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Old 03-30-2012, 06:15 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
Life is returning to downtown Youngstown, but it's an uphill battle. There are still many people around here who say: "why would you locate a business downtown, when you could be in Boardman?" And, these same people say: "why would you buy one of those rundown old houses in the city, (or, an apartment downtown) when you could have a newer house with a bigger yard in the suburbs?"
I know the feeling. I get tired of defending my decision to people who think there is only one way to do it.
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Michigan
2,802 posts, read 2,212,159 times
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There's also many news about businesses relocating their presence into downtown Detroit.

Report: Chrysler to soon move some employees to downtown Detroit | MLive.com

However, I don't actually think this would have a huge effect, if any on sprawl. Taxes will always be lower in the periphery of cities than in the central city and there's not a lot that Americans like more than lower taxes.

Detroit has had to subsidize development quite a lot just to build retail and residential, whereas the areas out on the edge of the metro don't need such subsides. The city can't compete with taxes in a rural area because of the obvious reasons.

So I expect, even with the growth of inner-cities, sprawl would continue unless there was some other reasoning for it to slow down (ie, high energy prices).
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Western Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Having the center city as a shopping destination doesn't work if there is better and closer shopping in the suburbs, and the center city doesn't have the population to support its own shopping district. In a car-centric region, downtown shopping districts are at a real disadvantage to suburban malls. The parking isn't abundant and free, and generally they are farther away from suburban residents than suburban malls, while often offering the same goods. A lot of cities (including mine) tried to stop the abrupt decline of downtown business in the 1950s/60s, after the escape to the suburbs and the end of the streetcar system, by building downtown "pedestrian malls" that tried to simulate a suburban mall downtown. They were generally abysmal failures, for the reasons mentioned above.
Perhaps British cities aren't the best example, but as I mentioned Liverpool (which lost half its peak population) not only has a decent city center it recently opened a pedestrian shopping area (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_One). I thought it was well used but a bit sterile looking. Took up 4 or 5 ? city blocks, and had its own parking garage, though I don't remember noticing it when I was there. Probably had to pay, but I think you often have to pay for parking in British shopping centers downtown or suburb and transit use is higher.

One of the advantage of having shopping downtown is its accessible to the entire metro area. With its central location, shops can have higher volume and offer better selection than they could out in the burbs. Sure, suburbanites might want to stick with what's closer but if their city center had something worthwhile enough (like the Liverpool example) it'd be worth it for them to pay for parking or make a transit trip. When I was in Long Island, I'd sometime find worthwhile to pay $18 round-trip for an hourlong train ride into the city for shopping. You'd get the same stores you could find a suburban mall, but several times the size, so much better selection at a similar price. But more importantly, many other services and stores you couldn't find elsewhere. A city center that's not a main shopping area seems a bit of a contradiction to me.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:00 PM
 
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You'd probably need to start by controlling the sheer level of crime that exists in the decayed areas of a lot of rust belt cities. Nobody wants to move into an area where there is a constant and credible risk of being robbed, or hit by a stray bullet while walking down the street. If the city of Detroit had crime rates similar to its own outer suburbs, repopulating the city would not be nearly as challenging.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:21 PM
 
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Urban areas are perhaps the most subsidises of any. Look at the Clinton?Bush poverty stas alone. They say that two rural areas of the country have 80% of the poverty i america. But urban areas get 80% of all fedral funding for poverty. We have for deacdes been invest federal monewies dorwn the drin in urban renewal but it has failed. Its also why urban cities have continued to annex the burbs ;because the tacbase is there. Most urban problems are from high crime and high taxes to support such a low taxpayer base. It drives business out and they were only too happy to move to where the worker base is. The urban idea as it is nationally is to tax the heck out of business to pay for what they want.That is also why they have such poor schools as they mostly depend on federal and state funding. As is often said when you have no skin in the game your for anyhting no matter what it cost. That seldom leads to smart spending of funds.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
Thanks for your "contribution." As a resident of the rust belt, I'm a little curious about why you think this is true.
Why no one (OK, an exaggeration) wants to live in Rust Belt cities?
1) Jobs, or the lack thereof. It's not called the "rust" belt for nothing.
2) Crime. There's a lot of it.
3) Schools. They tend to be terrible.
4) Government. It tends to be even more corrupt and incompetent in the cities than elsewhere. Not that suburban governments are epitomes of competence and integrity, of course; they're not.
5) Taxes. Cities generally have all sorts of extra taxes, and high property tax rates. Some of this is as the population and property values declined, rates were raised to keep up. So now if you dare to improve any property you'll get socked on taxes.
6) Housing stock. It tends to be old and in extremely poor condition.

I'm sure there are other reasons.

Quote:
This is why I dislike suburbs so much. In a metro with stagnant or declining population, their prosperity and growth comes at the expense of the core city.
The city does not own its residents nor have any legitimate claim on their tax dollars once they leave. If the suburbs are more attractive than the city, that's the city's problem, not the suburbs' fault.

