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Good Bodies, Lard Asses, Long Lives and City Living

ablarc

Cyburbian Emeritus
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GOOD BODIES, LARD ASSES, LONG LIVES AND CITY LIVING

Miami Beach:



Miami Beach doesn’t look much like the rest of the country. For starters, Miami Beach is a real city in which people walk to go shopping or to work. Another reason is that in Miami Beach the inhabitants are mostly in good shape.

The good-body demographic groups in Miami are: a.) professional models, both female and male, both straight and gay; and b.) hangers-on, who are there because they are attracted by group “a” and need good bodies of their own for credibility with their marks.






A pit bull and his dog





Peculiar to Miami Beach is an extremely large population of Italians: upper-middle-class, young and stylish Italians from Northern Italy, some immigrants and some pro tem entrepreneurs—not the descendants of poor Sicilians we are used to thinking of as Italians in such cities as Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco. These Italians are in Miami Beach because of demographic groups “a” and “b” and because they like the stylishness and urbanity of Miami Beach; it is a real city and it reminds them of home. (It reminds me of Italy). One of these expatriate Italian fashion-mongers was famously murdered by his lover.



Italians have set the style for South Beach. This is why you will see so many Miami Beach residents of both sexes wearing black. Those in colorful t-shirts and cut-off jeans are tourists; you can also recognize them from their flab.






















Tourists:




This man didn’t want his picture taken. Maybe that isn’t his wife.

In San Francisco, I believe that the biggest impetus for the goodbody culture comes from gays. The topography definitely plays a part; it makes inadvertent exercisers of all San Franciscans; aerobics without the boredom.

That this all translates into better health is beyond dispute; numerous studies reveal enhanced life expectancies for such places as San Francisco and (of course, if you think about it!) New York, where people walk. This has become an argument for New Urbanism.

For a little anecdotal evidence, here is a photo taken at Boston’s Quincy Market, an in-town suburban shopping mall to which suburbanites flock, especially on weekends. Here they are on Easter weekend:



Can you find a single person over ten years old who is not overweight?

* * *

LARD ASSES AND LONG LIFE


In the United States we are not only lard asses, but we pay for it with our lives.

The CIA lists 225 countries and almost-countries on its website, and gives you the statistical skinny on them all. The CIA will give you the facts by country or ranked in tables by category.

Here is the CIA’s table of top 48 countries ranked by life expectancy, out of 225. The United States is number 48. This means there are 47 countries in which the average person lives longer than in the United States, including Macau, Japan, Australia, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Italy, France, Spain, Israel, Greece, Germany, New Zealand, Britain, Bermuda, Cyprus and Jordan (Jordan!!)—and even including our own territories of Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico.



The table shows that the average Andorran lives 6.4 years longer than the average American.

While life expectancy is increasing in almost all countries, including the U.S., we drop further down the list each year—this in spite of our Gross Domestic Product per capita (wealth) of $36,200 (adjusted), last year the second highest in the world after Luxembourg’s $48,900.

At right in the table, I have tabulated the CIA’s figures for GDP per capita (and rank, out of 225) for each longer-lived country. Third-in-longevity San Marino, for example, enjoys a per-capita GDP of $34,600—making its inhabitants fifth in the world in this measure of prosperity.

I have highlighted the top ten wealthy countries in red in the “Rank” column. This shows that at this level there is some correlation between wealth and longevity—though far less than you might expect: 160th-ranked Saint Helena, 145th-ranked Montserrat and 132nd-ranked Jordan all enjoy longer life expectancy than the USA, which is ranked second in GDP per capita. Populations of all of the world’s top ten prosperous countries live longer than Americans.

This is in spite of the fact that Americans are said to have the world’s best doctors, hospitals and medical equipment, and in spite of the fact that on the whole Americans smoke less than people in other countries.

Americans are, however, fat. The government says 60% of the residents of this fair land are overweight, and casual observation of a crowd confirms this dour assessment. Americans overeat, consume too much junk food and don’t get the exercise to walk it off. Instead, we cruise Suburbia in our cars, because that is the kind of habitat we have created with zoning.

This alone is insufficient to fully explain America’s poor performance in life expectancy. Canada, for example, is #11 in longevity to the US’s #48, despite the fact that all of the foregoing observations about nutrition and exercise also apply to Canada.

