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Where is your city going?

Mastiff

Gunfighter
Messages
7,181
Points
30
Well, we discussed the sinners, the good, the bad, and the ugly... But where do you feel, perhaps by the perponderance of the population, your city is *trying* to go, or to be?

Are they fighting over it?

Are there more than two directions?

Is it changing for the better?


Here's mine:

Old logging town, but the mills have gone. It went from over 5 thousand to under 3 thousand in a few years. The mills are not coming back.

Part of the people are working with the administration to market the town as a "recreation center", and it has potential. Skiing, snowmobiling, and winter recreation within 15-20 minutes. Rivers and lakes all over to provide fishing, boating, water skiing, etc. And the National Forest gives all the hunting, hiking, and biking one could want.

The other part is made up of the "old guard"... usually old and guarded. They want the town to stay small and broke, and quiet.

We'll see where it goes.


So, how about your town?:hat
 

JivecitySTL

Cyburbian
Messages
115
Points
6
St. Louis, as most city buffs know, is merely a shadow of its former self (once the 4th-wealthiest city in the nation). Decades of suburban flight have taken its toll on the central city.

St. Louis peak population, 1950: 857,000
St. Louis population, 2000: 348,189

Our metropolitan area continues to grow modestly.

Current metro STL population: 2,603,607

Despite the central city decline, it is absolutely amazing how much is left of our great city. A back-to-the-city movement is in full swing here and urban anthropologists expect the next census to show gains in St. Louis City. I can tell there is renewed interest in the old urban core like never before. Suburbanites are coming back, it's no longer looked down upon for kids to move back to STL after college, property values are increasing in just about every neighborhood in the city. It's no surprise either-- this city has some of the best housing stock in the country and our pedestrian-friendly urban neighborhoods are of the highest quality. St. Louis is urban to the core. I love this place and I'm here for the long haul.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
The suburb where I work is now over 100,200 people on the outskirts of a still growing region (the Bay Area). despite this, it want's to be a "small town" that "preserves open space" while providing for a cheap "American dream" (Out here a stucco rancher on a 5,000 square foot lot that looks like 300 other "models" in the "unit" of the "master planned community."

Too many quotation marks! :)

Where I live (the next town up the freeway) is similar, but really believes that its biggest issue is providing space for more "executive housing." They are definitely more pro-growth, which means the nice bicycling roads will soon be filled with El Guapos driving personal assault vehicles at 60 mph down what was once a ncie country road. :)
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,754
Points
58
Woosh!

Metropolitan area population:

Buffalo
1950 - 1,089,230
1997 - 1,164,721

Las Vegas
1950 - 48,289
1997 - 1,262,099
(1950 Las Vegas equivalent now - Flagstaff, Arizona - 57,700)

Charlotte
1950 - 197,052
1997 - 1,350,243
(1950 Charlotte equivalent now - Merced, California - 196,123)

Orlando
1950 - 141,833
1997 - 1,467,045
(1950 Orlando equivalent now - Las Cruces - 168,470)

Columbus
1950 - 503,410
1997 - 1,460,242
(1950 Columbus equivalent now - Colorado Springs - 480,041)

Indianapolis
1950 - 551,777
1997 - 1,503,468
(1950 Indianapolis equivalent now - Mobile - 527,118)

Kansas City
1950 - 814,357
1997 - 1,709,273
(1950 Kansas City equivalent now - Fresno - 868,703)

Portland
1950 - 704,829
1997 - 2,112,802
(1950 Portland equivalent now - Knoxville - 654,181)

Denver
1950 - 612,128
1997 - 2,318,355
(1950 Denver equivalent now - Bakersfield - 628,605)

Phoenix
1950 - 331,770
1997 - 2,839,539
(1950 Phoenix equivalent now - Boise - 383,843)

Miami
1950 - 579,017
1997 - 3,515,358
(1950 Miami equivalent now - Stockton, California - 542,504)

Atlanta
1950 - 726,789
1997 - 3,627,184
(1950 Atlanta equivalent now - Albuquerque - 674,837)

Think about it. Who would have thought, fifty years ago, that the Phoenix, Miami, Denver and Atlanta metro areas would be bigger than the Buffalo metro? In 2050, Knoxville, Stockton or Las Cruces could be waving at Buffalo as they pass by ...
 

