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Old 04-25-2013, 06:10 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,035 posts, read 102,723,474 times
Reputation: 33083

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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
At this point between the young college grads, slightly older singles, couples with no kids, couples whose kids are not yet old enough for public school, empty nesters, and professional couples who have managed to find a good place for their kids in DCPS, housing in about half of DC is outrageously expensive (and that area keeps growing, as more neighborhoods transition). Saying 'the city' needs better schools to SURVIVE is like saying Chateau Lafitte might have a wider market if it were a white wine. I mean maybe it would, but seeing as I can't afford it anyway, its kind of infuriating to ask how it can be made more desirable.



The content of the post I responded to should give a fair idea of what bothered me. I think there's an implication that people who like cities are overly concerned with bars.

They happen to be ONE amenity. They are more common in reviving city neighborhoods for a few reasons - they are more popular with people in the age range that most lives in those areas - and while for many services an area with relatively difficult parking is a disadvantage, for a bar an area where you can walk home is a particularly big advantage. I don't see thats so confusing.
I was answering a question, actually the thread title question. If you want to know what cities need to do to survive, that's it, fix the schools. You can't have this "donut hole" of a demographic (actually two demographics, middle aged adults and kids under 18) and have a workable city, unless you're San Francisco which has a metro area about 5 1/2 X the city proper.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:57 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,008,041 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I was answering a question, actually the thread title question. If you want to know what cities need to do to survive, that's it, fix the schools. You can't have this "donut hole" of a demographic (actually two demographics, middle aged adults and kids under 18) and have a workable city, unless you're San Francisco which has a metro area about 5 1/2 X the city proper.
"Fix the schools" is reasonable, if also problematic. I think "better schools" would mean attract more academically proficient ("better" suggests some innate superiority of one student vs. another) students, but those tend to come from wealthier families who can afford to spend more time together, spend more time on academics and after-school activities, tutoring etc. So, "fix the schools" really means "attract more successful students" which means, in turn "attract wealthier families." But, those families are finite.

In the end, the solution is to improve the horribly skewed distribution of wealth such that we have a stronger middle class.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:09 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,035 posts, read 102,723,474 times
Reputation: 33083
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
"Fix the schools" is reasonable, if also problematic. I think "better schools" would mean attract more academically proficient ("better" suggests some innate superiority of one student vs. another) students, but those tend to come from wealthier families who can afford to spend more time together, spend more time on academics and after-school activities, tutoring etc. So, "fix the schools" really means "attract more successful students" which means, in turn "attract wealthier families." But, those families are finite.

In the end, the solution is to improve the horribly skewed distribution of wealth such that we have a stronger middle class.
Agree to a point. There are some good schools in solidly middle class communities in the burbs. Cities don't need to attract the super wealthy. This school in my district draws from a solidly middle class community, and is considered a "good" school. Note the demographics.

Centaurus High School
Category Number Percentage
Female 450 44.6%
Male 558 55.4%
African-American 7 0.7%
American Indian 8 0.8%
Asian 33 3.3%
Caucasian 634 62.9%
Hispanic 288 28.6%
Free Lunch 257 25.5%
Reduced Lunch 61 6.1%
English Language Learners 64 6.3%
Special Education 133 13.2%
504 23 2.3%
TAG 128 12.7%
Out of District 62 6.2%
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:13 PM
 
12,313 posts, read 15,221,779 times
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Many cities tried to follow the OP's prescription with disastrous results. The assumption is no problem if traffic gets too heavy, you can always add more lanes. One of the main advantages of certain large cities is good quality public transit. As it is many urban residents complain their neighborhood is too much like the suburb they wanted to escape.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:20 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,442 posts, read 21,283,365 times
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Back in the 1870's in Chicago, after the Great Fire of 1871 that destroyed much of the city, only to add to their problems, a rare horse distemper disease killed off a good number of their horses. There were no cars back then, only horses! Imagine that!

