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Old 05-07-2013, 05:55 AM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,732 posts, read 9,841,195 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoulesMSU View Post
In a service based economy, I think dense population is even more important.

Service based jobs pay less than manufacturing jobs used to, therefore it makes more sense for the employees to live as close as possible to their jobs (to be able to walk, or at least take public transportation; both much cheaper than driving). Also, it's better for businesses to be located in dense areas to have a wider consumer base. So a restaurant or similar "service" job will fare much better in dense areas compared to sparse ones.

What the OP suggests is why so many Americans are struggling. They bought into the myth that you can live far away from your job and be just fine. You can't. Long commutes sharply decrease your quality of life (increases stress, decreases amount of time you have to spend at home doing what you want, etc.), not to mention the further away you live, the more you pay to get back and forth to work (aka your wage decreases because your work expenses increase).
I don't know about any myth.
Frugality and economy supports dense population over sparse.
The factors that prevented common sense from directing development is probably more important to address and correct.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,416 posts, read 11,917,166 times
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Since this is bumped, I guess I'll give my two cents.

There are basically two kinds of service jobs in the U.S. these days - personal services, and information services.

Personal services include everything which involves directly interfacing with a local customer base. This includes sales clerks, sanitation workers, doctors, teachers, waitresses, hairstylists, bank tellers, etc. These jobs need to be near people, but every area, urban or rural, can accommodate some of them. The problem with these jobs is a local area cannot create an "economic engine" out of them - the local economy only generates so much demand if it isn't interfaced into a broader global economy. And outside of a few upper-income jobs like doctors, and the middle class (but increasingly threatened) jobs working for local government, few of these jobs pay well.

In contrast, the reach of information services jobs - such as in publishing, software development, engineering, architecture, design, etc - is global. The wages for these jobs also vary, but they tend to be higher than personal services, and require more education. These jobs tend to be hyper-focused in urban areas. Indeed, these days they are far more focused in urban areas than manufacturing - possibly more so than manufacturing ever was (since many small cities had a goodly number of manufacturers, but small cities cannot compete on these types of service jobs).

The problem is when companies are considering where to locate these jobs (either as startups or expansions), they want to locate where they know they will get the widest swathe of talented applicants possible. This necessitates major urban areas - not only because urban areas have more people in general, but also because employers know most young people with education are attracted to the major urban areas themselves. Some of these businesses may ultimately locate their offices of an MSA in the suburbs rather than right downtown, but nine times out of ten they'll consider a bigger MSA over a smaller one. You can see the biggest examples of this with how many smaller cities are losing corporate headquarters now to NYC, Chicago, or Atlanta.

Last edited by eschaton; 05-07-2013 at 07:53 AM..
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:02 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,953,913 times
Reputation: 1953
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoulesMSU View Post
What the OP suggests is why so many Americans are struggling. They bought into the myth that you can live far away from your job and be just fine. You can't. Long commutes sharply decrease your quality of life (increases stress, decreases amount of time you have to spend at home doing what you want, etc.), not to mention the further away you live, the more you pay to get back and forth to work (aka your wage decreases because your work expenses increase).
This is exactly why we can't continue to sprawl.

No one talks about the correlation between the spike in gas prices and the bursting of the housing bubble. People bought into that myth. Driving 100 miles a day in their giant SUVs (remember those days?). Then gas prices went up and cut into people's discretionary income. The economy wobbled. Gas prices went up somewhere and it cut into other areas of their household budget. The economy wobbled some more. Gas prices went up again and people couldn't pay their bills. The house of cards fell over. Gas prices more than tripled between 2001 and 2006. You budget $300 a month for gas for the two cars in your driveway then a few years later you're paying $900 a month.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...380635086.html

This is a map of Brisbane (where I live now) showing the post (zip) codes that are most vulnerable to foreclosures if gas prices go up again. The green areas are the parts of the city that are generally walkable with good bus or rail access and/or relatively low housing prices and/or low debt-to-income ratios.

It would be really interesting to see maps like these of some US metros.

Last edited by drive carephilly; 05-07-2013 at 09:16 AM..
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:06 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,098,346 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
It would be really interesting to see maps like these of some US metros.
A lot of US cities that engaged in segregationist housing policies in the 20th century will have a bunch of foreclosures closer to the city center
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:27 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,953,913 times
Reputation: 1953
Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
A lot of US cities that engaged in segregationist housing policies in the 20th century will have a bunch of foreclosures closer to the city center
huh? I'm only guessing at what you might be trying to say but, yeah, foreclosures in North Philly or Baltimore were generally of the sub-prime variety - and on top of that were loans that reset to a ridiculous interest rate but then the banks wouldn't let the mortgagor refinance to a fixed rate. Lose your job in the wave of mass layoffs and yeah, you're toast.

This actually happened to my dad in Orlando. He had an ARM because he had always planned on moving but then the stuff hit the fan, he couldn't sell his house because no one was buying, his ARM reset but he couldn't refinance because no one was lending. His mortgage payment nearly doubled. He was able to make the payments (barely) for a couple of years until the credit crisis blew over and he was eventually able to refi. A lot of other people weren't so lucky.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:37 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,098,346 times
Reputation: 3117
Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
huh? I'm only guessing at what you might be trying to say but, yeah, foreclosures in North Philly or Baltimore were generally of the sub-prime variety - and on top of that were loans that reset to a ridiculous interest rate but then the banks wouldn't let the mortgagor refinance to a fixed rate. Lose your job in the wave of mass layoffs and yeah, you're toast.
You got it. But looking back over hte last 100 year or so, black families were steered (or mandated) into certain neighborhoods and did not get the same starting line when it came to generating wealth. For decades in the 20th century credit simply wasn't available to them, and many "bought" houses on grossly unfair terms, be they rent-to-own or with bloated costs and prices.

I've already posted this, but I'll post it again: The Ghetto Is Public Policy - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic
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