Virtue City

Cyburbian
Messages
52
Points
4
Cleveland, Ohio

Just a couple of things happening in Cleveland

Neighborhoods are being restored at rapid rates. It's becoming hip to live in Cleveland again. However, due to this, only the elite can afford to live in these neighborhoods. As a result, lower income people are moving into the inner-ring suburbs to the south. As always, the already huge metropolitan area is growing, but not at the rapid rate that it has in the past.

In terms of projects, a lot is happening here, but nothing completely original. There has been talk to open up the city's shoreway, which is currently consumed by a highway. The city has just invested in expanding its lackluster airport by moving a major road south by a hundred yards to accomodate a new runway. On a personal note, I think this idea is ridiculous and expensive, and the problem could be solved by creating a Cleveland-Akron partnership. Also, the region is working to connect downtown Cleveland to Columbus (and through Akron) via a park corridor surrounding the old Ohio-Erie Canal. This may just be in the envisioning stage right now, but I know for a fact that Cleveland and Akron are already connected by the trail.

Also, the Brownies are coming back this year to kick some *ss in the NFL this year. Cleveland is extremely hyped about this!
 

statler

Cyburbian
Messages
447
Points
14
Well, Boston seems to be getting near the end of an incredible growth cycle (at least in the planning stage, the physical development is still in full swing) The biggest and most obvious is the 'Big Dig' CA/T project and the future greenway which will replace it (I hope) Plus we have the new Seaport District with the new Convention center as the anchor. Of course there are still fights and squabbles concerning both projects, but it wouldn't be Boston without them. Plus a few of the neighborhoods seem to have reinvented themselves (The South End, Rozzie, The Ladder District and Southie have all gotten face lifts over the past decade or so)
I don't have any hard numbers but from what I've read in the local paper, there has been a influx of younger folks moving back in to the city (mostly into the nieghborhoods mentioned above). Oddly enough from I've gathered the population have actually remained fairly constant. What is happening is the the young rich are moving into these traditionaly poorer neighborhoods and buying two-three family homes and converting them in to single family homes. While all this renovation certainly makes the area look a lot nicer, there is also a lot less activitivy around as well. Plus, the sad fact of gentrification seems to be creeping in.
Another down side to this is that real estate prices have skyrocketed. I'm interested to see how the city will repond to the current economic downturn. Already there are a lot fewer plans for new developments, and quite a few old plans are being shrunk, put on hold or abandoned altogether.
My biggest concern is with city services. To his credit, the mayor has done a great job with the city's park system, and has worked hard to restore a lot of the parks and not I worry that with the coming budget crunch, he will just let them slide back into disrepair.
All in all, the city has improved quite a bit over the last decade, I just hope it will be possible to maintain this level of progress through the slump.
 

adaptor

Member
Messages
123
Points
6
spending lots to go nowhere

I 'm sad to say most Ohio cities are going nowhere despite some appearances.

Virtue City mentions some urban redevelopment and the Cleveland Browns as indicators of where things are going, but I'm not so sure. As the states surrounding Ohio have turned to gambling to pump some life into their economies, our panacea is building sports facilities. Cleveland has built a lovely new ball park, arena and football stadium with long-term tax abatements and skinflint owners who also expect free rent. The MBNA (Browns) stadium sits vacant on valuable lakefront property 11 months of the year and people are increasingly reluctant to pay the big bucks to see our so-so sports teams, much less pump money into the downtown economy dining out or whatever.

Akron also has a minor league park that draws a few people away from the 'burbs for games and a few restaurants have opened. Not much job creation there, though. But that's not stopping Toledo, Euclid and several other cities from raising bond money for minor league facilities. Anything to draw people back from the sprawl to drop a few bucks at a local watering hole.

Meanwhile, entire industires are crumbling and no one has come up with a good plan to replace the lost jobs and income. Steel mills change hands and downsize, academic test scores are awful and the supreme court says Ohio can continue to give tax funds to support parochial schools (via vouchers). Politics pit the Democratic cities of northeast Ohio against the Republican hayseeds in the rest of the state. There are term limits for State government so reps spend their few years cutting up their opponents instead of addressing serious issues such as school funding in a meaningful way. Even State university tuition is moving out of reach for many residents. Soon sprawl will eat up their soybean farms but they'll be back to selling insurance and won't be in office to deal with the costs for infrastructure and public services.
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,550
Points
25
The suburb of Milwaukee where I work is definitly headed in the right direction. We have undertaken numerous redevelopment projects and have had great success so far.

