• Ongoing coronavirus / COVID-19 discussion: how is the pandemic affecting your community, workplace, and wellness? 🦠

    Working from home? So are we. Come join us! Cyburbia is a friendly big tent, where we share our experiences and thoughts about urban planning practice, planning adjacent topics, and whatever else comes to mind. No ads, no spam, no social distancing.

Phoenix now bigger than Philly

ChevyChaseDC

Cyburbian
Messages
190
Points
7
From Planetizen: http://www.azcentral.com/specials/special27/

Overall, I'm underwhelmed by this special report. Comparing the Phoenix of today to Philly is comparing apples to oranges. I think comparing metro areas in their entirety is a far more valid comparison because of such fundamental structural differences between the Sun Belt and old cities of the North.

In that regard, Greater Philadelphia still dwarfs the "Valley of the Sun" (Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler) and its demographics are far more favorable in comparison.

I think that while Philly proper has steadily shrunk, that trend has slowed, and will eventually turn around. Its density and infrastructure are conducive to vast amounts of rehabilitation of old buildings. It's far more conducive to walking and transit than sprawling Phoenix.

Overall, I think Philadelphia and its ilk are more sustainable in the long term than Phoenix, which at its present rate of growth is environmentally and economically unsustainable. I think the growth Phoenix is a symptom of an American problem. Which city do you think will be affected more in the event of a spike in oil prices?
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,369
Points
29
Phoenix is an extremely vulnerable city. Its energy consumption for mobility is not the only issue: the energy consumed for the air conditioning required to make it marginally habitable also has to be accounted for. And then there is water, or to be more precise, the absence thereof. The Valley of the Sun can continue to grow at its present reckless pace for some time by conserving water and converting the last farmlands back to desert so that the irrigation water can be consumed. But a big drougth (people forget that the dry spell that drove the Anasazi out of their home territory lasted about 100 years) would really stress the system. And how does the inability to grow any food at all interact with the costs of trucking it in, in the long run?
 

Miles Ignatius

Cyburbian
Messages
368
Points
12
Phoenix VS. Philadelphia

In Philly's case as previously noted by CC, it has some viable and reclaimable structures that will serve new uses when the area turns around.

Phoenix is not so fortunate. I lived there for 22 years and outside of a handful pre-WWII neighborhoods (Encanto, etc) the place is comprised of tacky subdivisions, strip centers, and big boxes...just check out the west side to see what I mean.

Instead of being reclaimed, I suspect [in true Phoenix fashion] it'll all be scraped off and hauled to the landfill and they'll start all over again.

That is, of course, if population keeps migrating there despite the vulnerabilty of the place given its scant resources. During my time there, it always amazed me. But we're now in an era where gas and water are becoming more expensive and that certainly impact growth. Let's hope they make some smart choices.

To Any Current Phoenicians: What is the status of the "Urban Village" plan for the city?. When I lived there, it was touted as the solution for clustering development around 6 or 7 "hubs."
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Places like Phoenix make me think that critics like ablarc are right (Not in blaming planners and zoning in isolation, like he does, but as part of an overall system/cultural pattern). We as Planners, along with financial institutions, white flighters, retirees, engineers, and large national homebuilding conglomerates LOVE Phoenix. It is "efficient" at moving cars and creating paper profits. (Much of California has similar characteristics, but Arizona is completely, unrelievedly beholden to the Growth Machine)
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
Miles Ignatius said:
Instead of being reclaimed, I suspect [in true Phoenix fashion] it'll all be scraped off and hauled to the landfill and they'll start all over again.
Too true.

To Any Current Phoenicians: What is the status of the "Urban Village" plan for the city?. When I lived there, it was touted as the solution for clustering development around 6 or 7 "hubs."
Actually they now have 15 villages. It hasnt changed the development too much yet. 24th and Camelback is growing tall buildings every few years, but that market is priced out of the rest of the market. Downtown is still working on it, but they still don't have many residents, so it is still pretty much closed up after dark if there are no games. The rest of the urban villages aren't urban at all.

Forget gas prices, people here will still pay, but whine constantly about them. The real problem is the current drought we are in. Hope it isn't a 100 year. Odd that in this drought period, the Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Phoneix are trying to revive an old river that used flow near the downtown area using water from the treatment plant. That will be nice. ;-)
 

Howard Roark

Cyburbian
Messages
276
Points
10
Lee Nellis said:
Phoenix is an extremely vulnerable city. Its energy consumption for mobility is not the only issue: the energy consumed for the air conditioning required to make it marginally habitable also has to be accounted for. And then there is water, or to be more precise, the absence thereof. The Valley of the Sun can continue to grow at its present reckless pace for some time by conserving water and converting the last farmlands back to desert so that the irrigation water can be consumed. But a big drougth (people forget that the dry spell that drove the Anasazi out of their home territory lasted about 100 years) would really stress the system. And how does the inability to grow any food at all interact with the costs of trucking it in, in the long run?

