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Old 12-24-2014, 03:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by memph View Post
New developments in St Charles county are pretty far flung though. I don't really have a feel for what congestion is like and where the suburban job centres in St Louis are, but wouldn't St Louis County have shorter commutes than St Charles county? That's a major reason why some of Toronto's 50s/60s neighbourhoods are still desirable. In many of them, schools are still good too. The lots are often larger than older neighbourhoods as well, which helps make up for lower walkability.
Toronto and St. Louis aren't really comparable. Stl probably has more miles of expressway for a metro it's size than any other in the us. People on St Charles county generally come from families who lived in North City and North County in the 40s-60s. Ferguson saw a lot of these families leave in the 80s and 90s. Other towns closer to downtown saw this earlier. Places like Hazelwood, Maryland Heights, and Florissant are experiencing it now. This is what happens when new development rules are do loose and traffic isn't awful.

As far as major employment centers go: downtown is one, but not on par with metros if its size. Midtown has a university and hospital as does the central west end The other "downtown" is on Clayton, which is 8 miles west of downtown proper. There are also a lot of office campuses on the 270 ring, along 64 west of there and even in St Charles county.

Stl is difficult for outsiders to understand. There is a lot of fragmentation and provincialism that goes with that. In the Midwest in General though, it's the same pattern: new starts looking a bit old and people go to the next "new". Subdivisions built in the 70s and 80s don't have the same appeal as the ones built in the 90s and 00s. They were built to deliver the most house for the money and now they don't deliver that. When you look at 50s and 60s development in north county, you're talking about 800-1700 sq ft detached homes in areas with cracked sidewalks, declining commercial and retail, cash-strapped governance, and declining school performance. People commuting to most employment centers will gladly turn a 15-30 minute commute into a 30-45 minute commute to avoid that.
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Old 12-24-2014, 03:24 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Sounds like a rather sad and wasteful pattern. Here people are more likely to modify their home. Hard to get exact growth stats, but it appears Boston had similar postwar growth as St. Louis but has much more of its housing pre-1950.

Which metro has America's oldest housing stock? Not Buffalo (though we're close) - Buffalo - Buffalo Business First

The inner suburbs of Boston excluding old industrial cities, tend be among the wealthier ones of the metro, the reverse pattern. Looks like St. Louis does have some affluent suburbs adjacent to the city limits, but the center of wealth is to the west of the city instead of a ring around the city (Boston).

http://www.radicalcartography.net/index.html?cityincome
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Old 12-24-2014, 10:35 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago76 View Post
Toronto and St. Louis aren't really comparable. Stl probably has more miles of expressway for a metro it's size than any other in the us. People on St Charles county generally come from families who lived in North City and North County in the 40s-60s. Ferguson saw a lot of these families leave in the 80s and 90s. Other towns closer to downtown saw this earlier. Places like Hazelwood, Maryland Heights, and Florissant are experiencing it now. This is what happens when new development rules are do loose and traffic isn't awful.

As far as major employment centers go: downtown is one, but not on par with metros if its size. Midtown has a university and hospital as does the central west end The other "downtown" is on Clayton, which is 8 miles west of downtown proper. There are also a lot of office campuses on the 270 ring, along 64 west of there and even in St Charles county.

Stl is difficult for outsiders to understand. There is a lot of fragmentation and provincialism that goes with that. In the Midwest in General though, it's the same pattern: new starts looking a bit old and people go to the next "new". Subdivisions built in the 70s and 80s don't have the same appeal as the ones built in the 90s and 00s. They were built to deliver the most house for the money and now they don't deliver that. When you look at 50s and 60s development in north county, you're talking about 800-1700 sq ft detached homes in areas with cracked sidewalks, declining commercial and retail, cash-strapped governance, and declining school performance. People commuting to most employment centers will gladly turn a 15-30 minute commute into a 30-45 minute commute to avoid that.
My parents bought a 1960 ranch home about 15 years ago. They could have moved into a newer home in a new development for the same price, but this older house and neighbourhood had a few advantages they liked:

-larger lot than newer subdivisions
-more mature trees, new subdivisions only have newly planted trees since they're built over farmland, this one had big 50+ ft tall trees
-more established amenities, in a lot of newer areas, they built the houses first, and then the schools and retail later, so it's more complicated at first, plus new schools are often built smallish under the assumption that the first cohorts of kids will be the biggest and later on there will be more empty nesters and fewer kids. So they'll just throw up 10-20 portables at the beginning, and then hopefully get rid of about half of them a decade or two later.
-less construction disruptions (this turned out to be kind of wrong since there's a lot of teardown action that started soon after they moved in)
-close to the best (fastest, most frequent, most on-time) commuter rail line in the city

It was also fairly nice for a 1960s ranch, it has a finished basement with lots of windows, imo it actually gets more natural light than the ground and 2nd floors of most tract homes. It also had its kitchen expanded by the previous owners, and then my parents renovated it so it looks quite nice now. It's on the large side too (1600-1700 sf) for ranch houses, plus another 1400sf or so for the basement.