Quote:
It's a downward spiral. It's also why I think regionalism is a good idea. Instead of many small municipalities looking out for their own best interests, at the expense of the whole, there would be a single regional government that does what's best for the region.
People in the suburbs see this (IMO, correctly) as code for taxing the suburbs to throw money at the city (which will then make it disappear to almost no effect thanks to corruption).
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:26 AM
 
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You will never stop sprawl. With almost 400 million people in this country, the families need a place to live. And the city doesn't cut it. Not to mention the fact that most cities and their values are completely off base with what traditional American families want for their kids.
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Old 03-31-2012, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Why no one (OK, an exaggeration) wants to live in Rust Belt cities?
1) Jobs, or the lack thereof. It's not called the "rust" belt for nothing.
Really? Per the Jan 2012 numbers, Pittsburgh is at 7.6%, Cleveland is at 8.1%, Akron is at 8.4%, Youngstown is at 9.3%. For perspective, New York and Atlanta are at 9.2%, Unemployment Rates for Metropolitan Areas

Quote:
2) Crime. There's a lot of it.
Yep, there is too much crime. But it's blown way out of proportion because, generally, rust belt cities are smaller in land area than newer, "low-crime" cities. So, while newer cities' crime rates are lowered by having more low-crime neighborhoods within city limits, equivalent neighborhoods were never annexed into rust belt cities, and don't contribute to lowering crime rates of the city.

Quote:
3) Schools. They tend to be terrible.
Isn't this true of most cities, regardless of whether they're in the rust belt or not?

Quote:
4) Government. It tends to be even more corrupt and incompetent in the cities than elsewhere. Not that suburban governments are epitomes of competence and integrity, of course; they're not.
Again, I don't think rust belt cities have a monopoly on corrupt politicians. As someone who regularly interacts with city officials of Youngstown, I will agree that there is some ineptness here. But, IMO, this is a holdover of the apathy of the previous 30 years.

Quote:
5) Taxes. Cities generally have all sorts of extra taxes, and high property tax rates. Some of this is as the population and property values declined, rates were raised to keep up. So now if you dare to improve any property you'll get socked on taxes.
Yes, Youngstown's income tax rate has risen to 2.75% over the years, to compensate for a declining tax base. But, my low property taxes more than make up for any hardship the income tax might have caused me. Youngstown offers no property tax abatement programs to homeowners. But, my total annual property tax bill--on 2 houses--is about $1000.

But, this really depends on the city and state, YMMV.

Quote:
6) Housing stock. It tends to be old and in extremely poor condition.
Of course some of it is in poor condition. That's what happens with 30-40 years of disinvestment. But, because it is old (a plus, as far as I'm concerned) it is of higher quality than newer construction, and can often be saved/rehabbed.

Quote:
I'm sure there are other reasons.


The city does not own its residents nor have any legitimate claim on their tax dollars once they leave. If the suburbs are more attractive than the city, that's the city's problem, not the suburbs' fault.
You're right about the bolded part. And, I'll repeat that it's a downward spiral. Cities in other regions could recover from white flight, because they continued to grow. But, in rust belt metros, with stagnant or declining populations, there was no one to fill in where people left. So, as crime and blight increased due to this flight, more people left for the suburbs, which only exacerbated the problems, driving more people to the suburbs, etc., etc.

I'm not going to address the government subsidization of this, (new roads, post offices, libraries, etc.) in this post.

Quote:
People in the suburbs see this (IMO, correctly) as code for taxing the suburbs to throw money at the city (which will then make it disappear to almost no effect thanks to corruption).
What people don't seem to realize is that the region will sink or swim with the health of the core city. Here in Youngstown, people are scratching their heads about why the problems of the city are starting to appear in the inner suburbs. Instead of understanding the problems of sprawl, they just repeat the cycle, and move further out.
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:11 PM
 
5,972 posts, read 4,151,009 times
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Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
What people don't seem to realize is that the region will sink or swim with the health of the core city. Here in Youngstown, people are scratching their heads about why the problems of the city are starting to appear in the inner suburbs. Instead of understanding the problems of sprawl, they just repeat the cycle, and move further out.
The problems of the city will move out to the suburbs a whole lot faster if you give control of the region to a "regional" government based in the city.
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Western Massachusetts
25,167 posts, read 11,568,221 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
The problems of the city will move out to the suburbs a whole lot faster if you give control of the region to a "regional" government based in the city.
Will they? Or would less move out because people have less to gain by leaving the city limits halting the flight.

Regionwide muncipalities are common in Canada. Calgary includes around 90% of the metro population, and Halifax all of the metro area and then some more (nearby rural areas).

But for the rust belt, a regionwide government would probably not be more repsonsive to the needs of the city; suburbanites would make up most of the population so city interests could get ignored.
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