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Old 04-05-2017, 01:04 PM
 
990 posts, read 877,586 times
Reputation: 822

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
This might be good life advice, but it's bad business. And that's what cities have to do - compete with other cities for residents, commerce, events and development opportunities. You're right that a city should be true to itself, at its core. But to not even care what the world thinks is essentially to make a commitment to failure. And failure means mass unemployment, poverty, blight, brownfields, health epidemics and crime.
I'm not saying the folks at the CVB and commerce groups shouldn't sell the positives of the city...they obviously have to as part of their jobs. I am saying the average citizen and resident should focus on their own city and make choices that will make the city work for them...and tune out a national culture that makes pretty crappy choices (like giving the Kardashians boatloads of money for doing nothing). By doing just that and not focusing on one-upping some other city on the other side of the country, the city will largely sell itself. For example, KC residents like yards, low cost of living, low traffic, and a community where people within most income brackets are not completely left behind...this is reflected in the choices of residents, and it will attract others who like that kind of thing.

Last edited by KC_Sleuth; 04-05-2017 at 01:38 PM..
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Old 04-05-2017, 07:23 PM
 
1,298 posts, read 982,763 times
Reputation: 658
Quote:
Originally Posted by KC_Sleuth View Post
I'm not saying the folks at the CVB and commerce groups shouldn't sell the positives of the city...they obviously have to as part of their jobs. I am saying the average citizen and resident should focus on their own city and make choices that will make the city work for them...and tune out a national culture that makes pretty crappy choices (like giving the Kardashians boatloads of money for doing nothing). By doing just that and not focusing on one-upping some other city on the other side of the country, the city will largely sell itself. For example, KC residents like yards, low cost of living, low traffic, and a community where people within most income brackets are not completely left behind...this is reflected in the choices of residents, and it will attract others who like that kind of thing.
I guess I know what you're saying, but your argument falls apart. The suburban environment you're talking about was invented on the coasts (Levittown, NY and virtually the entire state of California.) And EVERYBODY likes a low cost of living when they can get it, so I don't see that as a cultural value. But that also means that demand is low, which is not a good sign for a city's economy. As for low traffic, everyone likes that too, but only those cities willing to spend a "boatload" on extra lanes and unnecessary freeways will achieve it. It's a very expensive amenity for a city to have.

Lastly, I have no idea what you're talking about when you refer to "people within most income brackets not being completely left behind." This is far, far too vague to be meaningful.
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Old 04-05-2017, 08:07 PM
 
Location: KCMO (Plaza)
290 posts, read 229,980 times
Reputation: 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
I guess I know what you're saying, but your argument falls apart. The suburban environment you're talking about was invented on the coasts (Levittown, NY and virtually the entire state of California.) And EVERYBODY likes a low cost of living when they can get it, so I don't see that as a cultural value. But that also means that demand is low, which is not a good sign for a city's economy. As for low traffic, everyone likes that too, but only those cities willing to spend a "boatload" on extra lanes and unnecessary freeways will achieve it. It's a very expensive amenity for a city to have.

Lastly, I have no idea what you're talking about when you refer to "people within most income brackets not being completely left behind." This is far, far too vague to be meaningful.
I agree a bit with KC_Sleuth's assessment, but you are correct about competition. I hope KC continues to grow and prosper with new development. I don't want to hold it back like some other people here. On the other hand, I do see the point that some feel KC is an escape from some of the more rat race metros of the US and don't want to see change. Yet, you either grow or stagnant.

On your last statement, I think KC_Sleuth meant a more egalitarian place. When I first lived in Oregon permanently after finishing school, a friend from Portland was quite proud the city didn't have the same inequality issues as California. Of course now Portland has all those issues and a diminishing quality of life unless the new mayor can clean things up.
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Old 04-05-2017, 09:11 PM
 
990 posts, read 877,586 times
Reputation: 822
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
Lastly, I have no idea what you're talking about when you refer to "people within most income brackets not being completely left behind." This is far, far too vague to be meaningful.
Cities that are often lauded as being economic powerhouses on the coasts often have vast income disparity issues...take San Francisco as an example...I loved visiting it, but the thing that I noticed is that the average city worker (bus driver, waiter, teacher, even city councilperson) has to commute in from very far to cater to the very wealthy few who can afford to live in the city. This is basically modern-day feudalism...you have an entire class of people commuting in to cater to uber-wealthy residents. The poorer citizens experience a much worse quality of life than the wealthier citizens.

Kansas City offers a more level playing field...overall, I feel like this is a much better model as a city...and people in other cities do not have to like it, but KC should just what KC does best...I think if the "comparison games" stop and the city just focuses on providing the best bang-for-the-buck, and a good quality of life with lots of good ammenities for residents...and not worry at all about the national pub.

Last edited by KC_Sleuth; 04-05-2017 at 09:23 PM..
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Old 04-06-2017, 12:40 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,653 posts, read 1,767,273 times
Reputation: 2198
Quote:
Originally Posted by KC_Sleuth View Post
Cities that are often lauded as being economic powerhouses on the coasts often have vast income disparity issues...take San Francisco as an example...I loved visiting it, but the thing that I noticed is that the average city worker (bus driver, waiter, teacher, even city councilperson) has to commute in from very far to cater to the very wealthy few who can afford to live in the city. This is basically modern-day feudalism...you have an entire class of people commuting in to cater to uber-wealthy residents. The poorer citizens experience a much worse quality of life than the wealthier citizens.

