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Old 08-23-2016, 04:08 PM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
11,810 posts, read 18,792,885 times
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Over the last decade there's been quite a bit of debate over US growth between two different narratives. On the one hand we have the urbanists who insist that people are returning to the cities at the expense of the suburbs while, on the the other hand, we have suburbanists who insist that Americans still want to live in the suburbs over the core city. Who's right? Well, I suspect it's not an either/or answer but rather a more complicated nuanced answer that will be a little bit of both. To test the narratives, let's look at the growth in Wake and Raleigh.

Since 2010, Wake's population has grown 13.7% while Raleigh has grown 11.6%. Using that metric alone, one can see that both are growing at a healthy clip with the county growing a bit faster. Does that alone tell the story? Personally, I don't think so. First of all, Wake's growth includes Raleigh's growth so let's back out the city's population and try again. If we back out Raleigh's population from Wake's, we now have 15.3% growth in the "not Raleigh" part of Wake County. Now, that settles it, right? Well, not exactly. Let's look at context and opportunity.

At ~145 square miles, Raleigh represents a little over 17% of the land area of Wake County yet 44% of the county population. Since 2010, Raleigh's population has densified by ~284 ppl/sqm. That's a really healthy clip. On the other hand, the remainder of Wake increased its density by ~110 ppl/sqm: still not shabby for such a large land area.

The argument has been made, and rightfully so, that Raleigh's growth in the past was due to annexation as its fringes developed. Simply put, the city grew as the county grew and land was developed. Most of that development came in the form of suburban development that pushed outward. In five year increments between 1970 and 2000, the city's density per square mile waffled back and forth from a high in 1970 of 2734 ppl/sqm to a low of 2285 ppl/sqm in 1985. The waffling numbers were due to annexation as the city grew from just under 45 square miles in 1970 to 119 square miles in 2000. By 2010, Raleigh had finally surpassed the density it had back in 1970 while adding even more land. Even so, it had only surpassed its former benchmark by 88 ppl/sqm. This makes Raleigh's density increase of 284 ppl/sqm since 2010 even more impressive in context. We can see this increase in density manifested by all the housing built and being built DT, in Cameron Village, North Hills and elsewhere. One can see it without needing the data.

So, yes, people are returning to the core city of the county as evidence by the data, except of course for the many more who didn't. While it will be impossible for a city with only 17% of the land area to ever keep up with the growth numbers in the remainder of one of the fastest growing large counties in America, Raleigh is holding its own quite well.

If Raleigh and Wake are evidence, then both narratives are correct and the argument continues.
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Old 08-23-2016, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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I think people want to live in the suburbs but the reality is that the majority of jobs are shifting to the city/urban areas - with traffic and commute distance being a factor, will it get bad enough or (better enough with automated vehicles) that it will push it in one direction or the other?
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Old 08-23-2016, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Research Triangle Area, NC
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Not to throw a wrench in all of your analytical parameters...but in all reality; most of the development within the city-limits of Raleigh is suburban in nature. The city/suburb divide is pretty grey in Raleigh/Wake County.

The far northern stretches of Raleigh's city limits that extend past 540 are similar in density and built environment to most of Cary and Apex; with many parts of those "suburban" towns actually being closer to the core/downtown area of Raleigh than the northern reaches of the city.

The narrative you speak of is basically what the weirdly high-strung people over on the general US form argue about constantly as it relates to cities like Boston, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Milwaukee, Philly.....basically cities that were mostly built up prior to WWII.

The city vs suburbs dynamic doesn't exist in this area very much. If anything I'd say the comparison would be made between ITB Raleigh and the rest of Wake County (which includes most of the city of Raleigh itself that is basically suburban)
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
10,396 posts, read 19,411,944 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TarHeelNick View Post
Not to throw a wrench in all of your analytical parameters...but in all reality; most of the development within the city-limits of Raleigh is suburban in nature. The city/suburb divide is pretty grey in Raleigh/Wake County.

The far northern stretches of Raleigh's city limits that extend past 540 are similar in density and built environment to most of Cary and Apex; with many parts of those "suburban" towns actually being closer to the core/downtown area of Raleigh than the northern reaches of the city.

The narrative you speak of is basically what the weirdly high-strung people over on the general US form argue about constantly as it relates to cities like Boston, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Milwaukee, Philly.....basically cities that were mostly built up prior to WWII.

The city vs suburbs dynamic doesn't exist in this area very much. If anything I'd say the comparison would be made between ITB Raleigh and the rest of Wake County (which includes most of the city of Raleigh itself that is basically suburban)
Correct--the vast majority of Raleigh's footprint is suburban, even places that are "downtown" such as Oakwood. It might be more interesting to compare zip codes (yes, I know zip codes aren't for that purpose and all that, blahblah) but they are smaller regions that are documented for things like population and it's easier to delineate "urban" vs "suburban" vs "rural" for most of them (especially "urban" vs "nonurban" which seems to be your main point)

You can also go to the interactive map at City-Data's Raleigh page and use the drop-down for various metrics including population density, and for many, you can also look at "change since 2K". You can zoom out a little to get more of the whole county.

