September 27, 2010

Social Engineering is Forcing People into Cities Because It is Easier to Track and Control an Urban Population

The U.S. Bureau of Census reports that 77 percent of all American citizens are jammed into 3 percent of the land called urban areas. Nearly 94 percent of the U.S. is still classified as undeveloped rural areas. - Range Magazine, Fall 2005

Social Engineering Bill in Senate Will Force You into City

By Bob Livingston, Personal Liberty Digest
September 10, 2010

A social engineering bill to restrict residence in the suburbs and rural areas and force Americans into city centers has passed the United States Senate Banking Committee and is on the fast track to passage in the Senate.

The bill is called the Livable Communities Act (SB 1619) and it was introduced by corruptocrat outgoing Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.). It seeks to fulfill the United Nation’s plan Agenda 21, adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and signed onto by “New World Order” President George H.W. Bush.

This bill is designed to destroy your community. According to the non-profit American Policy Center the bill:

* Is a blueprint for the transformation of our society into total Federal control.
* Will enforce Federal Sustainable Development zoning and control of local communities.
* Will create a massive new “development” bureaucracy.
* Will drive up the cost of energy to heat and cool your home.
* Will drive up the cost of gasoline as a way to get you out of your car.
* Will force you to spend thousands of dollars on your home in order to comply.

A carrot and stick policy will be used to get your local government to sign on:
  • The carrot is billions of dollars in grants available if your local government agrees to amend zoning laws that restrict housing in outlying areas, forcing people to give up their homes and land and move into the city center.

  • The stick will be denial of the funds and bad publicity generated by “Green” organizations criticizing government officials for turning down free money.
The rub is the grants will come with strings attached that force local governments to bend to the will of the Feds.

The idea of these social engineering initiatives is to force people to live in a congested area in high rise buildings with housing on the upper floors and stores on the bottom. The whole area will be linked by mass transit creating the “utopian” communities loved by socialists.

The result will be higher costs for housing (because overcrowding will make housing space a premium) and goods and services (because of less choice and competition) and less freedom to move about (because cars won’t be necessary and parking space will be prohibitively expensive).

As we pointed out here President Barack Obama is — not surprisingly — an advocate of this type of nonsense. And his cabinet is populated by elitists who think they know better than you how you should live.

It is imperative that you call your two Senators immediately and tell them to oppose Dodd’s SB1619.

The Livable Communities Act

By Ed Braddy, American Thinker
August 11, 2010

Is the American Dream getting smaller? Are we defining down the tools of opportunity and the pleasures of prosperity?

President Obama's flippant dismissal of American exceptionalism last year stirred a lot of criticism because it suggested he did not believe the United States held a special place in the world. It also suggested America's unique history is, to the president, no big deal.

Now, with fellow travelers exercising power at all levels of government, progressives can do more than just belittle the idea of American exceptionalism. They can enact policies to make America unexceptional — diminishing our quality of life and dampening opportunities for the next generation. Of course, progressives claim their vision is better and argue, with exquisite preening, that such changes are needed for our own good.

While cap-and-trade grabs the most attention, equally threatening is the euphemistically clever "Livable Communities Act." Masked with feel-good rhetoric and lofty concepts like "smart growth" and "sustainable development," the Livable Communities Act is top-down central planning aimed at changing where we live and work and how we travel. It will be overseen by bureaucrats in the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Transportation and implemented through local governments.

The Livable Communities Act exemplifies the progressive idea of strategic diminishment — success is measured by the reduction of certain outcomes from today's standard. This is different from reducing outputs such as carbon emissions and pollutants, which are already declining and can be better addressed with affordable technologies rather than social engineering.

But social engineering is at the heart of the Livable Communities Act, where federal planners hope to reduce personal mobility as measured in vehicle miles traveled and shift housing patterns from single-family homes in the suburbs to small apartments in cramped central cities.

In a country as large and diverse as ours, some people will prefer the live-work-travel arrangements prescribed for in the Livable Communities Act, which is based on the Smart Growth planning doctrine. However, the vast majority of Americans in red and blue states alike have long aspired to live in suburban homes with a car in the garage.

This quintessentially middle-class version of the American Dream has long been derided by elites and environmentalists, who recast suburbs as a wasteful sprawl and liken automobile use to a destructive addiction. They want to delegitimize this land use pattern, restrict automobile use, and make suburban housing less affordable. The Livable Communities Act is thus a hammer in the progressive toolbox.