Agreed, Phoenix, and Las Vegas for that matter, are enviromental disasters waiting to happen. Surely this has been realized on some level of government, are there any plans in place if the drought is here to stay a while? or are people under the impression that the gnostic hand of the"market" will respond with a solution to keep the machine running?
 

Miles Ignatius

Cyburbian
Messages
368
Points
12
They'll Die First

Howard Roark said:
Agreed, Phoenix, and Las Vegas for that matter, are enviromental disasters waiting to happen. Surely this has been realized on some level of government, are there any plans in place if the drought is here to stay a while? or are people under the impression that the gnostic hand of the"market" will respond with a solution to keep the machine running?


The culture of growth for growth's sake is so ingrained there, I think it'll be like Ludes observed - they'll pay whatever for their gas and water and whine about it.

I don't think that I'll ever see [in my lifetime, anyway] a moratorium on new water taps - it'll just get much, much more expensive and then Adam Smith's "invisible hand" of the market takes over.....
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
Miles Ignatius said:
The culture of growth for growth's sake . . . QUOTE]

is the ideology of cancer.

The reaction to that news in Philly was -

da Ink'wire: The drain on the city has stopped and possibly reversed and if Philly could annex it's suburbs we'd be bigger than Chicago but the city has been stuck at it's current size for well over 100 years.

da Da'y News: Yo, our city kicks your city's ass. Your sports teams suck. You lack culture. You live in BFW . . . etc, etc, etc . . . and if you got a problem with it we could always settle it on the corner.
 

boilerplater

Cyburbian
Messages
916
Points
21
Philly has more of its metro population outside the city limits than in. Most of the suburbs are booming. If they could annex the suburbs, it would also probably mean a dilution of corrupted city government, a reduced or even eliminated need for the wage tax, and improved average school test scores. If suburbanites could understand that their wish for disconnection from the city reflects poorly on our entire country, maybe they's be morre open to the idea of annexation. But Philly's burb's are populated by people who fled the city years ago and want nothing to do with it. They voice horror stories of how their old 'hoods fell into decline, the crimes that befell friends or neighbors, and how they see their escape as a personal triumph. That is one reason New Urbanist developments are a hard sell in the region. The suburban areas want nothing that reminds them of the city.

On the other hand, a major suburban developer, K. Hovnanian, is making loft condos out of a few old buildings in the Old City part of downtown, the only part of the city that has gained significant population in the last 10 years. Its up something like 20K since 1990, though that may be for all of Center City, what they like to call downtown.

But speaking of sustainability, in Philly you need heat through the winter and AC in the summer, thanks to the humidity. It is built in a low area between two rivers after all, much of which was tidal marshes at one time. In my experience, most Philly people could care less about the environment. No city leaders are trying to push "green" measures like Daley in Chicago. Sustainability doesn't seem to be on their radar screen. They're just trying to keep jobs in the city.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
boilerplater said:
Philly has more of its metro population outside the city limits than in. Most of the suburbs are booming. If they could annex the suburbs, it would also probably mean a dilution of corrupted city government, a reduced or even eliminated need for the wage tax, and improved average school test scores. If suburbanites could understand that their wish for disconnection from the city reflects poorly on our entire country,
Sadly, you could be describing almost any city in Pennsylvania. :-\

As far as Phoenix is concerned. I respect the fact that people like the dry climate and want to live in a place with new large homes and year round golf, but, and perhaps this is cruel of me, I have no real sympathy for the hardships they are about to endure with the impending drought. There is a reason that hardly anyone lived in the desert until recently... it simply does not have the water resources needed to naturaly sustain large populations, especially when that large population demands planted lawns, dozens of green golf courses and outragous outdoor water features (I'm talking to you Vegas). What are they going to do? I mean L.A. pretty much made sure there is no more water left to steal from another Indian reservation. o:)
 

teshadoh

Cyburbian
Messages
435
Points
13
BKM said:
Places like Phoenix make me think that critics like ablarc are right (Not in blaming planners and zoning in isolation, like he does, but as part of an overall system/cultural pattern). We as Planners, along with financial institutions, white flighters, retirees, engineers, and large national homebuilding conglomerates LOVE Phoenix. It is "efficient" at moving cars and creating paper profits. (Much of California has similar characteristics, but Arizona is completely, unrelievedly beholden to the Growth Machine)

I think you're right, it's easy for many people - even myself in Atlanta - to chide Phoenix. Just as it's easy for someone in St. Louis or most any city in the US to use a handful of cities as poster children for sprawl. But every city has it's Phoenix & many, unknowningly or not, are choosing a lifestyle patterened after Phoenix. It doesn't even have to be a matter of density, but about material waste. And dismissing Phoenix, is hypocritical, most cities in the US are only a few degrees away from what Phoenix is, or represents.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
boilerplater said:
Philly has more of its metro population outside the city limits than in. Most of the suburbs are booming. .