The difference, of course, is that America’s broken health insurance shambles regularly denies some people paid access to the health care they need to stay alive, while Canadians mostly get the care they need. In the US, people die prematurely because they have no health insurance and hence don’t go to the doctor in a timely fashion, or because they have switched from one greedy, profit-grubbing insurance company to another—only to find that their heart condition is now a pre-existing condition, and their much-needed and expensive valve replacement operation is not covered. They can’t cough up a couple of years’ salary, so they die instead.

The bottom 48 on the CIA’s longevity list looks like this:



Most populations that die young inhabit the wretched countries of sub-Saharan Africa, and here you can find a pretty strong correlation between poverty and early death. The exceptions are relatively prosperous South Africa ($10,000 GDP per capita), Namibia and Botswana. These countries are in the throes of a raging AIDS epidemic, and South Africa has such a high murder rate that it must show up somewhat in the life expectancy figure.
 
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H

Cyburbian
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Great thread. And yes, after living in Miami every time we travel out of South Florida the first thing we notice is how out of shape people are. :-D

Not that we are part of this "type" but it is interesting to live in a area where even maids look like movie stars. :)
 

boilerplater

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916
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Hey, hey hey, its....

It would be interesting to find out what the average life-expectancy in the US is lowered by due to deaths of young people by car accidents and gun violence. I've known of so many people who didn't make it beyond their early 20s due to car crashes, another indictement of car culture. If they were walking, even stumbling, home from the pub they'd probably still be with us.

For a long time, I've felt like I've had a prejudice against obese people, and the articles which have been coming out lately are feeding it. I feel like they're consuming more than their share and being a drain on society for medical costs, etc. But I have yet to confront any of them on a personal level. I try hard to eliminate bigotry from my life. Are obese people going to be the new social pariahs? They often gripe about how awful they feel about themselves, and that society makes them feel so, and that they should be accepted as they are. All nice, feel-good psychobabble, but the question remains, why don't you see grossly overweight people in Europe?

I looked on the ABC news website yesterday, which featured articles on the American obesity "epidemic". On the discussion board, people spoke of the need to avoid fast food, eat right, exercise, etc., but nobody pointed out the connection between out land use patterns and lack of exercise in daily life. I guess it has yet to enter mainstream consciousness.
 

boiker

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boilerplater said:
On the discussion board, people spoke of the need to avoid fast food, eat right, exercise, etc., but nobody pointed out the connection between out land use patterns and lack of exercise in daily life. I guess it has yet to enter mainstream consciousness.
If your referring to a city vs. suburbs development pattern. I can't say confidently that city dwellers are in much better shape than suburb dwellers.

What does make sense to me is city, suburb, rural habits are the same. Most cities of under 200,000 don't have effective public transit and/or neighborhood retail is gone. People drive. Nearly everything in a post WWII suburb is significantly seperated or buffered...forcing you to a collector and arterial just to get to the grocery store you can see in your backyard. People drive. In rural areas, nothing is by nothing...so they drive.

Change the drive habit. To start:
in cities: develop neighborhood retail/office/services, enhance public transit.
in suburbs: increase connectivness between residential areas and commerical.
in rural: your in the country.. start growing and producing more of what you need on the back 40.
 

jresta

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Philadelphians as a whole are chubby (i blame it on good beer and good food EVERYWHERE) but in Center City and the adjacent neighborhoods i never see a fat local under 50. A lot of the fatties live in the northeast section of the city that is heavily suburbanized as well as parts of South Philly were people drive 3 blocks to pick up a pizza . . . i don't see much obesity either way among the locals but the fatness i think has more to do with education and class than it does with what part of the city you live in.

Where i do see obesity is in the busloads of tourists that get dropped off in front of my office everyday, and honestly, the fatter the group the stronger the drawl.

I was watching the news the other night and they were interviewing this woman who was getting ready for a gastric bypass. She was whining about how she "tried everything and couldn't lose the weight" she then began to rattle off the names of a dozen diet programs. The medical establishment is way too quick to tell people they have a "genetic problem" and "only surgery or heavy medication will help you" - i think the reasons are obvious.

