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Old 12-06-2016, 03:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
...
Well, it's the result of many, many things--proximity to Stanford and Moffet and, thus, Apple, Google, LinkedIn, and, in the past, the semi-conductor industry and, before that, the military-industrial complex, as well as being the beneficiary of multiple tech booms and a self-selected hyper concentration of billionaires--none of which have to do with Palo Alto as a place.
...
Sounds like all the economic issues can be resolved by simply "self-selecting" to be a billionaire....!
Maybe they should try that in these subsidized areas.....
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Old 12-11-2016, 12:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
Manhattan or SF are examples of the former, requiring lots of government transfers to keep those places functioning. San Jose and Phoenix are examples of the latter.
Cities like NYC and SF are net contributors, so I'm not sure what you mean.
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Old 12-12-2016, 04:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sstsunami55 View Post
Cities like NYC and SF are net contributors, so I'm not sure what you mean.
They, like London, Paris, Tokyo, are all very powerful. The sheer number of transactions that take place within and their centrality to the economies of their states/countries cannot be denied.

What I meant, then, was that high density places require large outlays on the part of a government to keep functioning. At high densities, places need very large scale, expensive infrastructure just to not implode. Shut down BART and SF is a mess. So we get projects like the Trans-Bay Terminal, the Central Subway, and the underground extension of Caltrain. And that's just transit.

There's a point where the marginal benefit of each new person within a totally built out city declines. But there's also a point where the marginal cost of supporting each new person with infrastructure climbs rapidly.

Or, another way, the Concorde was very, very fast. But it was very, very expensive. At some point, the marginal benefit of each additional MPH (err, knots per hour?) also comes with a sharp increase in the cost. The benefit may be there, but there's an argument that it's not the most optimal benefit, that flying more slowly might produce a greater benefit.
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Old 12-12-2016, 07:03 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
They, like London, Paris, Tokyo, are all very powerful. The sheer number of transactions that take place within and their centrality to the economies of their states/countries cannot be denied.

What I meant, then, was that high density places require large outlays on the part of a government to keep functioning. At high densities, places need very large scale, expensive infrastructure just to not implode. Shut down BART and SF is a mess. So we get projects like the Trans-Bay Terminal, the Central Subway, and the underground extension of Caltrain. And that's just transit.
A reminder that infrastructure costs, especially transit construction costs are unusually high in dense American cities such as New York City, Boston and San Francisco. The costs of construction in dense cities elsewhere around the world may not be much of an extra "density tax" in a per capita basis if at all. San Francisco is also nowhere as dense as London let alone Paris, Tokyo or New York City.
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Old 12-13-2016, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
For instance, we can look at Palo Alto, CA. Is it wealthy? Yes, of course it is, absurdly so. But is that a representation of the built form of Palo Alto, or of economic forces producing enormous amounts of income in this particular place at this particular time? Well, it's the result of many, many things--proximity to Stanford and Moffet and, thus, Apple, Google, LinkedIn, and, in the past, the semi-conductor industry and, before that, the military-industrial complex, as well as being the beneficiary of multiple tech booms and a self-selected hyper concentration of billionaires--none of which have to do with Palo Alto as a place.
They have everything to do with Palo Alto as a place. They are what makes Palo Alto, Palo Alto. They have really nothing to do with built form though. Google and LinkedIn, for example, have large offices in both San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Companies generate income. Built form really does not, aside from the incomes from building, selling, and managing them anyways.

Nothing exists in a bubble. You think San Francisco has the number of tech companies it has has nothing to do with its proximity to Silicon Valley? You're naive if that's the case. The broader issue of sustainability is diversity. San Francisco has a diverse economy. Silicon Valley does not. If tech explodes, and I mean explodes not some ninny dot com nonsense, Silicon Valley be screwed. That, once again, has really nothing to do with built form. The eastern suburbs of Sacramento (Roseville and Folsom) look sort of like Silicon Valley but much less dense. They also are major employment areas (both Roseville and Folsom have large increases in daytime population). Tech, however, is not over-represented in Roseville or Folsom. If 50% of tech jobs vanish, Silicon Valley will be in a much, much worse position than San Francisco or Roseville. It'd be more like the rust belt with the decline of manufacturing or Pittsburgh with steel or Detroit with automobiles. That's nothing to do with Silicon Valley's built form and everything to do with economic makeup.
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Old 12-13-2016, 08:57 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post

Tax base, regardless of form, is often a measure of underlying economic trends that may be unrelated to that particular place/city. Yes, it's important to the city's budget, but it doesn't necessarily accurately measure the inherent value generated by that place.

For instance, we can look at Palo Alto, CA. Is it wealthy? Yes, of course it is, absurdly so. But is that a representation of the built form of Palo Alto, or of economic forces producing enormous amounts of income in this particular place at this particular time? Well, it's the result of many, many things--proximity to Stanford and Moffet and, thus, Apple, Google, LinkedIn, and, in the past, the semi-conductor industry and, before that, the military-industrial complex, as well as being the beneficiary of multiple tech booms and a self-selected hyper concentration of billionaires--none of which have to do with Palo Alto as a place.
As Malloric said, the economy is what makes Palo Alto what it is. The wealth isn't a representation of the built form, but why would those two be connected? I don't really understand what "inherent value" refers to separate from economy. How are you gauging inherent value?

Quote:
But we get two distinct peaks in costs: in high-density cities where there are so many people (residents and workers) that we face diminishing returns at the same time as costs explode; in low-density cities (not talking rural here) where the costs approach the minimum for costs for a "city," but the number of people is spread out over a large geographic area.

