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Old 03-29-2012, 10:59 AM
 
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There are many rust belt cities in America that have a lot of vacant housing. Like Detriot, Cleveland, St. Louis, and the southside of Chicago. Many times these vacant neighborhoods also are places where many people associate with crime. Not only rustbelt, but many other cities like New Orleans have lots of abandoned neighborhoods as well as cities across the nation.

I think if America wants to do good and help stop sprawl, they need to help incentivize people from the suburbs to move to these urban neighborhood areas first before helping to fund sprawling developments. I know in Detriot, there are a ton of areas that are abandoned and those homes could use fixing up so these old mansions will house people again rather than sit vacant. I also don't support wholesale demolishment of entire neighborhoods that are old because they've been abandoned and do not want a Robert Moses style destruction. It is better to save these homes than to demolish them but America obsesses over new too much. If something is old, like Robert Moses many want them demolished rather than inhabited because too many people see it as blight rather than actual neighborhoods that have culture and soul.

How can the government help to make these old abandoned communities in many major and minor cities in America livable and make them desirable for our now suburban families to live in? I think as the children of current kids in suburban neighborhods grow to become parents themselves, I think they should feel they want to live in these denser communities which now sit abandoned and thought of as dangerous, crime filled communities. That may involve gentrification, but gentrification has bad issues if they're currently displacing poor people who inhabit and area. If the area is mostly abandoned like the neighborhoods of Detriot are? They need to make people move into them again because no one or few are living there.

If we do manage to make many people move into these abandoned downtowns and urban neighborhoods, how much do you think that would stop sprawl? As more people move into urban neighborhoods, we can... at least for a time curb sprawl because fewer people will move into the suburban fringe.

The problem with many cities is that while the cores of cities are gaining population, such as the CBD and all the touristy areas, the place in between the post-WWII autocentric suburbs and the core of the city is losing population. That middle area, comprised of "streetcar suburbs" or otherwise dense neighborhoods that aren't downtown, are the area that are abandoned and sometimes are thought to be crime-prone areas and are falling apart. Those are the areas that organizations, governments, and people need to help boost up by making them livable and desirable rather than just into downtown's core or autocentric suburbs. Don't forget "small" cities too like Gary, Indiana, Rockford, IL, or Kenosha, WI or Buffalo, NY, places which have some sense of pre-war mixed use scale that are small downtowns. Many too need to be filled up but many have become parking lot bombed as the redevelopment era destroyed them and have become abandoned as people fleed to the suburbs. Big cities like NYC that are so desirable only have so much space but as people want more urban living they shouldn't be expected to get into NYC, nor should NYC's government expect to provide for the demand for all of them at the expense of their own city. That is why it needs to be more evenly distributed by helping prop up urban neighborhoods across the country instead of focusing on development on core downtowns and suburban fringes.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:13 PM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKFire108 View Post
There are many rust belt cities in America that have a lot of vacant housing. Like Detriot, Cleveland, St. Louis, and the southside of Chicago. Many times these vacant neighborhoods also are places where many people associate with crime. Not only rustbelt, but many other cities like New Orleans have lots of abandoned neighborhoods as well as cities across the nation.
You're referring to urban "gray" areas. What you're talking about isn't new at all. As cities expand outward, their built environment changes. The areas you're referring to are largely the suburbs of a generation ago. As the city expands, people who live in those "suburbs" move outward to newer suburbs trying to maintain the suburban lifestyle. Those old suburbs become the newest parts of the city. During the transition period, they're fringe urban areas... not appealing to suburbanites (to urban) and not appealing to the people who prefer the urban core (still thought of as not central enough). In time, the urbanites will occupy those areas and they will see a bit of gentrification.

The most abandonment happens in cities that are economically struggling. That's the root of 99% of abandonment in most of these neighborhoods. Fix that problem and you'll have your solution.