Our next big task is the redevelopment of an older regional mall and the surrounding area. The community leaders seem to undertand that people want a "downtown" type area and they have worked that thnking into the preliminary mall redevelopment plans, which will include the creation of a pedestrian-friendly "main street" and the construction of condos adjacent to the shopping district.
 

Virtue City

Cyburbian
Messages
52
Points
4
Re: spending lots to go nowhere

Rustbelt:

rustbelt said:
Virtue City mentions some urban redevelopment and the Cleveland Browns as indicators of where things are going, but I'm not so sure.
To clear things up, I made the Browns statement to declare that they're going to be great this year. As a big football town, people here are already getting excited about the season. I did not intend to use the Browns as an indicator of how things are going in Cleveland.

I do agree somewhat with you though, rustbelt. The big stadium boom in Cleveland in the 1990's (as well as several other cities) is not too beneficial. The Browns stadium is only used about six to eight Sundays a year. Not too many concerts are held there due to the availability of other venues such as CSU Convocation Center, The Gund, and the Tower City Ampitheater. I despise the idea of a private institution consuming so much lakefront land. Also, Gateway and the Browns Stadium have done little for redevelopment in the area.

While industries continue to fail in the region, this occurence may prove to be advantageous granted that the economic base shifts to other new non-manufacturing industries. I would love to see the Cuyahoga Valley opened up to the public as a park. Many of the factories and industries in the valley are out-of-date, and like the stadium, consume valuable lands. I'd love to see the city concentrate on this rather than opening a mere 2 miles of lakefront land.

As stated above, universities in Ohio are suffering big time. I see this especially as a student. From last semester alone, my tuition at CSU rose 9%. Elsewhere around the state, colleges increased tuition by as much as 21%, like at Ohio State. I don't see school vouchers as a huge problem in the long run. My theory: I think that it will lead some risk-takers to invest in opening private (nonreligious) schools, since they can now obtain that money from vouchers. When the profit motive is involved, these entrepeneurs will do everything humanly possible to make money. To attract students in order to make this money, they're going to offer the best quality schools they possibly can. Therefore, students will have a good quality education, instead of what they'd be receiving at the lackluster Cleveland Public Schools. Just my opinion.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Good question...

I work for a city on the outskirts of Edmonton that has become an upper-middle class bedroom community. NIMBYism is at an all-time high here, and it seems like everyone has a different opinion about the future. I heard somewhere that we have the highest number of millionaires per capita in Canada (of course that's Canadian money, so that doesn't mean much ;) )...

Like all other wealthy bedroom communities, we are having difficulty supplying affordable housing and getting in "clean industry". Our Our current population is about 51,000, but we are projecting with current growth rates that our population will be around 75,000 by 2014. We are currently trying to balance the growth with sprawl, and have been somewhat successful in protection of the environment and providing open spaces and bike trails.

I think the locals see this as their little haven, but the reality is that the residential is not paying for the services that the City is provided. So until we figure out what we want to do, staff has been directed to look for the big Microsoft business park that will save us all...
 

TGlass

Member
Messages
18
Points
1
The suburb of Detroit I live in is a small, historically concious small town now well enveloped by the sprawl of Metro Detroit. Farmington, Michigan has about 10,000 residents, an older population. The city is little more than a crossroads collection of turn of the 20th century architecture that has been rehabilitated numerous times. The biggest obstacle right now is the for the city to maintain its charming feel without becoming botiqued like its neighbor of Northville. Change comes slowly in Farmington. There is also a decent-sized strip mall that was developed in the 1970s that has recently been refaced, yet is still unsightly. A study commissioned by the city and carried out by the Urban Planning School at the University of Detroit-Mercy suggested blending the strip mall into more traditional mixed-use vertical development. The plan has its loud, but few supporters. Most of the older population has no desire for change. Since the older population constitutes the majority of the voting franchise, they will win out for the time being. All in all, we have few problems compared to many older Detroit suburbs.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
Dan said:
Detroit will be lifted from the ashes by the presence of its wealthy suburbs.
I'll address my hometown, Detroit, starting with Dan's comment.

