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Old 06-23-2014, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Paranoid State
13,047 posts, read 10,448,897 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
... But that doesn't explain why an urban neighborhood with low crime and good schools has far fewer children than a suburban neighborhood with low crime and good schools...
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
...If urban neighborhoods that meet the criteria of nearly any urbanist can't attract families (in a metro with many, many young and affluent white families), then what's in store for urban neighborhoods that don't have the best schools, lowest crime, etc?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
... This is why I think if cities were smart, they would push for county school districts that allow for more public options. ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
... I do agree with others, it is important to provide affordable housing for middle class families to help encourage them to live in inner city neighborhoods. ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Though I think it would be great if families moved back to the cities...
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
That is where cities come into play by offering tax credits, waives fees, gives building height credits or allow for more units than what is zoned for. ...

A common theme I see in this thread is an assumption that, if affluent urban neighborhoods don't have as many children as the poster would like, that is evidence that there is a problem that needs to be solved by any number of policy decisions.

I don't see a problem that needs to be solved. Nothing needs to be done.

What problem do you see that needs to be solved -- and why is it a problem that needs solving???
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,436 posts, read 11,933,106 times
Reputation: 10542
Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
A common theme I see in this thread is an assumption that, if affluent urban neighborhoods don't have as many children as the poster would like, that is evidence that there is a problem that needs to be solved by any number of policy decisions.

I don't see a problem that needs to be solved. Nothing needs to be done.

What problem do you see that needs to be solved -- and why is it a problem that needs solving???
I think the logical answer here is the status quo means the death of city neighborhoods as true communities, and the transformation of them into mere domiciles.

Let's consider a hypothetical gentrified neighborhood with little to no family presence. A large proportion of the population will be young (22-34 year old) professionals, many of whom will only be in the neighborhood as part of a short stint of their life, moving to somewhere else (either with better schools, or lower housing costs) once they breed - or perhaps even if they do not, if they find themselves aging out of the social scene. A smaller proportion of the population will be made up of older individuals and couples who chose not to have children, and perhaps a salting of empty nesters who decided to move to the city once their children were grown.

Parents, and children, change the equation slightly. Kids end up hanging out with other kids in the neighborhood to some degree, which makes one become at least passing acquaintances with their neighbors. It also leads to greater participation in civic events (like say parades) and less time spent on nightlife. Parents are also much more likely to care about the physical conditions of things like parks within the neighborhood - especially when compared to young renters who are just there for a short stint. And if a neighborhood is socially stable enough that there are multiple generations living there - adult parents who were raised within the neighborhood - the level of community involvement is even higher.

Trust me, as an urban father, I usually only talk to my older neighbors, both those with children and those without. And on the rare occasions I do talk to someone in the approximately 25 range, I find that outside of their own immediate social circle they don't know any young adults in the neighborhood - even people who live two houses down from them. The "young professional" model isn't what we want as a sole model for the future of cities if we actually want neighborhoods to be more than a collection of apartments near bars and restaurants.

Last edited by eschaton; 06-23-2014 at 10:07 AM..
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:36 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,634,943 times
Reputation: 33082
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Trust me, as an urban father, I usually only talk to my older neighbors, both those with children and those without. And on the rare occasions I do talk to someone in the approximately 25 range, I find that outside of their own immediate social circle they don't know any young adults in the neighborhood - even people who live two houses down from them. The "young professional" model isn't what we want as a sole model for the future of cities if we actually want neighborhoods to be more than a collection of apartments near bars and restaurants.
It must be getting kind of cold down in H*ll, b/c this is the second time today I've found myself agreeing with you, at least in part. I have been saying the bold all along since this forum was established. Many have argued with me.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:47 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,569,036 times
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In my own experience, in an actual urban neighborhood rather than a hypothetical one, some of those young professionals move away when they have kids, others do not. Those that do stay don't necessarily age out of the social scene, because there are other social scenes in the neighborhood for different ages. I live in the same neighborhood I did when I was 25, and while I hang out some of the time in the same places with the same people (who are now in their forties like me) but there are also social circles more oriented toward middle aged folks. And then there are also people in their 60s and 70s who also hang out at our neighborhood's social spaces, and I hope to be one of them in another 20-30 years. Several of those neighbors in their 70s raised their kids here, they were my age and I knew them before I started hanging out with their parents!

The idea that people should only socialize with their own age demographic is a very silly suburban stereotype. And it's not one that applies in the suburbs either--social gatherings cross generational lines. People just think that city neighborhoods are only for "twentysomethings" because they mistake the older people at the hip coffeeshop for younger people.

