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Old 08-27-2017, 06:36 PM
 
Location: 352
5,122 posts, read 3,880,627 times
Reputation: 3491

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KerrTown View Post
It's not about the distance from the big city; that small town needs to have the amenities of a big city in order to be competitive. Austin, TX went from small town to small city in a decade or two. Waco is the prime example of Austin staying as a small town if it had not made the shift. Even Waco is starting it's own shift thanks to the catalyst of that TV show.

Having a decent airport requires substantial land and a good selection of non-stop domestic and international flights. That makes a city/town livable. A good freeway system to go around town is also a plus for a metro area of any size.
I'm sorry but isn't Waco's population 134,000? That's not a small town, not even close. And Austin a decade ago had a population of 700,000...are you seriously calling that a small town???

I think the OP was asking if literal small towns, like the ones with 5,000 people, a grocery store, a bank, and 3 fast food places were going to make a comeback. My answer is likely no. Especially with the new generation.

https://www.google.com/maps/@31.0376...7i13312!8i6656

https://www.google.com/maps/@29.5021...7i13312!8i6656
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Old 08-28-2017, 09:19 PM
 
Location: USA
3,569 posts, read 854,069 times
Reputation: 4167
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstelm View Post
time does not go backward.

Really? Stop the presses!!!
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Old 09-02-2017, 05:32 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
6,550 posts, read 3,656,219 times
Reputation: 12307
I just got home from a 1,600 mile road trip through New Mexico, Colorado and eastern Utah and went through many small towns that seem to be doing just fine. Maybe they are never going to grow into a city but they seem to be holding their own for the most part. I last passed through some of these places about twelve years ago and they look healthier now than they did then. Some of the tiniest places, the mere wide spots in the road, do not look all that well but some of those are not even villages or are not incorporated. I haven't looked at the numbers and probably won't but my guess (based on the age of residential construction) is that there are some retirees moving into these communities and that brings a stronger economy and a few more businesses.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:59 PM
 
2,785 posts, read 1,631,167 times
Reputation: 2026
Quote:
Originally Posted by soursop View Post
Why is it a big deal that we are becoming more efficient as a society by moving to cities? If we continue to urbanize and let those back water places turn back to nature, it will be good for the country and the environment.
I mean you realize city living isn't for everyone right? And not everyone should be forced to live in a big city. Part of what makes America great is its diversity among places to live.
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Old 09-05-2017, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,416 posts, read 11,917,166 times
Reputation: 10536
The way I look at employment is that there are basically two"buckets" which you can put regional economic activity into. One is "export class" - this is basically everything which is done in a community which results in dollars being brought in from the outside. The other is "service class," which only serves the local population. This can include both high-paying jobs (like doctors) as well as low-paying ones. But service employment is tied to the size of your local population, which means if the population is stagnant or shrinking, you will see this employment slowly go down as well.

So an economy needs "export class" jobs to grow - jobs which either export goods and services, or bring in people from outside to spend money locally (tourism, arguably universities and prisons as well). The problem is, not many of these jobs are left. Production-class employment - agriculture, mining, logging, and manufacturing - continues to be heavily affected by a combination of automation and offshoring. At the same time, white-collar, professional class jobs are concentrating in major metropolitan areas. To a certain degree this is a function of corporate consolidation, but this is also a secular trend in our culture. Younger professionals look to move to major metropolitan areas once they finish college in order to get access to the best jobs, and in turn employers look to relocate to these cities to attract the best talent.

People have gone through most of the major options small towns have to deal with this.

1. Be a "college town." The upshot is some economic vitality. The downside is students raise property values beyond what working people can afford.

2. Have some other sort of government-subsidized local economic engine, like a state capitol, prison, or military base.

3. Focus on tourism. The downside of this is similar to the college town - eventually local property prices will inflate wildly as empty nesters and "weekenders" buy up property and force residents out into the sticks. Only it's worse, because tourism jobs are seasonal and pay crap, meaning they're often staffed by college kids from outside the area rather than locals.

4. Try to compete for one of the last bits of low-income export production left. This doesn't just include things like the non-union, very low-wage manufacturing plants in the south, but things like call centers. The issue here is these are all flash in the pan and transitory - many of these facilities have been being offshored themselves in the last few decades.

5. Hope you're close enough to a major metropolitan area to functionally become a suburb. This leads you to a similar conundrum as the college town or tourist town scenario though - the suburban "super-commuters" will have better jobs and more money than the locals, which means they will inflate property values and displace locals.