1. When you look at the Detroit metro area, I think you have to look at two distinct entities -- the city of Detroit and its suburbs -- because I don't believe any metro area in the US is as divided on the city/suburb level as Detroit. Racial, economic and social divisions are deep between Detroit and its suburbs. And I don't believe that Detroit's suburbs are inclined to lift Detroit in any way.

2. I actually think that Detroit is in the midst of a decline similar to what Dan speaks of for Buffalo. Detroit, I believe, never reached full first-tier US city status, because of its huge industrial concentration, but it was at the top of the second-tier cities. It's struggling to hold on to that status before dropping to third-tier status. MSA population for Detroit in 1970 was about 4.7 million; in 2000 it's 5.5 million, for a decent increase of 17% over 30 years. However, Detroit proper went from 1.5 million in 1970 to 950,000 in 2000, losing 37% of its population. I think the suburbs will continue to grow and the city decline over the next two or even three census counts. My guess for metro Detroit in 2040:

Detroit MSA: 6 million
Detroit proper: 600,000

Detroit will simply be one of many cities (albeit still the largest) in the southeastern Michigan region.

3. The collective opinion of metro Detroiters may be that Detroit proper missed out on much of the boom in the 1990s. Sure, there was some downtown revitalization with the stadiums, casinos and Compuware moving its headquarters, but no significant stream of residents moving back to the city and no real neighborhood revitalization as seen in many other cities. Detroiters are becoming increasingly uneasy about the lack of progress toward overall revitalization, and suburbanites seem to feel no vested interest in Detroit's future.

In August, Detroiters will vote on an amendment (I believe) to the city charter that will call for the creation of districts or wards with locally elected members of the city council coming from them. Detroit right now is the largest city in the country with an at-large elected city council, and the state legislature has pushed for greater local accountability in Detroit. More accountability sounds fine to me. But Detroiters are resisting this as a challenge to home rule being pushed by suburbanites.

I think ultimately Detroit's suburbs can (and likely will) pick up Detroit. But there is a feeling among Detroiters that suburbanites are waiting for the city to "bottom out" before offering any help, and that may be decades away.
 

TGlass

Member
Messages
18
Points
1
With all due respect, I disagree on Detroit's future. I see the city remerging as an international tourist destination due to the huge popularity Detroit's culture maintains in Europe. Techno music, rock and roll, the "underground" culture that is so popular in Europe in many cases originated in (or is given credit to) Detroit. I believe the city will again go beyond the 1 million population barrier, probably by the 2010 Census. The downtown residential developments are selling faster than they can plan them. Huge events including the 2006 Super Bowl, the 2005 MLB All-Star game (not official yet but should be confirmed soon), the 2004 Ryder Cup, the hopeful continued success of the Red Wings, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, the three permenant casinos, and the Auto Show, along with traditional events that still appeal to suburbanites, will encourage investment at first in the city's center and then hopefully will grow out to the rest of the area.

This is likely a make or break decade for the city, as it has become evident that Detroit is behind the curve on urban comebacks. The racial divide is maybe impossible to completely overcome, but as America has moved forward from the injustice of the past every new generation seems to be more tolerant than the one before it. This will of course play into the city's favor.

IF the auto industry does not have the problems of the 1970s and 1980s again, and IF Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the city council can get things done, there is no reason at all why Motown can't become a very vibrant city again.
 

JivecitySTL

Cyburbian
Messages
115
Points
6
Absolutely TGlass! I see great things in Detroit's future. It's had a rough five decades, but there's only one way left to go...UP. There is renewed interest in the City of Detroit (I know the city well, my girlfriend's from there), and I think people are beginning to realize how much potential the city has. I think Detroit is the city to watch in the next 10 years (along with STL!).
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
JivecitySTL said:
[Detroit is the city to watch in the next 10 years (along with STL!).
Actually, I hope Detroit has turned the corner, too. Certainly the downtown is reaping the benefits of recent efforts. But the city's neighborhoods may still decline for awhile before improving substantially.

Maybe I'm being overly pessimistic.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Gloom

The problem I see is Detroit is the 1920s version of LA, the perfect example of sprawling, auto-dependent suburbia. I can see the return of the core, but the endless boulevards serving the wood frame single family housing stock may be more difficult to turn around. Much of the City still seems too low density to support any kind of urbanism like you can see in Chicago or even Cleveland. St Louis has a degree of red brick eastern vernacular urbanism that central Detroit lacks.