Americans, in general, are staying single longer, having fewer kids and having them later in life. This means that they're spending more of their lives without kids and/or partners and a larger proportion of our built environment can be dedicated to their needs, instead of the larger proportion dedicated to child raising--but there's no reason why you can't raise kids in a world with a bit more room for adults. One might even argue it will make them better adults!
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:53 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,634,943 times
Reputation: 33082
Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
In my own experience, in an actual urban neighborhood rather than a hypothetical one, some of those young professionals move away when they have kids, others do not. Those that do stay don't necessarily age out of the social scene, because there are other social scenes in the neighborhood for different ages. I live in the same neighborhood I did when I was 25, and while I hang out some of the time in the same places with the same people (who are now in their forties like me) but there are also social circles more oriented toward middle aged folks. And then there are also people in their 60s and 70s who also hang out at our neighborhood's social spaces, and I hope to be one of them in another 20-30 years. Several of those neighbors in their 70s raised their kids here, they were my age and I knew them before I started hanging out with their parents!

The idea that people should only socialize with their own age demographic is a very silly suburban stereotype. And it's not one that applies in the suburbs either--social gatherings cross generational lines. People just think that city neighborhoods are only for "twentysomethings" because they mistake the older people at the hip coffeeshop for younger people.
Now it's really getting cold in H*ll, I'm going to defend eschaton! I don't think he implied whatsoever that "people should only socialize with their own age demographic". Ironically, it does seem that you are saying that's what YOU do. Frankly, it's what I do for the most part and what most people I know, city or suburban, do. We were older when we had our kids, so many of our kids' friends parents are younger than us by a few years, but we don't generally hang out with people 40 years younger than us or 20 years older, except for family members or people at church. Neither do my kids, both of whom either live or have lived in "the city".
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Paranoid State
13,047 posts, read 10,448,897 times
Reputation: 15683
Sorry this is a long post - as the saying goes, I didn't have time to make it shorter.

Many posts point to school quality being an issue, especially in an urban environment, and I agree. The solution is not obvious. All such issues, by definition, are local and largely anecdotal, and it is always dangerous to make policy recommendations as a result of such anecdotal evidence (and even calling it evidence is sometimes a stretch). Having said that, let me offer a few insights from the local public school districts where we raised our child.

At the time, we lived in Cupertino, CA (Silicon Valley), a suburb -- headquarters to a fairly famous California-based fruit company. A few demographic details:
  • The median household income exceeds $160K per year.
  • 47% of households have children under the age of 18, and the average family size is 3.28.
  • About 12.5% of residents are over 65. Many live in a multigenerational household.
  • 29% of residents are white
  • 63% are Asian

The local public schools for us were as follows.

California public schools by and large are a mess with many intractable problems, but our local schools were generally regarded as being very good. See for example Junior David Wang part of top 20 high school chemists in nation | Monta Vista High School, Student News

While the public schools are very good, we switched our daughter to private after a couple years. Why? We found public school was one-size-fits-nobody, and more importantly, the logistics of before-school and after-school supervised programs.

We switched to The Harker School, a private K-12 school, which has extensive before & after school programs. Both my wife & I worked in professional jobs with significant travel and we needed a program that would have supervised programs from 6 a.m. through 6 p.m. at a minimum. Harker fit the bill. The academics are rigorous -- see for example

Oh - Harker is also a white-minority school, with the majority of students being ethnic Chinese and Indian.

When she was old enough for High School, I wanted to consider switching her back to public school, so I interviewed the principal. It went a bit like this:

Me: "What is your secret sauce? Your high school is among the best in California, with many families moving into the community specifically so their children can attend your school. How do you do it? I contrast your high school with one on the other side of the valley in East San Jose, which does so poorly?"

The Principal: "It isn't the school, the administration, or the faculty. It is the families. You could take the student bodies of both schools and swap them and the students would do just as well or as poorly. Our students are non-white, with parents who were born & raised in India & China & who came to work in Silicon Valley; both parents tend to have PhDs in a science or engineering discipline and both work long & hard to give their families a better life. The students in the high school across the valley are also largely non-white, with parents from Latin America, and came to the USA to work in Silicon Valley. Their parents also largely work long & hard to give their families a better life."

He continued, "The high school across the valley gets incremental financial resources from the State, as their community is not affluent. Our school gets no incremental financial resources at all - we get the bare minimum, and we make do. The difference is the parents of our students demand their children do well in school. In fact, every year I have parents coming in to meet with me, complaining our teachers do not assign enough homework, as their children are done by 10pm. They want at least another hour of homework. The parents across the valley largely do not demand their students do well, and it shows."

While this is anecdotal, the implication is that "fixing the schools" is a tough problem to solve, as the problem may not be the school at all.

At the end of the day, perhaps the single biggest thing we as parents do that affects our childrens lives is to choose where we live. By choosing where we live, in most cases, we choose what schools our children will attend, and as a result we determine the universe from which our own children will select their friends & peers.

