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Free Land to Lure Prairie Homesteaders - Garden State Urban Studies Prof Snickers.

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
Read the article here.

My favorite part of the article

"If the town doesn't have much to offer in the first place - pretty much the definition of a declining town - this approach is unlikely to make any difference. It sounds like a desperation move: 'Please, pretty please come live in our town,'" said Frank Popper, an urban studies professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Popper, who spent years studying Plains population decline, said similar programs have been tried in North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota, "but I haven't heard that there have been many takers or noticeable results."
The article then goes on to mention the plan has been an early success. I do wonder if the good Professor has ever traveled west of the Garden State.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,898
Points
27
For some reason I've always been fascinated by this concept. I wonder if these communities would have more success if they tried to recruit immigrants, or people living in inner cities seeking a better life or education for their children.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
As the coastal big cities and desirable resort areas (like in the mountains) become even more hyperexpensive, more people may be pushed to taking that risk. Even there, isn't there plenty of relatively cheap housing in a metropolitan area like Kansas City where they can affordably "start over" while still have urban amenities? How many people really want to farm or engage in a rural occupation?

There are probably people out there who want to escape the "rat race" of the coastal (or even interior) metropoli. And, some of these people might, for example, be sociologically conservative-which would further push them into rural towns. But, if there are few amenities in the declining town, will there be a large number of entrepenurial people willing to forgo the amenities of climate and landscape for a chance to live very inexpensively in a small town environment?
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Mud Princess said:
For some reason I've always been fascinated by this concept. I wonder if these communities would have more success if they tried to recruit immigrants, or people living in inner cities seeking a better life or education for their children.
Yeah. The Hmong immigrants, who largely settled in California initially, are emigrating to Louisiana and Arkansas for cheaper land and a easier chance to enter the poultry business.

Since we are talking about the cold, flat Great Plains, though, how many immigrants do we really have from Mongolia or Tibet? :p
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,898
Points
27
BKM said:
But, if there are few amenities in the declining town, will there be a large number of entrepenurial people willing to forgo the amenities of climate and landscape for a chance to live very inexpensively in a small town environment?
True. But if enough population density is established, perhaps some of those entrepreneurial people will actually develop those amenities -- start businesses to serve the newcomers. You see this phenomenon in urban immigrant communities.

Probably the whole process needs to start with a few "pioneers" who can work from home.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
OK here's what puzzles me on the revenue increase... isnt if partially offset by a decrease? If one assesses land on the basis of comparable sales, and the sales are for $0, then shouldnt EVERY existing home assessment be decreased as its land component drops to zero? So four homes have been built generating $4000 in taxes. What is the cumulative value of all the residential land that should now be reassessed at lower values?
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
Mongolians - Gotta get invited to a Que!

BKM said:
...Since we are talking about the cold, flat Great Plains, though, how many immigrants do we really have from Mongolia or Tibet? :p
Believe it or not Dodge City, Kansas has a small Mongolian population. The Community college is a jumping off point for many of the few Mongolian imigrants to the US. Additionally, Mike Gurnee, a fellow Cyburbian, is considered the Dali Lama of Dodge City. (I was just kidding about that last part.)
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
el Guapo said:
Believe it or not Dodge City, Kansas has a small Mongolian population. The Community college is a jumping off point for many of the few Mongolian imigrants to the US. Additionally, Mike Gurnee, a fellow Cyburbian, is considered the Dali Lama of Dodge City. (I was just kidding about that last part.)
One of the engineers I work with in Public Works is actually MARRIED to a Mongolian lady. :)
 

Habanero

Cyburbian
Messages
3,241
Points
27
BKM said:
One of the engineers I work with in Public Works is actually MARRIED to a Mongolian lady. :)
8-! you trumped everyone!

Don't they have Mongolians in South Park? :p
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,443
Points
34
Chet said:
OK here's what puzzles me on the revenue increase... isnt if partially offset by a decrease? If one assesses land on the basis of comparable sales, and the sales are for $0, then shouldnt EVERY existing home assessment be decreased as its land component drops to zero? So four homes have been built generating $4000 in taxes. What is the cumulative value of all the residential land that should now be reassessed at lower values?

In Iowa's bizarre assesment formula, give-aways are not counted. It's a clause that protects the system from any inheritance or other give- away
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
Part of me wants to say that these lands were never really sustainable, and that it's crazy for the government to subsidize homesteading in marginal rural areas.

Weren't there some other East Coast academics who proposed vacating the entire Great Plains?
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Popper and his wife are indeed the East Coast academics in question. It was claled "The Buffalo Commons"
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
BKM said:
Popper and his wife are indeed the East Coast academics in question. It was claled "The Buffalo Commons"
I thought they were the ones; I did remember them being from Rutgers.

