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Old 04-07-2017, 10:28 AM
 
Location: IN
20,168 posts, read 34,473,831 times
Reputation: 12507

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Quote:
Originally Posted by KC_Sleuth View Post
So the answer is writing off entire communities that people have raised their families in? Leaving behind loved ones, families, community bonds, and the like? That seems like disastrous policy. Also, your comments don't address social mobility...I am not talking about relocation. I am talking about the ability to rise out of the class you were born in. A study in The Atlantic from a few years ago showed that the Great Plains and Upper Midwest, a person born into the poorest socialeconomic status group had a better relative chance of moving to the middle status than on the coasts. A big component of this is the lower hurdle to cross - lower cost of living.

I work for a tech company here in KC...I interviewed for a position in SFO and the pay was not enough to justify the move. The quality of life I could buy at my current salary here in KC was just a far better deal. My wife and I spent a week out there...nice city, but the money just wasn't going to work. I like having housing being somewhere around 15%-20% of my income and keep debt to an absolute minimum so that I can save for retirement. I prefer a short commute. There was no way I could do any of that in SFO...and that was a competitive salary for that region. Even with the higher salaries, the percentages were not better than here. Now, how is the average person working a typical blue-collar job in San Francisco supposed to make it work? This is what I do love about KC - everyone has access...not just the highly specialized and highly skilled. A city cannot only cater to that segment of the population...or I suppose it can, but from a moral standpoint that would make it a pretty undesireable city.
Well, in terms of areas of the US that don't have stronger economies, yes, people will indeed move in larger numbers and population declines are quite widespread in many areas. Of course it has community implications, but many rural areas are no longer economically viable and do not hold much potential for younger people or families to stay. You can give houses away nearly for free in those areas, but people still aren't biting, that says quite a bit.

Social mobility is a key, I will agree cost of living is an advantage in a number of cases- particularly if a city or community has historically invested in the right categories that necessitate a stronger economy, including investments in education. The biggest divides now are between metro areas and non-metro areas as the latest 2016 Census population update demonstrates.

Cost of living for the Bay Area is still undergoing a meteoric rise, I don't think it's sustainable either. Blue collar folks or those that can't afford high median housing prices typically commute from as far away as the Sacramento Valley, Stockton, etc.
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Old 04-07-2017, 11:39 AM
 
2,195 posts, read 2,144,593 times
Reputation: 1916
Quote:
Originally Posted by DallastoChicagotoKC View Post
Maybe not. But more than any other city I've lived in, there is a prevalence of advocating for stasis around here. The loudest voices seem to abhor change and investment in the future. And disinterest in making peoples' perceptions of KC positive is a very small step away from at least being ok with stasis.

BTW, I really don't think I'm alone in my sense that KC has a prevalence of stasis-minded people. In mid-2012, former Kauffman Foundation CEO Carl Schramm pugnaciously claimed that Kansas City is “America's least dynamic town"

Source: How do you spell a more vibrant Kansas City region? J-O-B-S | The Kansas City Star (article about how poorly KC is competing with its peers)
I certainly don't think KC is America's least dynamic town, but it is a very moderate place, and in my experience, that's a double-edged sword. There are plenty of things about that moderation that I wouldn't sacrifice for anything. Other aspects of it translate into counterproductive inertia, and even recalcitrance.

All that said, I think the idea that progress in KC should be driven by a desire to look good to people who don't live here is folly.
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:03 PM
 
Location: KCMO (Plaza)
290 posts, read 229,980 times
Reputation: 209
http://www.eater.com/2017/3/29/15107...ng-food-photos

Another spotlight on KC. I truly feel living in the urban core, we're departing from much of the status-quo narrative many have stated for years about KC. That we are now starting to live up to the idea that KC is a destination for people. I certainly hope the momentum continues.
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Old 04-07-2017, 12:59 PM
 
112 posts, read 61,867 times
Reputation: 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPonteKC View Post
I certainly don't think KC is America's least dynamic town, but it is a very moderate place, and in my experience, that's a double-edged sword. There are plenty of things about that moderation that I wouldn't sacrifice for anything. Other aspects of it translate into counterproductive inertia, and even recalcitrance.

