U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-09-2014, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Kennedy Heights, Ohio. USA
1,819 posts, read 1,492,140 times
Reputation: 1424

Advertisements

The rise of the automobile as a main source of transportation meant that workers or businesses didn't have to be confined to the city's core. Only the wealthy and affluent who could afford separate transportation means could live in the surrounding hills prior to the advent of the automobile. In Cincinnati at the turn of the 20th century the steep hills surrounding the city made it difficult for the average worker to live beyond the area called the basin. The basin was a 6 mile square area from the riverfront to the surrounding hills. At that time 180,175 people, or 51 percent of all Cincinnatians lived in the 6 square mile basin Historical Roots of the Urban Crisis: Blacks in the Industrial City, 1900-1950 - Henry L. Taylor Jr., Walter Hill - Google Books. That is 30,000 ppl per square mile density. Add to that congestion the pollution and foul smelling air you can see why people were eager to move. That was a reason why Cincinnati was the city the W.R. Burnett's novel "The Asphalt Jungle" was based on. By 1950 the population of the basin fell to 126,190. Still at 21,000 people per square mile it was still congested. It was only natural when opportunities arose people would move from the city to a less congested area.

Last edited by Coseau; 09-09-2014 at 08:14 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-09-2014, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Chicago - Logan Square
3,396 posts, read 6,179,432 times
Reputation: 3717
Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post

With the GI bill, an roaring economy and money saved during WWII(there simply was not much to buy then) the housing market was set to roar. A much larger segment of the populace could own homes and the burbs had the space in which to build them quickly and cheaply.
Exactly. It's also important to note that the GI bill was also intended to be a jobs bill, and financing was limited to new construction. While that didn't completely rule out building inside city limits (the NW and SW sides of Chicago are a good example of that) it was much easier to build outside of large cities. Combine that with the Interstate and Defense Highway Act and you can see how the Federal government was giving a healthy subsidy to anyone wanting to leave an urban area.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-09-2014, 08:34 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,984 posts, read 102,540,351 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attrill View Post
Exactly. It's also important to note that the GI bill was also intended to be a jobs bill, and financing was limited to new construction. While that didn't completely rule out building inside city limits (the NW and SW sides of Chicago are a good example of that) it was much easier to build outside of large cities. Combine that with the Interstate and Defense Highway Act and you can see how the Federal government was giving a healthy subsidy to anyone wanting to leave an urban area.
The GI bill was a big, omnibus bill. It covered education, housing and unemployment benefits. A huge neighborhood in Urbana, IL inside the city limits was built for vets to take advantage of both the housing and education bennies. Yes, it was on the edge of town, where else would you build a subdivision? The interstate system was just getting going in 1956, eleven years after the end of WW II, and it didn't affect much city to suburb movement, in the Pittsburgh area anyway. There still is no major interstate going east-west through the city, and I-279 N/S was not built until the 1980s, opening in 1989.

In Denver, neither I-70 nor I-25 go into downtown.

History and Timeline - Education and Training
Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Interstate 279 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
https://www.google.com/maps/@40.4313684,-79.9805005,12z
https://www.google.com/maps/place/De...8ef4f8278a36d6
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-09-2014, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,759,792 times
Reputation: 1616
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
Every major industrial city experienced white flight during the rise of suburbia. By the 1990s that trend started to reverse with those cities and regions working together. Cities became more attractive and once blighted neighborhoods started to come back. Many of those cities started to gain population again, even Chicago. Detroit itself had it's smallest population decline of the era (did that have anything to do with Dennis Archer being mayor?) Cities that didn't slow that trend, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh also were experiencing population declines at the regional level. The Detroit area was still growing. Why were places like Chicago, Seattle and New York able to rebound? What was different in Detroit?
I think Detroit's core was in quite a bit worse shape than New York's, Seattle's and even Chicago's in 1990. Most of the revitalization in the last decade or two started in downtowns and/or neighbourhoods near downtowns or neighbourhoods that had downtown level density of amenities and then spread outwards from there. You might have had more suburban neighbourhoods within city limits that were relatively wealthy at that time, but I'm not sure if they were among the first to improve, or if they were just always wealthy.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-09-2014, 12:48 PM
 