Kansas City offers a more level playing field...overall, I feel like this is a much better model as a city...and people in other cities do not have to like it, but KC should just what KC does best...I think if the "comparison games" stop and the city just focuses on providing the best bang-for-the-buck, and a good quality of life with lots of good ammenities for residents...and not worry at all about the national pub.
I don't think I disagree with you.

One of the big problems facing just about all our large coastal metropolises is that of the "disappearing middle."

I live in one of the few that still has anything you might recognize as a middle class living within its boundaries. (Though to be fair, New York City has one as well; it lives in the outer boroughs, especially Queens and Staten Island.)

And we too are worrying that it might hollow out if we're not careful.

You may have put it in a convoluted fashion, but one of KC's great strengths is its very reasonable cost of living, and especially its cost of housing. The middle class is in no danger of being priced out of the city. If anything (at least on the side of the city I grew up on), the problem is overcoming disinvestment and low house values.

And you're right that traffic as the rest of the country knows it is virtually nonexistent in Kansas City. The drive-everywhere culture doesn't quite agree with me (even though I grew up in it and can negotiate it just fine), but I do observe that there are people there who are trying to reshape at least part of the city to make car-free living more of a possibility.

As to that point about "considering it all meaningless": As that t-shirt I bought says, "I lived in Kansas City BEFORE it was cool." IMO, the city began to become cool once it set aside that huge municipal inferiority complex it had when I grew up, embraced its own essence (and its own colorful past - what I sometimes refer to as "its inner Boss Tom") and set about enjoying all the good things it already had. It's sort of like something I think Dr. Seuss once said: "I believe in mind over matter, because the people who mind don't matter and the people who matter don't mind."

Yes, talking about KC "coming into its own" does reflect some residue of that insecurity. I think one of the reasons where I live where I do is because the city I now call home has many of the same Issues and is still working its way through them, even as it has become livelier and more interesting. But at a fundamental level, I agree with you that Kansas Citians will probably find that the people who matter will be more likely to visit the less they worry about what people think of them and the more they focus on making the place they already love even easier to love.
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Old 04-06-2017, 12:54 AM
 
2,782 posts, read 1,465,656 times
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All cities are improving with sparkling downtowns and different districts with everything you can imagine. Now, the hardest part: separate this city apart from other cities.
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Old 04-06-2017, 12:54 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,653 posts, read 1,767,273 times
Reputation: 2198
Quote:
Originally Posted by rwiksell View Post
I guess I know what you're saying, but your argument falls apart. The suburban environment you're talking about was invented on the coasts (Levittown, NY and virtually the entire state of California.) And EVERYBODY likes a low cost of living when they can get it, so I don't see that as a cultural value. But that also means that demand is low, which is not a good sign for a city's economy. As for low traffic, everyone likes that too, but only those cities willing to spend a "boatload" on extra lanes and unnecessary freeways will achieve it. It's a very expensive amenity for a city to have.

Lastly, I have no idea what you're talking about when you refer to "people within most income brackets not being completely left behind." This is far, far too vague to be meaningful.
Actually, your chronology is a bit off.

Mass suburbia is a post-World War II phenomenon, true, and the Levittowns are the perfect distillation of the process, but in many ways the suburban ideal most Americans came to embrace was heavily influenced by the work of one Jesse Clyde Nichols.

Yes, his Country Club District was aimed at the upper crust, but not exclusively so: east of Main Street, the homes are less palatial and aimed more at the upper middle class. And his promotion of racially restrictive covenants IMO tarnishes his accomplishment, yet the vision he set out has endured. A friend of mine who I took on a tour of the district (at night, mind you) agreed that it has a character similar districts in other cities lack.

And he did manage to translate it into a version aimed more at Everyman (so to speak) with Prairie Village, which is a rough contemporary of that first Levittown, chronologically speaking.

While it's true that the Nichols family endowed it, I don't think it at all inappropriate that the highest honor the Urban Land Institute bestows on a developer, builder or planner is named for J.C. Nichols.
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Old 04-06-2017, 12:57 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,653 posts, read 1,767,273 times
Reputation: 2198
Quote:
Originally Posted by the topper View Post
All cities are improving with sparkling downtowns and different districts with everything you can imagine. Now, the hardest part: separate this city apart from other cities.
Naw, that's easy.

Just take the out-of-towners to the nearest Q joint.
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Old 04-06-2017, 04:58 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,488,746 times
Reputation: 5405
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrownVic95 View Post
Especially considering that KC is already a better place to live than NY, Boston, SF, Seattle, or any other of the "cool" cities constantly thrown out here as epitomes. As they continue to deteriorate in life quality for most outside of the very wealthy, KC continues to pull away by simply staying true to itself and its heartland values. There are no better neighbors anywhere than those found in KC.

The highlighted is good advice for KC and for this forum.

Good post.
I get what you are saying here. I agree that one of KC's best attributes is it's simply an easy and affordable city to live. You get much of what much larger and more congested cities have with much less hassle. I have never tried to turn KC into Seattle or SF or Boston nor will KC ever be like those cities. There is nothing wrong with trying to improve what is there though. With your mentality, KC was fine in the 1990's when it simply was not fine. It was a disaster unless you lived in and never left the suburbs.
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Old 04-06-2017, 05:27 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,653 posts, read 1,767,273 times
Reputation: 2198
Since I think it's somewhat relevant to this discussion, I thought I'd offer for your consideration a commentary I wrote on Phillymag in 2013, before my two most recent visits:

What Can Philly Learn from Kansas City? | News & Opinion | Philadelphia Magazine

Did I get it right? Was I even in the ballpark?
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