All that said, I think the idea that progress in KC should be driven by a desire to look good to people who don't live here is folly.
It shouldn't be driven solely by that. I agree. It just shouldn't ignore it either. Also, be aware that, at least in my experience, a lot of young people choose to leave KC. I graduated from high school here (but only lived here for 4 years at that time) and moved away for 20 years. I only moved back after I was ready to settle down with my family. And I only moved back to be close to my family that was still here. I didn't move back because of the city itself. Quite the opposite. Most of my friends also moved away. And a lot of my friends were the ones graduating toward the top of our class (unlike me, ha). These were people who went away to college and just never returned. Some did the same as me, and eventually came back. But many of them chose to be in places like D.C., Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Phoenix, etc. KC would do well to be attractive to young talent. Whether that talent is already here or is elsewhere. And many of the same things that will be attractive to young talent from say, Louisville, will also be attractive to young college grads who grew up here.
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Old 04-08-2017, 10:56 AM
 
376 posts, read 429,412 times
Reputation: 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
Nobody out there reads this stuff anyway. There is almost nothing KC (or any city between Philly and LA, except maybe Chicago) can do to get the attention of New Yorkers.

They don't care. Stories like this are published so they can be shared and cherished by the people in the cities they are writing about. That's it. It is what it is.

Nobody from NYC is going to visit KC. But stories like this floating around social media are great for the city. Somebody in Tulsa might see it and make a weekend trip out of it!
100% correct. I spend half my life working with agents and editors from Manhattan, and you would be SHOCKED at the level of snobbery and cluelessness that exists there about anyplace outside the NYC metro and maybe DC and Boston. KC may as well not exist for most New Yorkers.

I'm not saying this makes them bad people or anything like that. Just that New York dominates everything about everyday life, leaving no room for perspective on how others live.
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Old 04-08-2017, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Middle America
35,817 posts, read 39,334,463 times
Reputation: 48613
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacificwhim View Post
100% correct. I spend half my life working with agents and editors from Manhattan, and you would be SHOCKED at the level of snobbery and cluelessness that exists there about anyplace outside the NYC metro and maybe DC and Boston. KC may as well not exist for most New Yorkers.

I'm not saying this makes them bad people or anything like that. Just that New York dominates everything about everyday life, leaving no room for perspective on how others live.
It's not shocking, at all.

NYC residents can be as provincial, in their way, as small-town folk who've never been anywhere else, if you use the "of a limited/restricted viewpoint" definition of "provincial."
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Old 04-08-2017, 11:20 AM
 
376 posts, read 429,412 times
Reputation: 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by SPonteKC View Post
I certainly don't think KC is America's least dynamic town, but it is a very moderate place, and in my experience, that's a double-edged sword. There are plenty of things about that moderation that I wouldn't sacrifice for anything. Other aspects of it translate into counterproductive inertia, and even recalcitrance.

All that said, I think the idea that progress in KC should be driven by a desire to look good to people who don't live here is folly.
There may be some value in that moderation. Just consider the problems plaguing Austin, which until a few years ago would have been considered a peer city to KC. It became a cool destination city and now housing prices have jumped 60% since 2006. Forty-seven percent of residents rent because they can't afford to buy. The city is growing more segregated. Schools are becoming overcrowded and traffic is awful. Sometimes, more moderate growth can give a city and metro area time to plan and properly manage that growth.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,653 posts, read 1,767,273 times
Reputation: 2198
Quote:
Originally Posted by nycrite View Post
I read the referenced NY Times article because someone on the KC sub-reddit mentioned it. One of the commenters suggested that Visit KC paid money to plant this article on the Times's travel section. Although I like the national publicity, the article seemed a bit scripted to me, which would make sense if it was a paid promotion.

Like you, I wouldn't say this article puts KC on the map. I would say KC's stock is on the rise. It's a slow and steady rise, and I'm thankful for it, but I do not believe KC is in any way coming into its own quite yet.
If you read that Phillymag essay I posted upthread, I'm of the opinion that KC has already "come into its own." The city I visited in 2001, when I returned for my 25th Pem-Day class reunion, seemed to me a lot more self-confident than the one I left in 1976.