Manhattan or SF are examples of the former, requiring lots of government transfers to keep those places functioning. San Jose and Phoenix are examples of the latter.

So we also get two distinct troughs: medium-density cities and rural places.
I'm unsure if rural areas are a trough rather than a peak. Rural areas generally have higher per-capita road spending than suburban one. I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I suspect in the real world:

1) any infrastructure is cheaper with density relation is weak
2) and dwarfed by labor costs and regional variation

It'd be useful to see some numbers By population density, the peninsula suburbs are similar, sometimes higher than San Jose. Some parts are richer than others; some have a higher commercial tax base; distinguish some "inherent value" in other respects appear arbitrary.
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Old 12-13-2016, 11:44 AM
 
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If we're going to talk about an artificially engineered decline in the suburbs, we ought to talk about the artificially engineered growth of the suburbs. That was my original point, way back:

Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
But to comment on the original idea, we need to also understand that the suburbs, at least as we know them, were the beneficiaries of a lot of "artificial" engineering and subsidization.
People take that as offensive, suggesting that the suburbs are anything but idyllic examples of pure capitalistic market choice at work. But we ought to understand these places for what they are, places with a lot of inherent costs from the amount of infrastructure and services they require and a low density of households, buoyed with some low-density retail.

So, when a person like yourself says something like:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
They have everything to do with Palo Alto as a place. They are what makes Palo Alto, Palo Alto.
I respond that not all suburbs are successful places. Many are very, very poor. The newness has worn off and wealthy residents have moved on, and all the national luxury chain retailers have picked up roots and followed them. I want to take the perception that suburbs produce positive value and disentangle what a suburb is on its own from what larger and external forces make a suburb wealthy.

I brought up Palo Alto to show that the wealth of a suburb is mostly exogenous to the form of that suburb. That wealth has everything to do with Palo Alto as a place proximate to other things. What makes Palo Alto wealthy isn't the form of Palo Alto, but what it's near to and who, by extension, has chosen to live there. Copy and paste Palo Alto--the streets, the houses, the geography--and paste that at the south end of San Jose and you'd find there to be nothing especially valuable about it. It'd be nice and pretty, but far less wealthy.
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Old 12-13-2016, 12:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
As Malloric said, the economy is what makes Palo Alto what it is. The wealth isn't a representation of the built form, but why would those two be connected?
Because you look at cities that should be doing OK because the economic undercurrent is strong or the labor costs ought to be low--San Jose is an example of the former--and the built form matters greatly to the vitality of that city. The form determines outlays--how many cops, firefighters, EMTs, teachers, librarians, schools, libraries, miles and lanes of road way, of sewers, storm drains, water pipes, wires, gas mains, and on and on.

And, to be balanced, I pointed out that high density places require more of these as well, and sometimes require tricky, expensive solutions.
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Old 12-13-2016, 12:50 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
People take that as offensive, suggesting that the suburbs are anything but idyllic examples of pure capitalistic market choice at work. But we ought to understand these places for what they are, places with a lot of inherent costs from the amount of infrastructure and services they require and a low density of households, buoyed with some low-density retail.
I don't take that as offensive; I wouldn't expect a pure capitalistic market in the first place. A pure capitalistic market doesn't exist particularly in housing, and certainly doesn't sound idyllic. The government will always influence the built form to some extent.

Quote:
I want to take the perception that suburbs produce positive value and disentangle what a suburb is on its own from what larger and external forces make a suburb wealthy.
So what would an example of a place that produces positive value on its own?

Quote:
I brought up Palo Alto to show that the wealth of a suburb is mostly exogenous to the form of that suburb. That wealth has everything to do with Palo Alto as a place proximate to other things. What makes Palo Alto wealthy isn't the form of Palo Alto, but what it's near to and who, by extension, has chosen to live there. Copy and paste Palo Alto--the streets, the houses, the geography--and paste that at the south end of San Jose and you'd find there to be nothing especially valuable about it. It'd be nice and pretty, but far less wealthy.
I think you're missing the point; why would a form make a place wealthy? Or not wealthy? I'm not seeing why they should have much of any connection. Of course the wealth of a place is exogenous to form; did anyone claim it was? I could just as well write: copy and paste a Manhattan tenement (or a nicer looking brownstone) block and pop it in the South Bronx and it wouldn't be all that valuable; it would have improversed residents instead of yuppies.

I'm not from the area, but since Palo Alto and nearby is a large job center, couldn't you say the other towns are wealthy from being close to Palo Alto? As Malloric suggested even San Francisco is perhaps somewhat wealthier from being near Silicon Valley [though one could say the proximity helps both mutually]
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Old 12-13-2016, 12:54 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
Because you look at cities that should be doing OK because the economic undercurrent is strong or the labor costs ought to be low--San Jose is an example of the former--and the built form matters greatly to the vitality of that city. The form determines outlays--how many cops, firefighters, EMTs, teachers, librarians, schools, libraries, miles and lanes of road way, of sewers, storm drains, water pipes, wires, gas mains, and on and on.
I assume San Jose's costs are fairly high due to high labor costs?

The number of cops is more determined by crime rate, local politics and public worker rates. Transit costs are also partly determined by whether or no $60k/year salaries for transit workers are normal. Teacher costs and staffing rates have little to do with density. Pipes and roadway do; but how do they compare to other non-density related labor costs?
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