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Old 04-20-2015, 10:52 AM
 
602 posts, read 497,569 times
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Although the Sun Belt may possibly have a greater number of new jobs being created, you are likely going to have an easier time finding a job nowadays in the Rust Belt (ignoring the specifics of your skills and what regions they'd be more useful in). The reason is the colder/older parts of the country tend to have a higher concentration of baby boomers due to younger folks (mainly Gen-Xers in the 80s/90s/00s) moving out and fewer immigrants moving in, and now that those boomers are starting to retire they're opening up jobs at a higher rate than in the warmer/newer areas (where more of the existing workers are younger and unlikely to vacate their spots anytime soon). So although the prevailing wisdom of the Sun Belt having more opportunities was valid in 1995 or even 2005, it's not so much in 2015 (and likely 2025 as well).

The best part of the country in terms of low unemployment rates* since the Great Recession - the Plains states. The part of the country that has the darkest future IMO - the western part of the Sun Belt (SoCal/NV/AZ, due to the eminent water shortages and other ecological problems with large numbers of people who live in a desert but don't want to act like it).
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Old 04-20-2015, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Prince George's County, Maryland
6,212 posts, read 9,129,895 times
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Sunbelt for me. Would be nice if that part of the country had higher wages and most of their cities weren't too car-centric though. Don't really care for the prevalent Bible Belt mentality either but that seems to be more common in the outer suburbs, exurbs, small towns, and countryside areas of the South rather than most of the major cities and inner suburbs themselves. But if I ever move outside of the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, I'll most likely be moving to the Sunbelt/South...Most particularly Metro Atlanta.

As far as the Rust Belt is concerned, I probably wouldn't mind living in St. Louis or Chicago (not necessarily a Rust Belt in the truest sense..).

Last edited by tcave360; 04-20-2015 at 06:53 PM..
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Old 06-20-2015, 10:22 PM
 
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I recently fled the Sunbelt (Houston) after four years and I've thankfully returned to the Rustbelt (Syracuse). Houston is a dystopia in the making. I moved there with a very open mind in pursuit of a "Sunbelt opportunity", but came to learn that it's a deeply troubled suburban sprawl nightmare of a "non-place"--a decaying, unsustainable environment with an unfathomable level of obsolescence that must be seen to be believed. There is no "community" there, no sense of civic pride, no civic purposefulness. Houston is defined by unregulated, unzoned development that leap-frogs over trapped "dead zones". The result? A visual mess of billboards and cheap buildings--a junkscape--coupled with an unbearable six months of heat and humidity spent indoors. The quality of life there is atrocious. It's fair to include vast swaths of obsolete and disinvested territory in the southeast, east, and north sides of Houston (outside the Inner Loop) as a massive "Rustbelt island" within the Sunbelt...

I am happy to be in Syracuse and the so-called Rustbelt--a region of the country that, hands-down, offers so much more in all manner of things--history, landscapes, density, culture, urbanism--than the Sunbelt. The Sunbelt is an over-hyped, overly conservative, growth-at-any-cost, close-minded, Biblebelt-ish place that's extremely difficult to live in if you want more than to mindlessly consume alongside "people like you" in your HOA-controlled subdivision.

As a side note, I am only referring to the Sunbelt boom towns (i.e. Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Charlotte, etc.) and not the beautiful, atmospheric cities of New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, and so on. Those historic cities have pasts and futures that are in some ways more like their Rustbelt cousins.

As both an architect and urbanist, I am not the only cultural critic who believes that the Sunbelt's "days in the sun" are numbered. The truth of building an unsustainable junkscape is finally coming to light. There is very little long-term value in what was built in the Sunbelt boom cities over the last forty years. Using Houston or Bradenton, FL, as examples--much of the region is decaying fast and it is not a pretty sight. The Sunbelt does not have the bones nor infrastructure that the Rustbelt always has, and thus, the broken promise of unregulated "cheap" growth is becoming clearer for all to see.

