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View Poll Results: Will Las Vegas and Orlando become major in the foreseeable future?
Yes 8 36.36%
No 14 63.64%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-30-2013, 10:51 PM
Location: Milky Way Galaxy
669 posts, read 725,463 times
Reputation: 264


Just saw a list the other day that said these were two of the fastest growing cities. These two cities have mainly been huge tourist destinations but it seems like that's about it. Las Vegas is pretty big city wise but it's still below 30 on MSA which is a lot of people's criteria for major. While Orlando is in the top 20 on CSA is still below top 25 on MSA. So will these two cities become major in the foreseeable future?
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:09 AM
567 posts, read 910,255 times
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The problem with Vegas is that they've tried to diversify beyond tourism but haven't really been able to. (I lived there for a time.) When you're a tourist town you are very susceptible to boom-and-bust cycles. In other words, when everyone's busted, you're busted worse than average. I was there when the balloon dropped in '08 and it felt as if we had been nuked. Even if your job had no direct connection to the tourist/gambling industry you felt as if doom were imminent. Diversification is the way out of this trap, but so far tourism/gambling remains really the only pillar of the economy.

Beyond tourism... well, they lured in Bank of America, or at least some division thereof. They had to create a new municipality just for them (Lake Las Vegas) because plain Las Vegas sounded too sleazy. In general, as far as major corporations go, they've only been able to draw in "back office" operations such as call centers, which can be set up or taken down in a matter of a few weeks. Major corps are reluctant to relocate there to any substantial degree for a variety of reasons, a huge one being how crappy the schools are. White collar professionals don't want to put their kids in public schools that rank down there with New Mexico and Mississippi.

Other than that, the businesses drawn to Nevada that proponents always boast of are usually your 9-dollar-an-hour type of operations. Not exactly the makings of a new Silicon Valley. Although they did, and are still making, a big hullabaloo about Zappo's relocating to downtown Vegas. There's a bit of a "techie" scene concentrated around the rapidly gentrifying Fremont St./Downtown area but it's small beans compared to the Bay Area, Seattle, etc. Maybe they can become the next Austin, as far as that goes.

Lack of willingness to invest in the sort of infrastructure that attracts manufacturing, logistics, etc., also plays a part. L.A. and Phoenix both have plenty of both, which is why some say when the water war over the Colorado River comes to a head, Vegas will ultimately lose out to those other two despite historically having gotten the upper hand in water rights decades ago.

Well, maybe it's shifted since I moved away. But generally speaking, libertarian policies don't turn you from an overgrown tourist town into the latest commercial/tech hub.

Anyways, it's been a while since I was paying attention, things might have changed since then or maybe there are factors I'm not aware of. I'd like to hear from any current Vegas locals who know the full story.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:14 PM
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Vegas will always just be Vegas, I don't care if it became the most populous city in the country- it's sleazy and creepy. And Orlando is lame.
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Old 05-31-2013, 03:44 PM
Location: Denver
6,628 posts, read 12,505,595 times
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I guess it depends on what you define as major...are they ever going to be in the same class as cities like Houston, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, or Dallas? No...but that's not to say they can't get to level of say Baltimore or St. Louis.

Due to Vegas' desert location, I believe it'll be more difficult for it to grow to a super-sized city. The problem with both of them is their shared main industry, tourism, is about as far away from skilled work as it gets. It's difficult to take that main industry and branch it off into anything other than other variations of tourism. For example, a city like SF, whose main industry is tech, it's a natural move to go from high tech to biotech to venture capital, etc. Tourism doesn't necessarily offer that sort of expansion.

Last edited by tmac9wr; 05-31-2013 at 03:54 PM..
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Old 06-01-2013, 06:17 PM
Location: Cbus
1,721 posts, read 1,400,744 times
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Las Vegas's growth has already taken a huge toll on Lake mead. It will be interesting to see if the supply of fresh water will be enough to meet the demand of population growth in western desert cities.
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:02 AM
21,188 posts, read 30,359,201 times
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I live in the Orlando area currently and would say no. The city only has a population of 240K (despite a "metro area" size of over 2 million) and has little room for growth other than annexation which isn't likely. The city leaders are very intent upon trying to make Orlando into something big league-like and have the "hey look at us now" syndrome down pat, which is tiring for anyone who has lived elsewhere as it's kind of pathetically desperate. Orlando is and always will be known as base camp for the amusement parks and seemingly attracts those who find that a serious plus and have little or no appreciation for cultural amenities, or quality restaurants and a decent food scene. It's the perfect destination for the god-fearing Libertarian types who are anti-tax and pro-gun.
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:22 AM
2,621 posts, read 2,707,023 times
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With the way things are run here, oligarchs have the last say, people with money, the resort owners run the city and not the elected officials. In other words as much as they like to talk about diversification, tourism will always be the top agenda. Things are changing but at a very slow pace, Zappos group are doing something the previous local administrations have not done, making Downtown Vegas a better place to live and work but it is still closely tied to tourism.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:42 AM
Location: San Diego
939 posts, read 2,829,451 times
Reputation: 438
yes, las vegas can become major. its population density per square mile has jumped substantially over the last two decades, and stands at over 4,000 people per square miles. as more high rise condos are built over the next several decades, and as more corporations move in to diversity its economy, vegas will be a major city. not any time soon though.
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