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Old 05-03-2020, 11:24 AM
 
17 posts, read 8,156 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toyman at Jewel Lake View Post
I think you're going to see the opposite. In the past there was some reason to move to larger cities. People needed to be able to interact with others for jobs, which drove corporations to where the population base was. And in some cases that will still be so. But with the pandemic, many people have found ways to make telecommuting work. Amazon has changed the model that we need to go to brick and mortar stores to shop. Now many small producers are making and shipping product from their homes. The shipping industry has expanded dramatically over the last 10 years. In addition, major metro areas have become far less desirable places to do business, due to costs and regulations. Banks are relocating (or eliminating) hubs from metro areas. Manufacturing has already moved from most very large cities due to cost of property, taxes, traffic. In short, there is less necessity to live in a major metro area than at any point in my life. And far more reasons not to. Massive crowds. Disease. Bums allowed to live wherever they want and crap in the streets. Horrid traffic, especially in older cities. Disgusting, filthy mass transit systems. It seems as if this pandemic has gotten urbanites to finally recognize being stuck in a 500 square foot apartment is not desirable.

My area, and the city where I work, has had some of the fastest growth in the nation. And there is no real "metro" are in the entire state. Sadly, I fear the rate is only going to increase as people get sick of the cesspools our cities have been allowed to become. This pandemic is liable to accelerate the move.


I hate to see such beautiful areas as yours get filled up with people.

However, I live in a major metro right now, with urgent plans to move away to a town of ~15,000 with my wife and newborn.

So overall, I hope this crisis does revitalize small town America, because 25 years of the big city life (my whole life) is really starting to drain and take its toll on me/us. The crowds, pollution, dangerous driving, noise, ugh it all sucks.

I do hope though that most small town growth happens in areas that are NOT next to national forests and in the Wildland-urban-interface areas, because of course their magic is instantly ruined by an influx of people.

With that said, it looks like South-Eastern Idaho is more our speed. And the Mormons generally take good care of their people and economies, so hopefully the cities and towns down there are able to survive and thrive during these crazy times
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Old 05-03-2020, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Moving?!
506 posts, read 158,622 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
[*]But towns that have none of the above — aren't especially near any metro area, don't have any particularly standout quality of living, have a shrunken or lost economic base, and aren't really anyplace most people would choose for fun — that is, what most people think of, in generic terms, as "small town America" — are pretty well screwed and declining for reasons that cannot be easily corrected. There are hundreds and hundreds of towns in this category that will likely all but vanish in the next few decades.
Isn't that pretty much a tautology?

Saying this is what most people think of as "small town America" is like saying that East St. Louis is what most people think of as "urban America".

The question is, will current events push towns from your other categories into this one?
Quote:
Originally Posted by papad622 View Post
I do hope though that most small town growth happens in areas that are NOT next to national forests and in the Wildland-urban-interface areas, because of course their magic is instantly ruined by an influx of people.
Have you considered moving to rural Iowa or Kansas then?
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Old 05-03-2020, 12:05 PM
 
2,079 posts, read 541,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riffle View Post
Isn't that pretty much a tautology?
Not really. Maybe an over-broad generalization, but I think the phrase "small town America" conjures a vision of an isolated, self-sufficient, freestanding town you can walk across in an hour, filled with hard-working people who know the value of a dollar... etc. blah blah blah. Anyone standing up and decrying the loss of this tradition/resource/verity usually means to form this picture in the audience mind.

Not a small clot on the side of a bigger one, or a town known for its ski slopes, or a town known for BigName U.

It is, in the end, as slippery and subjective a term as "middle class."

But I think I've been precise about the 'small towns' I am talking about — those largely isolated from other communities and with only one or two economic anchors/reasons to exist.
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Old 05-03-2020, 12:16 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
15,224 posts, read 14,626,058 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mississippi Alabama Line View Post

3) Suburbs: I think these will continue to grow like never before. Particularly farther out suburbs up to 1.5 or so hours away from urban cores. While teleworking has shown its viability, it won't 100% replace an office setting and seeing coworkers, but it can reduce the need for it. I can see people spending about the half the time in an office, half at home, which means less commutes, which makes longer commutes more viable. If this means the towns are "parasitic" as one poster described, well, that's just the way of the world.

So, to sum it up, your 'far-out' suburbs/small towns, where the suburban sprawl had previously died out, will now be the big winners of the next 10 years.
It will be interesting to see if this dynamic plays out. Some of these places were hit hard during the 2008 crash and haven't really recovered. Maybe this will give them a second chance.
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Old 05-03-2020, 05:33 PM
 
2,079 posts, read 541,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mississippi Alabama Line View Post
If this means the towns are "parasitic" as one poster described, well, that's just the way of the world.
I think the term was mine. Used entirely in the narrow sense, not as a pejorative. A parasite is something that cannot survive without a host [city].
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Old 05-04-2020, 07:48 PM
 
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
6,398 posts, read 4,336,706 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
Not really, except that we got sidetracked into something of a Utopia debate.