Americans aren't any more predisposed to obesity than the people we're descended from. We eat crap and we eat too much of it.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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jresta said:
.

Americans aren't any more predisposed to obesity than the people we're descended from. We eat crap and we eat too much of it.
I know that's why I'm too heavy. I get plenty of exercise (Not a racer like Donk& co, but still.) I have a major, dangerous addiction to sweets. As I am officially middle aged now, I should clamp down, but self-denial is not one of my strong points :-#
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
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Comparing Miami Beach to Boston? The 2000 Census results shows interesting differences between the two cities:

Median Household Income:
Miami Beach - $27,322
Boston - $39,629

Median Age:
Miami Beach - 39.0
Boston - 31.1

Average Household Size:
Miami Beach - 1.87
Boston - 2.31

Vacant Housing Units:
Miami Beach - 22.7%
Boston - 4.9%

Work in the Educational, Health and Social Services Industries:
Miami Beach - 14.7%
Boston - 26.8%

Work in the Arts, Entertainment, Recreation, Accommodation and Food Services Industries:
Miami Beach - 19.7%
Boston - 9.2%
 

jresta

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$27k a year?

is this for real? I was under the impression that Miami Beach rents/housing was expensive.
 

Wannaplan?

Bounty Hunter
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jresta said:
$27k a year? is this for real? I was under the impression that Miami Beach rents/housing was expensive.
On a per capita basis, the incomes between Miami Beach residents and Bostonians are almost the same.
 

The One

Cyburbian
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Town of Palm Beach- FL

How about $139k + median household income in 1999......
 

Seabishop

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jresta said:
...the fatness i think has more to do with education and class than it does with what part of the city you live in.
I'll back that up. This town is very dense, mixed-use and walkable, but still has a lot of poor heavy folk.
 

ChevyChaseDC

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Seabishop said:
I'll back that up. This town is very dense, mixed-use and walkable, but still has a lot of poor heavy folk.
The same is true here in Washington, DC. I think obesity is significantly related to class, though in cities such as DC, New York, Boston, or San Francisco where upper class people inhabit much of the dense central city, it seems that density would correlate strongly with obesity as well. This is probably less so in U.S. metro areas without a dense, pedestrian-oriented core with lots of residents walking everywhere, like most sun-belt metropolises.

Having watched the documentary "Super Size Me," it seems that five of the ten fattest U.S. cities are in Texas...
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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Has anyone considered that certain cities could be destinations among "teh hotties," for whatever reason? Lots of models living in Miami Beach, along with workers in the hospitality sector -- how many overweight people do you encounter working as waitstaff in upscale restaurants, behind hotel registration counters, or serving cocktails by hotel pools? Not that many compared to the real world. Teh hotties seem to attract other teh hotties; like industries in a certain sector, they agglomerate.

Las Vegas is another city where a disproportionately large number of teh hotties -- female and male -- live. Again, it's a major tourist destination, and physical attractiveness is an unwritten prerequisite for many jobs in the hospitality and entertainment industry. I've never seen a "rubenesque" woman get sawn in half, swing around the pole on the stage at Olympic Gardens, or offer me cocktails while I'm playing craps.

Denver ... like Vegas, it sprawls. Unlike much of the US, the region doesn't seem to have many fat people. Outdoorsy, physically fit people flock there, attracted by the mountains the chance to have X-TREEEM! sports close at hand. I've noticed that teh hotties in Denver look different than their peers elsewhere; they wear far less makeup, and brand names like Columbia and REI seem more dominant than ... well, stuff you might see in Vogue magazine.

Just a wild-ass guess ... cities with a more predominant "food culture," like Chicago, Buffalo, New Orleans and Kansas City, will have a population that is much heavier than the norm.

How much can obesity in an area be related to dating and demand? I've noticed that r'rl folk in the US are much bigger than their city cousins, and that the girth of the single population is inversely proportional to the size of the dating pool in an area. Less competition means you can let your body go, and still meet Mr. or Ms Right.
 

Wulf9

Member
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All of your beautiful people are under 35. What do the over 35s look like.

The life expectancy didn't include Russia, a country where life expectency has dropped significantly, particularly for men. The most probable reasons are

1. Loss of universal and pretty good medical care that existed under the Soviets.
2. Individual choice to live less healthy life styles (mainly drinking, smoking, poor diet).

