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Old 04-29-2020, 09:14 PM
 
2,731 posts, read 768,948 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
It may surprise you that I very much appreciate your conviction that nobody in the country can make a living. If people like you moved to the country, you would be messing up my environment just like you do cities. I am so thankful you choose to live in squalor.
You missed that I lived in a small town for six years, and was highly engaged in its business and civic structure. (For that matter, I was born in a fairly small city.)

Nothing — nothing can change the lost economic world that supported a town in the middle of nowhere. Everyone becoming truffle hunters, wood carvers and Etsy sellers does not replace a real economic anchor... and sure as hell won't keep the kids from leaving the minute they can.
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Old 04-30-2020, 08:02 AM
 
3,042 posts, read 1,157,908 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
You missed that I lived in a small town for six years, and was highly engaged in its business and civic structure. (For that matter, I was born in a fairly small city.)

Nothing — nothing can change the lost economic world that supported a town in the middle of nowhere. Everyone becoming truffle hunters, wood carvers and Etsy sellers does not replace a real economic anchor... and sure as hell won't keep the kids from leaving the minute they can.
Small towns with a college or university tend to fair better than others in that regard. Now by “small”, I’m talking the range of 10K-50K population, so it’s not in the category of Bumdiddle, ND or such, but still tiny compared to what most consider a city. Alpine, TX and Grand Junction, CO are examples where a university kept young people around that otherwise wouldn’t stay there.
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Old 04-30-2020, 09:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimAZ View Post
Small towns with a college or university tend to fair better than others in that regard. Now by “small”, I’m talking the range of 10K-50K population, so it’s not in the category of Bumdiddle, ND or such, but still tiny compared to what most consider a city. Alpine, TX and Grand Junction, CO are examples where a university kept young people around that otherwise wouldn’t stay there.
A lot of this has already been discussed, but lemme sum up.

A university is an economic anchor in both direct and indirect ways. So is the evolution into a bedroom community; if the town is close enough to a larger town or city and desirable to live in, its economic base is the parasitic relationship.

10-15k is not a small town. At that size, it likely has multiple economic roots and while losing the John Deere factory on the west side would sting, it likely has other businesses (and thus draw for new businesses) to survive the kind of shrinkage that smaller, one-employer towns can't.

When I hear laments about small town America — how it's dying, how we need to save it, how people are being left behind, flavored with nostalgia and rose-colored historical views — it's about truly small towns, 3-5k at most, and largely isolated from others and from proximity to cities. These towns often sprang from the rocks and dirt because of one (1) economic anchor... and when that anchor fails, there's next to nothing else to support a... vibrant and sustained community there. You can't start farming in mining country. You can't decide to see what's under the dirt in farming country. You can't log 3-inch whitewood (or farm, or likely mine) when the old-growth timber is gone for a 20-mile radius. Even farming, which tends to be a durable industry, no longer has a farming town at the center of each 25-mile radius; with commercial farming, one town per township or county is plenty.

The notion that a small town can be saved when the mill or factory or major resource is gone by some sort of busy-bee commune effort is pretty much nonsense. Communities need an economic anchor, and any variation of family truck farming is not any such thing. it's not going to make a town of 3500, fifty miles from any other, that is no longer the center of life for the farmers in that radius, spring back to life and grow, or even keep its kids.

Some towns have solutions like becoming a bedroom community, a recreation locus or even a tourist destination. But many hundreds, if not thousands of these towns have no real future... and as regrettable as all losses are, it's not worth frantic, expensive life support to try and preserve nostalgia.

Funny you should mention Grand Junction: the only city in Colorado that almost completely missed out on the ten-year boom. Economically depressed by almost any measure, and at the bottom of the pack in the state. Even with decent size and more than one economic anchor.

For the record, I'm writing (indirectly) about the founding, growth, boom and subsequent history of a number of small towns across the US, one of which I lived in and which was surrounded by equally small one-employer, one-industry towns that are now place names on a map and occasionally trendy places to have a loft condo.
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Old 05-01-2020, 06:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Giliad View Post
I think that people will be interested in getting away from others after this, so eventually smaller will be better.
Many with basic skills will be stuck with their congestion in the cities.
Good observation, but it's not a matter of 'basic skills'; it's a matter of who has skills to successfully work a career job via remote link. That's a pretty narrow Venn overlap between job, worker and company.

