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Old 05-01-2013, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Kirkwood
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Great read in Atlantic Cities about why people fled cities after WW2 and how to attract them back to American city centers. The US is expected to grow 36% in the next 40 years, but the question is where to house all these new people?
The Coming Bold Transformation of the American City - Enrique Peñalosa - The Atlantic Cities
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:05 PM
 
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I'll believe in such a "bold transformation" when I see it. I'm reminded of a famous story about asking people in the late 1800's what the biggest problem would be for the world in the late 1900's, and the answer was "there will be so many people in the world! what are we going to do with all of the horse manure from all of the horses they'll need to ride?"

Predicting the problems of the future is tough, because the future is hard to predict.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:17 PM
 
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Once matter transporters are invented, where you live will be a completely moot point!
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:58 PM
 
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I think smog and noise pollution were major contributors in driving people away from the cities.

As cities streets started to become ore and more prioritized for the automobile they became very noisy and polluted places. City streets were widened, sidewalks narrowed, speed limits were raised, historical buildings knocked down to make way for parking lots, etc. City streets became filled with noisy automobile traffic that emitted great amounts of toxic exhaust fumes. Quiet trolleys and streetcars were replaced with noisy diesel buses that belched thick clouds of black smoke from their tailpipes, contributing further to the noise and smog problem.

It's not not very pleasant to live in a building on a wide street with no setback where you are directly exposed to the automobile traffic below. It's almost like living on the side of a freeway. The incredible amount of noise pollution becomes unbearable but you can't escape it because its always in your face. You try to keep your windows closed but even that can't keep it out completely. Being on the upper floors doesn't help much because the noise simply bounces against the walls of the buildings until it reaches you.

Which helps explain why skyscraper cities with all their super tall buildings are some of the greatest generators of noise pollution. And the smog rises all the way up from the streets until it reaches you and you breathe it in. As cities became more and more dominated by the automobile, that was the beginning of the end for them as people fled from them en masse as they headed for the quiet cul-de-sacs of suburbia.
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Old 05-03-2013, 12:47 AM
 
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Investment in US cities (and most cities around the world) lagged far behind what was required to maintain a good state of repair from 1929 until 1949.

At that point the decision had been made at the federal level to abandon that style of living. With echoes of the not-long-gone Victorian era it was seen as antiquated and unhealthy. Downtowns were to be razed and replaced with shiny office towers and urban neighborhoods were to be razed and replaced with modern housing. That's pretty much what happened. GIs were paid to move to the suburbs. You couldn't get an FHA or VA loan to buy a house in an integrated neighborhood. You couldn't get an FHA loan to refinance the house in the city you already owned. Most new federal infrastructure investments went into building the suburbs at the expense of our cities.

It wasn't until Bush I that urban policy started to swing back towards the middle.
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Old 05-03-2013, 09:58 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cqholt View Post
Great read in Atlantic Cities about why people fled cities after WW2 and how to attract them back to American city centers. The US is expected to grow 36% in the next 40 years, but the question is where to house all these new people?
The Coming Bold Transformation of the American City - Enrique Peñalosa - The Atlantic Cities
I don't think people really "fled" the cities. They were able to buy houses, some the first in their families to own a home. They wanted a little piece of land. So they went to the burbs.

The birth rate is at its lowest ever. I'll believe this 36% growth in 40 years when I see it.
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I don't think people really "fled" the cities. They were able to buy houses, some the first in their families to own a home. They wanted a little piece of land. So they went to the burbs.

The birth rate is at its lowest ever. I'll believe this 36% growth in 40 years when I see it.
Not only are birth rates declining but with all the baby boomers around - the death rate will be on the rise too.

You're right, people didn't "flee" the cities - it was a slow exodus that took 40 years to complete.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
Not only are birth rates declining but with all the baby boomers around - the death rate will be on the rise too.

You're right, people didn't "flee" the cities - it was a slow exodus that took 40 years to complete.
Much faster than that, there was definitely a period of flight, especially in Northeastern and Rust Belt cities

Philadelphia:
1950 3 2071605
1960 4 2002512
1970 4 1948609
1980 4 1688210
1990 5 1585577
2000 1517550
2010 1526006
Relatively slow drops from 1950-1970, but look at the 13% drop in ten years 1970-1980.

