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Old 08-29-2012, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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I don't think there's any question that sun-belt cities have a huge economic impact on the country, and remain popular places to migrate. But why do they seem to influence culture (music, art, film, fashion, etc) to such a small extent?

To give examples, I'll list the top 25 U.S. cities by population. I'll bold the sun-belt cities.

New York
Los Angeles
Chicago
Houston
Philadelphia
Phoenix
San Antonio
San Diego
Dallas
San Jose

Jacksonville
Indianapolis
Austin
San Francisco
Columbus
Fort Worth
Charlotte

Detroit
El Paso
Memphis

Boston
Seattle
Denver
Baltimore
Washington DC

What's striking to me is how few of the sun-belt cities have any national cultural impact. Of course Los Angeles does, by virtue of Hollywood. You could make an argument that Austin is very influential at this particular moment. But on the whole, the non-sun belt cities - even dying ones like Detroit - seem to have a much larger impact on our culture.

My own explanation is one of the major differences between the Sun Belt and the rest (snow belt?) is that in most of the south and west it's easy for cities to annex suburbs. Thus they've continued to grow because they've recaptured suburban flight, and more of the MSA happens to be inside of city limits. Generally speaking the biggest cultural influences come from the "real urban" portions of cities, not the suburban ones - and in much of the sun belt these areas are small (or even nonexistent in places like Phoenix).

Thoughts?
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Old 08-29-2012, 09:40 AM
 
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You should consider using the MSA populations rather than city-limits. That would add a couple of sunbelt cities that do influence pop culture quite a bit - Atlanta and Miami in particular replacing Jacksonville and San Antonio. Metro populations are more realistic, as evidenced by the common knowledge that Atlanta and Miami are much larger are more influential in the U.S. than Jacksonville and San Antonio.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Dallas, TX and wherever planes fly
1,558 posts, read 2,395,131 times
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^^^ This. Also it seems to me not about geography as much as were the culture is bred. Normally great culture comes from those with a creative mindset, so those enclaves could be were culture begins and grows.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:22 AM
 
29,944 posts, read 27,386,421 times
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We already did our part. We gave the nation and the world jazz, blues, country, and rock 'n roll.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:38 AM
 
9,967 posts, read 14,618,894 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I don't think there's any question that sun-belt cities have a huge economic impact on the country, and remain popular places to migrate. But why do they seem to influence culture (music, art, film, fashion, etc) to such a small extent?

To give examples, I'll list the top 25 U.S. cities by population. I'll bold the sun-belt cities.

New York
Los Angeles
Chicago
Houston
Philadelphia
Phoenix
San Antonio
San Diego
Dallas
San Jose

Jacksonville
Indianapolis
Austin
San Francisco
Columbus
Fort Worth
Charlotte

Detroit
El Paso
Memphis

Boston
Seattle
Denver
Baltimore
Washington DC

What's striking to me is how few of the sun-belt cities have any national cultural impact. Of course Los Angeles does, by virtue of Hollywood. You could make an argument that Austin is very influential at this particular moment. But on the whole, the non-sun belt cities - even dying ones like Detroit - seem to have a much larger impact on our culture.

My own explanation is one of the major differences between the Sun Belt and the rest (snow belt?) is that in most of the south and west it's easy for cities to annex suburbs. Thus they've continued to grow because they've recaptured suburban flight, and more of the MSA happens to be inside of city limits. Generally speaking the biggest cultural influences come from the "real urban" portions of cities, not the suburban ones - and in much of the sun belt these areas are small (or even nonexistent in places like Phoenix).

Thoughts?

As others have said it'd be good to just look at metros. Indianapolis might be larger than Detroit, but the Detroit area has a much more influential music scene on every level--I couldn't name the first thing about Indianpolis culture outside of sports.

Or just point out the cities in both areas that have larger cultural scenes or influences on the rest of the US regardless of worrying about population. I mean New Orleans isn't that large--but in terms of culture it means a lot more to me than most cities in the Midwest or Northeast outside of NY, Boston, Philly.

