Thursday, July 21, 2011

Like their parents, young people will leave cities

America’s Young Will Abandon Cities For Suburbs       
For well over a decade urban boosters have heralded the shift among young Americans from suburban living and toward dense cities. As one Wall Street Journal report suggests, young people will abandon their parents’ McMansions for urban settings, bringing about the high-density city revival so fervently prayed for by urban developers, architects and planners.

Some demographers claim that “white flight” from the city is declining, replaced by a “bright flight” to the urban core from the suburbs. “Suburbs lose young whites to cities,” crowed one Associated Press headline last year.

Yet evidence from the last Census show the opposite: a marked acceleration of movement not into cities but toward suburban and exurban locations. The simple, usually inexorable effects of maturation may be one reason for this surprising result. Simply put, when 20-somethings get older, they do things like marry, start businesses, settle down and maybe start having kids...

The rest of the article at New Geography



At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then I guess you just need to wait and the world return to American nirvana.

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

when 20-somethings get older, they do things like marry, start businesses...

Because of course there are no businesses in cities. Good! Then we won't have to worry about providing parking for them!

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

And they have children, which you left out. If they have money, they will inevitably have a conversation about a house in the suburbs where Johnny and Debby can have their own bedrooms, a backyard, a dog, a neighborood where they can ride their bikes, where the school system won't make you jump through any hoops, etc.

Yes, I take the point about how you bike people have contempt for those uncool people who own small businesses in the city.

At 12:41 AM, Anonymous Your Neighbor said...

That's rich. I run just such a small business with 8 employees, which brings well over a million dollars in revenue into our city every year. I've kept at least $30,000 of my own money in the local economy since I sold my car 3 years ago. I take up less public space with my bike and use a car share when I need to make the rare driving trip. And I'm healthier and happier as a result, which is helping keep my fellow healthcare recipients' premiums lower.

Joel Kotkin is a shameless suburban apologist hack. Of course suburban populations grew between 2000 and 2010, the exact period during which suburban development bubble inflated then subsequently popped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. You have to be a real asshole to celebrate the pain inflicted on families who thought they were living the American dream, only to find their house—figuratively or quite literally, in the case of shoddy construction that crumbled under the force of hurricanes, for instance—underwater just a couple of years later. In fact, Brookings has illustrated quite clearly that suburbs are already on a downward trend, while metro areas are proving more resilient to unemployment and mortgage defaults.

There is nothing to celebrate about bright flight. Creativity and innovation thrive in America's cities, and this country needs the help of the creative class more than ever to dig itself out of the pit your generation dug us into.

What are you doing to make this city better, Rob? You know, besides sucking the government teat and insulting people on the internet?

At 9:17 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You congratulate yourself for riding a bike, giving up your car, and taking up "less public space." Good for you. Your Scoutmaster, your pastor, and I also congratulate you.

You mention the "creative class" theory, another bit of self-congratulation on your part. Of course you are part of that class, with your bike and your half-assed intellectual theories that flatter your self-image. The Brookings study you link only "clearly" shows that unemployment has hit cities and suburbs more or less equally: "Because of the pace of rising unemployment in the suburbs, by December 2010,
suburban unemployment trailed city unemployment by less than one percentage point (9.8 percent in cities and 8.9 percent in suburbs)–a much narrower margin than seen in previous recessions." So what?

I too take up little space, since I haven't owned a car in more than 20 years and walk and take Muni to get around. Again, so what? All that shows is that the city suits me at this stage of my life. I started working full-time before I was 18 and retired on Social Security a few years ago. Is Social Security "sucking the government teat"? You and some members of the Tea Party may think so. (Many other Tea Party folks are collecting Social Security while denouncing Big Government and Socialism.)

The bubble popped everywhere---even in San Francisco---not just in the suburbs. "Shoddy construction" had little to do with causing the recession and the real estate bubble, by the way. You must be a constractor to even mention that non-issue. To a hammer the whole world looks like a nail. But, like your bike nut comrades, it's all about you and your bikes, which supposedly demonstrate your moral superiority to the rest of us.

"What are you doing to make this city better, Rob? You know, besides sucking the government teat and insulting people on the internet?"

Whether it makes the city "better" or not, I'm one of the few critics smug assholes like you have in SF, and even that makes you folks mad.

