Morning Ed: Cities {2018.04.26.Th}

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Ci1: The Gov/Military has used that site for years for multitude of reasons. I actually had a transportation management class once years ago where they used the satellite overlay as part of teaching infrastructure planning.
    Ci0: This is just awesome. The speed correction to make it more lifelike from the high frame rate is just amazing. There is so many possibilities here, @jaybird keeps talking about VR, imagine having a history class where they colorize, speed correct, and add ambient noise to films like this and a history student can “physically” be in the environment of 1911 NYC and even interact with it. All the historic events, even if just old newsreels, could be repurposed in an amazing, productive way.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    The NYT had an editorial on how cars are ruining cities in yesterday’s paper. A big part of the urban revival was that car culture is slowly loosing its mystic. Most Americans still drive everywhere but the numbers of people really into driving for its own sake are lower now than they were in the past. During the mid-20th century the car was positively worshiped in the United States.Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Ci6: I remember those complaints when Boeing moved to Chicago. Except Seattle is about as expensive, so the impact washed out.Report

    • @oscar-gordon I would actually appreciate your thoughts on the Boeing move, since in a lot of respects, such as you mention with expense, it really seemed like a lateral move in many ways. On the surface it isn’t like a California-to-Texas tax move or Northeast-to-Raleigh Tech move with obvious immediate benefits. It was something like 500 employees and the stated reason was centrally located, but sounded mostly like a preference and prestige move than a business one. I bring it up since there are parallels to that competition and the much larger, much drooled over Amazon HQ2 sage currently going on.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Ci8: Ygleasias has the better argument here unless there is a massive movement of jobs and money away from the big cities towards smaller cities everywhere. The argument for building housing in metropolitan areas and big cities is so you don’t have tens or hundreds of thousands of people doing mega-commutes to their jobs causing more sprawl and pollution. Despite low tax state promotion, the jobs seem to be staying where they are.

    I’m also not sure what Drum means by forcing cities to become bigger. Nobody is rounding up people and moving them to big cities against their will. People are going there on their own volition. Its about helping them get housing that doesn’t consume half their income in rent or mortgage payments.Report

  5. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    Ci2: The usual objection that suburbs have to being connected to mass transit is fear that this will make it easier for negroes to get there. The polite term for this is “urban problems.” I am willing to entertain the possibility that this guy has some other motivation, but absent his making his case, I assume the usual reasons apply here. The claim that King of Prussia has a “small town feel” to preserve is risible.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      The more openly racist anti-transit advocates called light rail “loot rail” during the early aughts. Arguing that any post-war suburb has a small town feel is risible. Genuine small towns had sidewalks and a main street. They were walkable. Most post war suburbs are not.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

        King of Prussia has a bunch of single-family residences with sidewalks. That is just suburban sprawl: not, to my mind, what gives a place a small-town feel. For that feel, you need a local central shopping district, even if it is just one street. King of Prussia has a huge mall and a casino. Small town these aren’t. There are suburbs that have this feel. They generally were independent towns of long standing, with suburban sprawl growing up around them. Conshohocken and Jenkintown are Philly suburbs that qualify.Report

      • Avatar fillyjonk in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Also small towns need to have most of what a person NEEDS in the way of supplies. Having to drive a half-hour or more to a grocery store is not sustainable.

        My town has sidewalks and all (and was originally a small town) but the coming of malls in a bigger city 1/2 hour away in the 1980s and more recently the arrival of wal-mart has all but killed off the local businesses.

        It sucks to have to rely on Amazon or periodic long trips for what I call “big shopping,” but that’s kind of become the reality of a lot of former small towns. I think, though, suburbs were always more or less designed that way, that you needed a car to survive. Which is a bad idea given the aging population: lose the ability to drive in somewhere without public transportation and you’re in huge trouble.Report

        • Avatar lyle in reply to fillyjonk says:

          Folk who live in smaller towns have had this problem for ages. It used to be they relied on Sears and Wards catalogs, Amazon is just the modern version of this. Or for shopping you need to go 60+ miles one way to a big city in my case. When my folks moved here in 1986 they tended to do this once a week or so. As a guy its fairly easy to buy clothes on line, so I don’t have to go to the big and tall store in the big city anyway. But for example go 60 miles west when the town gets down to 2600 or so in a county of 4600. You have to go to a bigger city to find even non emergency medical services.Report

  6. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    [Ci3] Chicago is not sprawling. Between 2010 and 2016, density increased 1.6%, more than any other metro other than Seattle. What’s happening is black and middle-class flight, coupled with in-migration of younger people near the Loop.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    In my head, whenever I see the word “sprawl”, I swap it out for “affordable housing” and see how any given housing argument changes tone without changing meaning.Report

  8. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    [Ci6]: “Umpleby and other executives want to live somewhere else.” That’s not exactly what CAT workers are saying. They are saying Umpleby’s wife wanted to live somewhere else. I sense a reticence to discuss a spouse in the newspaper, who is not a public figure in the way a CEO might be considered. But the rationalle given (Umpleby has lived and worked most of his life in a variety of large metros, foreign and domestic), would apply equally to his wife. More so, in the sense that a CAT CEO would continue to travel to all of those places most of the time, while she might be expected to spend more time in Peoria.