The Philly metro area is hardly booming. We've had the same predictable 2-3% growth per year for two decades now. A few suburban towns on the fringe are growing incredibly but they're mostly receiving areas for people leaving suburban towns closer in. The only place in the region that can claim real double digit growth are the AC suburbs that are booming with casino expansion and the designation of certain Pinelands "growth" areas.

If they could annex the suburbs, it would also probably mean a dilution of corrupted city government, a reduced or even eliminated need for the wage tax, and improved average school test scores. If suburbanites could understand that their wish for disconnection from the city reflects poorly on our entire country, maybe they's be morre open to the idea of annexation. But Philly's burb's are populated by people who fled the city years ago and want nothing to do with it. They voice horror stories of how their old 'hoods fell into decline, the crimes that befell friends or neighbors, and how they see their escape as a personal triumph. That is one reason New Urbanist developments are a hard sell in the region. The suburban areas want nothing that reminds them of the city.

well put.

On the other hand, a major suburban developer, K. Hovnanian, is making loft condos out of a few old buildings in the Old City part of downtown, the only part of the city that has gained significant population in the last 10 years. Its up something like 20K since 1990, though that may be for all of Center City, what they like to call downtown.

the only reason Old City has grown so quickly is because, save a few scattered rowhomes, no one ever live there. It was a warehouse/factory district slightly removed from the waterfront. Each conversion to lofts can bring in a few hundred residents at a time and up until 2 years ago there really wasn't anyone around to complain about it.

But speaking of sustainability, in Philly you need heat through the winter and AC in the summer, thanks to the humidity. It is built in a low area between two rivers after all, much of which was tidal marshes at one time. In my experience, most Philly people could care less about the environment. No city leaders are trying to push "green" measures like Daley in Chicago. Sustainability doesn't seem to be on their radar screen. They're just trying to keep jobs in the city.

Granted, philly is hardly a 'green' place (we don't even recycle plastic) but heating and cooling costs aren't that expensive here. My utilities (gas&electric) average $100 a month total for heating and cooling 1000 square feet. My brother pays nearly twice that to heat and cool his 1200 sq. ft. place in Columbia, SC.

AC is a luxury here, not a necessity. Most people sport a small window unit for the room they sleep in. Central air is def. a rarity in any house built before the 70's. An attic fan usually more than does the trick - that or staying out of the house until 8 or 9 pm. Even then, those "dog days of summer" are usually confined to 20 or so days in July and August.
 

RoadRunner

Member
Messages
39
Points
2
jresta said:
the only reason Old City has grown so quickly is because, save a few scattered rowhomes, no one ever live there. It was a warehouse/factory district slightly removed from the waterfront. Each conversion to lofts can bring in a few hundred residents at a time and up until 2 years ago there really wasn't anyone around to complain about it.

true, but all of center city is booming. 10 years ago, center city used to be defined by the vine street expressway to the north and south street to the south. then spring garden became the northern border; then fairmount. heck, at this point, girard is almost the northern border of center city (at least over towards fairmount park, but even on the east side, northern liberties is already passe, and fishtown is the hot new area). the trend hasn't been quite as dramatic on the sourthern side, but it has been pushed well south of south street into queen village and bella vista.

so, i think old city's growth is due in part to the conversion of old warehouses and factories, but also because of the tremendous growth overall of center city. the finishing touches are being put on the new st. james tower. john westrum is proposing 200 new townhomes over by girard and 31st. a couple of developers are proposing residential towers somewhere near broad street, and two others right across from city hall (ugh, so much for the height restrictions that have preserved the beautiful views of billy penn). the tivoli (condos) is now under construction over in the spring garden/art museum neighborhood.

the metro area might not be booming, but center city sure is. yes, the city is still losing residents, but not only have the losses slowed, as someone else pointed out, but at this point, the losses are largely of lower-income residents from non-center city neighborhoods (this was pointed out in a daily news article a couple of weeks ago), whereas the influx tends to be high-income professionals and empty-nesters who are tired of suburbia.

the thing that really stinks about philly is that it's just plain dirty. i run by the philadelphia zoo on my morning run every so often, and when you cross the girard ave bridge and go by the zoo, it's just disgusting--there's trash strewn everywhere, and no one seems to give a care. and unfortunately, much of the rest of the city (and fairmount park) are like that...absolutely filthy.

the city has been moving in the right direction ever since rendell, and street has been a good caretaker, but the city still has a lot of daunting problems (schools, crime, etc.)...not unlike most every other major city.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
RoadRunner said:
true, but all of center city is booming. 10 years ago, center city used to be defined by the vine street expressway to the north and south street to the south. then spring garden became the northern border; then fairmount. heck, at this point, girard is almost the northern border of center city (at least over towards fairmount park, but even on the east side, northern liberties is already passe, and fishtown is the hot new area). the trend hasn't been quite as dramatic on the sourthern side, but it has been pushed well south of south street into queen village and bella vista.