Yes, I insult people sometimes on my blog, but I don't do it anonymously.

The reality is that the latest Census numbers don't show that people are abandoning the the suburbs in keeping with your half-baked Smart Growth, New Urbanism bullshit.

Be sure to keep in touch when you move your family to the suburbs in a few years.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Your Neighbor" submits this comment:

I see you take issue more with my "smugness" than the real point of my post, which is that aspiring young people and small business owners should share some of the responsibility for our society's future. Your generation has, for the most part, clearly given up, now insisting that everything will be fine if we continue on the reckless path of suburbanization—or better yet, fighting anything vaguely associated with "urbanism" or "smart growth". Your obsession with critiquing others' "smugness" makes you incapable of examining any of these issues intelligently. You're just so damned angry that anyone would upset your precious status quo that you can't help but insult them constantly and indiscriminately.

Fuck you if you think it's "smug" to know that you're doing your community a favor by not driving. You're self-congratulatory about being the sole critic of "bike people"; is that supposed to be better somehow? And then you trot out some lame comparison to the Tea Party because I criticize your for sitting around on your lazy ass writing screed on your blog all day rather than really doing anything to help your community? You act like you're so concerned for people's wellbeing—all those poor drivers and MUNI riders with no voice, drowned out by the powerful bike lobby!—but you're not doing anything. Have you joined the SF Transit Riders Union? Or are you too jaded to share a cause with "bike people"? No, you're just whining on the internet like all those Social Security-draining Tea Party "activists" of your generation who claim that they want government out of their lives. You've got much more in common with them than you think, and you're part of a minority in this city (and America generally) that's shrinking more and more every day as your generation's relevance fades. Whether you agree with us or not, we're making things better for ourselves and our children, and it's a shame that you feel the need to fight us at every turn.

My point about shoddy construction, by the way, was that our country's mad rush to the suburbs landed many people in houses that should've protected them from destructive weather. And if you can't make the link between people rushing to cheap homes in Florida and people fleeing the city for the creature comforts of a house in Contra Costa county you're beyond hope. Suburban communities not only require more resources, but they're more susceptible to gasoline price shocks and housing market fluctuations. The American dream of owning a house with a lawn and a two-car garage is completely unsustainable, especially in a world in which we have to compete for resources with a growing middle class in China, India and Brazil. The "creative class" of my generation that you loathe so much is very aware of these problems, and we're doing what we can to protect ourselves and future generations from an uncertain century. I know you don't really care about any of that because you won't be around to experience it, but being so contemptuous toward people who only with to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from the such hazards helps nobody.

So please fuck off. Thanks!

At 3:55 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Another fact-free comment from Mr. Anonymous, who claims to represent the young generation. A Big Thinker supposedly making the world a better place, who's too chickenshit to put his name on your windbag comment. At least you spared us the link to fraudulent evidence for your bullshit.

The point of Kotkin's piece is that the Census numbers don't back up the notion that the suburbs are dying. That's not surprising, since, like Peak Oil, it's always been nothing but wishful thinking by you and your intellectually challenged comrades.

Actually, I'm not angry at all. Funny how you and other commenters keep projecting your own emotions.

Yes, I do happen to be one of the few critics you crackpots have here in Progressive Land. As I've said before, I don't find you folks very interesting; I just got the task by default, since the local media, with a few exceptions, is too lame to challenge your goofball doctrine.

You would do your "community" a bigger favor by doing a little actual thinking for a change.

"Transit Riders Union," another Bicycle Coalition front group, like Fix Masonic designed to pretend that you bike Nazis give a shit about Muni. If I ever found myself in the same "cause" as you twits, I'd know I was on the wrong track.

How exactly do you think you're making the world a better place for anyone except yourself? Big Thinkers like you must also have Big Delusions, too, I suppose.

At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Your Neighbor said...

I don't know where you get off saying that I think I "represent the young generation"—I am the young generation. And that's hilarious coming from somebody who made himself a phony "coalition" called Ninety Nine Percent, suggesting that you represented 800,000 people who don't want bike lanes in their city. How's that appeal coming along, by the way?

And "projection", seriously? This from a guy who projects everything he hates onto anyone who disagrees with him about anything. You don't know what I think about taxes, "peak oil", pension reform, MUNI, the Central Subway, urban development, or HSR. You can call me a "bike person" all you want, but don't even try to pretend that you know how I feel about anything else.