Location: The Carolinas
2,003 posts, read 2,016,903 times
Reputation: 6083
In college, in a class called "Elements of Human Geography", we read a book called Streetcar Suburbs: The Process of Growth in Boston, 1870-1900 by Sam Bass Warner Jr. it described the early sprawl created by the advent of the streetcar system in Boston. The demise of which was caused by automobile, oil, and rubber companies buying out and dismantling them in favor of the automobile. The demise of Detroit was due to its success: relatively inexpensive, personal vehicles. The final nail in Detroit's coffin was global industrialization and the externalities created by it, such as cheap labor, lax environmental laws, etc.

Great thread. . .
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-09-2014, 12:54 PM
bg7
 
7,697 posts, read 8,161,709 times
Reputation: 15093
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
If pollution made people leave their cities why are they still flocking to an automobile polluted cities like LA or New York? And why, if heavy industry has declined so much in the previous industrial cities, don't people return to them?

Actually, regarding the latter, I think they are. I moved to a rust belt city from the PNW this summer. Every time I tell someone I did that they have a story to tell me about someone else they know who has relocated here from other parts of the country including the West Coast. This is just anecdotal evidence that people move anywhere and everywhere it's true but it still shows that there is not just only one stream of migration. The stream is heavier in some directions but it is still not totally exclusive.

Do you have any statistics to support your statements or are they more of a theoretical nature? It's pretty simplistic to say there is just one reason for the decline of any city or neighborhood. There is more to it than just pollution.

??

How is NYC an "automobile polluted city"? It has the biggest mass transit use, and less than half the population own cars in NYC. Its not comparable to LA at all. A whole bunch of the taxies and buses are electric or natural gas hybrid.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-09-2014, 01:02 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,983 posts, read 41,929,314 times
Reputation: 14804
Quote:
Originally Posted by bg7 View Post
??

How is NYC an "automobile polluted city"? It has the biggest mass transit use, and less than half the population own cars in NYC. Its not comparable to LA at all. A whole bunch of the taxies and buses are electric or natural gas hybrid.
It still has a lot of cars in one place. Definitely elevated pollution levels for the automobile concentration in Manhattan, though they may not be the biggest source of pollution (old oil building heating systems may be worse).

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ype=blogs&_r=0

Note the pollution map traces busy roads. Manhattan added a parking maximum to new development in the early 80s as a way to satisfy the Clean Air Act. So the city believed cars were a big factor in local pollution.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-09-2014, 03:21 PM
 
1,478 posts, read 2,001,198 times
Reputation: 1579
Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Good comments everyone, keep them coming. I'll try to respond to everyone's points:

New England is a pretty unique case honestly. Their decline wasn't really due to suburbanization, it was more due to industries (particularly the paper and textile industries) leaving for the cheaper south. In other words, they lost jobs first, then people-whereas cities like the Rust Belt cities lost the people first, then the jobs.

And yes, there were a lot of neighborhoods that declined that weren't near factories. But usually, these neighborhoods went into decline for some reason related to industrial pollution-for example, if a neighborhood declined due to White Flight, then perhaps the blacks moving into the neighborhood that the white residents are fleeing were trying to move out of an industrial neighborhood that's very close to a busy railroad yard or steel mill and trying to escape the pollution from those facilities.
Nope. You're commingling different factors (which happen to also occur more frequently in very industrial cities) an you're ascribing causation to pollution rather than those factors.

People leave when they a) have choices and b) live in an area with economic or structural obsolescence. Pollution, all else equal, plays a role, but it is secondary.

Cars=more choices
FHA loans for new homes (rather than old) in the post-War period=choices slanted toward new home construction.
Swelling black populations in industrial cities post-War=incentivized selection of suburbs by whites.
Flat topography away from coastal areas = better access to peripheral land for development/disincentive to maintain density.
Housing differentiation/obsolescence. If an area isn't geographically constricted, there are ample opps to build bigger on much bigger lots on the urban fringe. Housing built pre-Depression was deemed obsolete by tastes of the 1950s so people left...just as tastes today generally suggest that homes built from the post-War period through most of the 70s are obsolete today (too small, split level floor plans, etc).