The suburb itself is not in decline either, good schools, pretty wealthy, a quaint little downtown, good retail, roads and sidewalks in pretty good shape.

At least some of the factors you've cited though aren't the cause of the initial decline but the result of the initial decline (declining schools, retail and cash strapped government). So once you get the initial decline, those things happen and trigger additional decline.
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Old 12-24-2014, 11:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
My parents bought a 1960 ranch home about 15 years ago. They could have moved into a newer home in a new development for the same price, but this older house and neighbourhood had a few advantages they liked:

-larger lot than newer subdivisions
-more mature trees, new subdivisions only have newly planted trees since they're built over farmland, this one had big 50+ ft tall trees
-more established amenities, in a lot of newer areas, they built the houses first, and then the schools and retail later, so it's more complicated at first, plus new schools are often built smallish under the assumption that the first cohorts of kids will be the biggest and later on there will be more empty nesters and fewer kids. So they'll just throw up 10-20 portables at the beginning, and then hopefully get rid of about half of them a decade or two later.
-less construction disruptions (this turned out to be kind of wrong since there's a lot of teardown action that started soon after they moved in)
-close to the best (fastest, most frequent, most on-time) commuter rail line in the city

It was also fairly nice for a 1960s ranch, it has a finished basement with lots of windows, imo it actually gets more natural light than the ground and 2nd floors of most tract homes. It also had its kitchen expanded by the previous owners, and then my parents renovated it so it looks quite nice now. It's on the large side too (1600-1700 sf) for ranch houses, plus another 1400sf or so for the basement.

The suburb itself is not in decline either, good schools, pretty wealthy, a quaint little downtown, good retail, roads and sidewalks in pretty good shape.

At least some of the factors you've cited though aren't the cause of the initial decline but the result of the initial decline (declining schools, retail and cash strapped government). So once you get the initial decline, those things happen and trigger additional decline.
There are certainly areas like what you describe in stl. Kirkwood, Glendale, Creve Coeur, Brentwood are similar in many respects with excellent schools and a lot of 50s-60s housing stock. The desire of these neighborhoods is their central location in the middle of the employment belt. Some have older town centers while others are more secluded in feel with wooded larger lots. The suburbs w a problem here tend to be those built immediately post war with small lots and small homes that lack the town center feel. In other words, most of them from that vintage.

A couple things here compound the effect: 1) deep concentration of African Americans who faced segregationist housing policies and a host of other problems. Once many suburbs fell out of fashion, they moved in and what started as people leaving to buy bigger turned into a quick exodus. That happened in Ferguson, which ironically does have the town center rail car suburb thing going for it. 2) Fragmentation. There are municipalities here as small as 12 people. We have about 90 towns in stl county, which has a population of just under a million. In one area of about 10 square miles just south of Ferguson, there are 21 different municipalities that comprise about 50,000-60,000 people. When those areas are middle class, low cost, easy to administer places, they are cozy little enclaves. When they go bad, they go bad in a hurry. They might only consist of a couple neighborhoods, 1 commercial strip (more if a suburban strip mall) and 1000 people. If a neighborhood declines, the tax tolls have no greater area to hedge against that decline. Things go into a death spiral. Ferguson is larger (abt 30-25k), but they've faced the same issues, just at a slower pace.

Canadian planning does do much right: greater density (even burbs), some walkability/town center concepts, less extensive highways to curb development. Where American suburbs have generally failed is that they offer little differentiation. It's all about the house for the price with little other infrastructure/amenities outside of the ubiquitous 4 lane highway big box lined commercial area. From my experience, it's much worse in areas with a lot of growth in front of them post war. This includes industrial cities that declined 20 years later like an stl in addition to places like Dallas and Atlanta. You don't see it as much in older metros that were either post industrial or definitely heading that way by 1950. Places like the New England, Albany, Buffalo or older towns like Charleston, Richmond, New Orleans, parts of Pennsylvania. Had the decline of industry occurred in the Midwest 20 years earlier, cities there would have sprawled less and there wouldn't be the same vacuum for middle aged housing stock. Even a fairly global metro like Chicago has this issue. Harvey is a good example there.
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Old 12-25-2014, 01:47 AM
 
Location: Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
Yeah post-WWII suburbs of Detroit aren't in severe decline, or at least not at the advanced stages of severe decline. There are post-WWII SFH neighbourhoods within the city proper though, some of which are in the advanced stages of severe decline.

