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Old 02-21-2014, 08:07 PM
 
Location: East coast
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For the world examples, I am just thinking of city center being the center of the major city and the suburbs/outskirts being the area around it, regardless of whether they are US-style, European-style, Latin-American-style etc.

So I read that the pattern of rich vs. poor differs in some cities in the world that is the opposite of the US pattern.

The US pattern is typically rich suburbs, poor inner cities. Except in gentrifying areas (and even then cities are never really richer because they have a wider range of income levels and suburbs are never really "poor"). Suburban and poor basically never go together in the US, even in the gentrifying cities where urban revival is strongest.

I read that the Latin American, European, and even some Canadian cities have the opposite pattern. Inner city being the richest.

What accounts for this? I'm guessing the US example is more unique because the factories and jobs were lost in the city center, rich fled to suburbs after this and the poor stuck around, unable to move out. Also, the US is the strongest car-culture nation so not owning a car has the strongest association with poverty and being stuck to have lower mobility with difficulty commuting to work.

Do the other world cities follow the pattern that the jobs were never lost in the cities and their vibrant centers still keep attracting people to the cities so the rich accumulate and those unable to live close, keep to the less developed outskirts?

Is it really a pattern with the US vs. the rest of the world? Or do some places have either pattern (some outside rich, inner poor, while others have outside poor, inner rich)? What social/economic/cultural mechanisms lead to either case?

Last edited by markovian process; 02-21-2014 at 08:15 PM..
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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I think all cities, even American ones are usually wealthier or at least more middle class, at least within the immediate downtown area, that areas further out. It's just a question of how far out the poor are pushed. To downtown adjacent neighbourhoods? Inner city neighbourhoods a bit further out? Inner suburbs? Outer suburbs? Most cities will still have some wealthy or middle class living in the outer suburbs since they can better afford the higher transportation costs better. So usually you'll have the ring of maximum poverty somewhere in between downtown and the outer suburban fringe, but in American cities it's often much closer to downtown than in Europe. The core is generally more mixed income, but I'm talking about on average.

In Toronto, I would say this ring of maximum poverty is maybe 5-12 miles compared to a suburban fringe that is about 20-30 miles from downtown.

The pattern is mainly driven by 3 factors.

1) Desirability of the core, the more desirable, the further the poor are pushed out. European city centres are generally more desirable. I think at least part of the reason is that they were more heavily built up prior to the industrial revolution. When factories and railyards started to get built, there was no space in city centres so they were built more around the edges, making the suburbs less desirable to the wealthy due to pollution (although the cores were probably polluted too, but at least they probably weren't worse), and more likely to house lower income factory workers. In American cities, many were new enough that there was still space for industrial infrastructure right next to downtown. Many were founded after the industrial revolution started. Pollution led to the wealthy moving to the suburbs of the time to escape pollution, thanks to their horse drawn buggies, and later middle class with streetcars (and later automobiles). The poor had to put up with the pollution and noise to be close to the factories they worked at.

Many immigration played a more minor role too? American cities had a lot more, and poor immigrants usually arrived at the harbours by the city centres, establishing themselves close by. I'm not sure about that though.

2) Housing stock. Often older housing gets less desirable. Partly because it will have reached the point where certain things need to be fixed. However, in a society that's getting wealthier, older housing is often a reflection of a point in the society's history when it was poorer. The homes will likely be smaller, have cheaper finishes, smaller windows, and might be missing modern amenities requiring updating. Older housing can be competitive once updated and if well maintained though.

3) Transportation. The poor still need to be able to get to work, so transportation still needs to be able to get them there at an affordable price. Jitneys seem to be affordable enough in developing countries, and the poor are willing to put up with long commutes. In the West, they are more likely to be reliant on transit since jitneys don't exist, although in some cities they can still afford a car (barely). Transit is not always available in the outer suburbs though.

In Toronto, you have poor people in the inner city, mixed in with middle class in the East and West ends. North Toronto is pretty wealthy, mostly just middle class mixed in with the wealthy. The poorest areas are mostly in the NW and East, in areas built largely from the 1920s to 1970s where you have smaller semi detached and detached homes, often with basement apartments, and 60s/70s apartment buildings. Many of these areas lack rapid transit but still have better bus service than the outer suburbs.

In New York, it's mostly in parts of the outer boroughs and parts of NE New Jersey. I think mostly areas built in the early 20th century, often with decent transit.

In Detroit, there's that many people living in the downtown adjacent neighbourhoods anymore. I think most of the poor mostly live in neighbourhoods built in the 20s to 50s. The inner suburbs of Detroit are generally not as bad as the city itself, but they're still not as wealthy as the outer suburbs.
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Old 02-22-2014, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
6,382 posts, read 6,005,983 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markovian process View Post
For the world examples, I am just thinking of city center being the center of the major city and the suburbs/outskirts being the area around it, regardless of whether they are US-style, European-style, Latin-American-style etc.

So I read that the pattern of rich vs. poor differs in some cities in the world that is the opposite of the US pattern.