Urban manufacturing facilities=functionally obsolete for mass production. This is what happened in Mass. over 100 years ago (water powered falls/mills no longer being required). This is what happened in parts of major urban cities even in the 30s in places like Chicago, Philadelphia, NYC (buildings too small for modern mfg...even in the 30s). The same trend repeated itself with 50s manufacturing facilities from the 70s on. You can build a greenfield factory anywhere.

Sectoral alignment of industry. Manufacturing has declined in the US since WWII because we essentially lived in a bubble then. Every major manufacturing powerhouse was rebuilding...except for us. Over time, manufacturing gets more competitive and that advantage is chipped away. That will hit the Midwest more. Why do people move to a region? Jobs. If those jobs leave and other sectors don't pick up the slack, then you get a hollowing out of the city as suburbanization occurs.

Look at NYC. They lost a ton of manufacturing pre-WWII. But other things were always there to fill the void and people continued to move to the city as their point of local entry...even though others left for the suburbs. NYC's big loss decade came in the 70s, long after manufacturing left. Was the city dirty in the 70s? Sure. Every city was. It was dirty in the 50s and 60s too though.

There are a lot of non-industrial (not so polluted) cities that are hollowing out as well. It's just more difficult to detect because they've annex adjacent land over time, so their total population remains constant or grows.

The inner (non-coastal) portions of Miami have lost people since the 70s even though the city has almost no industry and catches decent coastal winds to keep pollution in check. The reason the city hasn't entirely hollowed out are: 1) constant stream of immigrants to replace people leaving (Cubans and Haitians in particular) 2) a giant swamp that keeps people from dispersing too much 3) industry alignment that is not in decline and 4) people moving there independent of employment decisions as retirees.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-09-2014, 03:31 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,983 posts, read 41,929,314 times
Reputation: 14804
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago76 View Post
Look at NYC. They lost a ton of manufacturing pre-WWII. But other things were always there to fill the void and people continued to move to the city as their point of local entry...even though others left for the suburbs. NYC's big loss decade came in the 70s, long after manufacturing left. Was the city dirty in the 70s? Sure. Every city was. It was dirty in the 50s and 60s too though.
NYC didn't lose manufacturing pre-WWII, except for 30s depression losses, which were nation-wide.

New York had been a major manufacturing center since the earliest days of the republic. In 1950, 28 percent of the city's employed workers were in manufacturing, two points above the national figure. The percentage of the city workforce employed in manufacturing had been declining since 1910, when it had peaked at just over 40 percent. However, except during the 1930s, the actual number of manufacturing workers in the city had risen each decade of the century. When World War II ended, New York manufacturing was at an all-time high.

In 1950 seven of the nation's ten largest cities had a higher percentage of their workforces engaged in manufacturing than New York did. Nonetheless, in absolute terms New York City had a goods-producing economy unprecedented in size, output, and complexity. In 1947, New York had more manufacturing jobs than Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Boston put together.


https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/...n-newyork.html

The heavy manufacturing job losses started in the 70s.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-10-2014, 12:00 AM
 
1,478 posts, read 2,001,198 times
Reputation: 1579
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
NYC didn't lose manufacturing pre-WWII, except for 30s depression losses, which were nation-wide.

New York had been a major manufacturing center since the earliest days of the republic. In 1950, 28 percent of the city's employed workers were in manufacturing, two points above the national figure. The percentage of the city workforce employed in manufacturing had been declining since 1910, when it had peaked at just over 40 percent. However, except during the 1930s, the actual number of manufacturing workers in the city had risen each decade of the century. When World War II ended, New York manufacturing was at an all-time high.