yeah, demographically center city is now Washington to Girard and from the Delaware to 40th St. I would say that South of South on either side of Broad St. outprices the Fairmount/Art Museum area. Houses in Bella Vista and Queen Village routinely fetch $400k+ and new construction in BV is more like $700k.
Rehabs and new construction west of Broad are going for between $250k and $400k. East of Broad you'll find places going for $325k+ as far south as Tasker/Morris - particularly between 10th & Broad.


the thing that really stinks about philly is that it's just plain dirty. i run by the philadelphia zoo on my morning run every so often, and when you cross the girard ave bridge and go by the zoo, it's just disgusting--there's trash strewn everywhere, and no one seems to give a care. and unfortunately, much of the rest of the city (and fairmount park) are like that...absolutely filthy.

yes, trash is a major problem. All of the center city special services districts take care of those problems in their jurisdictions - installing and emptying trash cans, sweeping the sidewalks, cleaning the streets, etc. and they do a great job. Outside of those areas you get nothing and the garbage just blows . . . fortunately or not the people that are largely responsible for it are the same people you described as leaving the city.

so are you new to philly? You live in Fairmount?
 

RoadRunner

Member
Messages
39
Points
2
jresta said:
yes, trash is a major problem. All of the center city special services districts take care of those problems in their jurisdictions - installing and emptying trash cans, sweeping the sidewalks, cleaning the streets, etc. and they do a great job. Outside of those areas you get nothing and the garbage just blows . . . fortunately or not the people that are largely responsible for it are the same people you described as leaving the city.

so are you new to philly? You live in Fairmount?

it's strange, given the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, that more emphasis hasn't been placed on basic clean up in areas outside center city; but the city is pretty strapped for money as it is, so i suppose you can't expect too much.

i'm originally from allentown, but my wife and i moved to philly in february after finishing school in michigan. we live over in fairmount, on 30th st. really enjoying the neighborhood. great neighbors, quiet area, and just a stone's throw from the park.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
people just moving to philly from outside the area gravitate towards Fairmount. it's weird.

NTI is a joke. It's about making big profits for campaign contributing developers vis-a-vis emminent domain and public demolition funds. Not to mention the fact that - rather than reuse that open space for world-class parks and open space the aim of city council is to lower densities by suburbanizing the city.

Public parks and transit cost the city money! More garages! More lawns!
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
From what everybody has previously stated, it all comes down to sustainability.

I see the great migrations back to the great lakes already B-) :-\
 

RoadRunner

Member
Messages
39
Points
2
jresta said:
people just moving to philly from outside the area gravitate towards Fairmount. it's weird.

it's cheaper than rittenhouse, old city, northern liberties or queen village; and it's right by the park. plus, it tends to be family-oriented and about as safe as the rest of center city, without the noise and with slightly (ever so slightly) fewer parking problems.

NTI is a joke. It's about making big profits for campaign contributing developers vis-a-vis emminent domain and public demolition funds. Not to mention the fact that - rather than reuse that open space for world-class parks and open space the aim of city council is to lower densities by suburbanizing the city.

Public parks and transit cost the city money! More garages! More lawns!

yeah, i'd agree that nti isn't all that great, and pay-to-play is arguably philly's biggest problem in terms of responsible development. that said, i'm not sure there's much else that can be done right now. the city doesn't have the money for more parks. heck, fairmount's woefully under-staffed as it is, and the city barely has the money to pay for additional services there.

and correct me if i'm wrong, but haven't a number of the cleared lots been turned into neighborhood gardens and parks by locals?
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
It turns out that Phoenix may still be #6 after all -
http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/states/pennsylvania/9006417.htm

RoadRunner said:
the city doesn't have the money for more parks. heck, fairmount's woefully under-staffed as it is, and the city barely has the money to pay for additional services there.

and correct me if i'm wrong, but haven't a number of the cleared lots been turned into neighborhood gardens and parks by locals?

I agree, the city doesn't have money for more parks right now, but it doesn't cost anything to draw a green line around a block or ten and set it aside for a few years until the money is available.

and yes, many lots have been 'taken' by neighborhood residents for gardens and parks but most of it is just squatting or 'agreements' between absentee property owners and the neighborhood. There's always some drama going on in this 'hood or that when the owners figure out how much their land is worth and decide it's time to sell.

Some of them are in ridiculous places . . . the garden at Broad & South comes to mind. I mean it's great to know that when the gardening urge comes up it's just a short train ride but i can think of many better uses for a lot at the top of a subway entrance.
 