Here's an example of just how that plays out. When my daughter was growing up, I would sometimes ask her friends, almost always girls in daughter's school, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I heard answers such as "I want to be a scientist" or "I want to be a doctor" or "I want to be an engineer" or "I want to be an entrepreneur." These young students' moms were their role-models, and their moms were scientists, engineers, doctors, and entrepreneurs.

By and large, all these kids went on to very good major universities. Ours chose Columbia in NYC and it was quite eye-opening to me.

In the opening weekend of her freshman year, as we were moving our daughter into the dorms, I had a chance to ask her new freshman suite-mates & acquaintances, in essence, "what do you want to be when you grow up" (although phrased appropriately for a freshman college student). The response of these 18-year-old women was astonishing to me.

"What do I want to do when I grow up?", they'd repeat, with a puzzled expression, as if I were making non-sense words.

"Why, I'm going to get married, and my husband will work on Wall Street, and I'll shop & go to Pilates & take tennis lessons." All their fathers worked on Wall Street, and none of their mothers worked for a paycheck - they went to Pilates, had personal trainers, took tennis lessons, and sat on various community boards.
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Paranoid State
13,047 posts, read 10,448,897 times
Reputation: 15683
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I think the logical answer here is the status quo means the death of city neighborhoods as true communities, and the transformation of them into mere domiciles. ...
And why is this a problem that needs to be solved?
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:11 PM
 
56,660 posts, read 80,973,859 times
Reputation: 12521
Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
Sorry this is a long post - as the saying goes, I didn't have time to make it shorter.

Many posts point to school quality being an issue, especially in an urban environment, and I agree. The solution is not obvious. All such issues, by definition, are local and largely anecdotal, and it is always dangerous to make policy recommendations as a result of such anecdotal evidence (and even calling it evidence is sometimes a stretch). Having said that, let me offer a few insights from the local public school districts where we raised our child.

At the time, we lived in Cupertino, CA (Silicon Valley), a suburb -- headquarters to a fairly famous California-based fruit company. A few demographic details:
  • The median household income exceeds $160K per year.
  • 47% of households have children under the age of 18, and the average family size is 3.28.
  • About 12.5% of residents are over 65. Many live in a multigenerational household.
  • 29% of residents are white
  • 63% are Asian

The local public schools for us were as follows.

California public schools by and large are a mess with many intractable problems, but our local schools were generally regarded as being very good. See for example Junior David Wang part of top 20 high school chemists in nation | Monta Vista High School, Student News

While the public schools are very good, we switched our daughter to private after a couple years. Why? We found public school was one-size-fits-nobody, and more importantly, the logistics of before-school and after-school supervised programs.

We switched to The Harker School, a private K-12 school, which has extensive before & after school programs. Both my wife & I worked in professional jobs with significant travel and we needed a program that would have supervised programs from 6 a.m. through 6 p.m. at a minimum. Harker fit the bill. The academics are rigorous -- see for example

Oh - Harker is also a white-minority school, with the majority of students being ethnic Chinese and Indian.

When she was old enough for High School, I wanted to consider switching her back to public school, so I interviewed the principal. It went a bit like this:

Me: "What is your secret sauce? Your high school is among the best in California, with many families moving into the community specifically so their children can attend your school. How do you do it? I contrast your high school with one on the other side of the valley in East San Jose, which does so poorly?"

The Principal: "It isn't the school, the administration, or the faculty. It is the families. You could take the student bodies of both schools and swap them and the students would do just as well or as poorly. Our students are non-white, with parents who were born & raised in India & China & who came to work in Silicon Valley; both parents tend to have PhDs in a science or engineering discipline and both work long & hard to give their families a better life. The students in the high school across the valley are also largely non-white, with parents from Latin America, and came to the USA to work in Silicon Valley. Their parents also largely work long & hard to give their families a better life."

He continued, "The high school across the valley gets incremental financial resources from the State, as their community is not affluent. Our school gets no incremental financial resources at all - we get the bare minimum, and we make do. The difference is the parents of our students demand their children do well in school. In fact, every year I have parents coming in to meet with me, complaining our teachers do not assign enough homework, as their children are done by 10pm. They want at least another hour of homework. The parents across the valley largely do not demand their students do well, and it shows."

While this is anecdotal, the implication is that "fixing the schools" is a tough problem to solve, as the problem may not be the school at all.

At the end of the day, perhaps the single biggest thing we as parents do that affects our childrens lives is to choose where we live. By choosing where we live, in most cases, we choose what schools our children will attend, and as a result we determine the universe from which our own children will select their friends & peers.

Here's an example of just how that plays out. When my daughter was growing up, I would sometimes ask her friends, almost always girls in daughter's school, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" I heard answers such as "I want to be a scientist" or "I want to be a doctor" or "I want to be an engineer" or "I want to be an entrepreneur." These young students' moms were their role-models, and their moms were scientists, engineers, doctors, and entrepreneurs.