That idea of choosing to live a less healthy lifestyle is unsettling from a societal standpoint. It's clear the choice is not good for you, but you choose to do it anyway. McD's is not forcing anyone to eat a Big Mac meal. Starbucks is not forcing anyone to drink a Venti mocha. But it is increasingly the choice made.

Also, as we see medical costs rising, we may be in for a post-Soviet style reduced access to health care.

One interesting hypothesis is that the shrinking middle class is a reason for the bulging population. Beautiful people (wealthy, upper class, upper class wannabes) do things that are not common to the general population. In past times, the general population was thin and tan (worked in the fields) so the wealthy were plump and pale. Now that the general population works at a desk and drives hours to get from the cheaper housing to that desk, the general population is plump and pale. So the wealthy and beautiful are typically thin and tan (lightly tanned if they value skin). The middle class typically emulates the uppers, so a large middle class would want to be thin and tan. With the middle class moving toward the lowers, there is an increase in plump and pale.

The above is completely unscientific - just a hypothesis.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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Interesting discussions. I think there is another factor (hinted at)-the sheer availability and cheapness of food in the United States. We spend less as a percentage of our incomes than many western countries-and we tend to eat more processed foods.

When combined with a cultural predisposition towards seeking out "bargains," it is easy to sell the "SuperSize It" mentality.
 

DecaturHawk

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880
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I think that an overlooked factor in all of this is the obtrusiveness of the popular culture, especially that coming from the boob tube. We are a most sedentary culture, and the TV and music culture that predominates in the US tends to reinforce our lack of motion. Why go out and exercise when you can pop in an entire season of the Sopranos?

I personally think that this is more of an influence on obesity than suburban development. In most metro areas, where do you find the most bike trails, the most park facilities, the best park and recreation programs? You guessed it, in the suburbs. People in the 'burbs often have better opportunities to recreate than the city dwellers, yet do not take advantage of it. It's not just because they have to drive to work or to shop. I would submit that the ol' TV has a lot to do with it.

I also think Dan has it right, because eating out is a big part of our leisure culture. It doesn't matter where you live, city of suburb; if you eat out often, you are generally ingesting a lot more calories than if you prepare at home.
 

ablarc

Cyburbian Emeritus
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South Beach Demographics

SOUTH BEACH DEMOGRAPHICS

South Beach is the urban, low-rise part of the city of Miami Beach.

The South Beach zip code is 33139. Within its 2.60 square miles live 40,177 permanent residents (2003), yielding a density of 15,472 persons per square mile, higher than the city-limit density of Boston. This surprising figure is achieved despite swaths of hotels and a large downtown business district. And it is achieved principally with two and three story buildings that mostly stand free.





Inside these small apartment buildings are small apartments. Miami Beach households are small. They consist of old couples, widows and widowers, young couples, gays, and miscellaneous singles living alone, such as models and other narcissists.

Here are the demographics for Zip 33139 (South Beach):



Because these figures are pretty unusual and because there aren’t many places like this in the U.S., you have to know how to read the figures. Here are a few footnotes and illustrations to the chart above:

“Inner City” pretty accurately describes the neighborhood type.

Area of 2.6 square miles is about two and a half times Boston’s South End.

Population of 40,177 is about half again the population of Boston’s South end, a rowhouse district. Hence, density is about 60% of South End’s, well within urban density range.

Density of 15,453 is higher than city-limit density of Boston. This is accomplished almost entirely with two and three-story free-standing buildings, packed close and extending deep into the block.









The high percent of females reflects the large elderly population of South Beach, and the fact that women live longer than men. There are more widows than widowers. Also, there are more female models than male.



High median age shows the large number of old folks and paucity of children. The old folks are not much in evidence on the street. They must spend a lot of time in their apartments, like old people in general.

Median household income is at first surprisingly low, as no poverty is any longer visible in South Beach, except for panhandlers. But if you think about it, a lot of those widows have no income at all. They have a million dollars in the bank, and every year there is fifty thousand dollars less. They are spending the principal of their nest egg.

People per household is low, reflecting the fact that so many people in South Beach live alone. This includes the widowed, gays and unmarried models.