Other points:

-Are you considering the SF Bay Area to be part of the Sun Belt or not? Because you have San Jose bolded as a Sun Belt city and San Francisco unbolded as a non-Sun Belt city. Yes, they're two different styles of cities, but they're both in the same geographic region.

-As far as film and TV goes--there's obviously Los Angeles and New York as hubs of the industry. Though on the other hand a lot of films and TV is being shot in other smaller cities these days. And Atlanta is a huge media capital along with New Orleans being the site of a lot of filming locations. Miami is a hub for Spanish-language media.

-As far as music goes--I'd argue that much of the Sun Belt is pretty influential though it's just for different genres than simply mainstream pop or rock in many ways. Both historically, New Orleans and Memphis(jazz, blues, and r&b) to modern hiphop for Atlanta and other southern metros to Miami for Latin music to San Antonio and other cities in Texas for Tejano music to Los Angeles for other Mexican music styles and so on. And that's leaving out the huge center of the more mainstream music industry that Los Angeles has been since the 1960s along with rock and hiphop genres.
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Old 08-29-2012, 10:43 AM
 
6,611 posts, read 6,929,047 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
As others have said it'd be good to just look at metros. Indianapolis might be larger than Detroit, but the Detroit area has a much more influential music scene on every level--I couldn't name the first thing about Indianpolis culture outside of sports.

Or just point out the cities in both areas that have larger cultural scenes or influences on the rest of the US regardless of worrying about population. I mean New Orleans isn't that large--but in terms of culture it means a lot more to me than most cities in the Midwest or Northeast outside of NY, Boston, Philly.

Other points:

-Are you considering the SF Bay Area to be part of the Sun Belt or not? Because you have San Jose bolded as a Sun Belt city and San Francisco unbolded as a non-Sun Belt city. Yes, they're two different styles of cities, but they're both in the same geographic region.

-As far as film and TV goes--there's obviously Los Angeles and New York as hubs of the industry. Though on the other hand a lot of films and TV is being shot in other smaller cities these days. And Atlanta is a huge media capital along with New Orleans being the site of a lot of filming locations. Miami is a hub for Spanish-language media.

-As far as music goes--I'd argue that much of the Sun Belt is pretty influential though it's just for different genres than simply mainstream pop or rock in many ways. Both historically, New Orleans and Memphis(jazz, blues, and r&b) to modern hiphop for Atlanta and other southern metros to Miami for Latin music to San Antonio and other cities in Texas for Tejano music to Los Angeles for other Mexican music styles and so on. And that's leaving out the huge center of the more mainstream music industry that Los Angeles has been since the 1960s along with rock and hiphop genres.
Excellent post! You could also add Nashville (and Atlanta) for country and gospel, and Applachia for bluegrass.
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Old 08-29-2012, 04:38 PM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
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It always amazes me at the ways in which threads are created with the presumed intent on belittling the Sunbelt.
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:02 PM
 
Location: SoCal
1,243 posts, read 1,570,886 times
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San Francisco is in the Sunbelt. I'd say the Sunbelts heaviest cultural hitters are Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami. But the MAJORITY of Sunbelt cities are young, in fact the only reason I consider LA and SF sunbelt is because the weather is the same...sort of. But those two boomed and grew to prominence before the REAL Sunbelt phenomenon so I don't know how linked they really are. But, back to the Sunbelt cities being young, cultural significance isn't just something a city attains overnight. Most of these cities like Phoenix and Houston for example are busy booming, it's gonna take some more time for things to mix, settle, assimilate and eventually turn into something truly Phonecian or Houstonian
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:56 AM
 
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It seems that you find that more(not most) of the sunbelt contributions to culture(in the south mainly) are not city specific , where in places like the northeast and midwest, the contributions are strictly city specific.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:04 AM
 
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Missing so far in the thread is the fact that the Sunbelt has only developed to where it is in the past 30-40 years, compared to the established cultural hubs that have influenced the country for the past 150-200 years. In other words, give it some time.
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