The takeaway is simple:
  • Small towns that are near enough a metro center to be a desirable place to live, without any real economic base of their own, will survive just fine. (Bedroom towns.)
  • Towns that retain a solid economic base — being the center of a farming zone, having a mill or factory, having some continuing natural-resources asset, will do fine. (Viable towns.)
  • Towns with real recreation or tourism draw will do fine. (Entertainment towns.)
  • College towns usually fall into one of the above, but a few isolated examples would be viable on that basis. (College towns.)
  • But towns that have none of the above — aren't especially near any metro area, don't have any particularly standout quality of living, have a shrunken or lost economic base, and aren't really anyplace most people would choose for fun — that is, what most people think of, in generic terms, as "small town America" — are pretty well screwed and declining for reasons that cannot be easily corrected. There are hundreds and hundreds of towns in this category that will likely all but vanish in the next few decades.
  • Yes, a few will learn to dig for truffles or become an artisan community or whatever. They won't be out on the Kansas prairie, back highways in the South, anywhere in old mining or ranching country, or any other place where a few self-selecting people chose to live because of local opportunity.
Did towns ever exist without at least one of these things? I feel like those categories are axiomatic. A town cannot, and never did, exist with at least one economic engine. It used to be farming across the board, then some of them took on mills, tourism, resource extraction, education/innovation, or bedroom status.

Is there something I'm missing? I actually can't think of a town that does not have one of those, and the ones that are in decline did, but the bets they made in the past no longer play out and they're not able to transition. The same would happen to the others. If Ithaca, NY lost Cornell because it folded or something... what would it do?

So the question is, what do you do if you're town leadership to try and have a backup plan?
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Old 05-04-2020, 08:37 PM
 
2,079 posts, read 541,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redguard57 View Post
Did towns ever exist without at least one of these things? I feel like those categories are axiomatic. A town cannot, and never did, exist with at least one economic engine.
I'm not sure where you missed the turn... that's exactly the point (of most of this thread and all of my posts). Axiomatic or not, pretty much all small towns fall into one of those categories, and those that don't have a sustainable economic engine... die. Which is... hundreds and hundreds of them.

Quote:
So the question is, what do you do if you're town leadership to try and have a backup plan?
And the point there is: if there's nothing to do, you do what hundreds of towns have already done. Vote to revoke the charter and turn what's left over to county or state control. (Or, in states like Connecticut where there are no counties, become a "designated census place" that's nominally a pocket of some other town.)

My overarching point here is that for all the hue and cry and wailing over "the decline of small town America," an awful lot of these towns have lost their one and only viable economic base... and no amount of effort is going to make them viable again. The call to do so is like the call to "bring back jobs" or even "create jobs"... which went away for reasons that are largely not reversible.
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Old 05-07-2020, 11:59 AM
 
Location: Jack-town, Sip by way of TN, AL and FL
1,282 posts, read 866,176 times
Reputation: 1909
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemycomputer90 View Post
It will be interesting to see if this dynamic plays out. Some of these places were hit hard during the 2008 crash and haven't really recovered. Maybe this will give them a second chance.
Lech Mazur tweeted this out a week ago: https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2020/04/30/...nd-beyond.html
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Old 05-07-2020, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
27,631 posts, read 20,628,973 times
Reputation: 33488
Quote:
Originally Posted by redguard57 View Post
Did towns ever exist without at least one of these things? I feel like those categories are axiomatic. A town cannot, and never did, exist with at least one economic engine. It used to be farming across the board, then some of them took on mills, tourism, resource extraction, education/innovation, or bedroom status.

Is there something I'm missing? I actually can't think of a town that does not have one of those, and the ones that are in decline did, but the bets they made in the past no longer play out and they're not able to transition. The same would happen to the others. If Ithaca, NY lost Cornell because it folded or something... what would it do?

So the question is, what do you do if you're town leadership to try and have a backup plan?
Many smaller towns made it on industries that required lots of space. Big manufacturing facilities. Agriculture and any sort of resource extraction. Things that polluted that you might not want in major cities.

A lot of that type of thing has either been offshored, automated, or is in the toilet economically.
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Old 06-21-2020, 02:35 PM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
10,412 posts, read 21,932,042 times
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Most small towns I know of aren't dying, they just aren't rapidly growing. Most have stable populations. Only Mississippi River delta and former Appalachian coal mining counties / towns are loosing enough population to be considered dying. Cities have extremes of income, the richest and poorest people live there. Rural areas tend to be overwhelmingly middle class with few on either extreme. They have jobs in farming and local govt / healthcare that are quite stable during recessions.

When cost of living was more similar across the USA it was more apples to apples comparison to talk about ciites having far more job opportunities. But with a starter home in the largest metro areas going for 500k to over 1 million even the extra income you'd make by living there leaves you no better off than making $12 an hour in a small town.
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