I would consider Eastpointe, Harper Woods, Redford and Inkster mostly post-WWII suburbs of Detroit though. The census tracts in Metro Detroit that have experienced the biggest changes in racial composition from 2000 to 2010 are mostly in Eastpointe, Harper Woods, Redford, South Warren and a few adjacent parts of Detroit, and to a lesser extent some of the downriver areas. Census tracts in Southfield and Oak Park changed too but not quite as fast.

Another difference between Southfield vs Eastpointe and Harper Woods is that blacks in Southfield have higher incomes than whites, while in Harper Woods and Eastpointe it's lower. The parts of Detroit near Southfield and Oak Park are also more stable black lower middle class neighbourhoods whereas the parts near Eastpointe and Harper Woods are among the most rapidly deteriorating parts of Detroit. Some of these earlier post-WWII suburbs seem to have experienced greater declines in property values and incomes/increasing poverty more than the rest of Metro Detroit too. They've managed to keep up appearances so far, and avoid intense population loss, but some of them are still in a precarious situation.
I lived in Eastpointe and it got sort of dodgy during the recession but otherwise it seems pretty stable. Within the last year there's been a lot of expansion in retail albeit mostly of the chain stores. So personally I feel pretty optimistic about Eastpointe and Harper Woods in the near future. I don't expect them to be anything like Royal Oak or Ferndale, but they really don't need to be.
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Old 12-25-2014, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Richmond/Philadelphia/Brooklyn
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Richmond Has plenty of these in the East end, and parts of the North, and South side.

Hopefully, we can get some urbanist Robert Moses to come in, and Bulldoze every crappy post WWII suburb to oblivion.
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:10 AM
Status: "How long till Fall?" (set 3 days ago)
 
Location: Where my bills arrive
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/\

Don't knock post WWII burbs many are great family neighborhoods (no I don't mean Wyndam ;-) ). Clean up the crime and drugs that's too prevalent in those areas and more people might consider it.
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Richmond/Philadelphia/Brooklyn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VA Yankee View Post
/\

Don't knock post WWII burbs many are great family neighborhoods (no I don't mean Wyndam ;-) ). Clean up the crime and drugs that's too prevalent in those areas and more people might consider it.
Meh, they're really just in the way of the inner city. and Honestly, I really dont care for neighborhoods filled with a bunch of screaming children and teenagers either. Honestly, most of them are architectural hellholes and now is the prime time to bring out the big eraser, and get rid of the mistake that was post WWII suburban expansion.
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VA Yankee View Post
/\

Don't knock post WWII burbs many are great family neighborhoods (no I don't mean Wyndam ;-) ). Clean up the crime and drugs that's too prevalent in those areas and more people might consider it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pantin23 View Post
Meh, they're really just in the way of the inner city. and Honestly, I really dont care for neighborhoods filled with a bunch of screaming children and teenagers either. Honestly, most of them are architectural hellholes and now is the prime time to bring out the big eraser, and get rid of the mistake that was post WWII suburban expansion.
Having spent most of my life living within 50 miles of Boston, I have never been able to distinguish between pre-war and post WWII neighborhoods. In the northeast almost all towns (outside the big cities) were established in the 17th or 18th centuries as farming towns. In most of the towns I am personally familiar with you have the pre-war and post WWII houses mixed together due to periods of infill over not only decades but centuries now.

Where I live now it is common to see 1960s split entry raised ranches next to 300 year old farmhouses, so it is admittedly hard for me to envision these post WWII neighborhoods and subdivisions as standalone entities. It may explain why I am unable to commiserate with those who despise the concept.
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
I lived in Eastpointe and it got sort of dodgy during the recession but otherwise it seems pretty stable. Within the last year there's been a lot of expansion in retail albeit mostly of the chain stores. So personally I feel pretty optimistic about Eastpointe and Harper Woods in the near future. I don't expect them to be anything like Royal Oak or Ferndale, but they really don't need to be.
You could be right. With slower population loss in the city (i.e. 90s levels) maybe the ghettos will grow more slowly within Detroit rather than expanding rapidly within Detroit and into some of the inner suburbs.

The decline of inner suburbs in Detroit isn't as advanced as in some of the rapidly growing cities. In Houston there's neighbourhoods a couple decades newer than Detroit's inner suburbs or outer city at similar stages of decline. Part of that is that Houston has a lot more new suburbs so it's older suburban areas have more competition for attracting the middle class.
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