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Buffalo, NY: seven per day leaving the city?

fixbuffalo

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Messages
20
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2
In today's Buffalo News the number - 13,000 is presented as the real number of people who have left Buffalo in the last five years. Doing the math, 7/day are leaving.

I know that abandonment and vacancy plagues my near East Side neighborhood in Buffalo. 4/14 houses on my block are occupied in 6/2006 vs. 7/14 last year and 10/14 the in 2004. ( There used to be 20 houses, now just 14)

Two questions:

1. Is the number 7/day a "net" number? I mean are 10 people leaving and 5 born into welfare everyday? Can we know something more about who makes up the "7"?

2. Anyone seen the Wharton study mentioned in the article? Please post the link.

Thanks,

David

fix buffalo today
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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I'll take a guess at it.

Take a look at the age cohort for the Buffalo PMSA for the 1980, 1990 and 2000 Census. What you'll probably find is that the number of people between the ages of 25 and 39 have plummeted. There's two reasons for this; the tailing off of birth rates after the baby boom -- experienced by every region -- and "brain drain."

The 25-39 age group are the the middle class baby-makers. With fewer of them around, there's going to be fewer children to replace residents that have died. The ones that remain will probably delay marriage into later adulthood, and have on average smaller families than their parents and grandparents - both national trends. This exacerbates the region's population decline.

One reason why housing is being abandoned on the East Side is because the market forces that drive neighborhood revitalization -- sharply rising real estate prices -- are mostly absent. Instead of gentrification where housing filters through higher income groups, through time existing housing in Buffalo may be filtered through lower income groups. Housing in Buffalo is CHEAP, and unless you're among the poorest of the poor or you're fiercely loyal to the old neighborhood, there's really no reason to stay in Broadway-Fillmore, the Fruit Belt, Genesee-Moselle, or Cold Spring. A single mother with a low-wage full-time job can afford to buy a nice house in the Kensington or Schiller Park neighborhood, areas that experienced flight of working and middle-class families in the late 1980s and early 1990s. If someone can afford to live in a better neighborhood, they're probably going to move there; there's really no reason to stay in the "ghetto."

I know this doesn't answer your question, but I hope it lends some insight into the state of affairs. The Brookings Institution has many relevant reports, too, almost all of which are online and available for free.
 

hitchhiker

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37
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2
Oh my goodness! How on earth is real estate so cheap in Buffalo? Most of those houses would fetch 6, 7, and 800 thousand dollars in the suburbs of Philly (where I live). Why is it that cheap? For example, a house rather similar to this one sold for $359,000 just three months ago. Those neighborhoods look beautiful and the houses are in excellent condition! Why leave?
 

DetroitPlanner

Cyburbian Emeritus
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6,241
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27
Seven? PLEASE! We're losing something like 29 persons a day here! The scary part? Detroit added 1,200 new housing units last year!

Shrinking house size, plus the baby bust definitely has to be considered.
Employment opportunities have to be considered as well.

Detroit is attracting people to some areas, but its also pushing people out of others. Those being attracted are non-families (20 somethings and seniors). Those leaving are families.
 

Hceux

Cyburbian
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1,028
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22
Is Buffalo alone with its extreme low cost housing for superb looking homes, its seemingly inability to attract business or economic growth, its minimal attempts at revivals?

I'm aware that Detroit is attempting to revive parts of the town, but still isn't parts of the town reversing back to an urban prairie terrain?

If Buffalo isn't alone, what are some of the other larger-sized towns in the United States, in North America, or in the world are like Buffalo in these ways that have been discussed on this thread?
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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4,473
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Hceux said:
Is Buffalo alone with its extreme low cost housing for superb looking homes, its seemingly inability to attract business or economic growth, its minimal attempts at revivals?

I'm aware that Detroit is attempting to revive parts of the town, but still isn't parts of the town reversing back to an urban prairie terrain?

If Buffalo isn't alone, what are some of the other larger-sized towns in the United States, in North America, or in the world are like Buffalo in these ways that have been discussed on this thread?
A lot of the cities along the I-90 corridor are in the same boat (i.e. Rochester, Syracuse, Utica), but as for other cities in the country I remember when I lived in Pittsburgh that they always complained about the yunzings moving to Cleveland. I saw alot of investment take place while I was there though, but isn't the city still losing population? What about St. Louis?
 

DetroitPlanner

Cyburbian Emeritus
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27
HC the urban parie in some places is being filled, in other areas its being created. its a weird thing.

Rumpy,

I think thats true of all of the old industrial towns of the eastern great lakes. We like to thing our rust buelt days are behind us, but we are still shedding jobs. When we shed jobs the youngings leave.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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hitchhiker said:
Oh my goodness! How on earth is real estate so cheap in Buffalo?
It's not just the city, but also the suburbs.

Here's an example of what you can get for under 200 large in a suburb that's considered to be quite well-off.