BKM, I actually agree with your idea about offering opportunities to move into viable Plains metropolises, like Kansas City, Omaha and the like. Many small towns in the Plains may simply need to go the way of the McCormick reaper.

And just in case people start to think I've gone right-wing, I'd advocate the same for inner city neighborhoods. If there not viable, let them stay empty until someone shows, with their money, that they can be viable again (of course, however, there should be planners there who can help show developers that they can indeed be viable again).
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,443
Points
34
BKM said:
Even there, isn't there plenty of relatively cheap housing in a metropolitan area like Kansas City where they can affordably "start over" while still have urban amenities? How many people really want to farm or engage in a rural occupation?

Most of the folks are driving 30-40 to the city to work. Many of us would rather live and raise our kids in the small rural towns, even if we have to commute into work.




There are probably people out there who want to escape the "rat race" of the coastal (or even interior) metropoli. And, some of these people might, for example, be sociologically conservative-which would further push them into rural towns. But, if there are few amenities in the declining town, will there be a large number of entrepenurial people willing to forgo the amenities of climate and landscape for a chance to live very inexpensively in a small town environment?
Actually at the conference yesterday, one of the speakers telecommuted from Palmer Iowa, to the office in Denver. He has a side business building kalidescopes. His opinion is this is exactly what is happening.
 

boilerplater

Cyburbian
Messages
916
Points
21
Its nature's way

OK here's what puzzles me on the revenue increase... isnt if partially offset by a decrease? If one assesses land on the basis of comparable sales, and the sales are for $0, then shouldnt EVERY existing home assessment be decreased as its land component drops to zero? So four homes have been built generating $4000 in taxes. What is the cumulative value of all the residential land that should now be reassessed at lower values?
That's what annoys the hell out of me about my city. They give these tax breaks to developers of residential and commercial properties, while I have to scrape to get my $4200 annual assessment together. Why should the middle class and the poor be expected to shoulder the burden of inner-city redevelopment?

But while abandonment of inner-city locations is largely the result of racism and social ills, isn't the decline of small Plains states towns largely a result of economic dislocation and changes in farming practices? Farms simply don't need the labor that they once did. I think the Poppers have a valid point in the idea of returning large areas of the Plains states to open Prairie. It makes sense from an ecological planning standpoint. Many species need lots of room to roam and don't do well with people around. Sentimental values seem to be the only thing that keeps some of these towns going. Not to be insensitive to these people, but sometimes you just have to accept that it is time for a change. Towns follow cycles of birth, growth and decline just like in the natural world. Sure, a declining town is a sad sight, but if you accept it as part of the natural process of things it becomes more acceptable. The world is full of the ruins of ancient towns that became redundant.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
I'm sure other cities have this, I know around here you can get land or properties for a dollar as long as you pay off any back taxes. The city has plenty of properties it would like to see back on the tax rolls.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
boilerplater said:
But while abandonment of inner-city locations is largely the result of racism and social ills, isn't the decline of small Plains states towns largely a result of economic dislocation and changes in farming practices? Farms simply don't need the labor that they once did. I think the Poppers have a valid point in the idea of returning large areas of the Plains states to open Prairie. It makes sense from an ecological planning standpoint. Many species need lots of room to roam and don't do well with people around. Sentimental values seem to be the only thing that keeps some of these towns going. Not to be insensitive to these people, but sometimes you just have to accept that it is time for a change. Towns follow cycles of birth, growth and decline just like in the natural world. Sure, a declining town is a sad sight, but if you accept it as part of the natural process of things it becomes more acceptable. The world is full of the ruins of ancient towns that became redundant.
Imagine this: Tens of thousands of acres of land in eastern Montana and the Dakotas is allowed to revert back to a natural landscape of shortgrass prairie, rolling hills and occassional tree-lined steams. Unproductive farms and ranches are abandoned, and roads and schools are closed. The costs of building and maintaining infrastructure drop as the grass grows and the bison return. Environmentalists, outdoorspeople, wildlife enthusiasts and others begin to take notice of this place. They come to visit, to hike, to camp, to hunt, to fish, and otherwise enjoy the natural world. They begin looking for hotels and restaurants. Some of the ranchers decide to start offering guided horseback trips. In one town, somebody decides to rent canoes for trips down the Missouri River. Somebody else starts selling camping, hunting, fishing, and related supplies. Other towns have similar businesses. They begin to grow....
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
Cardinal said:
Imagine this: Tens of thousands of acres of land in eastern Montana and the Dakotas is allowed to revert back to a natural landscape of shortgrass prairie, rolling hills and occassional tree-lined steams.
I recall doing a poaper in college on early geography of the "great plains" also referred to as "America's bread basket". Its interesting to see old maps labe the midwest from north dakota to texas and west to the rocky mountains as "the great american desert"
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Yeah, that whole area is totally unsustainable. They can only farm there because of irrigation, but the aquifer they're using is drying up. It's appearently causing some wicked subsidence. If you ask me, let it all go to seed (shortgrass prarie) and start grazing cattle and buffalo on it.