Quote:
I think if America wants to do good and help stop sprawl, they need to help incentivize people from the suburbs to move to these urban neighborhood areas first before helping to fund sprawling developments. I know in Detriot, there are a ton of areas that are abandoned and those homes could use fixing up so these old mansions will house people again rather than sit vacant. I also don't support wholesale demolishment of entire neighborhoods that are old because they've been abandoned and do not want a Robert Moses style destruction. It is better to save these homes than to demolish them but America obsesses over new too much. If something is old, like Robert Moses many want them demolished rather than inhabited because too many people see it as blight rather than actual neighborhoods that have culture and soul.
Economics and preference will be what saves neighborhoods such as these. As these cities continue to grow (both physically and economically), these "gray" areas will become more and more in demand. The reason why is people (namely, the middle class) will begin to be priced out of the core of the city. They will then begin to look for places close to the core that are more affordable. That's how neighborhoods like these will rebound. This type of growth and revitalization has taken place in cities for generations. While the effort to preserve neighborhoods is admirable, it's going to be job creation in the city and economic growth which helps instill life into these neighborhoods again.

Quote:
How can the government help to make these old abandoned communities in many major and minor cities in America livable and make them desirable for our now suburban families to live in? I think as the children of current kids in suburban neighborhods grow to become parents themselves, I think they should feel they want to live in these denser communities which now sit abandoned and thought of as dangerous, crime filled communities. That may involve gentrification, but gentrification has bad issues if they're currently displacing poor people who inhabit and area. If the area is mostly abandoned like the neighborhoods of Detriot are? They need to make people move into them again because no one or few are living there.
I hate the notion of trying to "force" anyone to do anything. The goal shouldn't be to force anyone to move to the city. It should be to help those who WANT to live in the city do so. Again, economics is going to play the biggest role. If you want people to move into Detroit's streetcar suburbs again, Detroit is going to need jobs for those people.

However, one of the things the government can do is improve regional and local public transportation and encourage urban development immediately surrounding transportation hubs.

Most people want, above all else, to have a good quality of life. Money plays a big role in that. Most people get a bigger bang for their buck outside of the major urban areas. If you think of the best "urban" living situations, cities like New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Boston (and others, of course) come to mind. One thing those places all have in common is that it's super expensive to live there. In order for the average person to live in one of those cities, it means giving a lot up.

Right now, most suburban families MUST own 2 (or more) cars in order to commute. This is absurd. Improving mass transit to/from the core of our cities to these fringe areas (your "abandoned" neighborhoods) and our distant suburbs and encouraging urban development around the transit hubs will making getting to the cores of our cities easier for everyone.

Improving access to the city centers and increasing urban growth in pockets of the suburbs allows more people to have the option (and I must emphasize the word option) to live comfortably in thriving urban areas. This will help those older neighborhoods (which will need an economic boost at the core of the city, anyway) as well as concentrate suburban growth.

Quote:
If we do manage to make many people move into these abandoned downtowns and urban neighborhoods, how much do you think that would stop sprawl? As more people move into urban neighborhoods, we can... at least for a time curb sprawl because fewer people will move into the suburban fringe.
We will NEVER stop suburban sprawl. It's a waste to even try. What we can do is help suburbs grow "smarter" by adding new transit options (rail AND highway as opposed to just highway) and encouraging urban growth around the transit hubs.

There will always be people who prefer cars for every family member and a house on the end of a cul-de-sac. There really isn't anything wrong with that and I don't plan on trying to stop them. However, if we make urban living and access to the urban core of a metro more accessible, you'll be amazed at how many people choose to live in a more urban environment which would keep sprawl from getting out of control. We need to give people the options... not try to force anything.
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Old 03-29-2012, 12:44 PM
 
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I do not favor government forcing anyone to move where they do not want to.We have had Urban renewal and frankly its been pretty much a failure.Perhaps in time when those urban areas are totally failed and torn down people will actually move back.The people will decide that individually.I view this the same as I do the small towns that disappeaedr when people moved to cities for employment long ago. Its just the reverse. Many smaller owns in fact are coming back after decades and Little help such as urban renewal.I view it has nature taking its course;human in this case.