But I don't think most people except urban planners are so obsessed with which parts are growing the fastest as much as OP.
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Old 08-24-2016, 03:35 PM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
11,810 posts, read 18,792,885 times
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In my OP, I tried to describe the scenarios that the previous two posts assert. Raleigh grew with annexation and development and, yes, that development was primarily suburban.
That said, there has been a decidedly different approach to Raleigh's growth since the State government put the kibosh on cities annexing largely at will. This is what makes Raleigh's growth since 2010 different than the growth before it. The city had added over 47,000 people between 2010-2015 in largely the same footprint that it had in 2010. While there is definitely infill SFH development among the recent development, there's been a significant and noticeable uptick in urban development in Raleigh's core and at other key locations across the city that I previously mentioned. This is a significant change from what happened with the city's growth in the previous 50 years. The difference is definitely evident in the city metrics and data and that interests me and I thought that there may be others who might also be interested. Pardon me if that's not the case and we'll just call this thread "my little indulgence".
As for being "obsessed", I will admit to being a total data and demographics geek....hence how I found City-Data in the first place.
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Old 08-24-2016, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Raleigh NC
9,350 posts, read 7,170,846 times
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note to self: never challenge rnc to a fight over data.

now, to give you some feed to your data - the # of apartments added should be relatively easy for you find out, and to separate them by downtown/ITB (core) vs other (suburb).

I can tell you that since Jan 2014, there have 2,748 new homes sold with a Raleigh address. About 1,100 of those were within the core. Talk out; talk up!
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Old 08-24-2016, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
4,574 posts, read 2,940,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoBromhal View Post
note to self: never challenge rnc to a fight over data.

now, to give you some feed to your data - the # of apartments added should be relatively easy for you find out, and to separate them by downtown/ITB (core) vs other (suburb).

I can tell you that since Jan 2014, there have 2,748 new homes sold with a Raleigh address. About 1,100 of those were within the core. Talk out; talk up!
1,100 new homes ITB since 2014??? Wow! That's a lot more than I thought!

Most of the people I know who aren't living in the McMansions ITB are either young professionals or retirees who have downsized. Once the millennials start having families and children, will they move out to the suburbs?
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Old 08-24-2016, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Raleigh NC
9,350 posts, read 7,170,846 times
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new sold units (homes, townhomes, condos) in the core, which extends very slightly past ITB - but not significantly. and remember, that's Raleigh, not Wake County.
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Old 08-24-2016, 10:58 PM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
11,810 posts, read 18,792,885 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoBromhal View Post
note to self: never challenge rnc to a fight over data.

now, to give you some feed to your data - the # of apartments added should be relatively easy for you find out, and to separate them by downtown/ITB (core) vs other (suburb).

I can tell you that since Jan 2014, there have 2,748 new homes sold with a Raleigh address. About 1,100 of those were within the core. Talk out; talk up!
Thanks for that data on sales. That's certainly a piece of the equation. I have personally noticed an uptick in RE "fishing" of my residence DT (if that's the right word for it). I get mailers on a fairly regular basis from Realtors asking me if I am interested in selling to their client. I have also received a few personal letters from individuals who have certainly done their research (or were set up by their Realtor) because they sent me hand written letters addressing me by name.

That said, the Lion's share of new multi-family housing DT has certainly been bent toward rentals instead of condos/townhouses in the last several years including urban projects like Skyhouse, Elan, St. Mary's Square, Devon 425 and 712, 827 West Morgan, Link, The Lincoln, etc. With The Gramercy and The Edison coming online, The Dillon under construction and others including Greyhound in planning, the amount of housing in DT proper is staggering compared to just 16 years ago.

Regarding challenging me on data, please do. This sort of stuff really interests me. As a fast growing city in a fast growing county, it's like the area is a petri dish to test national trend assumptions. I hope this was evident in the the OP. I tried to lay out the argument that I don't think that it's an "either/or" sort of answer to growth but a "both" and I think that, for Raleigh, this is a fundamental shift from yesteryear when growth was almost exclusively suburban.
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Old 08-25-2016, 04:30 AM
 
Location: Cary...."Heritage Neighborhood"
620 posts, read 476,215 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pierretong1991 View Post
1,100 new homes ITB since 2014??? Wow! That's a lot more than I thought!

Most of the people I know who aren't living in the McMansions ITB are either young professionals or retirees who have downsized. Once the millennials start having families and children, will they move out to the suburbs?
Million dollar question... what will millennials do? Before, when suburban yards were decent sized, and the American dream was to walk out your door for a catch with your boy, I would say yes. Now, so much of the "affordable" new (far out) stuff has teeny tiny yards you have to rely on public space to play catch with your boy anyway so why not live closer in (older hood) or in city and forget the long commute. No doubt, jobs are moving to DTs to attract younger tech-savvy work force who value walkability (Motorola and McDonalds from decades in Chicago burbs to DT, Expedia, Zillow and Weyerheauser from Seattle burbs to DT, Kimberly-Horn from Cary to Raleigh ).

So, done deal, they will live in or very near DT then. But let's not forget about the schools. They will flock to the good schools just as their parents did. If these are in the distant suburbs 30 miles out then that is where they will move. Also, gains in technology are allowing more people to work from home so the commute is becoming a nonfactor for more and more people.
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