Maybe they could even bring back wild buffalo hurds. That'd certanly help the tourism industry in those areas. :-D
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,898
Points
27
boilerplater said:
I think the Poppers have a valid point in the idea of returning large areas of the Plains states to open Prairie. It makes sense from an ecological planning standpoint. Many species need lots of room to roam and don't do well with people around.
... except that a lot of the habitat required for these species is gone, replaced with non-native plant species. I read recently that Iowa, or one of the other Plains states, only has 1% of its original prairie grasses left. Very sad!
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
Well, that's because nearly all of the land is under till. What prarie exists now is usually in highway medians (seriously) and preserves, but it's the natural ecosystem for that environment, it could be regrown in a few years if they'd quit farming it.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
jordanb said:
Yeah, that whole area is totally unsustainable. They can only farm there because of irrigation, but the aquifer they're using is drying up. It's appearently causing some wicked subsidence. If you ask me, let it all go to seed (shortgrass prarie) and start grazing cattle and buffalo on it.

Maybe they could even bring back wild buffalo hurds. That'd certanly help the tourism industry in those areas. :-D
You know nothing of this area. Ignorant fool.
 

boilerplater

Cyburbian
Messages
916
Points
21
This looks like the last 7 miles!

Environmentalists, outdoorspeople, wildlife enthusiasts and others begin to take notice of this place. They come to visit, to hike, to camp, to hunt, to fish, and otherwise enjoy the natural world. They begin looking for hotels and restaurants. Some of the ranchers decide to start offering guided horseback trips. In one town, somebody decides to rent canoes for trips down the Missouri River. Somebody else starts selling camping, hunting, fishing, and related supplies. Other towns have similar businesses. They begin to grow....
Yeah, it could bring some new growth, creating new stresses on the environment, but will it be all that much? I don't think so. Prairie in Iowa just doesn't have the appeal of say, Glacier Nat'l Park. The tourists will be people who are really into Prairie wildflowers or Buffalo, things like that. Where would you choose to spend your precious week of vacation? A spectacular landscape with mountains and waterfalls, or a prairie that looks pretty much the same for miles around? If you're trying to market a place as an ecotourism destination, you have to plan for ways to retain its appeal as a "natural" place, even if the prairie is restored from 150 years of farming.
 

The Irish One

Member
Messages
2,267
Points
25
it could be regrown in a few years if they'd quit farming it.
You underestimate the power of invasive plants. I'm sure many of those non native plants are "naturalized" by now and won't be going anywhere. That's not to say many native species couldn't have a come back.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,443
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34
The Irish One said:
You underestimate the power of invasive plants. I'm sure many of those non native plants are "naturalized" by now and won't be going anywhere. That's not to say many native species couldn't have a come back.
ahhem.... http://www.tallgrass.org/
 

Wulf9

Member
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923
Points
22
It's interesting what happens to land when left alone. The DMZ in Korea has become a veritable wildlife refuge because no one is allowed to enter.

Disclaimer. I only know this from news articles. But it makes sense.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
Points
34
*AHEM* Self Policing Mod Note: Guap, Giff, play nice and offer a thoughtful rebuttal and not an attack.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
EG, et al: Frank and Deborah have indeed spent considerable time on the Great Plains, including at some racuous meetings in Nebraska, where there is a lot of unvoiced respect for them. They spoke at K-State earlier this month, at the invitation of a former governor of Kansas. They have never advocated condemnation of land or triaging communities. They have simply pointed out what is in fact happening and suggesting making lemonade out of the lemons! Nobody has actually thought harder or, IMHO, better about the Great Plains since Carl Kraenzel (and if you don't know who Carl was you don't know anything about the history of the region) and my own work in NE made it clear to me that the debate and, yes, the anguish they stimulated has been healthy and helpful for residents of the region.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
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5,995
Points
31
Chet said:
*AHEM* Self Policing Mod Note: Guap, Giff, play nice and offer a thoughtful rebuttal and not an attack.
Noted and I guess I was a tiny bit over the line. Yet, I feel no shame. But I promise to play slightly nicer with our resident expert as he "Clavens" away on all topics.

: )
 
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