(I grew up in northeastern Indiana and can't claim detailed knowledge of the city, but these are my overall impressions).

Just like I wonder what is going to happen with the awful stucco ranchers from the 1950s-1970s that line the streets of many sunbelt towns like I where I live and work. The neighborhoods have no inherent urbanism or charm, commerce is provided through strip malls on a five lane arterial a mile away, declining schools and churches are housed in 1950s-1970s cut rate modernist buildings that only a rabid modernist contractor could love. I see Detroit as the pioneer for an entire generation of disposable cities whose regeneration will be very difficult.

I hope I am wrong, and I hope at least there will be a return to vibrancy in the core.
 

TGlass

Member
Messages
18
Points
1
Hey Jive, this is TheMapman from the Fab Ruins of Detroit board.

There is no question in my mind that reviving the neighborhoods away from downtown is going to be very difficult. There are just miles and miles of blocks of simple wood frame houses, as you mention, BKM. The Michigan Surpreme Court yesterday stunned everyone by striking down a new law that created districts for city council members as unconsitutional. MI's fatalism as a home rule state might prevent Detroit from ever becoming vibrant again. Forcing city council members into districts would seemingly increase accountibilty at a local level, and prevent the entire city government from ignoring one particular area of the city, as it has done in the past (see area around City Airport, Cass Corridor, West Jefferson, etc). The initial goal of the city has to be to make the neighborhoods livable again; they don't all have to turn into Bloonfield HIlls. Detroit can be a very healthy city with a poor population. It's sheer size is enough for it to create the necessary tax base for sustaining itself.

If the city can rid itself of the image problem it suffers from in the American media, it can clear a road to reasonable success. The steps forward in terms of crime and downtown entertainment will go unoticed unless the media can stop constantly slamming the city.

Districting would help too.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,754
Points
58
100 Largest Urban Places

Year ...... Detroit .. Los Angeles
1840 ......... 9102 .......... n/a
1850 ........ 21019 .......... n/a
1860 ........ 45619 .......... n/a
1870 ........ 79577 .......... n/a
1880 ....... 116340 .......... n/a
1890 ....... 205876 ........ 50395
1900 ....... 285704 ....... 102479
1910 ....... 465766 ....... 319198
1920 ....... 993078 ....... 576673
1930 ...... 1568662 ...... 1238048
1940 ...... 1623452 ...... 1504277
1950 ...... 1849568 ...... 1970358
1960 ...... 1670144 ...... 2479015
1970 ...... 1511482 ...... 2816061
1980 ...... 1203339 ...... 2966850
1990 ...... 1027974 ...... 3485398
2000 ....... 951270 ...... 3694820


The numbers tell a very interesting story. Between 1910 to 1950, Detroit and Los Angeles were both roughly the same size, and had roughly equivalent population growth rates. There was little difference between the often-studied Los Angeles boom of the early part of the last century, and Detroit's growth during the same time. Between 1910 and 1950, Detroit was essentially a cold Los Angeles ... or Los Angeles was a warm Detroit.

Something happened around 1955, though. Los Angeles kept on growing, while Detroit slipped. It can't all be attributed to annexation, because Los Angeles always had a huge land area. It's about the same time Buffalo, Rochester, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and St. Louis began to shed residents.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,754
Points
58
TGlass said:
Detroit can be a very healthy city with a poor population. It's sheer size is enough for it to create the necessary tax base for sustaining itself.
Look at poor urban neighborhoods and minority neighborhoods from the 1950s and 1960s. They didn't have the income or prestige, but they had healthy, vibrant commercial districts. Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo had clothing stores, grocery stores, restaurants, and all the retail amenities that would be found in any lower middle class to middle class neigbrhood of the day. It just happened to be a predominantly African-American neighborhood.

Since the 1960s, it seems as if a predominantly African-American population in an area precludes a healthy commercial district. This is just based on my casual observation, but I've noticed that when there's racial transition alone in a neighborhood, with a middle class white population being replaced by a middle-class black population, the businesses that cater to middle-income consumers follow the exodus of white families from the area. If they're replaced, there's a disproportionately large amount of businesses and services that cater to lower income groups -- dollar stores, beeper stores, wig stores, storefront churches and outreach centers, and so on. My old neighborhood, in the early stages of racial transition, saw lower middle class whites replaced by more affluent black residents. Yet the clothing and shoe stores left, and rent-to-own stores and pawn shops took their place. WTF?

