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View Poll Results: Are the Western states in their entirety that are developing too fast?
Yes there's many states developing too fast and there's not enough undisturbed places 19 37.25%
Most portions of the West developing at about the right, sensible pace 14 27.45%
There's many portions of the West that could be developing faster 18 35.29%
Voters: 51. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-17-2019, 09:37 AM
 
231 posts, read 90,010 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
Western US, yes by most definitions. It's where the mountains start.


.
It's where the plains end.

West is the coast. And it's pretty clogged up.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:51 AM
 
Location: St. Louis
2,507 posts, read 2,284,088 times
Reputation: 2391
The vast majority of the US isn't crowded to be perfectly honest. I don't consider the Midwest to be crowded, outside of Chicagoland. Not like the Northeast anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago_Person View Post
It's where the plains end.

West is the coast. And it's pretty clogged up.
The Western US and West Coast aren't interchangeable terms. The government has defined the Western US just like it has the Midwest, South, and Northeast. Denver is West.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Chiraq, Crook County
1,610 posts, read 967,260 times
Reputation: 1270
It's not that the actual land area of the west is becoming overcrowded. Obviously it is a huge region/half of the country and a lot of it is undeveloped on. But the places where the majority people are going to live in (where jobs, civilization, amenities etc are) are the major cities, and yes, the major cities in the west are *definitely* overcrowded and getting more overcrowded every year. Just look at the homelessness that has become rampant in pretty much every west coast major city, from San Diego to Seattle. This is caused due to a combination of overcrowding and being "priced out" of certain areas, due to high demand.

As others have said, resources and land availability also prohibit developing on undeveloped land, further forcing people to the cities instead of the middle of the mountains.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:38 AM
 
1,056 posts, read 465,183 times
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The South and Southwest feel like the least crowded parts of the country to me, because everything just sprawls out.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:56 AM
 
Location: The State Of California
9,566 posts, read 12,510,543 times
Reputation: 3691
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago_Person View Post
It's where the plains end.

West is the coast. And it's pretty clogged up.
The vast over whelmningly majority of California land is wide open wilderness.....
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
3,194 posts, read 2,255,030 times
Reputation: 3725
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
There are big swaths of the west that can't easily get water and that will obviously prevent people from living there. But are any of the more populated cities in the west that just don't have any more water available? Say Idaho Falls starts growing faster than Boise, couldn't they just take more of the Snake river's water and Boise take less? If Elko started to really grow, couldn't they just purchase irrigated farm and ranch land and use that water?
East of the Mississippi is home to riparian laws while the west is predominately prior appropriation law. Riparian means you can have any water that touches your land. Prior appropriation means whoever was there first, has first rights of use. In your Idaho example above, no, Boise has more senior rights to the water than Idaho Falls, although I'd imagine they both would be willing to pay $1000 an hour to attorneys to argue over who has the more senior rights. In your Elko example, that is somewhat has to happen.

For the Elko example to work, they have to not just buy more water but buy older rights. Prior Appropriation means there can be family farms that have more access to water than some sizable towns. The only way for population centers to get more water is to buy more senior rights to gain the access. This essentially turns more land uninhabitable as water/mineral/etc rights can be sold separate of the physical land and without water, it becomes worthless.

Since many small cities and towns intrinsically struggle with finances, their ability to competitively bid for senior water rights means they will always loose to the big population centers with deeper pockets. This, in turn will lead to more urban crowding in the west while vast stretches outside these population centers continue to return to shrink in population and slowly return back to nature.

Conversely, if the apocalypse ever comes, CO and other head water states could dam up all their rivers and turn parts of Arizona, Nevada, and California into complete desert wastelands where there are currently populations centers that have senior rights to water that can't be beat in court.
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:57 AM
 
2,750 posts, read 5,244,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
There are big swaths of the west that can't easily get water and that will obviously prevent people from living there. But are any of the more populated cities in the west that just don't have any more water available? Say Idaho Falls starts growing faster than Boise, couldn't they just take more of the Snake river's water and Boise take less? If Elko started to really grow, couldn't they just purchase irrigated farm and ranch land and use that water?

