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Old 12-11-2016, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Northern Rockies
148 posts, read 123,177 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dport7674 View Post
No answer is good enough for you. It's obviously a mystery that can never be solved. There is zero difference between living in Boise and Seattle. There's no reason to pick Denver over Cheyenne. They're exactly the same. Montana's NFL team is going to win the Super bowl this year.
It's easy to explain why states like Colorado and Washington have higher growth rates now in 2016 -- they have the cities and jobs. But why did big cities develop in spots like Denver but not Billings, MT, for instance, I think is the more interesting question. Probably boils down to climate.
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Old 12-11-2016, 06:11 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
4,552 posts, read 3,639,169 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brb going fishing View Post
Same reason why Northern New England and the Dakotas are sparsely populated - climate. First, it's cold, at least in MT and WY. I have well over a foot of snow on the ground with another 6 inches expected tonight to go along with our -30 wind chills, and it's only early December. Furthermore, large swaths of Montana and Wyoming are too arid for significant agricultural development which was a hindrance to the development of towns and cities historically.
Quote:
Originally Posted by brb going fishing View Post
It's easy to explain why states like Colorado and Washington have higher growth rates now in 2016 -- they have the cities and jobs. But why did big cities develop in spots like Denver but not Billings, MT, for instance, I think is the more interesting question. Probably boils down to climate.
I honestly don't think it's climate at all. A few have argued this. If it was then why does Alaska have more people than Wyoming? Highs in Alaska are mostly 60 degrees and don't go over that. Anchorage reaches 60 degrees range and never warmer except the occasional heat spike that all places get. The rainy SE is so rainy it makes Seattle look like Phoenix. Fairbanks gets warmer than 60 degrees, but also significantly colder. We can't have Alaska hovering where it is population wise, in comparison to Wyoming, you can't argue climate. Alaska is not an easy place to live, and not only on top of their climate, they have transportation issues given their isolation which MT/ID/WY do not have.

Denver developed due to mining. Maybe some agriculture but mostly mining. This is also how Arizona mostly developed (yes along with agriculture, it was a dual effort in my state). In Alaska, the economy is almost all oil and gas. Places vary and while yes food matters, people have been able to live in these areas for generations with diets that fit their local area. I could argue in these arid places you are referring to it was mostly meat-based diets. Here in Arizona they were mostly beans and vegan/plant-based. Cacti were some of the biggest parts of the local diet, even saguaros and prickly pears which are actually very watery as cacti are just organic water tanks.

As technology persisted like it always does, we could incorporate more diverse diets. I can get pineapples now here in Tucson when at one time it was not possible. This is mostly done in the 20th century which was mostly the century I was referring to. Someone posted a nice list of population size of Western cities in the early 1900s, Phoenix, Tucson, and Boise were all the same size. So why was Phoenix which is a harsh climate in it's own ways in contrast to MT/WY/ID, able to develop to 5 million plus surpassing Denver, Seattle, Portland by the millions with a lack of water resources, hot temperatures, and lack of agriculture (Phoenix was built in an agricultural valley, which as people decided to pave over it with cookie cutter homes, lost a lot of it's agricultural abilities). Seattle has only recently surpassed Phoenix in it's MSA/CSA when at one point used to be more than 200k people bigger at the turn of the 20th century. Denver still doesn't compare to Phoenix in population size and will have a lot of catch up to do. Like I said previously, you can die in the heat here it's not a foreign idea and people die here every summer because of it. Like I also said previously, air conditioning helped a lot, but we also have heaters on the contrary.

So when looking at the 20th century agriculture technology improved vastly and more diverse diets could be supported, there was less of a need for local resources as manufacturing built up expansively and then sort of died out to a service-oriented economy, there really is no explanation for MT/ID/WY being rural despite still offering why millions and millions of people choose to live in the West in the first place: dry air, open space and mountains... The only excuse I can think of is someone else said previously, poor marketing abilities in the 20th century. I'm sure MT/ID/WY have resources just as populous as Colorado so I doubt it's that either.
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Old 12-11-2016, 06:31 PM
 
4,484 posts, read 2,666,302 times
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Obviously a million factors play into any area's growth. Economics, weather, and so on. Much of that ties somehow to (a) where people want to live, and (b) where certain industries can succeed due to both "a" and location aspects such as ports and access to resources. Infrastructure like a rail or freeway interchange or getting that university 150 years ago can help cement a city's position.

Weather can be a big factor. People who like Seattle weather can choose Seattle or Portland. Someone who likes upper Midwest weather has many choices, and collectively less demand on a per-city basis. Phoenix benefits from being the #1 example of a certain type of weather plus air conditioning.

Luck and choices play a big role. Seattle lucked out that Bill Gates is from here, Bill Boeing moved here, and Jeff Bezos moved here. We also proved to be fertile ground for growing huge companies due to the workforce, the ability to draw recruits, a decent education system, and so on. Likewise we've done well with military bases, tourism, and other forces. Much of that ties to a and b above.