    (Umpleby became CEO on January 1, 2017, and later that month the move was announced)Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to PD Shaw says:

      That makes sense. As a younger man, it’s the sort of thing that would make me angry, since I come from a small place. “OH, SO WE’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU, ARE WE?” was pretty close to the surface for me.

      It kind of reeks of privilege still – I don’t like this town, so I’m moving the corporate HQ of a big operation somewhere else. But that’s not really my affair, he answers to the board of CAT, not me. If he wants to waste his time and money on that, so be it. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

      Hmm, I guess I’m still a bit grumpy.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        The biggest insult was that CAT had been buying up downtown property to build an expanded business headquarters; they were in the process of consolidating white collar jobs around the country. They were expanding, not contracting. But the only thing that ever got built on the campus was a museum/visitor’s center. And when CAT evicted the tenants, those properties quickly went downhill.

        The notion of personal choice motivating the decision reeks of a bit of impermanence. (The ConAg executive moved Corporate HQ from Omaha to Chicago because he was living in the Chicago suburbs at the time)Report

  9. Avatar fillyjonk says:

    Ci6: My sister-in-law’s brother works for Cat and lives in Washington, Illinois. Not sure how this will affect him or his family but if it’s really a case of “the executives want to live somewhere more ‘vibrant’,” shame on them. (And double shame if it’s because of an executive’s SPOUSE.)

    I’m guessing most CAT rank and file will not be able to afford pleasant places to live (or large enough for their families) in the Chicago region, not without accepting a massive commute. So the executives get what they want and everyone else pays for it. Seems typical.

    Ci7: I would like to see Akron prosper. I grew up not too far from there. There’s some potentially interesting stuff in the area (the remnants of an old canal, a good Metroparks system, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park). Akron itself I remember as an interesting blend of upscale and old-skool Rust Belt type stuff….a lot of first and second gen immigrants who were still close to their traditions. I remember getting gyros at the Greek Orthodox church near the University of Akron campus when they did gyros lunches…There were a lot of good things about Akron even as there were a lot of not-good things.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to fillyjonk says:

      One of my CAT sources lives in Washington. I give the CEO spouse rumor credence because I’ve heard it from different sources, though there is always the possibility

      I don’t know that the spousal angle that shameful. I think its just a function of the reality of marriages these days. I don’t know if the spouse here has her own career ambitions, or desire to be involved in high-level philanthropy or just wants to enjoy what they’ve earned over a lifetime.

      I don’t know that it will impact many people that don’t work on the top floor; we’re talking about a pretty rarefied air. And since downtown Peoria is about two hours from upscale Chicago suburbs, some people may not be moving at all.Report

      • Avatar fillyjonk in reply to PD Shaw says:

        Yeah, I may have been letting some of my own work-related bitterness out there. And I didn’t think about the spousal work, I was thinking mainly of the person I used to know who left here because their spouse “couldn’t stand” the town – not because of work, not because of how they were treated, but because it was “too small.”

        And also, seeing State Farm move out of Bloomington (my parents live in Normal) and some of the apprehension about the hole that’s going to leave in the downtown. (I’m not sure how much of State Farm is leaving but I know one of the local-to-there newspaper columnists was making jokes about how their motto had changed from “Like a Good Neighbor” at an ironic time)Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to fillyjonk says:

          People can be jerks about things like this. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t be surprised that the spousal angle doesn’t get covered; it smacks a lot of the genre of man-does-something-woman-to-blame.

          Bottom line, I think the move was for personal reasons, the rest is just obfuscation. The small number of jobs involved are for people who take the corporate jet and for positions that are not entry-level anyway except for clerical. It’s more that place isn’t that important for some work, and therefore the job can be anywhere.Report

  10. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Ci2:
    There is an axiom, that “Form Follows Finance” in that the financial and economic forces shape our buildings and cities more than our preferences.
    In much of the writing about cities and suburbs, there is this overlay of politics, where cities usually stand for multiculturalism and liberalism and suburbs stand for whiteness and conservatism.

    When I read stuff by Joel Kotkin or Garreau, I get a whiff of this, that people buy houses in the suburbs as a result of their desire for individual liberty.

    But what isn’t remarked on is how the changing economic picture over the past decades has influenced how and where people live.
    Millennial for example are not buying houses, not out of some political preference, but because their wages are lower then their parent’s at a similar age, compared to house prices.

    Suburban sprawl is dying out as a real estate development model because there are no new freeways to open up virgin land for development. Freeways are not possible in an era where our tax dollars go to endless warmaking and caring for a geriatric Baby Boom, and probably wouldn’t be possible in any event since they strangle themselves on their own success.