(To the Detroiters here, Amherst is more-or-less like Lodi or Farmington Hills. To Clevelanders, it's like Beachwood or Solon, only those communities don't have small 1950s homes that still line the old "long roads" like Campbell, Smith, Heim and Dodge.)





This is more typical of new housing in the community.



Note the property taxes. Buffalo's suburbs have some of the highest real estate taxes in the United States. Those cheap houses don't seem so cheap anymore, and they're even worse investments when you consider that they'll appreciate at a much slower rate than in many other cities. The money that would go towards equity in any other city is going into the pockets of the $30/hour janitors and $45/hour snowplow drivers at City Hall. Okay, I'm exaggerating about the salaries ... just a little.

Residents of the Cleveland area consider their real estate to be "cheap." I found that if you take the price of a house in the Buffalo area, and add 30% to 50%, you'll get the Cleveland price. Double the Buffalo price, and you'll get the price in Beachwood, a suburb adjacent to the city where I now live.

Here's an example of a house for sale in Amherst, and one almost exactly like it, but just a little bit larger, in Beachwood. Is that extra bathroom really worth another $310,000?



 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
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39
Your property taxes are ridiculous. My house is appraised for more than those and I pay $1200 a year. Sheesh. No wonder Rumpy and his ilk are moving here! :-{
 

fixbuffalo

Member
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20
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2
Dan,

Yeah, so I live in the Ghetto....

As you know the One Billion dollar school reconstruction project is all over Buffalo, right now. I'm hoping to get a bounce as I live right across the street from the future home of Performing Arts High School. 30 million dollar re-hab. Begins next week!!!

I was really hoping some one might be able to flush out that "7" per day number of people leaving Buffalo. Anyway to track tax payers vs. tax consumers?

Others....

The urban prairie is rapidly expanding here on Buffalo's near East Side. Someone linked to Detroit and Buffalo - linking to my FixBuffalo blog, overhere at Wikipedia - Urban Prairie. It shows no signs of slowing...

Oh, one other thing...any luck locating the Wharton study mentioned in the above Buffalo News article....

Thanks,

David

fixBuffalo Today
 

Dan

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fixbuffalo said:
Oh, one other thing...any luck locating the Wharton study mentioned in the above Buffalo News article....
I Googled to Cheektowaga and back, and couldn't find anything. Even after deep exploration of the Wharton School site, nothing. Sorry.

One big difference between the urban prairies of Detroit and Buffalo - in Buffalo, they're mainly on the East Side, in areas that were mostly working-class. East Side neighborhoods that were middle-class -- the Hamlin Park area, especially --mostly managed to fend off housing abandonment, although Fillmore-Leroy is starting to see a few gaps in its residential fabric. In Detroit, the urban prairie has spread to neighborhoods that were at one time middle-class or relatively well-off; the Buffalo equivalent would be if widespread abandonment happened in neighborhoods like Parkside, Central Park, or the Delaware District. When you read through sites like detroityes.com and detroitblog, Buffalo doesn't look so bad in comparison.

Numbers for inmigration versus outmigration are sometimes collected by using data from the IRS. It might not tall you who those seven are, but it presents a more complete picture than just raw population numbers though the years. I've seen inmigration/outmigration numbers for the 1990s, but nothing more recent.
 

fixbuffalo

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2
Just e-mailed the Buffalo News reporter and asked him for the source of the Wharton study...

In fact, the estimates are on target with a recent study by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, which projected the population in Buffalo Niagara region would drop by more than 65,000 people between 2000 and 2020.
That places Buffalo around 225,000 - 215,000 in another few years!

Thanks for looking...

David
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Zoning Goddess said:
Your property taxes are ridiculous. My house is appraised for more than those and I pay $1200 a year. Sheesh. No wonder Rumpy and his ilk are moving here! :-{
I noticed that. Our's are frozen at around 1% with very little growth rate allowed. Of course, new subdivisions all pay special assessments that add several hundred dollars per year....
 

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
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9,329
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I think I saw the same news blurb.....and it indicated that in the last few years three Ohio cities were in the Top 20 in lost population figures (among the nation's bigger cities).

Toledo
Cincinnati
???

Toledo's corporate population hovers at just about 304,000. In the early 1970's it was approaching 400,000, because of agressive annexation policies.

Bear
 

steel

Cyburbian
Messages
455
Points
14
Not to say that Buffalo and other older cities are not loosing population but these mid decade guesses have been notorious for being way wrong. Actual losses (including in the case of Buffalo) have been less than 1/3 of the estimates in the past.
 

Luca

Cyburbian
Messages
1,188
Points
22
If, ultimately, the population reduction is largely a reflection of the shift in employment away from regionally-centered heavy manufacturing then, 'near term', decline in population may be unavoidable.

Mind you, decline, handled carefully, is noit encessarily a bad thing and could reuslt, within 10-20 years in such a good quality of life package that businesses start locating there.