Absent from their advocacy is any acknowledgment that cars and suburbia are not just expressions of freedom, but indispensable contributors to our prosperity. For example, automobiles enable us to access more goods and services, forcing businesses to compete by offering higher quality and lower costs.

If you've ever driven past one establishment to get a better deal at another, you've personally benefited from mobility. When tens of thousands of people do this within a metropolitan area, they are fueling the creativity and innovation necessary in a market economy.

Automobiles also empower job-seekers to expand their employment range or widen the pool of potential employees for those willing to hire, both of which contribute to better wages and productivity.

Because the average citizen changes jobs more than ten times between the ages of 18 and 42, cars expand one's opportunity circle well beyond the range that can be achieved by foot, bike, or transit.

Economic prosperity is only one measure in which cars provide a superior service over the Livable Community Act's preferred alternatives. Every car trip results in a transaction that is important to the user, and those transactions can be recreational, educational, cultural, social, political, financial, or religious. People often accomplish multiple tasks on trips in ways that central planners simply cannot anticipate, much less accommodate with fixed routes and scheduling.

For those seeking spiritual fulfillment, how many limit their choices to the nearest church or synagogue? How many people routinely cross towns to participate in civic organizations like the Rotary or Kiwanis clubs? How many prefer working out at the all-night gym at odd hours?

Even if these examples are not important to you, these are examples of how other people pursue happiness. In a free society, only arrogant bureaucrats and progressive reformers would seek to diminish these choices.

These and similar trips — individualized and uncoordinated — make up the vehicle miles we travel each year. Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles between 2008 and 2009 due to the recession and a spike in oil prices, and today, VMT is down to 2005 levels. Few would argue that our quality of life has improved as a result.

Not surprisingly, those in the lowest socioeconomic status travel significantly less than middle-class drivers. The poor have what Smart Growth advocates call transportation choice, meaning they are dependent on someone else's schedule or limited to what is available within walking range of a transit hub.

Auto-mobility, by contrast, provides independence by empowering users to go where they want when they want. Walking, bicycling, and public transportation offer mobility, but only at lower levels compared to automobiles.

It is unrealistic to think central planners can retrofit cities around transit lines and bike paths to bring within range all that can be reached by automobiles, and the trade-off is diminished opportunities along with extremely high densities in crowded, stacked central cities.

Stating what we take for granted does not make one an uncritical apologist for the automobile, which still pollutes too much and results in too many fatalities each year. Yet new technologies are reducing emissions, improving performance, and increasing safety. Indeed, the future of automobiles is very promising.

Cars are mobility machines designed for decision-making at the individual and family level. They are the finest expression of personal mobility yet devised and are still evolving for even greater utility.

The threat to our mobility is but one aspect of the Livable Communities Act that deserves resistance. Property rights, private enterprise, and affordable homeownership are also threatened under this command-and-control legislation, despite the clever catchphrases that soften its message.

Defending the right of every citizen to maximize his potential and pursue happiness on his own terms makes opposition to the Livable Communities Act necessary. Our country is exceptional for the simple reason that her people do not accept diminishing returns on the American Dream.

Bright Flight: Affluent Leaving Suburbs, Moving to Cities

By The Juggle
May 11, 2010

Two kids, two cars, one dog and a house in the suburbs — the stereotypical image of the affluent American family raising kids, right?

Not so much, at least not since the new millennium, says a new Brookings Institution analysis of Census data from 2000 through 2008. In a historic first, many young, prosperous Americans are moving from the suburbs to the city. The flip side: The communities ringing big urban areas now have the largest poor population in the country, the report shows. The suburban poor rose 25% over the past decade, almost five times faster than in the cities. Suburbs are developing many of the same problems that are usually associated with cities — poverty, housing problems, crime. They are also accumulating a disproportionate number of elderly people.

Also for the first time, a majority of all racial and ethnic groups in large metropolitan areas live outside big cities. More Hispanics, Asians and African Americans now live in the suburbs than in core cities. And in a nation where big cities historically have welcomed millions of newcomers, more than half of all recent immigrants are now choosing to live in the suburbs.