My "Sunbelt experience" in Houston lasted for exactly four years. I made the best of it, bought a nice house, fixed it up, dived into my demanding career, and adopted two dogs. Most of the time, I did not complain and focused on the positives. When the opportunity came to relocate for jobs in the Great Lakes/Midwest and Northeast, I did not hesitate. I put my house on the market, filled up my car, and drove north. As I saw Houston in my rear view mirror I started to cry. The sense of relief was absolutely overwhelming.

In hindsight, I simply never felt at peace there. The collective karma of a place built upon greed and wasteful practices just felt so very heavy. The collective anger and anxiety of Houstonians is fed by the low quality of their community--pollution, heat, humidity, sprawl, poor schools, bad diets, obesity--and painful to witness.

I did time in Houston and I do not regret it. The past is the past. I worked hard and mobilized my career to a much better place. I will turn my savings into a valuable real estate investment in Syracuse. That said, I do not recommend a move to a Sunbelt boom town like Houston. Not at all. Money or career advancement is simply not worth it. Living in such a place can break your spirit...

Last edited by fromsuntorust; 06-20-2015 at 11:29 PM..
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Old 06-21-2015, 05:06 AM
 
Location: Appalachian New York, Formerly Louisiana
4,409 posts, read 6,468,173 times
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I prefer the rust belt as it overlaps my home region of northern Appalachia!

I spent almost ten years in the sun belt too. It was alright; difficult but alright.
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Old 06-21-2015, 08:47 AM
 
37,763 posts, read 41,331,289 times
Reputation: 26972
Quote:
Originally Posted by fromsuntorust View Post
I recently fled the Sunbelt (Houston) after four years and I've thankfully returned to the Rustbelt (Syracuse). Houston is a dystopia in the making. I moved there with a very open mind in pursuit of a "Sunbelt opportunity", but came to learn that it's a deeply troubled suburban sprawl nightmare of a "non-place"--a decaying, unsustainable environment with an unfathomable level of obsolescence that must be seen to be believed. There is no "community" there, no sense of civic pride, no civic purposefulness. Houston is defined by unregulated, unzoned development that leap-frogs over trapped "dead zones". The result? A visual mess of billboards and cheap buildings--a junkscape--coupled with an unbearable six months of heat and humidity spent indoors. The quality of life there is atrocious. It's fair to include vast swaths of obsolete and disinvested territory in the southeast, east, and north sides of Houston (outside the Inner Loop) as a massive "Rustbelt island" within the Sunbelt...

I am happy to be in Syracuse and the so-called Rustbelt--a region of the country that, hands-down, offers so much more in all manner of things--history, landscapes, density, culture, urbanism--than the Sunbelt. The Sunbelt is an over-hyped, overly conservative, growth-at-any-cost, close-minded, Biblebelt-ish place that's extremely difficult to live in if you want more than to mindlessly consume alongside "people like you" in your HOA-controlled subdivision.

As a side note, I am only referring to the Sunbelt boom towns (i.e. Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Charlotte, etc.) and not the beautiful, atmospheric cities of New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, and so on. Those historic cities have pasts and futures that are in some ways more like their Rustbelt cousins.

As both an architect and urbanist, I am not the only cultural critic who believes that the Sunbelt's "days in the sun" are numbered. The truth of building an unsustainable junkscape is finally coming to light. There is very little long-term value in what was built in the Sunbelt boom cities over the last forty years. Using Houston or Bradenton, FL, as examples--much of the region is decaying fast and it is not a pretty sight. The Sunbelt does not have the bones nor infrastructure that the Rustbelt always has, and thus, the broken promise of unregulated "cheap" growth is becoming clearer for all to see.

My "Sunbelt experience" in Houston lasted for exactly four years. I made the best of it, bought a nice house, fixed it up, dived into my demanding career, and adopted two dogs. Most of the time, I did not complain and focused on the positives. When the opportunity came to relocate for jobs in the Great Lakes/Midwest and Northeast, I did not hesitate. I put my house on the market, filled up my car, and drove north. As I saw Houston in my rear view mirror I started to cry. The sense of relief was absolutely overwhelming.