Boise doesn't use water from the Snake for water supply (although there is a dam on the Snake south of Boise that generates electricity).

Boise has a huge watershed above it (one of the west's largest) that originates in the Sawtooth Mountains, and all of that water feeds the Boise River which flows through the city and into the Snake River near the Oregon border.

Idaho has a unique claim within the Lower 48 when it comes to river miles within a states boundaries.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:43 PM
 
4,690 posts, read 2,851,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluefox View Post
What, do you think there is some ďbig brotherĒ putting the kibosh on development in the west? Guess what, thereís not.

Itís called mountains.

Part of the reason why the South, Northeast and Midwest are able to endlessly sprawl is because there is nothing to stop it. Itís easy to convert farmlands into residential. Canít do that with mountains.

Notice the fast developing areas in the west, Phoenix and Vegas, are in valleys. Once those are developed, there really isnít much you can do. And look at Seattle. Limited land sandwiched between bays, lakes and mountains. Not much you can do.

And much more land out west is partitioned as parkland and Indian reservations. Thatís not ever going to change nor should it.
The West Coast cities and states have also legislated to reduce and direct sprawl. The Northwest cities have quite a bit of surrounding lowlands that are protected for example.
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:00 PM
 
Location: Seattle WA, USA
4,116 posts, read 2,356,953 times
Reputation: 2762
The west feels overcrowded because there are so few cities to select from, and everyone is trying to move into them, instead there needs to be more small cities/large towns that can siphon off of some of that demand.

For instance lets compare Washington state (densest western state behind CA) with New England, they are both similarly sized but have very different population densities.

Area | Land Area | Population | density
Washington | 66,544 sq mi | 7,535,591 | 103/sq mi
New England | 62,688.4 sq mi | 14,810,001 | 210/sq mi

List of Metro Areas >100k
1. Boston: 4,875,390
1. Seattle: 3,939,363
2. Providence: 1,621,337
3. Hartford: 1,206,300
4. Worcester: 947,866
5. Bridgeport: 943,823
6. New Haven: 857,620
7. Springfield: 631,761
2. Spokane: 573,493
8. Portland: 535,420
9. Manchester: 415,247
3. Kennewick: 296,224
4. Olympia: 286,419
5. Bremerton: 269,805
10. Norwich: 266,784
6. Yakima: 251,446
7. Bellingham: 225,685
11. Burlington: 221,083
12. Barnstable: 213,413
13. Bangor: 151,096
8. Mt. Vernon: 128,206
14. Pittsfield: 126,348
9. Wenatchee: 119,943
10. Longview: 108,987
15. Lewiston: 107,679

Washington's smaller towns could easily support twice the population, but instead everyone is being crammed into the Seattle area.
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Old 09-18-2019, 05:15 AM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
4,739 posts, read 3,822,472 times
Reputation: 3832
All cities could be developing faster, but they need to be doing it in ways that are sustainable. Phoenix has dealt with what Portland and Denver are just now experiencing for over 40 years, and Phoenix still isn’t developing fast enough. Yet so much of Arizona is crowded and busy in its rural areas. Luckily I know many of Arizona’s underrated spots...

We don’t have as many small towns because water rights. I’m sure that’s already been mentioned. But here in Arizona if you aren’t in an active manage area of the ADWR you are basically ****** unless you get really lucky. All water goes to the cities here basically. If people try to move to Flagstaff (also growing quite a bit when it really shouldn’t) that hurts the rest of the state and it’s better, water wise, for everyone to be in the same few places. Especially in regards to infrastructure.

We are a smart species, that goes without saying. Humans have developed wherever they can, at least started that process anyway, on all parts of Earth. Some parts of Earth, including large swathes of the Western US, are empty or barely populated for a reason. People have settled wherever they can, if you don’t believe me look at the Sahara and Siberia. If people try to populate small towns out here and grow they hurt our future environmentally. Those small towns need to stay small, trust me. Urban sprawl, annexation, increased traffic, increasing COL are all negative effects that make people hate transplants. All of them are worse out here for us than back east and people don’t put enough thought into what impact they have. Our system of a few large cities and nothing else is better for the environment out here.
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