I lived in Boise for six years. It's a nice little city and could keep growing at a good clip because people like it and because it has a decent tech, capitol, and university foundation. But it lacks transportation interchanges, its hinterlands aren't very populated, its air connections aren't very good, and it's too small to nurture the next Amazon (a company that needs many thousands of "stars" from around the world as programmers, etc., vs. a company like Micron that can train the local population).
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Old 12-11-2016, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
4,552 posts, read 3,639,169 times
Reputation: 3625
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays25 View Post
Obviously a million factors play into any area's growth. Economics, weather, and so on. Much of that ties somehow to (a) where people want to live, and (b) where certain industries can succeed due to both "a" and location aspects such as ports and access to resources. Infrastructure like a rail or freeway interchange or getting that university 150 years ago can help cement a city's position.

Weather can be a big factor. People who like Seattle weather can choose Seattle or Portland. Someone who likes upper Midwest weather has many choices, and collectively less demand on a per-city basis. Phoenix benefits from being the #1 example of a certain type of weather plus air conditioning.

Luck and choices play a big role. Seattle lucked out that Bill Gates is from here, Bill Boeing moved here, and Jeff Bezos moved here. We also proved to be fertile ground for growing huge companies due to the workforce, the ability to draw recruits, a decent education system, and so on. Likewise we've done well with military bases, tourism, and other forces. Much of that ties to a and b above.

I lived in Boise for six years. It's a nice little city and could keep growing at a good clip because people like it and because it has a decent tech, capitol, and university foundation. But it lacks transportation interchanges, its hinterlands aren't very populated, its air connections aren't very good, and it's too small to nurture the next Amazon (a company that needs many thousands of "stars" from around the world as programmers, etc., vs. a company like Micron that can train the local population).
Economics definitely play a role. Remember Microsoft was originally developed in Albuquerque but Gates couldn't find talent so he moved. Imagine if he could, what ABQ would look like and what Seattle would look like today?

Weather sure. But almost all climates have a few cities. For example Phoenix and Vegas have near identical climate, with Vegas getting slightly less rain. There's also Tucson. Denver, Boise, Cheyenne are all comparable in climate. Albuquerque as a cold desert really has no city comparison (it compares most to Prescott here in Arizona, otherwise mostly unmatched). Salt Lake City has a continental climate with temperatures and weather patterns matching Chicago. Los Angeles and San Diego. The East is pretty much divided in half with SE climate and NE climate. So when Denver is starting to reach outrageous housing prices, yet offers the same location amenities as WY/MT/ID, it's hard to justify why WY/MT/ID are not also booming due to people no longer affording Denver. Why retirees still move to Phoenix despite Tucson being one of the cheapest cities in the country (25% less than average COL) and slightly cooler weather baffles me. Vegas now legalizing marijuana should take a lot of Phoenix's growth now. Point is no city has a monopoly on climate. There are always other options.

Part of Boise's lacks that you mentioned is because it's still small and only rapidly growing. Those will probably change and improve the next decade or so. Boise may never be a tech city, but tech isn't the only industry and soon there will be a new booming industry to take over tech that Boise may be able to capitalize on. Phoenix's industry for example is mostly financial services. Phoenix doesn't need tech now and it didn't then like several other cities (Seattle) do, they have their own industry. Boise can easily do the same.
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Old 12-11-2016, 07:32 PM
 
4,484 posts, read 2,666,302 times
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A healthy inner city tends to help draw additional growth, and that's a factor in Denver. That plus having some key industries doing well, having invested in a big new airport, being a freeway crossroads, being the sole big city of its type that also isn't dominated by its local religion, being a gateway to the Rockies, and so on.

Microsoft couldn't have gotten that big in Albuquerque. That's part of my point. Companies like that need to locate in places that fit their growth plans, and that means places where they can recruit the best and brightest. They say this very openly when they move or open new offices.

Not sure what you mean about Boise. It is a tech city. Just not one that relies as much on high-value functions like programming.

Phoenix is thriving as a low-cost city, which has helped it attract financial services. The local economic development people would kill to attract more high-wage jobs, and not rely as much on the back offices.
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Old 12-12-2016, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Brew City
4,228 posts, read 2,505,774 times
Reputation: 5666
From my experience living in Montana;

No economy
No access to major airports
Low wages combined with relatively high cost of living
No major city
Not welcoming of newcomers or new ideas
And most importantly, no desire to change the base economy for the new century and the future


I don't believe climate is a factor. Helena is actually quite mild (aside from the wind). What I do think will be an issue in the near future is the lack of water. We had $325 monthly water bills in the summer living in the Helena valley.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
3,082 posts, read 2,114,844 times
Reputation: 3582
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dport7674 View Post
No answer is good enough for you. It's obviously a mystery that can never be solved.
Agreed. Several very reasonable answers about the myriad of reasons why this is so have been put forth, but Prickly Pear keeps insisting its not climate. Okay, its not climate. She also insists most jobs today can be done remotely so why not live in Wyoming. Never mind all the infrastructure and support employment that is necessary for a single person to work remotely that requires more than just a modem and an electrical outlet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vegabern View Post
From my experience living in Montana;

No economy
No access to major airports
Low wages combined with relatively high cost of living
No major city
Not welcoming of newcomers or new ideas
And most importantly, no desire to change the base economy for the new century and the future


I don't believe climate is a factor. Helena is actually quite mild (aside from the wind). What I do think will be an issue in the near future is the lack of water. We had $325 monthly water bills in the summer living in the Helena valley.