In hindsight, I simply never felt at peace there. The collective karma of a place built upon greed and wasteful practices just felt so very heavy. The collective anger and anxiety of Houstonians is fed by the low quality of their community--pollution, heat, humidity, sprawl, poor schools, bad diets, obesity--and painful to witness.

I did time in Houston and I do not regret it. The past is the past. I worked hard and mobilized my career to a much better place. I will turn my savings into a valuable real estate investment in Syracuse. That said, I do not recommend a move to a Sunbelt boom town like Houston. Not at all. Money or career advancement is simply not worth it. Living in such a place can break your spirit...
I can't help but think that people said many of the same things about the Rustbelt cities when they were in their heyday.
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
5,490 posts, read 9,411,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
I can't help but think that people said many of the same things about the Rustbelt cities when they were in their heyday.
Why do you think that?
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:27 AM
 
37,763 posts, read 41,331,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
Why do you think that?
As cities were becoming increasingly crowded, polluted, corrupt, prone to natural disasters, etc. in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, I can imagine folks from the countryside and smaller cities saying many of the same things. We like to romanticize the legacy cities today for their density and urban fabric, but the truth is that in many ways, they were a complete and absolute mess in their heydays in several ways. There's just a certain sort of ugly chaos that comes along with rampant growth in any era; it just looks different today than it did a century ago.
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:27 AM
 
4,861 posts, read 9,235,398 times
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I always have to SMH over the misnomer "Rustbelt" to describe such a lovely part of the country. I live in SE Michigan, far from the most scenic part of this great state, and I see no rust, only rolling, green hills, fertile farm fields, and a plethora of natural bodies of water, both the Great Lakes and the smaller, inland, recreational lakes that abound here. I do have to say, though, that having lived in Phoenix for a (short, thank God!) time, I don't necessarily think that the term "Sunbelt" is 100% positive either, as anyone who has spent a summer in Phoenix can attest to. The sun is not always our friend and can actually make life downright miserable at times.

So to answer the OP's question, without a doubt the "Rustbelt" is for me, although I prefer to call it the "hidden gem belt".
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:32 AM
 
325 posts, read 253,069 times
Reputation: 288
Quote:
Originally Posted by fromsuntorust View Post
That said, I do not recommend a move to a Sunbelt boom town like Houston. Not at all. Money or career advancement is simply not worth it. Living in such a place can break your spirit...
That's a great personal testimonial and all, but you do realize that you represent a small, small fraction of people that want to move - and are probably one of less than ten people that left a thriving city for a dead one in upstate New York. Yes, the sunbelt is not the best place for Hispters or underpaid "creative" types that can't nail down an actual career (the best of that class ends up on the coasts anyways), but for the vast majority of people with real jobs and families, the opportunities and ways of life are better. You learn these things when you get older, your paycheck grows and responsibilities get a bit more "real".

The net migration is several million people the other way, but I am glad that people are still willing to keep the lights on in the Rust Belt - I would hate to see that part of our country struggle more than it should. Not everyone who lives in the cold should exclusively live in a city of East Coast significance.
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Old 06-21-2015, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
5,490 posts, read 9,411,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
As cities were becoming increasingly crowded, polluted, corrupt, prone to natural disasters, etc. in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, I can imagine folks from the countryside and smaller cities saying many of the same things. We like to romanticize the legacy cities today for their density and urban fabric, but the truth is that in many ways, they were a complete and absolute mess in their heydays in several ways. There's just a certain sort of ugly chaos that comes along with rampant growth in any era; it just looks different today than it did a century ago.
I don't agree. Overcrowding, pollution, and corruption weren't unique to what became known as rust-belt cities, at that time. So that would have been a country/small town vs. city comparison.

Our legacy cities weathered the ugly chaos from those boom years, and the resulting urban fabric matured into what we have today. fromsuntorust seems to be saying that, at least in Houston, continued growth isn't helping the existing urban fabric mature, but is--instead--pushing for the construction of new low-density urban fabric, allowing the older low-density urban fabric to decay.
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