HilaryP

Member
Messages
15
Points
1
A couple of more points about Phoenix

I just got back from Tempe from a week's vacation and to defend my thesis at ASU and get my Master's degree after a number of years (yeah me! :)). So I just thought I'd de-lurk briefly to make a couple of additional points.

I read somewhere that for every 5 residents that move into the PHX area, 3 leave. If that's still true, it's an impressive figure and points to a degree of regional instability IMO. Anecdotally - there are only 2-3 planning professors still there who were there when I was and the only friend there is one who recently moved from St. Louis. Almost nobody stuck around from grad school.

From the airplane, the sprawl is staggering. I've never been able to come to terms with groups like the Sierra Club who say sprawl is worse in St. Louis (b/c they say nobody moves in to fill in the holes that are left from out-migration) than PHX. The environmental damage, the ever-growing road network that caters only to cars - nope, I just don't believe STL is worse.

Finally, I do think water (or lack thereof) will be their undoing - unless they implement some serious conservation methods. Don't tell me I have to turn off the tap when I'm brushing my teeth and let flood irrigation of residential and in-town commercial lawns keep happening!

Hilary
 

simulcra

Member
Messages
127
Points
6
HilaryP said:
From the airplane, the sprawl is staggering.

I concur. I did a bit of airport-hopping on my trip to and from Portland, which involved stopping over in Vegas and Phoenix. Granted, I fly over DFW quite a bit and see dallas area sprawl... I thought Vegas was bad, but Phoenix is in a special league. First, it had to get into my mind that I am in a freaking desert. Second, I saw some scattered subdivisions on the outside. Nothing terrible, since I see it all the time around Dallas (although it was a culture shock/reminder after seeing PDX's much touted UGB). But then I had to get into my mind that I am in a freaking desert and there are TONS of golf courses and green lawns on these outskirts. But no biggie, since Vegas had the same thing. But then it just kept on going and going. So third, I had to get it into my mind that I am in a freaking desert and I'm seeing sprawl as far as the horizon (or those mountains). Planning issues aside, I just mentally thought to myself, "Wow. I have a feeling that this city is on verge of disaster." I mean, Dallas has had many years of water watches (limited water use to no watering the lawn or "luxury" uses like that), but I mean at least it RAINS in Dallas to sustain some form of water table.
 

Supertall

Cyburbian
Messages
26
Points
2
I went to Phoenix over Spring Break, and it is depresing to say the least.

I'm big on downtowns, so I went to downtown Phoenix; there's tons of surface parking, parking garages, very little residential living, and only a few restaurants and hotels. The city has finallly decided to build a convention center.

Here's a pic I took which shows how sprawled out the skyscrapers are:


The infill inbetween each "section" is composed up of gas stations, convience stores, and strip malls.

The skyscrapers in the left part of the picture, are usually surrounded by large plazas and trees. That area has very little dining and nightlife.

I stayed in Scottsdale while I was there, and I can honestly say there is as much to do in Scottsdales as there is to do in Phoenix.

On a side note I came home from Philly today, completely different story.
 

ablarc

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
713
Points
20
BKM said:
Places like Phoenix make me think that critics like ablarc are right (Not in blaming planners and zoning in isolation, like he does, but as part of an overall system/cultural pattern). We as Planners...


“Your representative owes you not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.” --Edmund Burke
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
Supertall said:
The city has finallly decided to build a convention center.
Actually the convention center was orignally construced in 1969-72, expanded in 1982-1985, and renovated in 1994-1996. The current construction is increasing the current 300,000SF of convention space to 900,000SF at a cost of $600 million. In addition the City is now financing a 1000 room hotel one block from the center.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
Rumpy Tunanator said:
From what everybody has previously stated, it all comes down to sustainability.

I see the great migrations back to the great lakes already B-) :-\

A guy I met more than ten years ago said that people and businesses would move back to the Great Lakes when water and other resources became too scarce. Maybe; but I think you'll find people arguing for a 2,000-mile-long water pipeline from Lake Michigan to the Southwest before they move back.

Having seen both Phoenix and Vegas, I believe they are both disasters waiting to happen. Hasn't Vegas already developed out to the mountainsides of the Las Vegas Valley? How much more developable land is there?

And is there a time table for the "collapse" of Southwest cities, when the acquifers run dry and the drought really sinks in? Twenty years? Thirty years? Fifty years?
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
pete-rock said:
A guy I met more than ten years ago said that people and businesses would move back to the Great Lakes when water and other resources became too scarce. Maybe; but I think you'll find people arguing for a 2,000-mile-long water pipeline from Lake Michigan to the Southwest before they move back.

Having seen both Phoenix and Vegas, I believe they are both disasters waiting to happen. Hasn't Vegas already developed out to the mountainsides of the Las Vegas Valley? How much more developable land is there?