In 1950 seven of the nation's ten largest cities had a higher percentage of their workforces engaged in manufacturing than New York did. Nonetheless, in absolute terms New York City had a goods-producing economy unprecedented in size, output, and complexity. In 1947, New York had more manufacturing jobs than Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Boston put together.

https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/...n-newyork.html

The heavy manufacturing job losses started in the 70s.
This is the price I pay for trying to keep it simple on a message board. I was (in my head) referring to relative manufacturing employment, which is also critical for reasons I'll get to. For reference, the relative mfg share of employment compared to the national avg dropped from 3 pts over the national average to 7 pts under from 1910 to 1920. This was the beginning of the end for NY mfg. It held fairly steady for several decades and in share terms, mfg employment dropped again in the 60s (from abt 27 percent to 20 percent of non-farm employment)...so it did happen before the rust belt cities and substantially pre-1970. On another note, I have no idea why the article you linked compares mfg to total labor pool for a city when comparing it to national avg. It should be non-farm employment because cities don't have an agriculture component. This is important especially when looking at 80+ year old data because so much of the labor pool as in agriculture in rural areas. If you look at it this way, NYC mfg hasn't exceeded the national "urban" avg since 1910.

The other things to clarify are the notion of what manufacturing is, how it is recorded in official figures, and export vs. subsistence mfg and how that affects an economy. Urban areas generate wealth by exporting goods and services to other markets. Their compensation returns to the city and gets distributed when people buy things with this money. So it's important to distinguish export vs. local trade goods. A baker staffing 6 people to make bread for local consumption in Bushwick isn't generating exports. He's serving the wealth of an area and giving them a finished good. Same with newspapers before they started getting more national distribution in the 80s and 90s pre-internet. On the other hand, Morton Salt in Chicago or Oscar Mayer in Cincinnati is exporting and bringing wealth to the area. Those companies mfg positions are driving wealth that gets distributed to the local baker when a Oscar Mayer employee buys bread. As long as they're around, the local baker will be too (at least until big boxes took off). As a percent of total mfg employment, even when NYC mfg was stronger in the 60s, a bigger proportion was local trade, so in a sense, it doesn't really count when trying to identify city decline. Most export goods are upstream components to a finished product or durable goods. Even factoring in textiles, that NYCs mfg base leaned so heavily on the non-durable side is something of a red flag and its historic strength/importance is overstated. On a side note, I have no idea why a local baker is considered to be mfg anyway. Arguably, a restaurant is a manufacturing assembly plant and should be called manufacturing too then.

The other thing to consider is what else is wrapped up in that mfg employment number: it's not just production workers but also corporate. IBM employed a lot of people in corporate in NYC but it
s production was done elsewhere. Production jobs tanked due to productivity gains while corporate jobs tend to hold up better. Today, Apple's labor force in the Bay Area is categorized as mfg. They aren't. Apple HQ is essentially business and professional services with overseas mfg. Film and cinematic productions are also wrapped up in this mfg total too.

The net effect is that any NYC manufacturing figure you can glean from official figures significantly overstates mfg...at least as it relates to why cities decline. In a city like Chicago or Cleveland, the production was done by working class, unskilled or semi-skilled production workers with limited economic prospects. Those jobs paid them an excellent wage given their education and training levels. Those productive activities are what was exported to bring wealth to the city. They were the source of funds that paid the baker and the local economy, so when that dried up, it had a multiplier on everyone else (baker, newspaper man, etc).

In NYC, other sectors drove the wealth. The local mfg trade helped retain it so the city didn't need to import things from other markets, but that's not quite the same thing. I'd rather have 100 good mfg export jobs than 100 good revenue retaining bakers. Those 100 good mfg jobs pay for more than just bread. If we kind of scrape away the local consumption mfg by assuming that 1/3 of the national mfg avg falls in this category for any city (and that's probably generous for NYC), we can see what happened in NYC. 1910 (26.9% of non-ag jobs were export mfg). 1950, already down to 16.8%. 1970 already down to 11.5%. The typical Midwestern industrial cities were still at or above NYC's all time highs around 1950. They got their decline in auto era though and paid a heavier price.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top