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Old 04-18-2014, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Jewel Lake (Sagle) Idaho
27,557 posts, read 17,647,836 times
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This is something I've wondered about for a while. At one point, large cities were the only way for businesses to function. We had major industries like steel and auto manufacturing that were very "vertically integrated" and required massive infrastructure, direct employees and suppliers, all located in a limited area. Even in area such as finance, there used to be a large need for "face to face" interaction.

However...there are lots of negative impacts of huge urban centers. They consume huge amounts of resources and produce huge amounts of waste, all concentrated in a small area. They force people to live in a ugly area, away from nature. A concrete jungle, rather than a forest. They dictate huge infrastructure for transportation, rather it's automobile, buses or trains. They are often among the most expensive places to do business and to live.

Given the dramatic changes in technology over the last few decades, I have to wonder if this is starting to change. Within the tech and information industries there is little reason to congregate in specific areas. Shipping is getting faster and smoother all the time.

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.

What do you think?
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:40 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,834,426 times
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I don't see it. The current draw of the big city is that it is the Big City. Small towns have most of the disadvantages of suburbs along with most of the disadvantages of cities.
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Old 04-18-2014, 07:41 PM
 
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I've never worked in a downtown because my line of work doesn't require me to be in any downtown.

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.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,528,523 times
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We are seeing that happen now, there aren't that many big cities in the US, most are medium and small cities. We are seeing those cities competing with each other to become hot spot cities and towns to attract new people to them.

I think it is really important for our country to have lots of healthy medium and small cities throughout the country, not every city needs to be a NYC. Personally I think our country only needs one of those.
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Old 04-18-2014, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,740,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
We are seeing that happen now, there aren't that many big cities in the US, most are medium and small cities. We are seeing those cities competing with each other to become hot spot cities and towns to attract new people to them.

I think it is really important for our country to have lots of healthy medium and small cities throughout the country, not every city needs to be a NYC. Personally I think our country only needs one of those.
Well, there is certainly a sufficient market for the kind of world-class cultural amenities that some U.S. cities such as NYC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and arguably a few others offer. I mean that the fact that such a rich and diverse cultural scene exists in at least those four places shows that the support and patronage exists in more than just NYC.

Many, many smaller cities have (for example) a symphony orchestra and various art museums (which is great and I am not denigrating those), but what I am referring to here are world-class symphony orchestras and art museums. Even Little Rock, Arkansas has one single art house cinema, but Los Angeles has a slew of them featuring such a wide selection of foreign films as well as quality American films.

I am very glad people who value those sorts of cultural offerings at that very high level are not limited to living in or near NYC. For one thing the climate in Los Angeles is a lot more enjoyable. (LOL)

And yes, I am aware that my line of reasoning is problematic about where to draw the line, as I expect people from places such as Boston and Philadelphia, and perhaps a few other places, to weigh in with their excellent arguments about the culture in their cities. So yes, I agree that such things are on a continuum; it is not an either/or situation.

But my main point is that we should be thankful that other places are big enough and sophisticated enough to rival NYC in the cultural arena.

Last edited by Escort Rider; 04-18-2014 at 09:07 PM..
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Old 04-18-2014, 10:17 PM
 
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I don't think so. Telecommuting hasn't taken off in the way people predicted it would in movies like Back to the Future. Some people do it but for the most part it hasn't happened.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:24 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 20 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,006 posts, read 102,606,536 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spicymeatball View Post
I don't think so. Telecommuting hasn't taken off in the way people predicted it would in movies like Back to the Future. Some people do it but for the most part it hasn't happened.
No, it hasn't. I can think of a few reasons.

When Marissa Meyer (sp?) took over Yahoo, she stopped a lot of telecommuting b/c she thought a lot of people were not putting in the time, which is probably true.

My husband had some surgery this fall and did some telecommuting for a while. He said it was difficult, b/c sometimes you have to be able to talk to several people in fairly short order (rather than wait for an email) to get the job done.

And then, there are those of us who can't telecommute b/c we see patients, or students, or whoever.
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Old 04-19-2014, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
4,444 posts, read 4,612,521 times
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Big cities exist because of economic opportunity (i.e. jobs, and good-paying ones at that), but as the economy shifts away from full employment to one that requires fewer and fewer people to hold jobs, I think the era of the big city will come to an end. The cost of living in big cities requires high incomes, and if the jobs aren't there, then living in big cities becomes, well, unafforable, unless you live in a slum or whatever. I think what will happen to many big cities will mirror what's already happened in New York and San Francisco, become havens for the rich, with a struggling underclass that requires ever-increasing social support, such as welfare and housing assistance.

Personally, I think if this county goes the way I think it's going, with a few super-rich having to support the majority of people who are unable to find jobs, the government should do whatever it can to empty out the big cities and get the poor out into the smaller towns and cities, where the cost of living is far lower. If it costs, say, $2500 to support a family in a big city, that cost could be cut in half if that family was moved out to Podunk Town, plus children would be able to have a better place to grow up in. In all seriousness, why do we need to try and support the poor at very high cost in the big cities when it'd be far cheaper to move them out to small town USA? Just leave the big cities to be playgrounds for the super-rich, and the rest of us can live normal lives elsewhere, whether we have to live on the public dole or not.

In any case, big cities only work is everyone living in them is able to have jobs that pay what it cost to live in them - this may have been true in the 1950's, or even the 1990's, but it's certainly not true today. Let the great emptying of the mega-cities begin.
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Old 04-19-2014, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,762,451 times
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So you think the future will have mass unemployment that's considerably worse than today? Why? I mean even if prosperity levels go down, I'd expect most people to have jobs, even if they don't pay as well. I don't think there are any countries where the majority of the population has their main income as welfare of some sort. For starters, I'm not convinced the super rich could enrich themselves if their companies don't have customers and they have to pay taxes to support hundreds of people.

And cities exist because of economic opportunity, but that's also a big reason why they're expensive. Detroit is not very expensive, even the suburbs, I'd say it's comparable to small towns and cities around here, and Detroit's economy is hardly a worse case scenario, there's still plenty of people with good jobs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
No, it hasn't. I can think of a few reasons.

When Marissa Meyer (sp?) took over Yahoo, she stopped a lot of telecommuting b/c she thought a lot of people were not putting in the time, which is probably true.

My husband had some surgery this fall and did some telecommuting for a while. He said it was difficult, b/c sometimes you have to be able to talk to several people in fairly short order (rather than wait for an email) to get the job done.

And then, there are those of us who can't telecommute b/c we see patients, or students, or whoever.
I agree, these are all important shortcomings of telecommuting. It's a lot easier to ignore someone online, as a manager, but even as an employee, compared to if they ask something face to face. As a student, I almost always study on campus with classmates because we can help each other better, and are less likely to procrastinate.
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Old 04-19-2014, 08:39 AM
 
4,068 posts, read 3,098,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genjy View Post
I've never worked in a downtown because my line of work doesn't require me to be in any downtown.

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 worked for one company that just had to be located in downtown Boston. None of the work required being in Boston versus a suburb. It was basically for shallow reasons, the company leadership believed being located in Boston proper gave them more prestige than being located in a suburb of Boston.
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