And is there a time table for the "collapse" of Southwest cities, when the acquifers run dry and the drought really sinks in? Twenty years? Thirty years? Fifty years?

/crackpot prediction
I reason that Las Vegas will be dry by 2020, Phoenix slightly thereafter. "Go Northeast young man." will catch all of us in the midwest off guard. This coupled with the building oil crisis will cause "fine-grid" rust belt cities to be highly desireable once again.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
14,027
Points
58
pete-rock said:
A guy I met more than ten years ago said that people and businesses would move back to the Great Lakes when water and other resources became too scarce. Maybe; but I think you'll find people arguing for a 2,000-mile-long water pipeline from Lake Michigan to the Southwest..

then they will find out the great strength of the democratic process. Something like this would never happen as long as I am around......and I would tell them something about making a bed and going to sleep in it.....or something like that.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
mendelman said:
then they will find out the great strength of the democratic process. Something like this would never happen as long as I am around......and I would tell them something about making a bed and going to sleep in it.....or something like that.

Could this be the end of the monocentric Federal system? Will it be the Northeast/Midwest that seceeds this time?

I don't want them to come OUR way either. We have enough environmental and political problems without a million Republican retirees moving to the Bay Area. :)
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
14,027
Points
58
BKM said:
Could this be the end of the monocentric Federal system? Will it be the Northeast/Midwest that seceeds this time?
I don't know about that, but stopping a water pipeline from the Great Lakes would definitely be a good reason to start a civil war....plus, I'm sure Canada would not be very happy about it either.

Idea:
Great Lakes states secede from the union and join Canada as three new provinces. :)
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
mendelman -- I've been thinking that for a long time. :) Our federal system is broken. Besides, the great lakes really has a lot more in common with Canada than it does with, say, Texas.

Of course, allowing states like Michigan and Ohio in---moderates in American politics---would represent a dramatic shift to the right for Canada.
 

boiker

Cyburbian
Messages
3,889
Points
26
Will it be the Northeast/Midwest that seceeds this time?

I think Mendelman and I have talked about this before. But basically, the USA federal governemnt acts as a sort of EU for the the new regional countries. This break-up would allow the diffrent regions to address their problems more specifically.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,920
Points
37
boiker said:
I think Mendelman and I have talked about this before. But basically, the USA federal governemnt acts as a sort of EU for the the new regional countries. This break-up would allow the diffrent regions to address their problems more specifically.

This is the model Quebec touts if they get to separate from Canada. Perhaps an EU-style government for all of North America instead?
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
Tranplanner said:
This is the model Quebec touts if they get to separate from Canada. Perhaps an EU-style government for all of North America instead?
Oh lord no. :-c I could only imagine what things would be like back home in South Carolina if the powers that be were truly left to govern without the oversight of the federal government. Who needs the Constitution when you have the Ten Commandments (King James Version only).

Hey Mods:
The end of federalism as we know it is a pretty interesting topic. Think we can get a thread split in the FAC if the conversation continues?
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
i've been talking about this with friends since the last election. Only the split was more along the lines of the blue counties. New England and the Mid-Atlantic with the northern half of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and the rest of the great lakes states.

Although, it sounds like Canada would have to bid for accession to that new country not vice-versa. I think Michigan and Ohio alone would double the Canadian population.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25
jresta said:
i've been talking about this with friends since the last election. Only the split was more along the lines of the blue counties. New England and the Mid-Atlantic with the northern half of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and the rest of the great lakes states.

Although, it sounds like Canada would have to bid for accession to that new country not vice-versa. I think Michigan and Ohio alone would double the Canadian population.

If it were done by counties then what would you do about PA? Philly and Pittsburgh would be included in the seccession, (along with eastern Maryland)leaving "Pennsyltucky" a political island.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
biscuit said:
If it were done by counties then what would you do about PA? Philly and Pittsburgh would be included in the seccession, (along with eastern Maryland)leaving "Pennsyltucky" a political island.



I'm not entirely serious when i talk about it (i doubt it would happen like that) but in the event that it did they'd have to go along just like all of the blue counties down south would have to go. The blue counties in PA and NJ represent 70 and 80% of the population respectively. The red might look big on the map but corn stalks don't vote.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,550
Points
24
Geez!

How did a discussion on the viability of Southwestern cities turn into how to break up the Union?

I guess I shoulda left that pipeline comment out.

However...

The whole notion of identifying what societal fissures might have an impact on our Federal system is intriguing. There do seem to be some differences in culture between regions (the Northeast/Midwest, the South, the Plains/Southwest, and the West Coast) that, if stressed by crisis, could lead to a vastly different US of A.
 

wopik

Member
Messages
12
Points
1
I reason that Las Vegas will be dry by 2020, Phoenix slightly thereafter.

perhaps even earlier. If the worst drought in 500 years continues, Lake Powell is supposed to go "dry" by 2007 --- when the electricity producing generators will no longer work. The lake will then be only 15% full and will not be adding any water to Lake Mead.

