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Old 04-09-2015, 06:37 AM
 
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Apologies if this question has been brought up for discussion before. Do small cities have a future in the US? As our economy grows bigger and becomes more consolidated, companies are growing larger and thus are flocking to larger metros like Chicago, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle etc. Talent and educated individuals are following said companies to find jobs. As a result, it seems like smaller metros, particularly the ones under ~600-700k, are getting squeezed out. Do any of these small cities have a chance to escape the brain drain and corporate drain that has been going on, or will this be an inescapable trend for all small metros? What do you guys think?
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:01 AM
 
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What do you mean "getting squeezed out"?

I don't know what kind of delusions people on here suffer, but not everyone wants to live in a metropolis and not everyone is a progressive, urbane, degree educated person.

Plenty of people prefer small cities because they are cheaper, less overwhelming, and better places to raise children. They are also more wholesome and less crazy/anything goes. Some folks prefer that. People aren't flocking there en masses but I am sure that isn't what these places want because then they wouldn't be small cities.

Plenty of companies are HQ'd in small cities, also blue collar and working class jobs.


Why do you assume that everyone is "flocking to big cities"?


Maybe artsy types and new graduates are, but that isn't anything new. Plenty of people move to smaller cities because, newsflash: NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO LIVE IN A DENSE URBAN AREA WITH MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AND PAY $300k FOR A HOME.


Again, lots of smaller cities have jobs. Especially blue collar ones. But apparently to you, blue collar folks don't exist.
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:33 AM
 
2,167 posts, read 1,470,191 times
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Things like this tend to move in trends, and recently that has been to move to urban centers, but that will most likely change within a decade or two as more of the population ages and wants different things (like cheap real estate) and less traffic and crowds. Many people have a herd mentality and tendency to be led by the trends. It is a major reason for stock market booms and busts as well.
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:35 AM
 
19 posts, read 14,459 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark1988 View Post
What do you mean "getting squeezed out"?

I don't know what kind of delusions people on here suffer, but not everyone wants to live in a metropolis and not everyone is a progressive, urbane, degree educated person.

Plenty of people prefer small cities because they are cheaper, less overwhelming, and better places to raise children. They are also more wholesome and less crazy/anything goes. Some folks prefer that. People aren't flocking there en masses but I am sure that isn't what these places want because then they wouldn't be small cities.

Plenty of companies are HQ'd in small cities, also blue collar and working class jobs.


Why do you assume that everyone is "flocking to big cities"?


Maybe artsy types and new graduates are, but that isn't anything new. Plenty of people move to smaller cities because, newsflash: NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO LIVE IN A DENSE URBAN AREA WITH MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AND PAY $300k FOR A HOME.


Again, lots of smaller cities have jobs. Especially blue collar ones. But apparently to you, blue collar folks don't exist.
Or, you know, he's asking a question based off of statistics.
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,455 posts, read 11,958,801 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Apologies if this question has been brought up for discussion before. Do small cities have a future in the US? As our economy grows bigger and becomes more consolidated, companies are growing larger and thus are flocking to larger metros like Chicago, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle etc. Talent and educated individuals are following said companies to find jobs. As a result, it seems like smaller metros, particularly the ones under ~600-700k, are getting squeezed out. Do any of these small cities have a chance to escape the brain drain and corporate drain that has been going on, or will this be an inescapable trend for all small metros? What do you guys think?
Mostly no. I've posted similar things in the past, but the way to look at it is as follows.

1. Employment in many basic blue collar industries (manufacturing, agriculture, resource extraction) has been declining for decades

2. White collar professional service jobs that interact with the national and international economy are continuing to consolidate. This is true for two main reasons. One is that access to an airport hub is important. The second is employers know that young talent - whether they want an urban or suburban home - tends to flock to major metro areas in disproportionate numbers. Hence, they will have access to the best job applicants in the biggest metros.

3. A residual "core" economy can remain in an area which lacks these two job engines. The employment can be diverse, from low level retail positions to doctors and lawyers. But given there's not much of value being "exported" out of the metro, job growth can't ever out perform local population growth.

As to how a smaller city can get around it, there are a few ways:

1. Be anchored by a major college. This creates thousands of middle-income jobs directly, and typically results in an attractive, walkable downtown which generates its own demand. Still college towns tend to be stable, but not dynamic. Many graduates would like to stay, but generally outside of the school itself there is little in the way of middle-income employment.

2. Have other large governmental type employers (e.g., state capitol, military base, or even a major prison). There are the same basic dynamics, although you're less likely to see quaint walkable downtown here.

3. Have an economy based upon tourism. This does bring in outside dollars. The major issue here is the jobs created are low wage and generally seasonal. Often you see the dynamic where most of these jobs are staffed by outsiders, meaning the full-time residents of the community see little benefit.

4. Related to the last, try and market your community towards "full time tourists" - retirees and people who can work from home anywhere. The problem these communities often develop is housing prices climb above what local wages pay, meaning if you have a service job catering to these folks you often need to live far outside of the core area of the metro.
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:23 AM
 
130 posts, read 126,661 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AChangeIsGonnaCome... View Post
Or, you know, he's asking a question based off of statistics.
That article is about suburbs, not smaller cities.