What these examples show is there is really no solution in the current economic structure which can bring back the economic vitality for all that these towns once had. If a town is very lucky, its problem may be not dying a slow death due to the young people moving away for better opportunities, but becoming a gentrified enclave where outsiders move in, buy up the property, and displace the service class of original residents out into the sticks. Either way though things aren't great for the average lower-middle class person in the area - they're just bad in different ways.
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Old 09-05-2017, 08:12 AM
 
Location: East Side, Indianapolis
191 posts, read 169,270 times
Reputation: 274
Great post eschaton, you pretty much nailed it.

Unless a small town falls into one of those categories, it's going to have a VERY hard time going forward.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:52 AM
 
433 posts, read 257,262 times
Reputation: 549
I'd add a #6: Be located near natural resources that are in demand, such as an oil reserve, are located. Those kinds of jobs for obvious reasons are very location-specific in contrast to many of today's jobs that can be located anywhere (what other reason would North Dakota have seen such a large percentage increase in population in recent years?).
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,416 posts, read 11,917,166 times
Reputation: 10536
Quote:
Originally Posted by KellyXY View Post
I'd add a #6: Be located near natural resources that are in demand, such as an oil reserve, are located. Those kinds of jobs for obvious reasons are very location-specific in contrast to many of today's jobs that can be located anywhere (what other reason would North Dakota have seen such a large percentage increase in population in recent years?).
It's not as important as you think. Resource extraction jobs are very boom and bust (North Dakota's oil production has been in contraction for over a year). Going back over a longer term, some of the most famous ghost towns in the country are old mining towns where eventually the area was mined out. And even while the industry is going, the amount of jobs involved in extraction is an order of magnitude less than a century ago.

It can provide temporary vitality to an area over a period of years, or even decades. But lasting vitality - no.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:40 AM
 
56,539 posts, read 80,847,919 times
Reputation: 12490
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
The way I look at employment is that there are basically two"buckets" which you can put regional economic activity into. One is "export class" - this is basically everything which is done in a community which results in dollars being brought in from the outside. The other is "service class," which only serves the local population. This can include both high-paying jobs (like doctors) as well as low-paying ones. But service employment is tied to the size of your local population, which means if the population is stagnant or shrinking, you will see this employment slowly go down as well.

So an economy needs "export class" jobs to grow - jobs which either export goods and services, or bring in people from outside to spend money locally (tourism, arguably universities and prisons as well). The problem is, not many of these jobs are left. Production-class employment - agriculture, mining, logging, and manufacturing - continues to be heavily affected by a combination of automation and offshoring. At the same time, white-collar, professional class jobs are concentrating in major metropolitan areas. To a certain degree this is a function of corporate consolidation, but this is also a secular trend in our culture. Younger professionals look to move to major metropolitan areas once they finish college in order to get access to the best jobs, and in turn employers look to relocate to these cities to attract the best talent.

People have gone through most of the major options small towns have to deal with this.

1. Be a "college town." The upshot is some economic vitality. The downside is students raise property values beyond what working people can afford.

2. Have some other sort of government-subsidized local economic engine, like a state capitol, prison, or military base.

3. Focus on tourism. The downside of this is similar to the college town - eventually local property prices will inflate wildly as empty nesters and "weekenders" buy up property and force residents out into the sticks. Only it's worse, because tourism jobs are seasonal and pay crap, meaning they're often staffed by college kids from outside the area rather than locals.

4. Try to compete for one of the last bits of low-income export production left. This doesn't just include things like the non-union, very low-wage manufacturing plants in the south, but things like call centers. The issue here is these are all flash in the pan and transitory - many of these facilities have been being offshored themselves in the last few decades.

5. Hope you're close enough to a major metropolitan area to functionally become a suburb. This leads you to a similar conundrum as the college town or tourist town scenario though - the suburban "super-commuters" will have better jobs and more money than the locals, which means they will inflate property values and displace locals.

What these examples show is there is really no solution in the current economic structure which can bring back the economic vitality for all that these towns once had. If a town is very lucky, its problem may be not dying a slow death due to the young people moving away for better opportunities, but becoming a gentrified enclave where outsiders move in, buy up the property, and displace the service class of original residents out into the sticks. Either way though things aren't great for the average lower-middle class person in the area - they're just bad in different ways.
6 may be a selective small town/city with corporate headquarters like Corning Incorporated in Corning NY or Whirlpool in the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph MI. Such places may be the exception in terms of what they offer for their size.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corning_Inc.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whirlpool_Corporation

Last edited by ckhthankgod; 09-05-2017 at 10:49 AM..
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:07 AM
 
Location: East Side, Indianapolis
191 posts, read 169,270 times
Reputation: 274
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
6 may be a selective small town/city with corporate headquarters like Corning Incorporated in Corning NY or Whirlpool in the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph MI. Such places may be the exception in terms of what they offer for their size.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corning_Inc.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whirlpool_Corporation
Ditto Cummins in Columbus, IN.
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