I'll also note that the flight to the suburbs was fifty years ago. Select cities have filled back up with a different demographic that probably isn't going to want to work from East Cactus, AZ.
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Old 05-01-2020, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
Good observation, but it's not a matter of 'basic skills'; it's a matter of who has skills to successfully work a career job via remote link. That's a pretty narrow Venn overlap between job, worker and company.

I'll also note that the flight to the suburbs was fifty years ago. Select cities have filled back up with a different demographic that probably isn't going to want to work from East Cactus, AZ.
YES! Only college educated people with particular skills can get those jobs.Again it only advantages those small towns who have the priveleged benefits of a university, touritsty lifestyle & location amenities, or both. Preferably both.

I think covid is going to exacerbate existing inequalities, up to and including those between the small towns that have those things and those that don't. So Taos, NM will be fine - it's grown by 25% in 20 years, but Parkersville, WV will struggle.

FWIW a university only goes so far. E.g.: Youngstown State in Ohio is a decent school but it can't turn Youngstown around on its own.

Last edited by redguard57; 05-01-2020 at 09:06 PM..
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Old 05-02-2020, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Jewel Lake (Sagle) Idaho
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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.
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Old 05-02-2020, 09:33 AM
 
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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.
It's not that any of this is wrong, but I think it's grossly simplified and narrow.

You can't run a whole company on telecommuting. For anything but a 'company' that only exists between its participants' ears, there has to be some center, some concentration of assets and tools and people and functionality. There aren't even many company models where some large part of the workforce could be distributed.

Online interaction does not substitute for sitting in the same room with someone else, or several someone else's. That's not sentiment and tradition, it's a fact of the extreme limits of remote communication, no matter how high-res the video.

That we can remote employees, and that it's been a slowly rising trend (ignoring the current disaster) is simply a slow adaptation to one possibility of getting and keeping either key workers, or cheap ones. It's a huge, naive mistake to say that because a few companies can have a few workers out on a string, that this can be extended to "most" or "all" workers. (Once again, I detect a tech/IT/CS-centric bias here, where no, maybe it doesn't matter if the code monkeys are in one room or fifty. OTOH, even code reviews work better in a physical meeting.)

And as for "people making things in their homes"... Etsy is not a replacement for anything much above handicrafts. There are very, very few successful models for any kind of manufacturing or assembly businesses that could be remoted to individual locations.

If every business in San Jose and Seattle goes 100% remote, yay and few would probably even notice. The vast realm of other business and industry don't wrangle bodyless electrons and thus can't really work in a virtual space.
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Old 05-02-2020, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
14,686 posts, read 14,190,981 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therblig View Post
You missed that I lived in a small town for six years, and was highly engaged in its business and civic structure. (For that matter, I was born in a fairly small city.)

Nothing — nothing can change the lost economic world that supported a town in the middle of nowhere. Everyone becoming truffle hunters, wood carvers and Etsy sellers does not replace a real economic anchor... and sure as hell won't keep the kids from leaving the minute they can.
A town that depends on one industry is not a town, it is a labor camp.
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Old 05-02-2020, 06:11 PM
 
2,731 posts, read 768,948 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
A town that depends on one industry is not a town, it is a labor camp.
If you get near a point, make it.

Or were you admitting that a vast number of small towns in the US exist, basically, for one industry?
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Old 05-03-2020, 04:28 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
26,070 posts, read 43,832,045 times
Reputation: 29467
Why, oh why does a thread turn into a 'monolouge' by a 'thread protector' / 'thread killer' (selfroclaimed 'expert',) due to a small portion of their life living in a small town. Millions of people, and hopefully a few remaining C-D contributors could add some actually useful value and insight.

Fortunately, this topic can be far broader than the referenced article. Many real successes (and failures) could be expressed, if it were not for the 'NIA (not...) 'Thread controller'. Sad for valuable contributors to the function of a public thread / discussion. Not happening here.
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