On the surface, it would appear as if middle income blacks don't shop, eat, or dine at nice restaurants. If that's the case, though, why the integrated crowds in suburban shopping districts located convenient to black neighborhoods? (I know of only one exception, and that's not too far from my house ... the porton of the West Colonial Drive corridor that punches into Pine Hills, a predominantly African-American neighborhood in Orlando. You've got Chili's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, Pier One Imports, Olive Garden, a new Super Target, and so on, that are located solidly in "the hood." The customers are a good mix, although majority white.)
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
Dan, Detroit and Los Angeles did have fantastic growth rates at approximately the same time. It's funny: many of us city geeks know about Chicago's rapid growth after the Fire and LA's explosion in the 1920's, but little is written about Detroit growing at the same pace at roughly the same time.

Los Angeles beat out Detroit because of:

1) weather and climate;

2) different local economy (driven by the defense industry, film and entertainment, the growth of the Port of Long Beach);

3) few annexation opportunities for Detroit (Detroit's boundaries have been set since WWII);

4) poor decisions by politicians and the automotive elite during the 1950's (the "let it ride" mentality that was prevalent at that time).

I do believe, as BKM suggests, that Detroit may be the original "disposable" American city, but I don't see LA as its counterpart. I actually see the Silicon Valley as the new millenium version of Detroit.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
Dan said:


My old neighborhood, in the early stages of racial transition, saw lower middle class whites replaced by more affluent black residents. Yet the clothing and shoe stores left, and rent-to-own stores and pawn shops took their place. WTF?
A common problem in the south suburbs of Chicago. White residents are leaving and more affluent black residents are moving into the south suburbs of South Holland, Glenwood, Homewood, Matteson and Country Club Hills, to name a few. Each is now at least 50% African-American in the 2000 Census. But, with the possible exception of CC Hills, existing businesses are moving out with the white residents, and new businesses cater to a decidedly different clientele. I've heard this is also the case in Prince George's County, Maryland, just east of Washington, DC.

BTW, if Henry Ford had been born in some other city, Detroit would've been comparable to Milwaukee in size and scale -- the same northern European heritage (which Motown lost with the onset of the auto industry), the same logging and port history.
 

Virtue City

Cyburbian
Messages
52
Points
4
To add to my other posts...

Occassionally, I like to strap on the rollerblades and just go wherever the sidewalk takes me. It's a great way to see what's going on around town, as well as a means of getting exercise. Anyways, I've noticed that people around Cleveland are refurbishing their homes and properties. People are painting, planting new shrubbery, residing their houses, etc. This is being done to entire streets and blocks.

I don't think that Cleveland has the same potential as Detroit. However, instead of becoming a national attraction like the Motor City, I'm speculating that Cleveland will undergo changes that make it a better place for its residents.
 

TGlass

Member
Messages
18
Points
1
pete-rock said:

Los Angeles beat out Detroit because of:

1) weather and climate;

2) different local economy (driven by the defense industry, film and entertainment, the growth of the Port of Long Beach);

3) few annexation opportunities for Detroit (Detroit's boundaries have been set since WWII);

4) poor decisions by politicians and the automotive elite during the 1950's (the "let it ride" mentality that was prevalent at that time).

I do believe, as BKM suggests, that Detroit may be the original "disposable" American city, but I don't see LA as its counterpart. I actually see the Silicon Valley as the new millenium version of Detroit.
1) Maybe, but that's more of an excuse for Detroit than anything. Chicago, Toronto, etc have all succeeded despite climate.

2) Big key. The auto industry has wilder roller coaster rides than Cedar Point. It's like the old saying "When America sneezes, Detroit catches a cold." People will always go see movies and get attached to their favorite stars, so LA can avoid a lot of that. If nothing else, the defense industry does better in poor economic times as the government spends money to jump start the economy, and defense is one of the first places they go.

3) Also true, but not as important as #2. There has been a lot of talk recently about some annexation (Highland Park and Dearborn Heights are both bankrupt, adding either one would make Detroit's population approach 1 million again). Michigan's strong home rule will probably kill either opportunity.

4) Not so much during the 1950s but the 1960s, as the auto industry got arrogant and started building crap and the Detroit politicians didn't make an effort to try to sooth the racial tensions that began to blow over.