The US pattern is typically rich suburbs, poor inner cities. Except in gentrifying areas (and even then cities are never really richer because they have a wider range of income levels and suburbs are never really "poor"). Suburban and poor basically never go together in the US, even in the gentrifying cities where urban revival is strongest.

I read that the Latin American, European, and even some Canadian cities have the opposite pattern. Inner city being the richest.

What accounts for this? I'm guessing the US example is more unique because the factories and jobs were lost in the city center, rich fled to suburbs after this and the poor stuck around, unable to move out. Also, the US is the strongest car-culture nation so not owning a car has the strongest association with poverty and being stuck to have lower mobility with difficulty commuting to work.

Do the other world cities follow the pattern that the jobs were never lost in the cities and their vibrant centers still keep attracting people to the cities so the rich accumulate and those unable to live close, keep to the less developed outskirts?

Is it really a pattern with the US vs. the rest of the world? Or do some places have either pattern (some outside rich, inner poor, while others have outside poor, inner rich)? What social/economic/cultural mechanisms lead to either case?
You can't overgeneralize; each city is on a case by case basis. Although I do think that American cities are working hard to transform their city centers, whether downtown or other dense neighborhoods, into desirable areas. Some use urban models, some high-rise suburban "Town Center" models but I do not know of an American city with no plans, or interest, in redeveloping either downtown, or areas that are not living up to their potential.

Poor people live wherever real estate management companies, Section 8, or the government tells them to live. It is that simple. Sometimes that is downtown; parts of Manhattan were rather cheap in the seventies and eighties. Sometimes that is in the suburbs; there are plenty of poor, working class, suburbs across America. But unless the rich and middle class are willing to sublet (or sell out, in the case of Harlem before the 20s), the poor do not stand a chance in the city core. So there is no Black and White answer.

In most cities, living downtown is a lot more expensive than it used to be thirty to forty years ago. That is not going to change. At least in America poor and working class people can live in the cities. Outside of Europe, say in Africa and Australia, with the racial issues those places had back in the sixties and seventies, Blacks would just live out in the country and commute in, and even in China, much of the working population there now, commute into the city from rural areas to work during the day, but do not really live there.
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Old 02-22-2014, 07:52 PM
 
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History, mostly. The "center" of a city was almost always (with exceptions like Washington DC) a booming commercial area at some point in its history, but that doesn't say much about residences. In New York and Philadelphia, the wealthiest residential areas were typically at the outskirts long before the automobile (but the "outskirts" were areas like Chelsea or the Northern Liberties, which are solidly within the cities now). Both cities had rich and poor areas within their boundaries also.

And then came WWII and later the riots of the 50s-70s, and many of the northeastern and midwestern cities collapsed, became nearly entirely havens for the poor, with nothing but small enclaves of wealth left. As far as I know, that's entirely a US phenomenon.
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Old 02-23-2014, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Norfolk, VA
6,382 posts, read 6,005,983 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
I think all cities, even American ones are usually wealthier or at least more middle class, at least within the immediate downtown area, that areas further out. It's just a question of how far out the poor are pushed. To downtown adjacent neighbourhoods? Inner city neighbourhoods a bit further out? Inner suburbs? Outer suburbs? Most cities will still have some wealthy or middle class living in the outer suburbs since they can better afford the higher transportation costs better. So usually you'll have the ring of maximum poverty somewhere in between downtown and the outer suburban fringe, but in American cities it's often much closer to downtown than in Europe. The core is generally more mixed income, but I'm talking about on average.

In Toronto, I would say this ring of maximum poverty is maybe 5-12 miles compared to a suburban fringe that is about 20-30 miles from downtown.

The pattern is mainly driven by 3 factors.

1) Desirability of the core, the more desirable, the further the poor are pushed out. European city centres are generally more desirable. I think at least part of the reason is that they were more heavily built up prior to the industrial revolution. When factories and railyards started to get built, there was no space in city centres so they were built more around the edges, making the suburbs less desirable to the wealthy due to pollution (although the cores were probably polluted too, but at least they probably weren't worse), and more likely to house lower income factory workers. In American cities, many were new enough that there was still space for industrial infrastructure right next to downtown. Many were founded after the industrial revolution started. Pollution led to the wealthy moving to the suburbs of the time to escape pollution, thanks to their horse drawn buggies, and later middle class with streetcars (and later automobiles). The poor had to put up with the pollution and noise to be close to the factories they worked at.

Many immigration played a more minor role too? American cities had a lot more, and poor immigrants usually arrived at the harbours by the city centres, establishing themselves close by. I'm not sure about that though.

2) Housing stock. Often older housing gets less desirable. Partly because it will have reached the point where certain things need to be fixed. However, in a society that's getting wealthier, older housing is often a reflection of a point in the society's history when it was poorer. The homes will likely be smaller, have cheaper finishes, smaller windows, and might be missing modern amenities requiring updating. Older housing can be competitive once updated and if well maintained though.