    Ci0: This is an awesome collection of fashion tips.Report

  11. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Ci0 – Note at 2:00 ‘walk into the street head buried into reading something in your hand’ was around before Steve Jobs *parents* were born.Report

  12. Reurbanization, dying suburbs, and the end of sprawl has been the story for much of the decade, but are there any statistics to back it up? Seems like most of the growth is still in the outer suburbs and exurbs. The closest thing I’ve found (apart from narrative stories) saying otherwise is that the growth rate is faster in cores than in the suburbs, but given the lower base point that’s like talking about Idaho growing faster than California. Not wrong, exactly, but only useful in a narrow context.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Will Truman says:

      I think that around 2008, there was a trend reversal in which people moved into urban areas due to job loss / economic insecurity from the Great Recession. And then the trend towards the suburbs resumed. If that is an accurate framework, then statistical endpoints deserve close scrutiny.

      Seattle Climbs but Austin Sprawls: The Myth of the Return to Cities

      (Also, I found some of the articles relating to Chicago confusing, because sometimes I think they are talking about the MSA and sometimes the City)Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Will Truman says:

      Part of the confusion is the how we sort out the data points.

      We casually sort by age cohort, as if all Boomers and all Millennials have similar preferences, but the difference within cohorts are probably more important.

      In this article, the preference of young people for single family homes is noted as a “dwindling privilege” which is increasingly unattainable.

      But urban living itself is also unattainable for many young people, so they increasingly find housing wherever they can, in infill neighborhoods and older distressed areas.

      We also sort things between “suburban” and “urban” which equates suburbs with single family homes, when in fact the traditional suburbs are growing increasingly dense, with fewer single family home developments and more midrise apartments and condominiums.Report

      • We also sort things between “suburban” and “urban” which equates suburbs with single family homes, when in fact the traditional suburbs are growing increasingly dense, with fewer single family home developments and more midrise apartments and condominiums.

        One of the numeric rules of thumb I see regularly for dividing urban from suburban is 2,000 households per square mile. I live in a zip code area in a Denver suburb that is easily on the “urban” side of that line — some largish parks and greenbelts for flood plains notwithstanding. The zip code area continues to “densify”. Based on a variety of data that the Census Bureau has only made available in the last several years, I believe that this is typical of the West. If the number dividing urban and suburban had been decided based on California and western metro areas that mimic California, it would be significantly higher. Perhaps high enough that many Midwest and Southern “urban” areas wouldn’t make the cut.Report

  13. The American Conservative ran a piece this week describing various sorts of “suburbia”. I was annoyed that their example of sprawling exurbs was… Bozeman, Montana. Montana is one of the most rural states in the country, and the most rural in the West by a significant margin (measured by percent of population living in rural areas, as defined by the Census Bureau, 2010 numbers). Bozeman is a rarity for the West, a city of approx 50,000 people that’s not part of a much larger metro area (the kind of city much loved by Richard Florida these days). In short, not typical in any fashion. Based on anecdata from my friends, I’d have gone with Atlanta or Austin for the example.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Michael Cain says:

      @michael-cain Bozeman???!?!?!?!??! Whatta bozo that author must be 😀 😀Report

    • Bozeman is not that atypical for the area. After Billings, you have a bunch of similarly sized cities in Montana: Bozeman, Great Falls, Helena, Missoula, and Kalispel (Butte is always the “and a half”). Then over in Idaho you have Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Twin Falls, Couer d’Alene, and sort of Lewiston/Clarkston and maybe sort-of Pullman-Moscow, and then Casper and Cheyenne. As we look for opportunities out west, that size actually has its own profile.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

        C d’A is essentially a suburb of Spokane. Spokane is a nice small city on its own.

        Some of the cities you listed are college towns. I’m not sure there would much in any of them without the Uni. That’s not bad, in fact it’s good in a lot of ways.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

          You’re right about CdA. Yeah, universities seem to play a role: Bozeman, Missoula, Pocatello, and the Pullman/Moscow. L/C has a school but it’s not really an anchor. Helena and Cheyenne are capitals. Idaho Falls has INL though it’s not really built around that.

          Anyway, when I see article after article about how small cities everywhere are failing, I get annoyed that they don’t mention that it’s regional with an East-West divide.Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

            Yeah people picture rust belt or other failing post industrial cities mostly when they think about small cities. Size, as a measure of the role or reach of a city, doesn’t apply in much of the West. The cities you listed, or a place like Anchorage, are bigger than their population as transit centers and hubs for large areas.Report

  14. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Speaking of urban growth

    Seattle can’t add buses fast enough to meet rider demand, despite a big pot of cash to play with. I found this very relevant to me, since I like to take the bus to work when I can. In the mornings, I have three direct routes to choose from, and three more almost direct routes, each one running every 30 minutes. In the evenings, of the three direct routes, I get one, and that one direct is once per hour and is a very crammed standing room only. I actually emailed King County Metro because one of the other direct routes still runs in the evening, but bypasses my stop when it’s going east. Of the indirect routes, only two stop at my stop going east, both run every 45 minutes, and one of them takes some crazy long scenic route on the way back (that it doesn’t take in the morning).

    In short, getting to work is a dream, going home is a huge PITA. Now at least I have some clue as to possibly why.Report

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