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Old 07-24-2010, 05:01 PM
Location: Downtown Detroit
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What are some examples of cities that have good relationships with their suburbs and visa versa?

It seems like the biggest hurdle many metro areas have is a lack of cooperation between the central city and the city's suburbs. In fact, some even seem to have animosity toward each other. First, what is the source of this animus? Second, how do we bridge the gap from this point forward?

The infighting between cities and suburbs is hard for me to understand, as it is obvious that the success of both is fostered by support from the other. Based on generalization, it seems as though cities and suburbs with poor relationships are mutually struggling while those with strong cooperative relationships are mutually succeeding.

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Old 07-24-2010, 05:53 PM
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Great topic. I think most suburbs are parasitic by nature, but I'd love to hear what others have to say
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:46 PM
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I'm under the impression that Washington, DC and its suburbs have a good, cooperative relationship. I grew up in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia made of seven cities that all refuse to work together on anything, so I understand fully what you mean about lack of cooperation and animosity within a metro.

I think one way to build up a good relationship within a metro is to have a mass transit system linking the communities together, as a way to encourage the residents to move around within their area. Using Hampton Roads as an example, since the metro is divided by the Chesapeake Bay, it's a pain to go from Norfolk to Hampton since the bridges and tunnels are often backed up. With a coherent transit system, the trip from the Southside of Hampton Roads (Norfolk, Virginia Beach, etc) to the Peninsula (Hampton, Newport News) wouldn't be as daunting and would lessen the feel of separation between the two halves of the metro. I see that here in the Bay Area now with BART, and I think Hampton Roads would benefit greatly with a similar system.
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:50 PM
Location: Downtown Detroit
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I am very much in agreement that mass transit helps a region maintain an un-fractured identity. While expressways act as physical barriers and often create boundaries, mass transit has a unifying effect on a series of bordering communities. When riding mass transit, one has the possibility of stopping in each neighborhood along the route, thus blurring superficial borderlines by giving relevance to each location. In contrast, an expressway is just that- an express way to get from the outer communities to the city center without having to see anything in between, thus making those in between locations irrelevant to all but those who live in them. Because the outer limits of an anchor city as well the as inner-ring suburbs do not have the significant draws of the central city, they become overlooked, neglected, and eventually ignored unless they offer a niche experience, such an ethnic enclave with unique eateries.

To explain why there is animosity between city and suburb, I think poses a more complex question. In my estimation, the situation differs from city to city based on individual history, although, there must be certain commonalities that apply broadly. I also believe, (based on anecdotal observation) that such animosity is typically generational.

Identifying the specific causes may help uncover ways that community leaders and civic boosters can help remedy the problem and prevent it from escalating. This is critical for cities that are literally destroying themselves from within.

To start a rough list, I think these are reasons that apply to Detroit, which is my hometown:

- The perception of superiority (or inferiority) by both city and suburb

- The fallacy of independent sustainability by both city and suburb

- Political polarization, i.e. conservative suburbs vs. liberal city

- The resistance to regionalism and the sharing of resources

- Fears of comingling and an increasing desire to separate

- Race riots and suburban flight during the mid-20th century

- Socioeconomic segregation

- Stereotyping based on location

- A lack of trust of the other by both residents of the city and of the suburbs

- Misidentifying symptoms of greater underlying problems as the cause of those problems

Last edited by ForStarters; 07-25-2010 at 12:13 AM..
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Old 07-25-2010, 10:57 AM
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Chicago and it’s inner burbs have good relations. The inner burbs are usually run by Democrats as is the city so there are no major political view point clashes. Chicago’s inner burbs are very urban and unlike the outer burbs laid out on a grid and share Chicago’s street numbering system. When you go to Oak Park you feel as though you are just in another Chicago neighborhood, Cicero although not a clean cut as Oak Park again feels much like an industrial part of the city.

The outer burbs are very suburban and lean Republican and could in theory have major issues with the city but they are so far away that they do not matter (i.e. Chicago isn’t able to do much that they would oppose due to distance). And in general the city leans towards pro business democrats and the state toward moderate Republicans so political clashes are not as likely. The outer burbs sometimes have mix relationships with each other and the county (in which the city’s political machine is well represented).

Racewise Oak park is more diverse than many parts of the city of Chicago and although Chicago is still a very segerated city in many places, no one race dominates . I.E. White flight did happen, but enough whites remained to retain the majority city wide although not district or ward wise. Whole neighboorhoods did turn over but not the whole city. It sorta forces everyone white, black, and polka dot to work together. There is enough black vote to cause anyone who is the Mayor of Chicago to have to respect it, but not enough where catering to us to the exculsion of everyone else will buy you the election
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Old 07-26-2010, 08:25 PM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Denver and its suburbs have good relationship now, though it wasn't always that way. Back in the early 80s, the Denver Public Library (which has some fantastic collections) decided it wouldn't let suburban people darken its doors, b/c they weren't paying taxes to support it. This led to the formation of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, a taxing district that levies a tax in Denver and the burbs to pay for the above. The tax helps pay for the DPL, the Denver Zoo, the Museum of Nature and Science in Denver, the Colorado History Museum, Denver Art Museum, and many other facilities in Denver, and also for arts programs for the suburbs such as non-profit community theater groups, music groups, and the like. The Regional Transportation District is another taxing district that provides pulbic transportation to a huge part of the metro area, including to some mountain towns. The baseball stadium and football stadium are both paid for through taxing districts as well.
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