Average income per capita, however, is above the national average partly because households are so small--and above the national average, in spite of the fact that some quite comfortable retirees have virtually no income. What this suggests is that people in Miami Beach are even better off than the statistics suggest. Not too many people here are going to come to me for money.

Poverty, however, looks about the same here as everywhere:



And so does wealth:



* * *
Here is someone in Miami Beach. I’ll call her Molly. Now 77, she moved from Up North to South Beach in 1990 with her husband, Bernie, who’s been dead five years now.

They came with their nest egg, which was proceeds from the sale of their fancy home and little business in the frozen North, plus various medium-risk investments that they cashed in and converted into very secure accounts. These barely pay more than a savings bank. So you could say that the couple arrived in Miami Beach with about the equivalent of two and a half million dollars in a bank account: the loot of a lifetime.

Unwilling to hassle with home ownership or property taxes, they leased a cozy 700 square foot single bedroom apartment to live out their days within walking distance of the beach. They walked on the beach every day until Bernie developed phlebitis. After that, they watched a lot of TV. Nowadays the beach seems too far to walk to, so Molly walks to the grocery on Washington Avenue twice a week. A year after Bernie died, she sold the car, because she didn’t need it and she didn’t want to keep up the insurance payments.

Every year there is about $80,000 less in the low-yield investments. The plan was to make the money last as long as the Goldbergs did; their only son, Mel, is a successful proctologist up north, and doesn’t need any money left to him. Mel visits every December.

Due to frugal living, Molly still has about a million dollars and a half. With care, this should last into her mid nineties. Then, maybe she’ll let Mel put her in a nursing home.

When Molly fills out her 1040 each year, what do you think is the figure on the bottom line, under “net taxable income”?
 
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H

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jresta said:
I was under the impression that Miami Beach rents/housing was expensive.
I was also amazed to see that South Beach rent was competative to many of the areas in Miami. But now many of your luxuries like parking and safety and peace and quite and lack of tourists and 'real' people are not there. I have been on the mainland side of Miami (in a semi-urban area) for about 2 years and there is no way you could get me to move to South Beach. This might explain why rents are affordable* (*this does not mean that there are not of course very expensive luxury apts/condos/houses also.

For me, the best thing about South Beach, is it keeps the tourist away from my local pub. :-D :b:
 

ablarc

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Tourists

TOURISTS

”I have been on the mainland side of Miami (in a semi-urban area) for about 2 years and there is no way you could get me to move to South Beach...

For me, the best thing about South Beach, is it keeps the tourist away from my local pub.”
--H



H,

I am sorry you have had such bad experiences with Miami Area tourists. What exactly did they do to you?

My visit occurred in early March, during the high season. There were indeed tourists, and I found them to fall into diverse categories. I found none of them to be particularly distasteful-- though of course I was naturally disposed to be uncritical of tourists, being one myself.





I was able to identify the following distinct categories of South Beach tourists on my visit:

Foreign tourists. These are from Brazil, Hispanic America or Europe. A plurality of the Europeans are Italians, followed by Brits. Tourists in this category are especially well-behaved, not making asses of themselves through exhibitionistic or boisterous behavior. Instead, they bring an air of stylish class to the Beach with their sedate upmarket clothes and cosmopolitan manners. You know: Marcello Mastroianni with black sport coat draped over shoulders like a cape, or Ben Kingsley in a silk shirt.

Foreign tourists seem to prefer the more urban scenes on Collins and Washington Avenues, leaving the three-ring circus on Ocean Drive to the mainstream Americans and the cruisers in their Lamborghinis and Maybachs.


On the sidewalk: Ben Kingsley in a silk shirt?

The Cruisers in their Lamborghinis and Maybachs. These people are certifiably rich. Their certificates are their cars. They come out mostly on Saturdays and troll Ocean Avenue for bimbos of both genders. It’s hard to find fault with them, since some are (thrillingly enough) tourist attractions themselves. Who can keep their eyes off someone they have seen in a movie?

These folks comport themselves with casual reserve; they don’t whoop, chug beer, barf or yell obscenities. They don’t piss on the sidewalk.

They usually carry off their catches to castles up the coast, in North Beach or Palm Beach, so they don’t spend the night.


Boys cruising in the megabucks Bentley


A beat-up daily driver with the prancing horse.