The urbanista thing is mainly the realm of young people with college degrees and no kids. Blue collar folks, folks with families etc. don't want to live in cities and cannot afford it. I had a family younger than most millennials, when they hit 30 something and start reproducing than Brooklyn or Downtown LA won't be so popular.


Regardless, maybe millienials don't want to live in Fort Wayne, but blue collar fanilies who want a big home do.
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:31 AM
 
21,220 posts, read 30,443,839 times
Reputation: 19674
Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Apologies if this question has been brought up for discussion before. Do small cities have a future in the US? As our economy grows bigger and becomes more consolidated, companies are growing larger and thus are flocking to larger metros like Chicago, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle etc. Talent and educated individuals are following said companies to find jobs. As a result, it seems like smaller metros, particularly the ones under ~600-700k, are getting squeezed out. Do any of these small cities have a chance to escape the brain drain and corporate drain that has been going on, or will this be an inescapable trend for all small metros? What do you guys think?
Brain drain and corporate drain????

Check out rapidly growing/thriving MSAs with populations under 600K like Durham NC, Fayetteville AR, Huntsville AL, Chattanooga TN, Spartanburg SC, Ft Collins CO, Savannah GA, Des Moines IA and Lincoln NE to revisit that premise.
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Old 04-09-2015, 09:03 AM
 
1,424 posts, read 1,038,776 times
Reputation: 1397
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Mostly no. I've posted similar things in the past, but the way to look at it is as follows.

1. Employment in many basic blue collar industries (manufacturing, agriculture, resource extraction) has been declining for decades

2. White collar professional service jobs that interact with the national and international economy are continuing to consolidate. This is true for two main reasons. One is that access to an airport hub is important. The second is employers know that young talent - whether they want an urban or suburban home - tends to flock to major metro areas in disproportionate numbers. Hence, they will have access to the best job applicants in the biggest metros.

3. A residual "core" economy can remain in an area which lacks these two job engines. The employment can be diverse, from low level retail positions to doctors and lawyers. But given there's not much of value being "exported" out of the metro, job growth can't ever out perform local population growth.

As to how a smaller city can get around it, there are a few ways:

1. Be anchored by a major college. This creates thousands of middle-income jobs directly, and typically results in an attractive, walkable downtown which generates its own demand. Still college towns tend to be stable, but not dynamic. Many graduates would like to stay, but generally outside of the school itself there is little in the way of middle-income employment.

2. Have other large governmental type employers (e.g., state capitol, military base, or even a major prison). There are the same basic dynamics, although you're less likely to see quaint walkable downtown here.

3. Have an economy based upon tourism. This does bring in outside dollars. The major issue here is the jobs created are low wage and generally seasonal. Often you see the dynamic where most of these jobs are staffed by outsiders, meaning the full-time residents of the community see little benefit.

4. Related to the last, try and market your community towards "full time tourists" - retirees and people who can work from home anywhere. The problem these communities often develop is housing prices climb above what local wages pay, meaning if you have a service job catering to these folks you often need to live far outside of the core area of the metro.

This.

Mid-sized cites are at the cross currents of two trends:
1) cities need "exportable goods and services" to grow.
2) we increasingly live in a knowledge economy where skill clustering is necessary. Most middle skilled jobs in mfg and services have been automated or outsourced away.

That means we have a lot of lower skilled exportable jobs: tourism/retirement, natural resource/ag, call centers, smaller scale mfg.
We also have lots of higher skilled exportable jobs: IT, finance, research, technical consulting. These employers and employees need to be located in bigger MSAs to match the specialized skill sets. It is going to be much easier to find a geneticist in Boston than in Youngstown OH.

The small to mid sized cities that proposer will generally have some sort of highly location specific need to be there: a tourist attraction, a port, a university/non-profit institute, a state capital, service business related to local Ag/Natural Resource industries. There maybe some middle skilled jobs that capitalize on the lower cost of business: a back office center for a big company, but most of the big middle skilled factories and back offices are generally going away thanks to automation/outsourcing.

Most mid sized rust belt towns in the NE and MW will continue to struggle. Towns in the south and west will be a little better off as they are coming from much smaller bases. They don't have to replace all the lost MFG jobs. They are also better positioned to capture spill over growth from the booming sunbelt cities.

A few mid-sized towns will be able to do what Austin and Raleigh-Durham did and make the jump from mid-tier cities to high tech knowledge hubs, but those will be the exceptions. Maybe another state capital with a big college like Boise Idaho or Madison Wisconsin.
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Old 04-09-2015, 09:15 AM
 
130 posts, read 126,661 times
Reputation: 206
It's truly nuts to me how you people think that everyone desires to white collar city lifestyle
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Old 04-09-2015, 09:42 AM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,678,592 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark1988 View Post
It's truly nuts to me how you people think that everyone desires to white collar city lifestyle
But as other posters said, many blue collar jobs are being phased-out, automated, or shipped overseas. Unfortunately, the "white collar lifestyle" may be the only kind of lifestyle available to a large proportion of Americans.
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