By and large, all these kids went on to very good major universities. Ours chose Columbia in NYC and it was quite eye-opening to me.

In the opening weekend of her freshman year, as we were moving our daughter into the dorms, I had a chance to ask her new freshman suite-mates & acquaintances, in essence, "what do you want to be when you grow up" (although phrased appropriately for a freshman college student). The response of these 18-year-old women was astonishing to me.

"What do I want to do when I grow up?", they'd repeat, with a puzzled expression, as if I were making non-sense words.

"Why, I'm going to get married, and my husband will work on Wall Street, and I'll shop & go to Pilates & take tennis lessons." All their fathers worked on Wall Street, and none of their mothers worked for a paycheck - they went to Pilates, had personal trainers, took tennis lessons, and sat on various community boards.
So, you don't think that a change of environment wouldn't help at least some of the students in the HS across town? I only ask because I've seen students from such neighborhoods improve with a chance of school environment or in spite of the school environment like this: Thomas Sowell - "The Education of Minority Children"

Also, this post also illustrates that minority isn't an one size fits all phrase, as it appears that one school has a more selective minority population than another in terms of status in their homelands and how they arrived to the US.
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Old 06-23-2014, 12:20 PM
 
56,660 posts, read 80,973,859 times
Reputation: 12521
Quote:
Originally Posted by SportyandMisty View Post
And why is this a problem that needs to be solved?
I think because cities serve as the heart of a metro that was built around it and if that continues to deteriorate, then it can cause a disperse meant of services that can be costly in the long run. While metros could possibly be fine with multiple nodes of employment, which many have, I think having a centralize node of activity is helpful for a metro in terms of a common connection for various activities and that is cost effective to at least some degree.
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Old 06-23-2014, 03:16 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,686,954 times
Reputation: 26671
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I think the logical answer here is the status quo means the death of city neighborhoods as true communities, and the transformation of them into mere domiciles.

Let's consider a hypothetical gentrified neighborhood with little to no family presence. A large proportion of the population will be young (22-34 year old) professionals, many of whom will only be in the neighborhood as part of a short stint of their life, moving to somewhere else (either with better schools, or lower housing costs) once they breed - or perhaps even if they do not, if they find themselves aging out of the social scene. A smaller proportion of the population will be made up of older individuals and couples who chose not to have children, and perhaps a salting of empty nesters who decided to move to the city once their children were grown.

Parents, and children, change the equation slightly. Kids end up hanging out with other kids in the neighborhood to some degree, which makes one become at least passing acquaintances with their neighbors. It also leads to greater participation in civic events (like say parades) and less time spent on nightlife. Parents are also much more likely to care about the physical conditions of things like parks within the neighborhood - especially when compared to young renters who are just there for a short stint. And if a neighborhood is socially stable enough that there are multiple generations living there - adult parents who were raised within the neighborhood - the level of community involvement is even higher.

Trust me, as an urban father, I usually only talk to my older neighbors, both those with children and those without. And on the rare occasions I do talk to someone in the approximately 25 range, I find that outside of their own immediate social circle they don't know any young adults in the neighborhood - even people who live two houses down from them. The "young professional" model isn't what we want as a sole model for the future of cities if we actually want neighborhoods to be more than a collection of apartments near bars and restaurants.
I don't think it is as simple as you are making it here. There are several things that make a neighborhood "neighborhoody."

We don't actually build living spaces that give people a place to gather very often. My own building has a terrible lounge at the front door. No one ever sits there or stops there, so there is no excuse to interact. My friend lives in a condo building with a better lobby and loads oc common areas: gym, roof deck, business center. She knows a good deal of her neighbors and she isn't particularly social. A bunch of her neighbors also all met at the local bar. Oh wait I got confused... there is a subset of her neighbors that have a crew that met at a local bar, about a 3rd live in her building, a 3rd live in other parts of the city and the rest live further flung these days.

The way society is setup it is hard to make those "loose ties" that made people meet their neighbors before, so people have to work harder.

On the flip side, I know lots of people my age or younger involved in their communities. I am one of the "most involved" in my own social circle, I pay attention the city politics and developments. I have a former colleague who is the president of his own neighborhood improvement district, and is working on building a dog park in his neighborhood.

But there are other people, many who have far commutes and long working hours, who really just don't have time to make those community connections. Many studies bare this out, the longer the commute, the less involved you are in your community.

In my own community, I don't now as many people directly in the neighboring buildings, because it is note like I can break into their lobby's or anything, but I know all sorts of other local people from city meetings, volunteering or just from being out and about. Maybe you aren't meeting us because we don't spend time in the same places. I even know about a local "urbanist happy hour!"
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