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Old 04-19-2014, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
I personally think that college towns may be ahead of the game in this regard due to already having the market for the things mentioned in the post above. There are other cities that have it to some degree, but have parts of the city that need improvement and are just waiting for revitalization.

Also, I'd say that cities in the Interior Northeast, Midwest and select Southern and Western cities, in the 50-500,000 fits this the most.
I agree with you. A college is definitely a key component of a small city's desirability and success. It also offers academic resources, creative input and optimism. Professors and staff most often become active members of the community and are committed to improving the cultural and artistic offerings.
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Old 04-19-2014, 02:09 PM
 
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While people may start flocking to small towns and cities, the problem is that once this begins, they are no longer "small." In fact, this has already happened and continues to happen. Ever heard of the Sun Belt? A lot of those cities were small towns once.
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Old 04-19-2014, 05:22 PM
 
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After the 9/11 attacks on NYC and DC in 2001, it seemed likely that cities would decentralize. Between internet access and telecommuting, the "knowledge economy", staggering real-estate prices and high taxes in cities, terrorist threats in cities, urban congestion, questionable schools and burdensome traffic, one would have thought that companies would relocate to the smaller cities. Instead, the opposite happened. Big and prosperous cities became bigger and more prosperous, while smaller cities (who were not satellites of the major cities) declined further into obscurity and economic malaise.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, cities grew because it was necessary to centralize manufacturing. As the 20th century unfolded, manufacturing and associated industries diffused outwards, enabled by the automobile and highways. Smaller cities prospered. Now I think we're seeing the exact opposite trend from that suggested by the OP: NYC, LA, Chicago and the like will continue to propel further, towards more and more economic prosperity and global significance. Meanwhile, the second-tier cities such as Indianapolis, Baltimore and Cleveland will stagnate, and third-tier cities such as Dayton (Ohio) or Peoria (Illinois) will keep declining. Amongst the towns (too small to properly be cities), university-towns and tourist magnets will prosper, while the rest will decline. In sum, I would expect the opposite to happen, from what was supposed by the OP.
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Old 04-20-2014, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toyman at Jewel Lake View Post
So, I have to wonder, are we going to see a resurgence of smaller cities? Ones where residential, commercial and industrial centers are physically closer, reducing transportation/commuting times/infrastructure. Where living and business property, construction costs and living costs are far lower. And perhaps more importantly, where there is better quality of life and easier access to rural/natural areas.
No.

In the modern era, at least if we look at the remaining high-wage service-sector jobs which are not directly tied to a settled population (such as medicine) we see an increasing concentration of employment within the largest metros, with jobs moving away from the smaller cities.

The reason is simple. Any employer wants to be able to recruit the best possible people for a job. Employers know that there are more potential job applicants in major metropolitan areas than in more isolated cities. They also know that, whether people have suburban or urban preferences, more young applicants tend to be drawn to major metros with a lot going on socially than slower-paced smaller metros. Add onto this the ease of business if located near a major hub airport, and you have all the elements of increasing white-collar job concentration.

But some "smaller" cities will undoubtedly succeed despite this. Hell, they already have in many cases. Still, we have to be clear about what small means here. I'm not sure I'd call any city which anchors a metro area of over one million small, for example, which means there's over 60 metros of size. But once you get below this cutoff, you need something to form a solid base, such as a major university, a state capital, or tourism. Even then you're likely to have a glacial job market and at best have a great little city where many people want to move but cannot find good paying jobs. This is a problem in artsy smaller cities across the country, from Asheville to Taos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by genjy View Post
But every time I visit my wife's downtown office, the whole setup strikes me as odd because there's absolutely no reason why her workplace HAS to be in downtown. If her company packed up and moved to a suburb 10 miles away, it wouldn't make any difference, especially with the advances in communication and online collaboration tools.
I can't speak to where you live, but here in Pittsburgh Downtown remains a choice area for major white-collar businesses due to its central location. It's equally accessible for people in any of the suburban areas, many of which have semi-decent transit options to get there. Locating in the burbs, in contrast, ensures that nearly everyone would have to drive to work, and will probably mean getting there from some parts of the county will be too much of a PITA for some potential applicants.
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Old 04-21-2014, 02:20 PM
 
