in philly are likely to be the children of immigrants rather than african-americans.

    As far as the map is concerned: it's point is to show the disparity of who is getting killed. If you are asian or a white or latino woman the chances of you being murdered are miniscule. White men have slightly more to fear but not much. For white men over age 30, still, hardly anything. For Latino men, slightly more still, but again it's that 18-26 demographic. For black women of all ages still more.

    If you really want to see who is being killed look at the teenage to twenty-something black males. Much of it is drug-related and plenty of it is just about turf and street-cred or settling a personal score. If you're not involved in it you're not involved (but you might have to duck)

    and i'm not typing this from my loft in Old City. I live, literally, in the middle of it. If you want to catch a glimpse of it, stop by, bring a friend. We'll sit out on my steps and take it all in while we nurse some beers. 3pm is a great time to be around . . . come to think of it, that would be a great mobile workshop.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  11. #36
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta View post
    Well, Center City has long been safe for everyone and these days young professionals live in a lot of places outside of Center City. At this point there are more young professionals outside of CC than in.

    Are things for Philly's poor improving? Are conditions for poor people improving anywhere? I think the answer is, generally, no. Mostly, the working class and working poor here are moving to the suburbs where there lives will probably improve. More quickly so for the working class.

    As immigrants and yuppies replace the working class and come into more and more contact with the poorest of the poor my guess is that things will improve for them. I'm not saying that's how it should be, just what i see happening. I think the next generation of ghetto poor in philly are likely to be the children of immigrants rather than african-americans.

    As far as the map is concerned: it's point is to show the disparity of who is getting killed. If you are asian or a white or latino woman the chances of you being murdered are miniscule. White men have slightly more to fear but not much. For white men over age 30, still, hardly anything. For Latino men, slightly more still, but again it's that 18-26 demographic. For black women of all ages still more.

    If you really want to see who is being killed look at the teenage to twenty-something black males. Much of it is drug-related and plenty of it is just about turf and street-cred or settling a personal score. If you're not involved in it you're not involved (but you might have to duck)

    and i'm not typing this from my loft in Old City. I live, literally, in the middle of it. If you want to catch a glimpse of it, stop by, bring a friend. We'll sit out on my steps and take it all in while we nurse some beers. 3pm is a great time to be around . . . come to think of it, that would be a great mobile workshop.
    I certainly didn't mean to imply that you isolate yourself from "the real philly" and I use Center City only as an example of a successful place in a city that appears to be struggling, or at least that was my impression from watching the news piece.

    I brought up a sensitive subject that obviously doesn't have any easy answers and you certainly don't owe me or anyone an explanation of the issue; sorry for expecting you to. I was only trying to send the discussion in a different direction because it is a topic I am genuinely interested in (how do we judge a place's success? should we look at it from a Rawlsian perspective that it is the plight of the poor that matters most?)

    As far as the crime issue, I know what the point of the map was (guess it's not PC to joke about violent crime ). And while I appreciate the offer to have beers with you at your place I really don't care to see that side of Philly. I've seen enough poverty/rough neighborhoods living here in Fort Pierce and if I wanted to spend time in one all I'd have to do is head a block north.

  12. #37
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    i wasn't giving you a hard time, nor am i offended by any of your questions. sorry if it came across that way.

    As far as this town being a struggling city? I don't know, New Orleans, Cleveland maybe. 15 years ago that would have been a fair assesment to make about the state of things here. It's certainly not anymore, nor is it fair to say that success is limited to Center City. The only part of this city that can truly say "we've yet to see any redevelopment" is the Southwest.

    Anyone who comes here and walks around outside of center city and is not overwhelmed by the presence of cranes, scaffolding, dumpsters, and work vans (especially given the state of the housing market) must have his eyes glued to the pavement.

    ohh - i don't mean to give the impression that i live in the ghetto, on the edge of it sure, i meant to say that i wasn't hypothesizing about poverty and crime. Most of my neighbors are poor and unemployed. Most of the teenage boys glorify street violence and hang around hoping to pick up some money helping the local drug dealers.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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