A few (far from exhaustive) suggestions for managing shrinking population 'gracefully' based on empirical evidence:
1. Preserve the old and interesting buildings; it costs little and preserves long-term value of the town.
2. Don't waste any direct or indirect subsidy on new buildings except for the occasional showpiece.
3. Shift 'social' spending ruthlessly away from age-related toward youth-related items. Whether this is mroeally acceptable / politcally feasible is a different issue.
4. Shrink city spending on current costs at least as fast as the tax base, but keep decent policing and maintenance. Become a mid-to-low tax jurisdiction.
5. Enforce a stringent 'cascading density transect' (*) building permit policy.
6. Maintain telecom and transportation infrastructure to a decent level.



(*) I don't know what the proper urban planning term for this is. What I mean is the idea that there is a 'transect' (core, urban, suburban, rural) hierarchy of permitting whereby, before I can release an area for rural construction, a certain percentage of the rural construction areas (say 75%) must have been permitted for and reached sub-urban density; in turn, before the existing rural areas are permitted for suburban, the existing suburbans must be (again, say 75%) permitted and built to urban density and so on). This prevents sprawl while allowing necessary growth.
 

BKM

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Luca said:
(*) I don't know what the proper urban planning term for this is. What I mean is the idea that there is a 'transect' (core, urban, suburban, rural) hierarchy of permitting whereby, before I can release an area for rural construction, a certain percentage of the rural construction areas (say 75%) must have been permitted for and reached sub-urban density; in turn, before the existing rural areas are permitted for suburban, the existing suburbans must be (again, say 75%) permitted and built to urban density and so on). This prevents sprawl while allowing necessary growth.
There is no official planning term for this because, as logical as it may be, there is not a single metropolitan area in the United States even capable of doing this. Portland, which is not a declining metro area by any means, approached this concept (pre Prop 87?). From reading Dan's various posts over the years, Buffalo appears to be rushing forward to hollowing out in many respects.

Not that this approach would even be chosen. Given the deep cultural preference for living "in the country," cheap places like Buffalo allow for the country estate lifestyle for even the remaining well-paid blue collar elite. Outside a few rigidly planned areas like Northern california (note that the ranchette phenom is strong even here) a proposal to restrict voters' access to their beloved 5 acre ranchettes would result in a council or board of supervisors being tossed out the next election.
 

Luca

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1,188
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22
Sad as it seems for a town to hollow out, I suppose it will probably fill back in eventually...espeically if they don't rape it with a bunch of inappropriate-scale developments.
 

Streetwall

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Messages
17
Points
1
^^^

But inappropriately-scaled development has been the story of Buffalo for the last 5 decades or so.

The city has been dominated by politicos who have no clue how cities are supposed to work. They think building suburbia in the city (because apparently it works in the suburbs....) is somehow progress. :-{
 

Luca

Cyburbian
Messages
1,188
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22
Pity, from some of the pics posted on other threads, it looks like there are a lot of good buildings and a reasonably dense core. They should (could they?) just designate downtown as a BID, along the lines of Bryant Park in NYC, nd let some serious urbanists run it.
 

Atlantis

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Messages
12
Points
1
Downtown needs some serious revitalization. There are some attractive areas, like Fountain Plaza or W. Chippewa. When I think of downtown, I think of what used to be - department stores, more stores in the Main Place Mall - and what could be. I do like Shea's, Studio Arena, the Washington Market (interesting food selection), and the HSBC Arena.

A big problem with downtown is that they decided to run the train above ground on Main St. with no traffic alongside it. An above-ground train would have been a good idea if we could still have vehicles on the street, like in Toronto. It would be nice to drive downtown and see Shea's from the front.
 

UrbaniDesDev

Cyburbian
Messages
50
Points
4
on my visit to Buffalo
Extend the old city grid to the waterfront and remove those suburban style town-homes near the waterfront. What a horrible non-neighborhood. Just transferring Fuhrman to a "waterfront Boulevard" would be ignoring the main problem and be money wasted.

I can't envision anything good of significant size happening until that freeway that disconnects downtown from the waterfront is removed or buried or turned into a grand urban boulevard.
At least bury it between Erie Streets and Carolina. The entire freeway should be rerouted to a widened Kensington Epwy around downtown and the I 190 corridor would be a wide landscaped boulevard that would help reconnect the city to the water. Extend Genesee, Church, Swan and Seneca Streets right up to the water's edge and transform that "suburban yacht club:" into a vibrant urban neighborhood. The city needs to reclaim it's past to move forward.

It's a beautiful city trapped by horrific 60s/70s urban development. Reclaim the waterfront as it is the city's most attractive assett, or at least it could be.

Just a thought
 

Atlantis

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12
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1
UrbaniDesDev said:
on my visit to Buffalo
Extend the old city grid to the waterfront and remove those suburban style town-homes near the waterfront. What a horrible non-neighborhood.
That's what I thought the 1st time I went down there. It's not a neighborhood. My uncle lives there and I really like his apartment, but I would never live there because it's not a neighborhood and it's isolated.
 
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