By 2007, Lake Mead should be about 30% full and dropping fast.
Las Vegas, Phoenix and LA should be getting the message by then.

By the way, does it rain in LA or San Diego anymore, either ?
 
Last edited:

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
wopik said:
By the way, does it rain in LA or San Diego anymore, either ?

We have been getting decent to good rainfall the last five years in Northern California, but it has been pretty dry overall south of San Luis Obispo. I'm too lazy to look up the stats, but LA and San Diego are definitely below normal.
 

wopik

Member
Messages
12
Points
1
BKM said:
................, but LA and San Diego are definitely below normal.

yea. I heard the rainiest July on record for LA was back around 1860 when they received a whole quarter inch of rain. :D
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
wopik said:
yea. I heard the rainiest July on record for LA was back around 1860 when they received a whole quarter inch of rain. :D

Of course, you have to understand that seasons are different here. We have a rainy season from November to March, and then it typically doesn't rain AT ALL during the summer. Even, for example, Santa Rosa, CA, which receives 32 inches per year on average (as much as many midwestern and eastern cities) gets no rain at all during June, July, August, and September, and little during May or October. Things simply dry out in California except for the coastal fog areas. Still, as bleak as a 90 degree day in September can be in the Sacramento Valley, it beats the heck out of the utterly colorless chilly landscapes of March in the east. Trust me, I'm an ex-Hoosier :)
 

wopik

Member
Messages
12
Points
1
Donald Trump filed plans Thursday to build what would be the tallest hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

The 64-story hotel-condominium tower would be built on a portion of the Frontier Hotel property, across from the Wynn Las Vegas resort project and next to the Fashion Show Mall, Trump said.

Scheduled to begin construction early next year, the $300 million project would feature 1,000 hotel rooms, 50 luxury residential units of up to 10,000 square feet, a spa and restaurants. It would not have a casino.

If the worst drought in 500 years continues, these "naive" developers are going to loose a lot of money when the southwest "collapses".

http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/nevada/2004/jul/29/072910007.html
 
Last edited:

wopik

Member
Messages
12
Points
1
California will become hotter and drier by the end of the century, menacing the valuable wine and dairy industries, even if dramatic steps are taken to curb global warming, researchers said on Monday.


Under the highest-emissions forecast, carbon emissions by the end of the century will be 28 billion tons of carbon per year -- about four times the current rate of 6 billion to 7 billion tons a year. The low-emission scenario forecasts the emissions would stay at the current level.

"By the end of the century under the (best) scenario, heat waves and extreme heat in Los Angeles quadruple in frequency while heat-related mortality increases two to three times; alpine/subalpine forests are reduced by 50 percent to 75 percent and Sierra snowpack is reduced 30 percent to 70 percent," Field and his colleagues wrote.

Under the worst scenario, heat waves in Los Angeles are six to eight times more frequent, with up to seven times as many heat-related deaths as now. The Sierra snowpack falls by 90 percent.

This could "fundamentally disrupt California's water rights system," the researchers wrote.

http://www.reuters.com/printerFriendlyPopup.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=5989467
 
Messages
4
Points
0
misleading stats

Lies, damn lies and statistics....

Amazing how easy it is to manipulate and mislead using statistics. Philadelphia drawfs Phoenix. Anyone who been in both these cities knows this. Older cities in the northeast are laid out and zoned very differently than Phoenix, Houston, Las Vegas

A good example is Atlanta compared to Boston. Atlanta is 131 square miles in area with 425,000 people while Boston is 48 square miles with 600,000 people. If you added on the cities that surround Boston (just as urban as the city, they aren't suburban) and matched it to Atlantas 131 square miles, Boston would have well over 1 million people.

Another good example is Houston. The city of Houston is over 700 square mile in area! (the city, not including any suburbs) They just incorporated many small suburban towns and call it Houston. It would probably be more accurate to call it a county rather than a real city. I suspect the real reason for doing this is Texas officials, for reasons of pride and politics, wanted to say they had the 4th largest city (on paper at any rate) in the United States. Metro Houston is larger than the entire state of Massachusetts!

One final example is how the census includes Baltimore with Washington and San Francisco with San Jose. It's the reason why these cities rank so high. But why this standard for these cities and another for say Boston and Philadelphia? Why isn't Providence/Boston combined (with a combined pop. of 7.5 million)? They are closer together (40 miles apart) than San Francisco/San Jose. If this was done, Boston/Providence would rank in a dead heat with San Francisco/San Jose and Washington/Baltimore. It would actually surpass Philadelphia. Anyone who's familar with Eastern Massachusetts/Rhode Island knows it's highly urbanized and densly populated.
 

wopik

Member
Messages
12
Points
1
Protecting Powell may leave Vegas dry

The amount of water released from Glen Canyon Dam soon may have to be cut by 9.5 percent to protect hydropower production, according to a Nevada water official.