And by the way, you forgot to copy the links in my post. The one about hurricanes destroying shoddily constructed houses in Florida is worth a look. And then there's some old NPR piece on the environmental cost of suburbs, which you'll no doubt enjoy because you love reading things you don't agree with.

It's hard to imagine that the suburbs are doing very well when there are now more suburban residents in poverty than in cities and their numbers trending upward more steeply. Kotkin fails to mention that Las Vegas, the city that ranks first in his fastest growing areas chart is also the one with the highest mortgage default rate in the country. You seem to have misinterpreted me, because I don't dispute the Census figures he cites; I just think it's a troubling trend. Kotkin and his buddies like Wendell Cox thumb their noses at "hip and cool" cities like San Francisco because that's what their capitalist think tanks pay them to do. Yeah, lots of people moved to the suburbs, because it became artificially feasible for them to do so, thanks to over-subsidized gas prices, shady or downright fraudulent mortgages, and poorly constructed homes. Now they're in debt, out of work, depressed, unstimulated by culture, and without public transportation in most of their communities—and I'm picking up the tab for their excesses with my tax dollars. How am I supposed to feel good about that?

I don't relish the decline of the suburbs because I care deeply about those people. I mostly feel sorry for them. But I don't feel sorry for people like you, who spend entirely too much time just whining about how self-righteous everyone else is. I just regret the societal, technological, and political circumstances that lead to people like you getting so jaded that they become incapable of interacting with anyone who holds different views.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

This is nothing but know-it-all bullshit. You embody the "young generation," kind of like Christ was an embodiment of God? When I was a young punk like you, there was a slogan---by Abbie Hoffman, I think: "Never trust anyone over 30." Funny how that perspective changed when my generation approached 30.

I've never claimed to represent 99% of San Franciscans, but I bet my ideas are a lot closer to those of a majority than your elitism. If the Bicycle Plan had ever been on the ballot, you callow, arrogant jerks and your goofy cause would have been buried.

You seem to think that the suburbs came into being in the last ten years as the real estate bubble was inflating. Of course they've been around since right after World War II. The United States consists of cities, suburbs, and rural areas. I've lived in all three over the years and was pleased to do so. The notion that they are in some state of total collapse is ridiculous.

Since I think you're full of shit, I must hate "anyone who disagrees with him about anything." This isn't based on anything I've ever written on this blog, but then reading my blog with any care is obviously too painful for you.

I don't really care what you "feel" about anything, since you're obviously incapable of a serious exchange. I bet no one ever told you that you were full of shit before.

Of course mass default on mortgages is "a troubling trend." Who doesn't think so? The housing bubble was created by Wall Street speculators and banks and naturally hit the cities that were most involved in the bubble. So what?

"Subsidized gas prices"? Bullshit.

You're "picking up the tab"? You narcissistic asshole! It's all about you and your taxes? You're not only a know-it-all, you're also a crybaby. Boo Fucking Hoo! Take your chickenshit business to Arizona or Nevada, where the taxes are low.

"But I don't feel sorry for people like you, who spend entirely too much time just whining about how self-righteous everyone else is."

No need to feel sorry for me. I'm doing fine, thank you. You're the one who seems to have a self-pity problem. Poor baby, has to pay his taxes!

If you knew anything about this blog, you would know that I write about mostly local issues, not just the bike bullshit, but planning issues, like the Market/Octavia Plan, UC's ripoff of the old Extension property, the Central Subway boondoggle, the high-speed rail boondoggle, Parkmerced, etc.

Of course these local issues are of little concern to a Big Thinker like you, who naturally is concerned about national issues, like the plight of the suburbs.

If you own property, a lot of your taxes are going into Muni, the Central Subway and the grandiose new terminal that our "progressive" leaders in City Hall are sqandering money on. In fact, a lot of that money is sales tax money from Proposition K, which is supposed to go toward, among other things, maintaining city streets. Yet City Hall is putting a $250 million bond on the November ballot just to pave our streets!

As the taxes city residents go down the progressive drain on dumb projects---that is, the money left over after after the unions loot the city's treasury---you sit around and worry about the Fate of the Suburbs!


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