The findings echo our survey last fall on the top 10 youth magnet cities. In a poll of demographers and regional economists, I found big cities dominated their predictions of the top cities for young, affluent jobseekers in the future, including Washington, D.C., Seattle and New York. Bruised by a brutal job market, many young workers are looking for diverse, economically dynamic places with lots of jobs, the experts said. And big cities, as the Brookings report notes, have done much to improve the quality of housing and community life in their neighborhoods.
“A new image of urban America is in the making,” HuffPo quotes William H. Frey, a demographer at Brookings who co-wrote the report, as saying. “What used to be white flight to the suburbs is turning into ‘bright flight’ to cities that have become magnets for aspiring young adults who see access to knowledge-based jobs, public transportation and a new city ambiance as an attraction.”
After raising five kids in the suburbs, the pattern makes me wonder where my two youngest, now 19 and 22, will choose to settle and make their own family lives.

Readers, does this study ring true with you? What do you see happening around you, in your urban or suburban neighborhood? What do these trends mean, if anything, for the future of your family or your town? If you had it to do over, would you settle in the city or the burbs? Where do you think your own children will raise their families?

New Census Data Shows Which Areas of America are Growing, Shrinking

The Lookout
March 30, 2011

According to newly released census data, beginning in 2000 Americans began fleeing the Great Plains for sunnier climates in record numbers.

The data, as mapped by the site New Geography, shows that North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas all had more counties with total population decreases than increases between 2000 and 2010. Meanwhile, southern California, southern Nevada--especially the Las Vegas area--Arizona, Florida, and eastern Texas all saw big population gains.

The metro areas that grew the fastest were all in the west or south. In descending order, they were: Las Vegas, Nevada; Raleigh, N.C.; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Riverside, Calif.; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Houston, Texas; and San Antonio, Texas.

A Tale of Two Exurbs

Most outer-ring suburbs are being developed into unwalkable sprawl. But it doesn't have to be that way.

By Ben Adler
April 27, 2009

...In most metropolitan areas, academic research has found that roughly one in three Americans would prefer to live in a walkable urban environment. That is why housing in places such as San Francisco, New York, and Leesburg's neighbor, Washington, D.C., is so expensive and has been relatively insulated from the dramatic recent drop in home values. By contrast, the automobile-dependent Washington exurbs and even inner-ring suburbs have seen dramatic drops in housing prices. Between September 2007 and September 2008, the median home price plummeted by 44.7 percent in one exurban zip code in Woodbridge, Virginia, compared to a drop of only 3.9 percent in D.C.'s Adams Morgan neighborhood, which had a similar median home price to Woodbridge before the economic downturn. This is a trend repeated throughout the country.
"The indications seem to be that the bulk of this housing crisis is on the fringe," Leinberger says. "The rule of thumb is that if the average of housing in an area has dropped X, then the walkable urban places closer in have been flat over the last year or two, and the fringe has gone down 2X."
But America is still overwhelmingly a nation of drivers. Most communities are simply not designed to allow, much less encourage, any other means of getting around, and mass transit alone will not solve the problem. The way streets and neighborhoods are designed can make walking even short distances impossible. To free Americans from their cars, governments will have to implement a different set of rules on land use, parking, zoning, and other sexy topics — and not just in the bastions of bike paths where progressive leaders tend to congregate. As Joel Kotkin notes in Next American City,
"Since 1950, more than 90 percent of all the growth in U.S. metropolitan areas has been in the suburbs."
If the next few decades look anything like recent ones, the suburbs are where most of the new construction will be built.

The Washington, D.C., region demonstrates how suburban development can be managed — or mismanaged. Many of the inner-ring 'burbs, such as Arlington, Virginia, and Silver Spring, Maryland, have areas with mixed uses and ample mass-transit links. While their residents generally own cars, many commute to work and even go shopping without them. Farther out, into newer suburbs, transportation without a car becomes increasingly impossible, as giant parking lots and wide roads that lack sidewalks predominate. Regional, state, and even federal transportation policy has created towns like Leesburg throughout the country — towns that are simply unwalkable. I know because I tried ...

Moving Pittsburgh’s People

By Laura Walsh
May 10, 2010

The Allegheny Riverfront in Pittsburgh is currently a post-industrial wasteland of warehouses, parking lots, and vegetation overgrowth. Access to the waterfront is not only difficult, but undesirable, and residents along both shores of the river suffer from a dearth of green space.