Hard-core Hedonists. This group somewhat duplicates the rich Cruisers. These lone wolves, however, will have their sex in South Beach-- and they will have it for sure. For them there is a gaggle of clubs at the southern end of Washington Avenue. These lurk ominously behind frosted glass storefronts in the daytime, until the evening when the bouncers come out to check you in (or out). Here you need to meet the bouncer’s strict standards: you must be well-dressed, physically attractive, and appear rich enough to afford the evening’s proceedings. Those proceedings vary from club to club; one that particularly struck my fancy presents you on admission with access to: a bed.

Dudes. These are about the same in South Beach as they are anywhere. They add to the color, no doubt, but they are sometimes rude and perform obnoxious acts. I saw one with casual malice kick down a bike chained to a lamp post. I suspect most of these guys are day-tourists. I think they live across Biscayne Bay in Miami

Teenieboppers and College Kids These are also day-trippers. They come to South Beach when they tire of the mall.


Nice kids from the suburbs.


Friends.

Gays and Lesbians. Attracted by the body culture, these sometimes bring good bodies of their own, and sometimes they don’t.


A couple.

Counter-culture Survivors. These tend to be older and divorced. They are likely to overlap other groups.



Mainstream Americans. This is the biggest group by far, though they don’t contribute much to the special flavor of South Beach. Here these tend to be young, as opposed to North Beach, which attracts a much older crowd. These tourists are lured by the hip, of which South Beach provides plenty: hip architecture, nifty cafes, plenty of street life, the beach, and a faint air of disrepute provided by the other groups of tourists and the gays.

These tourists may be mostly under fifty, but as they represent a typical cross-section of their age-group in America, they mostly lack the stylishness and physical condition of the locals. Some are singles and groups of singles here to connect; but surprisingly, the majority are already paired off when they arrive.


Mainstream tourist couple

I guess they are here for romantic getaways or honeymoons. I don’t find them particularly obnoxious but they are definitely dull.

* * *

H, which of these groups gets your goat?

Speaking for myself, I like to stay away from places that have a tourist demographic entirely absent in South Beach: middle-American suburban nuclear or extended family groups with squalling kids. That group you can find in spades in Orlando.

By the way, what is a semi-urban area? Is that like a semi-female person?

* * *
From Sperling’s Demographics tabulations by zipcode:

Seasonal Residents

In addition to Miami Beach’s year-round population of 95,000, the number of seasonal residents living here between January and April is estimated to be approximately 110,000. The seasonal residents either rent or own housing units in Miami Beach, but are not accounted in any official statistics or census.

Nevertheless, through the buyer’s profile of many condominiums and housing, it is known that half are of foreign origin and almost equally divided between Latin America and Europe. The other half is made up of U.S. residents from the Northeast or the Mid-West. New Yorkers make up the largest number of these domestic seasonal residents.

Seasonal residents own more than 60% of the premium condominium units. They contribute greatly to the high median housing value on Miami Beach ($235,000) and to the overall economy due to their strong buying power.

It is estimated that the income level of these residents is between $75,000 and $250,000, well above the income levels of the permanent Miami Beach population.

* * *
South Beach Tourists at Rest and Play























 
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H

Cyburbian
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Tourists

ablarc said:
H,

I am sorry you have had such bad experiences with Miami Area tourists. What exactly did they do to you?

[/snip]

H, which of these groups gets your goat?
Why none of them get my goat, I have had no bad experiences. Tourism is great for the economy and I hope they keep comming....I just hope they dont come to my places. Because with tourists come expanded glitz, over prices and crowds. I prefer none of the three.

additionally, I prefer places where I know poeple, and tourists only stay for about a week or so, so they make places full of "strangers".

ablarc said:
By the way, what is a semi-urban area? Is that like a semi-female person?
A "semi-urban" area to me is a medium density community where you can walk and complete all shopping and recreational needs within the area. basically a mixed use, medium density suburb....what much of Miami is...the Grove (which I know you have been) is a good example of this.

It is too bad you feel the need to behave like such a smart a$$.
 
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ablarc said:
This alone is insufficient to fully explain America’s poor performance in life expectancy. Canada, for example, is #11 in longevity to the US’s #48, despite the fact that all of the foregoing observations about nutrition and exercise also apply to Canada.