Our parents resented being called a "cowtown." We attended rock concerts at the Cowtown Ballroom when we were teenagers. When we grew up, we did things like give the food-gossip column in The Star the name "Chow Town." That's progress, in a nutshell. So's that distillery/restaurant on Main Street - Tom's Town Distilling Co.

As I wrote in a pitch to another editor last month, "Kansas City was still in recovery from that 20-year bender known as The Pendergast Era" when I was growing up.

And as I wrote in that essay, this KC seems to at last have made peace with its colorful, cowtown past. That IMO is what enabled it to "come into its own."

BTW, how many of you here have seen the 1991 Robert Altman film "Kansas City"? Like Calvin Trillin, the director's an expat (I once acted in a summer stock production in Loose Park directed by his brother), and this was a love letter to the city he grew up in, set on the eve of a municipal election in 1934 - right smack in the middle of the Pendergast era. In style it's similar to "Nashville," though the plot line is completely different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KC_Sleuth View Post
So the answer is writing off entire communities that people have raised their families in? Leaving behind loved ones, families, community bonds, and the like? That seems like disastrous policy. Also, your comments don't address social mobility...I am not talking about relocation. I am talking about the ability to rise out of the class you were born in. A study in The Atlantic from a few years ago showed that the Great Plains and Upper Midwest, a person born into the poorest socialeconomic status group had a better relative chance of moving to the middle status than on the coasts. A big component of this is the lower hurdle to cross - lower cost of living.

I work for a tech company here in KC...I interviewed for a position in SFO and the pay was not enough to justify the move. The quality of life I could buy at my current salary here in KC was just a far better deal. My wife and I spent a week out there...nice city, but the money just wasn't going to work. I like having housing being somewhere around 15%-20% of my income and keep debt to an absolute minimum so that I can save for retirement. I prefer a short commute. There was no way I could do any of that in SFO...and that was a competitive salary for that region. Even with the higher salaries, the percentages were not better than here. Now, how is the average person working a typical blue-collar job in San Francisco supposed to make it work? This is what I do love about KC - everyone has access...not just the highly specialized and highly skilled. A city cannot only cater to that segment of the population...or I suppose it can, but from a moral standpoint that would make it a pretty undesireable city.
This is a problem facing several "global capital" or "first tier" cities: They're becoming places only the very wealthy or the very poor can afford to live in.

The city I live in now is considered very affordable by Northeast standards. Our only rival in that department is Baltimore. However, both Philadelphia and Baltimore are also grappling with high poverty rates - Philadelphia's (25 percent) is the highest of any of the nation's 10 largest cities, and I think Baltimore's is in the same range.

Ease of social mobility is a big advantage for KC, but most folks on the coasts don't seem to consider that when thinking about cities as places to live.

Of which speaking: The witticism about Kansas City when I was young was, "It's a nice place to live but I wouldn't want to visit there." That's definitely changed, and the change began before anyone got the idea to write about the place for The New York Times travel section.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DallastoChicagotoKC View Post
What if KC's citizens want more out of their city? What if they want more entertainment and recreation options? More cultural options? More clean, livable urban areas? More diversity? More job opportunities? KC's job growth has been anemic. That's bad for workers and for taxes (which pay for infrastructure). Not all of us are from here originally. Some of us have seen the benefits of living in more dynamic cities. Not all of us are satisfied with the mentality that KC is just fine the way it is. Wanting to be well regarded nationally makes perfect sense. It's one of the ways you drive growth. Growth drives jobs. Jobs drive prosperity and tax bases. If we, as a metro, just throw up our hands and say things are fine as they are, we will eventually become Detroit as companies and workers (especially young ones) choose more dynamic places to live and work. Your presumption that KC's citizens want and need mediocrity isn't a correct one.