3) Transportation. The poor still need to be able to get to work, so transportation still needs to be able to get them there at an affordable price. Jitneys seem to be affordable enough in developing countries, and the poor are willing to put up with long commutes. In the West, they are more likely to be reliant on transit since jitneys don't exist, although in some cities they can still afford a car (barely). Transit is not always available in the outer suburbs though.

In Toronto, you have poor people in the inner city, mixed in with middle class in the East and West ends. North Toronto is pretty wealthy, mostly just middle class mixed in with the wealthy. The poorest areas are mostly in the NW and East, in areas built largely from the 1920s to 1970s where you have smaller semi detached and detached homes, often with basement apartments, and 60s/70s apartment buildings. Many of these areas lack rapid transit but still have better bus service than the outer suburbs.

In New York, it's mostly in parts of the outer boroughs and parts of NE New Jersey. I think mostly areas built in the early 20th century, often with decent transit.

In Detroit, there's that many people living in the downtown adjacent neighbourhoods anymore. I think most of the poor mostly live in neighbourhoods built in the 20s to 50s. The inner suburbs of Detroit are generally not as bad as the city itself, but they're still not as wealthy as the outer suburbs.
Detroit was a one industry town that came of age in the age of the automobile, like LA. So they never invested in public transportation to begin with. Detroit has since diversified, but none of those industries offer the opportunity that the automobile industry did back then.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:57 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 2,752,302 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markovian process View Post
For the world examples, I am just thinking of city center being the center of the major city and the suburbs/outskirts being the area around it, regardless of whether they are US-style, European-style, Latin-American-style etc.

So I read that the pattern of rich vs. poor differs in some cities in the world that is the opposite of the US pattern.

The US pattern is typically rich suburbs, poor inner cities. Except in gentrifying areas (and even then cities are never really richer because they have a wider range of income levels and suburbs are never really "poor"). Suburban and poor basically never go together in the US, even in the gentrifying cities where urban revival is strongest.
I don't think Canadian cities can be said to have the "opposite of the US pattern." Even in Toronto the most "inverted" Canadian metro the poverty rate in the inner city - which has seen a lot of gentrification - is still higher than the suburbs.

Cities like Winnipeg and Hamilton pretty much follow the US model.

Also British cities are more impoverished in the core than their suburbs.

(Another question: Should the municipalities that were part of Metropolitan Toronto in 1954 and added to the megacity in 1998, and the area of London beyond the County of London added in 1965 be considered urban or suburban?)
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:04 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 2,752,302 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
1) Desirability of the core, the more desirable, the further the poor are pushed out. European city centres are generally more desirable. I think at least part of the reason is that they were more heavily built up prior to the industrial revolution. When factories and railyards started to get built, there was no space in city centres so they were built more around the edges, making the suburbs less desirable to the wealthy due to pollution (although the cores were probably polluted too, but at least they probably weren't worse), and more likely to house lower income factory workers. In American cities, many were new enough that there was still space for industrial infrastructure right next to downtown. Many were founded after the industrial revolution started. Pollution led to the wealthy moving to the suburbs of the time to escape pollution, thanks to their horse drawn buggies, and later middle class with streetcars (and later automobiles). The poor had to put up with the pollution and noise to be close to the factories they worked at.
Perhaps due to the fact that industrialization began in England, British inner cities are more "blighted" compared to the continent.
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Originally Posted by King of Kensington View Post
I don't think Canadian cities can be said to have the "opposite of the US pattern." Even in Toronto the most "inverted" Canadian metro the poverty rate in the inner city - which has seen a lot of gentrification - is still higher than the suburbs.

Cities like Winnipeg and Hamilton pretty much follow the US model.

Also British cities are more impoverished in the core than their suburbs.

(Another question: Should the municipalities that were part of Metropolitan Toronto in 1954 and added to the megacity in 1998, and the area of London beyond the County of London added in 1965 be considered urban or suburban?)
Although they are functionally auto-oriented, they have similarities to New York's outer boroughs, which I would consider urban for sure. In all cases, they're further from the centre of activity, which makes them less desirable than the core (Inner London/Old Toronto/Manhattan), but they're still close enough to have decent transit, which is important if you're poor. And compared to the outer suburbs, the housing stock is older, which makes them less appealing to the middle class/upper middle class demographics that live in the outer suburbs. Also maybe London is a bit different on that last point. What ring is the wealthiest and poorest there? The innermost part of London? The middle ring? Outer ring? Areas beyond the greenbelt?
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:40 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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London has rather weak geography patterns; it's often neighborhood by neighborhood

Inner London has among the highest poverty rates in the uk. It is also among the richest. Traditionally London had it's wealthy areas to the west and northwest of the center city. Which is more centered around westminster than the city. Past that, London is a bit of a muddle, but outer London is more middle class . Some areas past the greenbelt are rather wealthy, surrey in particular, which the uk's wealthiest county. rather good commuter rail access to central London jobs, faster than parts of outer London . Called the "stockbroker belt"
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:42 PM
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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Vancouver may be rather inverted; I don't think it's poorer than many of it's auburbs
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