With an eye to restoring the river, riverfront property, and returning it to city residents, the final draft of the Allegheny Riverfront Vision was presented to a rapt audience of 200 people at the Heinz History Center last week. After a year of design work and a series of community meetings, the plan includes a heavy emphasis on:

• Transit-oriented development
• Restoring the ecological balance of the river
• Increasing the tree canopy
• Making the river and riverfront property desirable and accessible to residents
• Reducing car usage by providing viable alternatives to automobiles
• Providing greater connectivity for residents to other areas of the city
• Ensuring economic vitality of the study area

One innovative element is the “green boulevard” along the river which will be a multi-modal route incorporating a commuter rail, and bicycle and pedestrian paths to connect the neighborhoods of the Strip District and Lawrenceville. The lush, shady, verdant route will provide a safe way for people of all ages to enjoy active transportation: getting exercise while getting around.

Additionally, the Riverfront Vision plan calls for a trolley / streetcar system. This idea seems to have been buzzing around for several years now, but Steve Quick, one of the principals on the design team excitedly pointed out that things were on track to have trolleys operational far sooner than anyone had anticipated. He added that these would be great for the city because “everybody loves to ride trolleys.”

Streetcar enthusiasm is sweeping the nation and at least 22 cities are planning to have working streetcar lines in the next two years. I spoke with Lena Andrews of the Urban Redevelopment Authority who said that Pittsburgh is likely several years away from realizing this technology. Still ahead is a costly and time-consuming engineering analysis before the city can apply for federal funding and tracks can be laid. This is certainly a worthwhile endeavor which will have numerous benefits for the city of Pittsburgh and the region. In addition to reducing dependence on automobiles, streetcars inspire dense, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods and spur tremendous economic activity. According to Rick Gustafson, Executive Director of Portland Streetcar Inc.,
“In ten years, there’s been $3.5 billion of private investment along the Portland Streetcar line.” He added “fifty-three percent of the development in downtown since 1997 has been within a block of the streetcar line.”
Pittsburgh’s geography is unusual and is define by three rivers (the Allegheny, the Ohio, and the Monongahela) and tremendously steep hills which present exciting transportation challenges and opportunities. Pittsburgh’s current public transportation system includes buses, bus rapid transit, limited light rail, and two funicular railway lines. The landscape offers tremendous potential to incorporate other methods of people-moving, including boats, ferries, and an aerial tram like the ones in Portland and New York. Currently a lack of docks and loading ports prevents a ferry system from being realized, but if docks were constructed, ferries and boats could stimulate development along the riverfront. Incorporated into the larger transit system, ferries could do much to alleviate the car traffic that is clogging the roadways, especially the commuters from the suburbs who have few options but driving.

Pursuing a policy of regenerative development will allow the city and people of Pittsburgh to continue thriving economically while creating green jobs that improve the region. Though still a bit bruised from the steel town days, Pittsburgh is improving rapidly and being recognized widely for it: the city was chosen as the U.S. host for the U.N. World Environment Day and was once again named “Most Livable City.”

New $1.1 Billion Henderson Fund Targets U.S. Apartments

By Reuters
September 17, 2010

Henderson Global Investors has launched a new $1.1 billion fund targeting the U.S. apartment market, saying it was the best-placed property sector for rent growth and occupancy over the next five years.

CASA V is the fifth in Henderson's CASA Partners U.S. Multi-Family Housing series of funds, which use low-cost, tax-exempt bond financing, Henderson said on Friday.

The fund manager is targeting an initial equity raise of $100 million by end-2010, and a total of $400 million. It will target properties with 200-plus units in suburban and urban areas with strong economic trends.
"Apartments are anticipated to have the most favorable occupancy and rent growth conditions of all asset classes," Henderson said in a statement, adding it was the best-placed property sector over the next five years.
It believes newly acquired, unleveraged apartments can offer net total returns of 7-9 percent over a five-year horizon, adding it expects tax-exempt bond financing to provide the lowest-cost means of financing apartment investments.
"For tax-exempt bond financed apartment properties, total return expectations are for annual returns of 11-13 percent (net) over the next five years," it said in a statement.

"Apartments have historically proven less volatile than other property sectors, and core apartments are likely to offer attractive total returns with a strong income component."

Americans Moving Back into the City

By Nickel,
June 19, 2006

After years and years (and years) of fleeing cities for the suburbs, Americans have reportedly begun to reverse the trend, and are moving back downtown. While young professionals are leading the charge, empty nesters and retirees have also joined in. A few of the advantages of living in an apartment or condo downtown:

- Less traffic, shorter (if any) commute
- No lawn care
- Restaurants that are just a short walk away
- Leisure activities (movies, plays, concerts, pro sports, etc.) are all nearby

The downside?