I mentioned a number of those several pages back. I also don't think the legal aspects of water usage can be completely understood by people not living in the Rocky Mtn area, where it has the appearance of water but may not have legal access to that water. While desert climes have an obvious lack of water, their infrastructure and residential attitudes are all built around that lack of obvious water. The mountain west appears to have water so it tends to get very conflicted views of conservation and usage, but without water, growth doesn't happen.


150 years ago the west was a very inhospitable place to live. There had to be significant rewards available for people to isk their lives and invest the capital and effort necessary to build the foundations of modern society. Colorado had a broader range of minerals more easily accessible for a greater number of people than Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho offered. Utah had a fundamentalist religious base with a pro growth philosophy. Both created the foundation of future growth from those items while Wyoming and Montana were still battlegrounds with the Natives. By the turn of the last century, enough of a change in laws had taken place that that Wyoming and Montana were already behind the curve but Idaho was coming into its own for agricultural reasons.

Since then, the agricultural aspects of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho have allowed some moderate growth with Idaho taking the lead because, wait for it, the vast amounts of easily accessible water. That has since translated into some moderate tech growth, college growth, and infrastructure growth. Currently, a lot of the agricultural lands west of Boise are being subdivided to support the influx of transplants from California. With the open space and water available in the area, I don't see how Boise can avoid growing significantly in the coming decades. Its die is now being set and I can see the Treasure Valley becoming much like the I-15 corridor in Utah.

Meanwhile, things in Montana and Wyoming are status quo and will be for a long time to come.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:28 AM
 
2,727 posts, read 5,148,433 times
Reputation: 1938
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCHP View Post
Utah had a fundamentalist religious base with a pro growth philosophy. Both created the foundation of future growth from those items while Wyoming and Montana were still battlegrounds with the Natives. By the turn of the last century, enough of a change in laws had taken place that that Wyoming and Montana were already behind the curve. Idaho was coming into its own for agricultural reasons.
Correct about Utah. Much of the states current growth is internal while Idaho's is external.
I don't think Utah, especially the Wasatch Front would be as populated if the Mormon's had not settled there and claimed the land.
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Downtown Phoenix, AZ
18,927 posts, read 6,860,994 times
Reputation: 5855
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prickly Pear View Post
Economics definitely play a role. Remember Microsoft was originally developed in Albuquerque but Gates couldn't find talent so he moved. Imagine if he could, what ABQ would look like and what Seattle would look like today?

Weather sure. But almost all climates have a few cities. For example Phoenix and Vegas have near identical climate, with Vegas getting slightly less rain. There's also Tucson. Denver, Boise, Cheyenne are all comparable in climate. Albuquerque as a cold desert really has no city comparison (it compares most to Prescott here in Arizona, otherwise mostly unmatched). Salt Lake City has a continental climate with temperatures and weather patterns matching Chicago. Los Angeles and San Diego. The East is pretty much divided in half with SE climate and NE climate. So when Denver is starting to reach outrageous housing prices, yet offers the same location amenities as WY/MT/ID, it's hard to justify why WY/MT/ID are not also booming due to people no longer affording Denver. Why retirees still move to Phoenix despite Tucson being one of the cheapest cities in the country (25% less than average COL) and slightly cooler weather baffles me. Vegas now legalizing marijuana should take a lot of Phoenix's growth now. Point is no city has a monopoly on climate. There are always other options.

Part of Boise's lacks that you mentioned is because it's still small and only rapidly growing. Those will probably change and improve the next decade or so. Boise may never be a tech city, but tech isn't the only industry and soon there will be a new booming industry to take over tech that Boise may be able to capitalize on. Phoenix's industry for example is mostly financial services. Phoenix doesn't need tech now and it didn't then like several other cities (Seattle) do, they have their own industry. Boise can easily do the same.
Cheyenne and Denver are not comparable to Boise climate wise. Cheyenne is like 10 degrees colder than Denver year round, and Boise is west of the Continental Divide and at much lower elevation than Denver or Cheyenne. Boise's normal low temp bottoms out at 25, where Denver's drops to 16 and Cheyenne's normal low drops to around 10
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Greenville SC 'Waterfall City'
7,583 posts, read 3,999,195 times
Reputation: 2913
Idaho ranked 39th in population is pretty impressive to me, given how remote it is, and some of it not being habitable, and only one well known city. I think Boise is the most remote sizable city in the US.
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