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I also think that some satellite cities within reasonable distance of major employment centers may have a chance at getting more interest. So, that may be another option in regards to smaller cities.
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Old 04-21-2014, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Fort Collins, USA
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I don't know if I agree about the age divide (ie. boomers uncomfortable with telecommuting vs. younger workers liking it better). After all, look at Google (what I would call a company with a fairly young work workforce). I get the impression that they'd love if if their employees just moved to campus, married among themselves, and preferably didn't have any kids. Kind of what I thought some companies were like when I first started in the workforce. But the difference with Google is that they spare no expense to provide a deluxe environment on their campus, hence they can spin the long hours they expect as a somewhat positive thing (look at all the amenities we are providing!). I'm waiting for the Google on-campus wedding chapel and honeymoon suite.
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Old 04-21-2014, 03:38 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xeric View Post
I don't know if I agree about the age divide (ie. boomers uncomfortable with telecommuting vs. younger workers liking it better). After all, look at Google (what I would call a company with a fairly young work workforce). I get the impression that they'd love if if their employees just moved to campus, married among themselves, and preferably didn't have any kids. Kind of what I thought some companies were like when I first started in the workforce. But the difference with Google is that they spare no expense to provide a deluxe environment on their campus, hence they can spin the long hours they expect as a somewhat positive thing (look at all the amenities we are providing!). I'm waiting for the Google on-campus wedding chapel and honeymoon suite.
You made me laugh! I hear that at Google you get to pick which 16 hours of the day you want to work. I've also read that if you eat dinner there, you're expected to spend the evening. Don't they have on-campus drycleaning, too? (Though they seem to have no dress code)
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:30 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtkinsonDan View Post
I think the eventual die off of the baby boomer generation will change the apprehension surrounding telecommuting. In my personal experience older people (born pre-1970) seem to have more hangups with telecommuting and flexible scheduling.

The infrastructure is in place now for most non-customer facing 'office work' to be completed remotely. Now we are left with the hard part, changing human attitudes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Yeah, us old coots! I don't know what in the h*ll you're talking about! Born pre-1970? For God's sake, that's a large part of the workforce. Someone born in 1969 still has 22 years left to work, to collect full retirement. Memph, above, a college student said he likes to study in a group. While my spouse fits into your old coot category, he did find telecommuting awkward at times. Plus, there's such a thing as face time with your co-workers, which was one of Marissa Meyer's issues. I don't know anyone who's opposed to flexible scheduling. And for the record, DH still does some work from home, he just found he couldn't do all of it from home.
I was born in the mid 1970s, and I'm not a fan of having direct reports or co-workers who work from home/telecommute. I don't mind the occasional work-from-home day (i.e., furniture delivery, sick kid, or a few weeks because you have a broken ankle), but there have been too many challenges for my team.

I think a lot of it depends upon the nature of the job, how much collaboration is required with others, how much face time is necessary, if you need physical access to on-site labs/prototypes, etc. I'm sure it works much better for some jobs.

I had to work from home for several weeks after I had surgery that required a long recovery period. I found that I actually hated not having physical and temporal separation between "home" and "work".
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:28 PM
 
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The smaller cities and towns will become resurgent--by becoming bigger cities and towns. In the past century, we have figured out how to fix a lot of the problems that came from living in 19th century cities--and not just New York and Chicago, issues like pollution and disease were often as pressing for cities of 10,000 people. We recognize that things like fresh air, sunshine and trees are important--and that the internal combustion engine, endless concrete roads and deforestation to build low-density suburbs, not 21st century modern cities, are the biggest threats to those three great amenities. On the contrary, today's urban dweller can live greener, cleaner and healthier than someone who thinks they're communing with nature because they have a token strip of grass in front of their tract home.
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:47 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
The smaller cities and towns will become resurgent--by becoming bigger cities and towns.
I'm not sure how the rest of the post connects to this. I'm not sure if smaller cities are growing faster than larger metros, perhaps someone could show some data?
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