- Crime
- Homelessness
- Comparatively poor schools

And from my perspective, living in a ‘concrete jungle’ is more than a little depressing. Then again, so is a monster commute. My solution? Move to a smaller town.

Anyway, while crime rates have fallen dramatically over the past 15 years, the latest stats have city managers concerned, as they reveal an increase in the violent crime rate. While it’s small in terms of percentages (2.5%), it’s the first increase since 2001, and some cities (Houston, Philadelphia and Las Vegas) saw substantial increases in their murder rates.

Americans Migrate Back to the Cities

Americans are choosing to abandon the suburban sprawl in favour of a more comfortable, cheaper and greener life in the city centre.

By Tom Leonard
June 18, 2008

The mass migration of America's middle classes from urban areas to the suburbs amounted to a demographic revolution in the years after the Second World War. But the so-called "driveable suburb" is becoming increasingly unfeasible as soaring fuel costs make a long commute too expensive for many.

Higher energy prices are also having a disproportionate impact on bigger homes, such as those found in the suburbs, as they inevitably cost much more to heat in winter and cool in America's often fiercely hot summers.

The sub-prime mortgage crisis has accelerated this flight to the cities — experts have christened it New Urbanism — as property prices have particularly collapsed in more remote areas.

According to a poll for Reuters, about 10 percent of Americans said they were considering moving closer to work while roughly the same percentage said they were thinking about getting a job closer to home.

John Zogby, a political pollster, said the findings added up to a "broad cultural change" which translated into millions of people considering a major transformation in their lives. He said:
"Low energy costs and the availability of autos helped fuel suburbanisation."
But as people concluded that high energy prices were here to stay, "this is now one of those big changes in our lives that requires nothing short of dramatic lifestyle changes," he said.
Even before the latest economic downturn, demand for urban living had been rekindled among two generations — the so-called "baby boomers" in their fifties and "millenials", the latter born between the late 1970s and mid-1990s. Both are already drifting away from the suburbs, the baby boomers because they want smaller homes and more accessible amenities, and the millenials to rebel against their cul-de-sac upbringing.

Transportation is now the second biggest household expense in the US after housing. Much of the new demand for city homes is in neighbourhoods close to light railway stations, hastening the move away from a car culture. Some towns around cities have responded to this exodus by rejecting suburban status and working hard to reinvent their own centres.

Americans are not just reconsidering their living arrangements because of the latest economic downturn. Nearly 39 percent of those surveyed in the Reuters/Zogby poll said they were considering changing holiday plans, while 31 per cent plan fewer restaurant visits.

By 2050, 70% of World Population to be Crammed into Poor, Overcrowded, Polluted Urban Corridors Comprising a Tiny Fraction of Habitable Land

By Daily Mail
March 24, 2010

The world’s largest cities are merging into vast ‘mega regions’ which will be characterised by overcrowding, poverty and pollution, a new report warns.

The continuing growth of urban areas is likely to be one of the most significant factors affecting society over the next 50 years, a United Nations agency said. Such mega regions will stretch hundreds of miles across countries and will be home to more than 100 million people.

Last year it was confirmed for the first time that over half the world’s population lives in cities. The State of the World Cities report claims that urbanisation is ‘unstoppable.’

A mega region, which is often two or more cities becoming connected as increasing numbers of towns and ghettos spring up between them, has already been established in the Hong Kong-Shenhzen-Guangzhou region of China where 120 million people live.

Eduardo Lopez Moreno, the report’s author, said:
‘The top 25 cities in the world account for more than half of the world’s wealth, and the five largest cities in India and China now account for 50 per cent of those countries’ wealth.’
However, he claims an explosion of mega regions will not necessarily be a bad thing despite warning of ‘further patterns of social and economic exclusion.’
‘They, rather than countries, are now driving wealth,’ Mr Moreno added.

“Research shows that the world’s largest 40 mega regions cover only a tiny fraction of the habitable surface of our planet and are home to fewer than 18 per cent of the world’s population yet account for 66 per cent of all economic activity and about 85 per cent of technological and scientific innovation.’
Anna Tibaijuka, director of UN-Habitat, said:
‘Just over half the world now lives in cities, but by 2050 over 70 per cent of the world will be urban dwellers.