Drought and a shrinking Lake Powell are forcing federal and state water managers to consider significant cuts to the releases at the dam in order to save the reservoir and power production, to the possible detriment of flows in the Colorado River and water reserves at Lake Mead, which provides most of the municipal water in Las Vegas.

http://www.sltrib.com/ci_2398487
 

Muz

Member
Messages
8
Points
0
I live in Phoenix and it is raining NOW. See life here is sustainable.... :)

I can vouch for the fact that PHX's growth model is unsustainable. I live a half mile from those office towers in the picture above in one of the "historic" pre-WWII neighborhoods. Even in this area, a car is a near necessity. We have a small corner store that has changed ownership at least three times in the past 15 months. There are two small restaurants within a 15 minute walk (both with limited dinner service ending around 8). The nearest grocery store is over a mile away and the nearest shopping area is in the Camelback corridor about 5 miles away. We are slaves to our cars and we just accept it.

Civic leaders are pushing to develop residential properties in the downtown core, but progress is slow and there really is no "vision" for what they hope the final product to look like. I get the feeling that it is driven more by the urbanization trends in other cities and a need to prove that Phoenix is a "big city" too.

The region still has not placed even the lowest level of water restrictions into effect and our water rates are among the lowest in the West, so conservation is not an issue. Electrical rates are rather cheap too. In 5 years, my highest monthly bill for 1600 sq ft was $170, last summer when my wife was pregnant and at home all day and we had one of the hottest summers on record. When the market finally adjusts to reality, it's going to be a huge economic hit to this region.

I'm moving to Portland, OR in about 6 weeks, so I'm preparing for the culture shock. Frankly, I think, for once, I may be getting out of the market near the top. (unlike my stock holdings) :(
 

wopik

Member
Messages
12
Points
1
March 30, 2004

Lake Mead, the primary water source for all cities and farms in San Diego County, is currently 56 percent full.

What is the overall prognosis if the current "drought" continues for another two, four or six years?

At what year will cities require a $10,000 fee for water connections for each new home and business? At what year will there be a 50 percent increase in costs for river fruits and vegetables that are grown in San Diego County? At what year will there be an economic collapse in over 200 cities that use river water? At what year will the cumulative health, social and economic damages be equal to terrorist damages on Sept. 11, 2001?


http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20040330/news_lz1e30bird.html
 

The Irish One

Member
Messages
2,267
Points
25
Wopik,
Couldn't help but respond to your comments with a story from the Union-Tribune today. The subtle changes that occur today are clearly paving the way for a more responsible (READ: frugal) approach to water use in the Southland. On some other thread I bitched and whined that water should be purchased by the gallon -just like gasoline. Soon we will watch the water pump as closely as the gas pump. If you own a yard get natives plants :) .

A few years ago, with rising water prices dampening apartment owners' profits, local real estate executive Ken Satterlee predicted wide-scale water submetering wouldn't be far off. Such systems enable landlords to keep track of water consumption in each apartment.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/northcounty/20040905-9999-m1m05delta.html
 

wopik

Member
Messages
12
Points
1
August 12, 2004
Copyright © Las Vegas Mercury

Las Vegas Water Authority faces rising tide of slow-growth sentiment.

Perhaps you read last week's excellent column by Mercury Editor Geoff Schumacher concerning a recent R-J opinion survey about growth issues. The survey found that an overwhelming 75 percent of local residents favor a slowdown in new construction, at least until the drought ends. Anywhere else in the world, this might make sense, but not here. The R-J article that accompanied the survey results quickly dismissed the idea of controlling growth. It quoted water authority boss Pat Mulroy as saying that the rest of us don't know what we're talking about.

Basically, we're all stupid.

Whenever we minions talk about our desire to control growth, the poobahs of local government whip out their ultimate weapon--The Big Study. See, every time officials want a seeming justification for what they've already decided to do to us against our will, they go out and get a study. Everyone knows exactly what the study will show long before the results are in, but we all pretend to play along. Such is the case with the question of slower growth.


http://www.lasvegasmercury.com/2004/MERC-Aug-12-Thu-2004/24508161.html
 
Last edited:

wopik

Member
Messages
12
Points
1
The Irish One

Paying for water by the gallon; now that would get expensive !

Lake Powell, which straddles the Utah-Arizona border, is at a historic low level. Nevada's Lake Mead has been lower only twice before, counting the period when Lake Powell was filled for the first time.

"We are at a critical juncture in the history of the Colorado River, a river we all depend on for our lives," said Jack August, an Arizona historian who studies water trends.

California draws enough water out of the Colorado for more than 1 million households a year. Seventy percent of San Diego County's drinking water comes from the river.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20040816/news_1n16drought.html
 
Top