BTW, it's not a KC vs. the coasts thing. KC isn't competing all that well with Denver, Oklahoma City, Dallas, Houston, or even Des Moines. Omaha either. KC is growing slower, in both jobs and people, than all of those cities. And all of them are relatively affordable, even compared to KC. Dallas, Denver and Houston have more traffic. But KC could double its growth rate and not have to worry about traffic.
(emphasis added)

One of the things that did sadden me on my visit to KC in 2014 was the hollowing-out of a good chunk of the city's historic African-American neighborhood, from Troost to Prospect avenues between 9th and 31st streets. The Jazz District still had the Potemkin-village prop storefronts in place from when Altman shot that movie, for instance, and entire blocks that I knew of as filled with homes were prairie once again in the vicinity of (closed but still standing) Lincoln High School and (the former) Municipal Stadium.

In fact, had Kansas City not been able to annex its postwar suburban growth on the Missouri side, its population would have peaked in 1950 like St. Louis' did. (It peaked in 1970 at just slightly over half a million; it's recovered from its post-peak trough, though, and now stands at just about where it was in 1950 [456,622 in that year].) The area I'm talking about resembles nothing so much as that city's North Side - an emptied-out quarter with a few pockets of activity here and there.

Philadelphians also look anxiously over their shoulder at Detroit, though I think less so now than they did when the Brookings Institution did a report on the state of the city (economic and social) in the early 1990s and, noting its split personality, dubbed it "Bostroit." But whether or not anyone cares to acknowledge it, Kansas City already has its own "Detroit" - Kansas City, Kansas.
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,653 posts, read 1,767,273 times
Reputation: 2198
Quote:
Originally Posted by DallastoChicagotoKC View Post
It shouldn't be driven solely by that. I agree. It just shouldn't ignore it either. Also, be aware that, at least in my experience, a lot of young people choose to leave KC. I graduated from high school here (but only lived here for 4 years at that time) and moved away for 20 years. I only moved back after I was ready to settle down with my family. And I only moved back to be close to my family that was still here. I didn't move back because of the city itself. Quite the opposite. Most of my friends also moved away. And a lot of my friends were the ones graduating toward the top of our class (unlike me, ha). These were people who went away to college and just never returned. Some did the same as me, and eventually came back. But many of them chose to be in places like D.C., Dallas, Chicago, Miami, Phoenix, etc. KC would do well to be attractive to young talent. Whether that talent is already here or is elsewhere. And many of the same things that will be attractive to young talent from say, Louisville, will also be attractive to young college grads who grew up here.
I don't know what school you went to, but the part of your post I boldfaced pretty much describes me, the only difference being that I ended up living in the Northeast's answer to Kansas City.

New Yorkers move here to find a big city they can afford to live in. It's acquired big-city liveliness over the last 15 years, which helps those New Yorkers adjust. But I say all the time that Philadelphia is actually "a small town masquerading as a big city." KC can sometimes feel that way too.

I've also joked that "after corn and wheat, the Midwest's largest export is Midwesterners."
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Old 04-08-2017, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
3,653 posts, read 1,767,273 times
Reputation: 2198
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacificwhim View Post
There may be some value in that moderation. Just consider the problems plaguing Austin, which until a few years ago would have been considered a peer city to KC. It became a cool destination city and now housing prices have jumped 60% since 2006. Forty-seven percent of residents rent because they can't afford to buy. The city is growing more segregated. Schools are becoming overcrowded and traffic is awful. Sometimes, more moderate growth can give a city and metro area time to plan and properly manage that growth.
Kansas City is already pretty segregated, so we don't have to worry about that as a potential problem.

But the rest should be a matter of concern.

What puzzles me, though, come to think of it, is this notion I sometimes see expressed here that the city isn't interested in improving itself or is taking too long to do things that need to be done. That's not the city they taught us about in grade school when I was a kid. It was the city that rebuilt its new convention hall in 90 days in 1900 after it burned to the ground 90 days before the Democratic Party was set to hold its national convention in it. It's the city depicted rolling up its shirt sleeves, blueprints under one arm, in a Norman Rockwell/John Atherton painting made after the 1951 flood and on display in Hallmark Cards headquarters. I don't think this city has disappeared, especially after I read how those infrastructure and economic-development questions fared at the April 4 election. Has it really?
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