OP doesn't worry about that, a car distemper disease sweeping the country some day, and there we are, dependent on horses again?
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:40 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
To answer the thread title question-improve their schools! Now granted, I am not an educator and I don't know exactly how one does this, but the cities will never get people with kids to stay there, despite all sorts of frou-frou shops, light rail, theater, bars (always bars), music, etc, if the schools suck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
yeah, thats why houses are just going begging in DC. Sure. There arent young professional couples living in 1 BRs or studios - there arent college grads living in basement apartments. Cause the shops and music stuff just wont get enough people there. Right.
People who buy those houses are usually able/willing to pay for private schools, which is a huge running expense that's only becoming more insanely priced by the year.
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Old 04-26-2013, 04:58 AM
 
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Knoxville's downtown revival came about the time the city built parking garages with free parking on evenings and weekends. Another thing that helped was a change to the building codes to make it easier to have residences downtown. Most have acess to parking lots/garages nearby. Living downtown has become very popular.

However I disagree with the OP about the roads. One street got downsized from 4 lanes to 2 with parallel parking and it is now home to many stores, restaurants, etc. Another remains at 5-7 lanes and it is a commercial dead zone. There was some talk about returning auto access to market square but it remained pedestrian only and is our city's crown jewel - popular with people of all ages.

I agree with Katiana about the schools. Our downtown was rezoned from a "ghetto" elementary nearby to one in the leafy old money part of town. Sad but true - that's what you have to do to attract families.

I think Knoxville's downtown is very sucessful for a city its size. But we need to be realistic that it is an autocentric town. We need to be able to make plans to meet someone at a restaurant and know we won't be circling the town looking for parking. Having a wider customer base has allowed the businesses to thrive.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:04 AM
 
171 posts, read 249,172 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine7090 View Post
I think the number one thing citys need to do is rebuild themselves around the automobile. They should make it easy for people live, work and travel to the city with their car as the primary source of transport. Many buildings should be demolished to make room for parking. If there is room for a bike lane there is room for another lane of traffic, so bike lanes need to go since biking has no room as transportation is a first world nation anyway.
I live in Providence, RI, one of the most densely populated and walkable cities in the country. It is also a city that has gone out of its way to accommodate the car over the last century or so in the hopes of reversing its poor fortunes. In the post WWII era, highways have been built that destroyed neighborhoods, zoning has been changed that requires that businesses and houses have off street parking, and buildings have been demolished for surface parking lots (even in places where the zoning code does not allow them as well as in cases involving demolition by neglect). All of these actions in an attempt to make it easier for cars to get around. They have not made one, damn bit of difference in improving the city's condition. No matter how much you try to accommodate cars in a pre-highway city, drivers will always feel there is not enough parking. Conversely, those who prefer transit, cycling, and walking will have to deal with a more spread out city, with land that used to contain businesses and houses now containing cars, making it harder to get around. It's not how land use in a city like Providence should be configured, and we as a city, state, and country need to realize that and heal our built environment accordingly with more mixed use development designed around people, not cars.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:34 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Agree to a point. There are some good schools in solidly middle class communities in the burbs. Cities don't need to attract the super wealthy. This school in my district draws from a solidly middle class community, and is considered a "good" school. Note the demographics.
For school purposes, attracting the very wealthy may be less than ideal, as the very wealthy will send their kids to private school rather than deal with the public schools.
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Old 04-26-2013, 08:37 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I was answering a question, actually the thread title question. If you want to know what cities need to do to survive, that's it, fix the schools. You can't have this "donut hole" of a demographic (actually two demographics, middle aged adults and kids under 18) and have a workable city, unless you're San Francisco which has a metro area about 5 1/2 X the city proper.
Boston and DC seem to be along a similar donut hole path as San Francisco. They also have 1/5-1/6 of their metro's populations. From what I can tell, San Francisco has decent schools, at least as big city school districts go.
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