DHS Backs ‘Spy Street Lights,’ Called ‘Intellistreets,’ That Double as Sophisticated Surveillance Devices

Company gets nervous after creepy ‘Intellistreets’ concept exposed by Drudge Report
October 26, 2011

The company behind a Department of Homeland Security-funded project to install street lights that double as sophisticated surveillance devices pulled its promo video for ‘Intellistreets’ from You Tube hours after our article drawing attention to the issue was linked on the popular Drudge Report website.

Having initially disabled comments on the You Tube clip, Illuminating Concepts yanked the video entirely this afternoon, presumably nervous about the negative publicity that could be generated from concerns about new high-tech street lights being used for “Homeland Security” purposes – their words, not ours.

However, having gone to the trouble of putting together a promotional video for their product, and having already started installing the system in the city of Farmington Hills, Michigan with the aid of federal funding, the fact that the company attempted to prevent people learning about the “Homeland Security” applications for the street lights speaks volumes.

If ‘Intellistreets’ is such a cutting edge concept that presents an array of wonderful benefits, as the promo video claims, then why remove it from You Tube? It’s almost like a kid getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Now that the company has tried to hide the video, it will only generate more suspicion about the true purpose behind ‘Intellistreets’ and the level of involvement on behalf of Homeland Security.

As we documented earlier today, ‘Intellistreets’ is even more frightening a concept than the DHS-funded surveillance cameras that have blanketed America. Not only does this system have video surveillance capabilities, it also includes audio sensors and speaker systems that will be used by authorities to “promote civic awareness,” presumably in the same vein as Homeland Security’s telescreens in Wal-Mart stores that feature a message from Janet Napolitano encouraging Americans to spy on each other and report suspicious activity.

Using street lights as Minority Report-style broadcasting platforms for advertising and government propaganda also dovetails with the Obama administration’s agenda to have complete control over communications by means of the Emergency Alert System and the program to have all new cell phones display mandatory “emergency” messages from the federal government by next year.

You can still watch a duplicate of the video for ‘Intellistreets’ below (until that too is pulled). The video is also still available on the company’s website.

Also available are 'Intelli Street Signs' (at 2:54 into the video): this could explain the federal mandate forcing municipalities across the U.S. to replace street signs by 2018.

Suburbs: The New Slums

Two-thirds of primary cities in large metropolitan areas grew from 2000 to 2008. City growth spread and accelerated between 2006 and 2008, as many core urban areas realized a “windfall” of residents due to the impact of the housing slump on movement to the suburbs. [Source]
May 10, 2010

Any good student of dialectics knew this was coming. A new report on demographic trends shows that the suburbs are slowly but surely becoming what they were expressly designed not to be: the home of the disadvantaged.

Of course one could say as an opening joke that growing up in the suburbs would be a disadvantage for anyone. But now, demographics are following what common sense has long indicated. A new Brookings Institute analysis of census data shows that the era of white flight from urban areas that turned suburbs into the traditional rings of affluence around poorer cities is, for the most part, over.
Suburbs still tilt white. But, for the first time, a majority of all racial and ethnic groups in large metro areas live outside the city. Suburban Asians and Hispanics already had topped 50 percent in 2000, and blacks joined them by 2008, rising from 43 percent in those eight years.
The suburbs now have the largest poor population in the country. They are home to the vast majority of baby boomers age 55 to 64, a fast-growing group that will strain social services after the first wave of boomers turns 65 next year.
The smartest, most educated young suburbanites are fleeing for big cities. Naturally. Didn't you? They're leaving behind their parents, who make up that hefty chunk of soon-to-retire boomers.

It was inevitable that the suburbs would become more racially integrated, albeit slowly; but economic integration is happening faster than many suburban residents would probably prefer, thanks in part to the real estate market collapse which left lots and lots of suburban cookie-cutter development dream homes available at prices far, far lower than their developers had initially hoped.

So while young, mostly white suburban kids race to the cities and price out the original residents there, many of those urban minorities may find the suburbs to be more inviting and economically viable. Gentrification and degentrification—demographic groups passing each other on the highway into the city, heading in opposite directions. While bright young things head for NYC, LA, Chicago, and San Francisco, the Sun Belt and its massive tracts of sprawl stand ready, willing and able to absorb the displaced, once-urban masses of the working class.