Baltimore:
1950 6 949708
1960 6 939024
1970 7 905759
1980 10 786775
1990 12 736014
2000 651154
2010 620961
Even worse -- gradual drop from 1950-1970, then into free-fall

New York:
1950 1 7891957
1960 1 7781984
1970 1 7894862
1980 1 7071639
1990 1 7322564

Again, the 1970-1980 free fall -- note the 1960-1970 increase. New York recovered sooner, also

Boston:
1950 10 801444
1960 13 697197
1970 16 641071
1980 20 562994
1990 20 574283

Boston hits its free-fall earlier, recovered earlier too.

Detroit:
1950 5 1849568
1960 5 1670144
1970 5 1511482
1980 6 1203339
1990 7 1027974
2000 951270
2010 713777
Free fall since 1950 is probably the best interpretation here.

Washington, D.C.
1950 9 802178
1960 9 763956
1970 9 756510
1980 15 638333
1990 19 606900
2000 572059
2010 601723
Again, 1970-1980

I think the interpretation that there was a period of flight from many cities from 1970 to 1980 is supportable. Southern, Texas, and some Western cities do not show the same pattern, though San Francisco and Seattle do.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:21 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Much faster than that, there was definitely a period of flight, especially in Northeastern and Rust Belt cities

I think the interpretation that there was a period of flight from many cities from 1970 to 1980 is supportable. Southern, Texas, and some Western cities do not show the same pattern, though San Francisco and Seattle do.
Every city has its own story. You need to look at the metro population as well. Pittsburgh's city population peaked in 1950:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh
1810 4,768 204.7%
1820 7,248 52.0%
1830 12,568 73.4%
1840 21,115 68.0%
1850 46,601 120.7%
1860 49,221 5.6%
1870 86,076 74.9%
1880 156,389 81.7%
1890 238,617 52.6%
1900 321,616 34.8%
1910 533,905 66.0%
1920 588,343 10.2%
1930 669,817 13.8%
1940 671,659 0.3%
1950 676,806 0.8%
1960 604,332 −10.7%
1970 520,117 −13.9%
1980 423,938 −18.5%
1990 369,879 −12.8%
2000 334,563 −9.5%
2010 305,704 −8.6%
Est. 2012 308,090 0.8%

The MSA peaked in 1960. Year Population http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsbu...ropolitan_area
1900 1,303,771 -
1910 1,779,718 36.51%
1920 2,100,931 18.05%
1930 2,381,589 13.36%
1940 2,452,232 2.97%
1950 2,581,297 5.26%
1960 2,768,938 7.27%
1970 2,759,443 -0.34%
1980 2,651,991 -3.89%
1990 2,468,289 -6.93%
2000 2,431,087 -1.51%
2010 2,660,840 8.63%
2012 2,662,822 0.08%
Year Population

In addition, counties were added in 1983, 1993, 2003 and 2013, making comparisons even more difficult.

In 1983 Fayette County was added, in 1993 Butler County was added, in 2003 Armstrong County was added with Lawrence County as a combined area.[17]

2013 saw the combined area grow as both Indiana County, Pennsylvania was added and the counties of Jefferson in Ohio and Brooke and Hancock in West Virginia were added.[8]


So in 1990, even with the addition of Fayette County and in 2000 with the addition of Armstrong County, the MSA population still dropped.

Most of this can be attributed to the steel bust of the 1980s and its repercussions.
1900 1,303,771 -
1910 1,779,718 36.51%
1920 2,100,931 18.05%
1930 2,381,589 13.36%
1940 2,452,232 2.97%
1950 2,581,297 5.26%
1960 2,768,938 7.27%
1970 2,759,443 -0.34%
1980 2,651,991 -3.89%
1990 2,468,289 -6.93%
2000 2,431,087 -1.51%
2010 2,660,840 8.63%
2012 2,662,822 0.08%

I would guess Baltimore's population dropped due to the steel crash as well.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:42 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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The flight of the old population is higher than the decline numbers suggest, as while the (mostly white) residents left, black residents and immigrants moved in. For example, for New York City, the population decline stopped in 1980 but high outmigration continued for much longer (immigration increased dramatically, though). Since the metro has a whole had rather slow growth, rather than just flight to the suburbs it was flight to other regions of the country as well.

For the 50s to 70s, for many cities, the decline in white population was nearly balanced by an increase in the black population. The influx of blacks slowed down post-1970.
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