Finally, why would Silicon Valley be any more of a disposable city than any 1980s-1990s suburban region? Silicon Valley does have a tempermental economy, but it is not the only industry in the Bay Area.
 

pete-rock

Cyburbian
Messages
1,551
Points
24
TGlass said:


(Poor weather and climate may be) more of an excuse for Detroit than anything. Chicago, Toronto, etc have all succeeded despite climate.

Finally, why would Silicon Valley be any more of a disposable city than any 1980s-1990s suburban region?
I mentioned weather and climate not as an excuse for Detroit's decline, but as a partial reason for LA's rapid growth. Surely some people left Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, etc. simply to get away from snow.

And I think Silicon Valley may be more comparable to Detroit because it is dominated by the tech economy, and will continue to "get a cold" (affordable housing crisis, for example) when the American economy "sneezes".

Finally, please realize I am a Detroit backer, too. I'm a native who is always faced with questions from friends like, "what's wrong with your hometown?" every time something happens there. I want the place to improve; it has great potential to improve. In fact, I think planners want Detroit to turn it around because we feel if we can make Detroit work again, we can make any place livable and sustainable.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
Silicon Valley

Given the population pressures faced by California, maybe it would be good for Silicon Valley to slow down for a while.

Still, I doubt it. Silicon Valley has proven itself able to reinvent itself before. There was a similar period of doom and gloom during the late 1980s/early 1990s. All of this empty office space-ready for the next boom. The brainpower in the Silicon Valley area is still extraordinary. I think it'll take about three years, but the Valley will be back.

And, imo, Silicon Valley has a better climate overall by far than LA. I mean, in Silicon Valley at least you can see the skyscrapers from two miles away. In LA-you can't. Smog is to me (an asthma sufferer) as significant a part of climate as beaches.
 

green22

Cyburbian
Messages
101
Points
6
I think among other problems,Detroit is the ultimate automobile city where it is patriotic to drive[hopefully US made].While neigboring cities Chicago ,Cleveland and Toronto built subways& LRT ,Detroit built only many freeways and watched it's residents ride away on them.The suburban counties are now voting again on whether to scrap all suburban bus service,no one is sure which side will win this time.
I live in Queens.I think that nyc ,the number 1 tourist attraction,and relatively healthy urban region takes itself for granted and has for years.In any other city the damage caused by a Robert Moses would have been lethal,but new york had so many healthy areas that it was only a fleshwound.
While Chicago,Toronto,LA,Portland etc. are trying to reduce traffic and get people to use public transportation,nyc,in which most residents over age 16 do not even own a driver's liscense is trying to encourage driving.In order to develop surface or parking garages[eyesores], developers are penalized to replace all of the existing parking plus create more for themselves.There are minimum off street parking requirements per unit of retail, residential,or office space.Their are spacing requirements between buildings which means that the buildings either have to be huge or contain empty spaces between buildings[leading to many undevelopable lots].Also public space requirements lead to a proliferation of windswept plazas[not very pedestrian friendly].We still have suburban zoning on all new construction
Despite the fact that people asked for a mixed use 24-7 mixed use mixed income neighborhood with a returned street grid,The WTC site government planners gave plans similar to the original wtc plan.An isolated area of office high rises in extra large buildings with underground shopping malls.We say greenwich village,they think Houston edge city.We have 2 shopping malls in Queens and they were both created on govt. land and financed with govt money.They told surounding and displaced successful small businesses that the best way to help the neighborhood was to bring in gap,old navy,new theaters and parking lots
While NYC planners are now slower and less destructive in attacking the city,since the 1920's -1970's era, they still have much the same mindset.Atleast public input is more a part of the process,and people are aware of past mistakes.The city is growing and gentrifying.It's hard to afford to live in Manhattan unless you live in one of the segregated low income urban renewal zones[projects].I think that almost anything can be done to nyc and we will still be in a better place [and more expensive]than most american cities.
 

TGlass

Member
Messages
18
Points
1
green22 said:
I think among other problems,Detroit is the ultimate automobile city where it is patriotic to drive[hopefully US made].While neigboring cities Chicago ,Cleveland and Toronto built subways& LRT ,Detroit built only many freeways and watched it's residents ride away on them.The suburban counties are now voting again on whether to scrap all suburban bus service,no one is sure which side will win this time.
The bus service will continue, the referendum passed by a very large margin.
 
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