Last edited by texdav; 03-29-2012 at 12:53 PM..
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:14 PM
 
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That is very good. I didn't say I want the government to force people to move into urban gray areas, but I did want governments, organizations, businesses and people to work together to make these urban gray areas more livable and desirable so that people can choose to move there. You make good points about jobs being a big factor as well as transportation.

I would think a good idea is that if there are places in the urban fringe that are bombed out parking lots, some rather mixed use urban areas can be built there to provide jobs right next to these urban areas.

Would you consider demolishing a Wal-Mart or other big international chain store located in an urban gray area/urban fringe and building these mixed use mini-urban areas, along with putting some form of mass transit there as the government having too much power and "forcing" people to change their lifestyle? There is a big difference between "forcing" someone to change where they live and changing the landscape of commercial areas where they shop and work. When people talking about suburbs, they typically mean houses where people live but not stores and such. Using these big parking lots can provide jobs to revitalize these urban gray areas that former street car suburbs as well as small cities to provide more jobs and urban-like walkable shopping areas. I think the key to densifying and providing urban nodes with mass transit to the central city would be to change the commercial areas since I think people would be much more ok with those being changed rather than their homes. In a big commercial parking lot strip mall that would be infilled to become a mixed use development, all the small shops could move into the new building built upon the parking lot as their old building is demolished to make way for walkable mini-urban nodes similar to Masdar City thereby minimizing lost business and keeping current commercial tenants employed.

EDIT: Oh and when I asked how much would infilling those urban fringe areas that are usually streetcar suburbs as well as small cities, how much would it stop sprawl meaning how much do you think it would stop sprawl not by forcing anyone to do anything but absorb the amount of people moving in. Instead of 100,000 people moving to an autocentric suburb as they grow up and raise families, having those 100,000 move to those urban neighborhoods instead by free choice that are between urban cores and autocentric suburbs would help to stop sprawl. Not the government mandating that they do by law, but rather governments, companies and organizations working together to create jobs and safe neighborhoods in those areas influence those 100,000 newly wed families with young children to move to urban neighborhoods over the exurbs.

Last edited by JKFire108; 03-29-2012 at 03:34 PM..
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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I agree that jobs are important part of rejuvenating rust-belt cities. But, creating jobs isn't as simple as waving a magic wand. If it were, we wouldn't have such high unemployment. Also, though, when jobs are created, how can the creators of those jobs be persuaded to do so in the areas that need them, and not out in sprawlsville?
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKFire108 View Post
I think if America wants to do good and help stop sprawl, they need to help incentivize people from the suburbs to move to these urban neighborhood areas first before helping to fund sprawling developments.
Nobody wants to live there. You literally couldn't pay people enough to live there.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:38 PM
 
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Currently, the government incentivizes sprawl--through federal highway programs, through zoning regulations, and through oil subsidies that keep our gas cheap. If folks don't have the easy government-subsidized escape valve of the suburbs, suddenly we have to start fixing the problems of cities instead of just running away from them. Few cities have insurmountable problems--people just don't bother because it was just easier to move, and the government encouraged it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
I agree that jobs are important part of rejuvenating rust-belt cities. But, creating jobs isn't as simple as waving a magic wand. If it were, we wouldn't have such high unemployment. Also, though, when jobs are created, how can the creators of those jobs be persuaded to do so in the areas that need them, and not out in sprawlsville?
How about, instead of spending lots of money paying people to build outward via highways, we spend the same money paying people to fix up old buildings and rebuild old neighborhoods? It is less resource-intensive and more labor-intensive than new construction, which means it makes more jobs and consumes fewer resources, and we make our cities more beautiful and livable too! As to the employers, they only moved to sprawlsville because the workers moved there first. If they have a reason for those locations (access to resources, etc) they will create their own necessary economies and become their own cities--but otherwise, business will follow the money, which follows the people. All the government has to do is leave the trail of breadcrumbs for capital to follow.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:58 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Some thoughts:

1) It's not just job declines; most rust belt metro areas have experienced overall population stagnation or a slight increase, not decline. Rather than an expanding distant suburbs and declining cities, rust belt cities could have had stagnant metros with little growth in any part except renovation.
2) Most rust belt cities have large sections of single family homes. There wasn't much of a need to escape the city for space and a lawn as is true for many east coast cities.
3) Even if the center city declines, that doesn't mean the downtown had to be dead. Liverpool, UK has experienced as steep of a decline as any American rust belt city, but its center is still a main destination for the metro area and relatively vibrant.
4) Bring the shops! As someone from the NYC metro area, it's strange to hear people in city centers leave to go to the suburbs for shopping rather than the reverse. I used to travel to the city from the suburb for better selection. Same is usually true in Europe. Having the center city as a shopping destination might have helped prevent the decline, though it's probably a sympton rather than a cause.
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:05 PM
 
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Having the center city as a shopping destination doesn't work if there is better and closer shopping in the suburbs, and the center city doesn't have the population to support its own shopping district. In a car-centric region, downtown shopping districts are at a real disadvantage to suburban malls. The parking isn't abundant and free, and generally they are farther away from suburban residents than suburban malls, while often offering the same goods. A lot of cities (including mine) tried to stop the abrupt decline of downtown business in the 1950s/60s, after the escape to the suburbs and the end of the streetcar system, by building downtown "pedestrian malls" that tried to simulate a suburban mall downtown. They were generally abysmal failures, for the reasons mentioned above.
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Nobody wants to live there. You literally couldn't pay people enough to live there.
Thanks for your "contribution." As a resident of the rust belt, I'm a little curious about why you think this is true. And, if those problems were solved, (which seems to be what this thread is about) why it would still be true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Some thoughts:

1) It's not just job declines; most rust belt metro areas have experienced overall population stagnation or a slight increase, not decline. Rather than an expanding distant suburbs and declining cities, rust belt cities could have had stagnant metros with little growth in any part except renovation.
This is why I dislike suburbs so much. In a metro with stagnant or declining population, their prosperity and growth comes at the expense of the core city. It's a downward spiral. It's also why I think regionalism is a good idea. Instead of many small municipalities looking out for their own best interests, at the expense of the whole, there would be a single regional government that does what's best for the region.

Quote:
2) Most rust belt cities have large sections of single family homes. There wasn't much of a need to escape the city for space and a lawn as is true for many east coast cities.
That's certainly true of Youngstown. Within the city, the densest neighborhoods are still SFHs and duplexes, with the occasional apartment building mixed in. In other, newer parts of the city, there are neighborhoods that are very suburban. (1/4 acre lots with ranch houses)

Quote:
3) Even if the center city declines, that doesn't mean the downtown had to be dead. Liverpool, UK has experienced as steep of a decline as any American rust belt city, but its center is still a main destination for the metro area and relatively vibrant.
I think most downtowns in rust belt cities have seen a resurgence.

Quote:
4) Bring the shops! As someone from the NYC metro area, it's strange to hear people in city centers leave to go to the suburbs for shopping rather than the reverse. I used to travel to the city from the suburb for better selection. Same is usually true in Europe. Having the center city as a shopping destination might have helped prevent the decline, though it's probably a sympton rather than a cause.
Again, and as wburg also mentioned, the success of shopping strips in the suburbs drained the money and vitality from the downtowns.

I've shared this location before. But, this is where the bulk of the old, vibrant downtown Youngstown went:
Boardman, OH - Google Maps

Life is returning to downtown Youngstown, but it's an uphill battle. There are still many people around here who say: "why would you locate a business downtown, when you could be in Boardman?" And, these same people say: "why would you buy one of those rundown old houses in the city, (or, an apartment downtown) when you could have a newer house with a bigger yard in the suburbs?"
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