The difference, of course, is that America’s broken health insurance shambles regularly denies some people paid access to the health care they need to stay alive, while Canadians mostly get the care they need. In the US, people die prematurely because they have no health insurance and hence don’t go to the doctor in a timely fashion, or because they have switched from one greedy, profit-grubbing insurance company to another—only to find that their heart condition is now a pre-existing condition, and their much-needed and expensive valve replacement operation is not covered. They can’t cough up a couple of years’ salary, so they die instead.
Do you have any facts for this analysis? Canadians may have free health-care, but that doesn't mean timely service. I've heard many horror stories of insanely long lines and substandard care.

I tend to think the difference between American and Canadian longevity is stress. While you and I have time to browse this board, many Americans are living in a pressurized society. Between politics, absurd fashion standards, competitive job-markets, bills out-the-ass, and the difficulties of raising responsible children in our current culture, I gotta think we have considerably more stress than our neighbors to the north. Perhaps I'm wrong. Just a thought.
 

ablarc

Cyburbian Emeritus
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713
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H, sorry to have upset you; didn't mean to be a smart ass. Please forgive me.

I was trying to make the point that a place is either urban or not, depending on whether it is realistic to walk. Are you sure the Grove is an example?
 

Wannaplan?

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29
We need a William Safire of the planning and design world!

I must admit, I found the term "semi-urban" a malapropism, but I knew what was meant by it - a suburban-like area. Which got me thinking - what would Google say? The top 5 rerurns by Google are:

www.hindu.com - The Hindu : Consumer electronics bets on rural, semi-urban demand

www.un.org - PROJECT 1: URBAN AND SEMI-URBAN WATER SUPPLIES WATER TREATMENT AND ...

parole.aporee.org - parole!

www.nanaimosar.bc.ca - Semi Urban Trails

apha.confex.com - Perceptions of cardiovascular disease risk factors in a semi-urban ...​
 
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BKM said:
Interesting discussions. I think there is another factor (hinted at)-the sheer availability and cheapness of food in the United States. We spend less as a percentage of our incomes than many western countries-and we tend to eat more processed foods.

When combined with a cultural predisposition towards seeking out "bargains," it is easy to sell the "SuperSize It" mentality.
I haven't read the whole thread but I think the processed foods and "fast foods" are also promoted by how much time-pressure Americans live with. Other cultures have a different relationship to time, including taking time to eat. Most Americans wolf food down and value it for how fast they can get it, not for how good it is (taste-wise or nutrition-wise). I think that significantly contributes to the weight problems in America.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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Michele Zone said:
I haven't read the whole thread but I think the processed foods and "fast foods" are also promoted by how much time-pressure Americans live with. Other cultures have a different relationship to time, including taking time to eat. Most Americans wolf food down and value it for how fast they can get it, not for how good it is (taste-wise or nutrition-wise). I think that significantly contributes to the weight problems in America.
Well, possibly. I've also read that some nutritionists are beginning to think that high fructose corn syrup is metabolized differently than standard sugars. Just like trans-fats were widely used in processed foods, so are corn syrup derivatives (Sorry, Iowans:) ) At least, the broad range of processed food ingredients are probably a factor.
 

H

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ablarc said:
I was trying to make the point that a place is either urban or not, depending on whether it is realistic to walk.
I disagree, I think places can have multiple attributes, SF homes as a suburb, plus apts, condos, retail, rests., and offices such as an urban area.

Walking may not be the best measurement because different people have a different idea of what is “walkable”.

To me ‘urban’ is more about the accessability and conveniences of services. ‘Urban’ would be high density with a high level of services, ‘semi-urban’ would be less dense more towards the medium range with still a high level of services, ‘suburban’ would be medium to low density with a medium level of services offered, ‘rural’ would be low density with a low level of services offered.

ablarc said:
Are you sure the Grove is an example?
Absolutely. I think this is a perfect example of a ‘semi-urban’ area. It is a neighborhood where there are SF homes, office buildings, parks, entertainment, greenery, etc...it is by no means the city or the ‘burbs, rather it has attributes and both a suburb and a city, but more in the middle than like either one...ergo ‘semi-urban’.

How would you classify it?
 
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