It's as if, over the course of a generation, the stereotypical growing-up experiences of White Suburban Americans and Minority Urban Americans will totally trade places. The only difference being that now the cities will get the government money and attention they've always deserved, and the suburbs will slowly wilt into sprawling, neglected slums.

And soon, the cities will take all the water, too. Good luck, new Sun Belt suburbanites. Fill up those bathtubs.

The Suburban Slum Era Has Arrived

The Manhattan apartment vacancy rate is at its lowest level in almost five years, and "Average Manhattan rental prices are just a hair below their 2007 peaks." Yeah, nobody wants to live in the suburbs, either.
October 25, 2011

It's been apparent for a number of years now that—due to widespread demographic and economic trends—the suburbs, once the idyllic home to upper middle class members and aspirants, are becoming the new slums. How's that trend developing? Just fine, thank you.

Sabrina Tavernise ventures into the suburbs and reports back: that shit is all f*cked up now. Most urban poor people are in the burbs now. Suburban poverty's up by more than 50% in the past decade. Adios, scary inner city. Hello, scary outer city.
Since 2000, the poverty roll has increased by five million in the suburbs, with large rises in metropolitan areas as different as Colorado Springs and Greensboro, N.C... Nationwide, 55 percent of the poor population in metropolitan areas is now in the suburbs, up from 49 percent.
At least it's somewhat comforting that the suburbs now suck for the kinds of concrete, measurable reasons that go in rap music lyrics, rather than for the vague, sentimental reasons that go in alternative music lyrics.


Old People Are Clogging Up the Suburbs
The future of train travel (video), The Atlantic Home, May 7, 2010
Light Rail – the Solution to Inner-city Chaos?
Senate Banking Committee Passes Livable Communities Act
“This bill also recognizes that the demographics in our nation are shifting significantly. The share of the population over 65 will grow rapidly in coming decades. An AARP survey showed that 71 percent of older Americans want to live within walking distance of transit. More walkable communities that offer access to shopping, medical services, and social amenities can help older Americans age in place, and preserve their independence—even while they curtail their driving,” said Senator Chris Dodd in his prepared remarks.
Will most people live in cities?
“Mega-cities,” with ten or more million inhabitants are a new phenomenon. The first city to reach this size was New York in around 1940. There were 12 mega-cities by 1990; seven were in Asia, three in Latin America, and two in the United States. In 1800, the average size of the world's 100 largest cities was fewer than 200,000 inhabitants, but now it is over 5 million.
Portland, Oregon, Adjusts as Experiment with Smart Growth Goes On
Greener Transit Rides High on Energy, Climate Concerns
San Francisco Seeks Partners in Push for Green Future
Sustainable Urbanism Responds to Market Needs
Grand Coalition Can Back Sustainable Neighborhoods
A Model U.S. City Restricts Suburban Sprawl
Top U.S. Scientists Urge Action on Climate Change
U.S. Agency Imposes Greenhouse Gas Rules
New Policies Help U.S. Address Climate Change
Project Aims to Make Azores Islands a Climate Change Model
Americans Seek Smart Growth, Less Dependence on Cars
Obama Administration Recording Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Feature: Understanding the Carbon Cycle
Health Threat Allows U.S. Agency to Regulate Greenhouse Gases
Administration Declares Carbon Emissions a Danger
World Forum in Brazil Tackles Effects of Rapid Urbanization
Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas
Feature: The United States at COP-15
Canada, Mexico, U.S. Collaborate to Fight Climate Change
Feature: Climate Experts Debate Clean Coal
The Suburban Exodus: Are We There Yet?
Suburbs Losing Young Whites to Cities, Brookings Institution Finds
As gas prices rise, Americans move back to the urbs (June 25, 2008)
For decades, Americans have trickled steadily out of cities into suburbia — and then into exurbia. But with gas prices high and likely to stay there, the wallet-conscious are now poised to trickle back in. In 2003, the average suburban household spent $1,422 on gasoline annually; in April 2008, that had leaped to $3,196 per year. "Before it was 'we spend too much time driving,'" says Phil Boyle, who commutes nearly an hour into Denver, Colo. "Now, it's 'we spend too much time and money driving.'" A recent survey of 903 real estate agents found that 78 percent of prospective home buyers cited fuel costs for their inclination toward city living. Though sprawl has become as American as a flag lapel pin, experts say the trend to move inward has the potential to revamp the look of the U.S. city.

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