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Thread: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

  1. #71
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by leikec View Post
    Of course...decline of industry was a huge factor, along with really terrible leadership going all the way back to the immediate post WWII era.

    Jeff C
    So, carrying the leadership problem on their backs until they throw it off, can Detroit be rebuilt on old ideas, or do they need new industries and new ways of doing things? Will it benefit them to turn a major city into many smaller communities separated by green space and linked by light rail, or do they rebuild the same unlivable monstrosity that is crumbling now? This was my point.

  2. #72
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    You mean when it abandons new energy technology in favor of coal? When it abandons valid news sources in favor of partisan lies? When it abandons education entirely? When we abandon real science in favor of supporting partisan agendas? When it abandons capital investment in roads and bridges in favor of military arms and tax breaks? I think we will look more like Detroit every day until we reverse our direction.
    I suspect none of these ruins shown so far has to do with abandoning new energy. The rest of your list are tangential at best.

  3. #73
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by peb View Post
    I suspect none of these ruins shown so far has to do with abandoning new energy. The rest of your list are tangential at best.
    Not tangibly, but don't you think that the energy policy in this country is slowly eroding our future competitiveness and independence? Won't that lead to decline of our economy and our cities?

  4. #74
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    Not tangibly, but don't you think that the energy policy in this country is slowly eroding our future competitiveness and independence? Won't that lead to decline of our economy and our cities?
    No, I see quite rapid changes to the energy we are using. Here in Texas, we have close to 20% of our electricity generated by wind. We have not even gotten started with solar, but that is coming. Coal usage is dropping in favor of natural gas, which burns much cleaner. Cars continue to get more efficient. EV will be the predominant car by the 2030s. Peak oil demand is only a few of years away.


    Cities have expanded and contracted for eons. The implication that any of the examples shown on this page of social change is caused by our energy policies is really ridiculous.

  5. #75
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    You mean when it abandons new energy technology in favor of coal? When it abandons valid news sources in favor of partisan lies? When it abandons education entirely? When we abandon real science in favor of supporting partisan agendas? When it abandons capital investment in roads and bridges in favor of military arms and tax breaks? I think we will look more like Detroit every day until we reverse our direction.
    The Republican Party will not rest until the US is a third-world spithole.

  6. #76
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    Don't you both think that the decline in steel and the automotive industries were instrumental in the decline of Detroit? Both of those American industries failed to keep up with foreign competition and development. The cities neighboring Detroit are not single-industry communities as far as I can see. Yes, Detroit has many problems, but they all grow worse when there are no jobs.
    There is some confusion about the state of the broader economy and the state of the actual City of Detroit defined by its political boundaries. The cities neighboring Detroit are rather diverse, since there are roughly 80 municipalities in the area. Some are residential, some are centered on heavy industry, many are technology centers. The industrial centers included steelmaking, shipbuilding, aircraft, machine tools, and the space program, among others. The latter, as an example, included the design and production of the Saturn rockets that put the first man on the moon. Granted, this failed to keep up with Tesla, but that's another story. Unemployment has improved in Michigan better than most of the other states in the country, if you follow such numbers. The dominant employment base in the area is engineering and technology centers, most centered on transportation. The housing abandonment in the city itself is only distantly related the the area's economic issues. It is quite specifically related to the mortgage securities and housing policies that were initiated in the 1960 and eventually took down the global bond market in 2008. It's worth noting that the vast tracks of vacant land pictured in the Google map in Detroit is adjacent to the booming Chrysler Jeep plant, which is at full employment today.
    Last edited by Dan McCosh; 07-29-2017 at 11:58 AM.

  7. #77
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    So, carrying the leadership problem on their backs until they throw it off, can Detroit be rebuilt on old ideas, or do they need new industries and new ways of doing things? Will it benefit them to turn a major city into many smaller communities separated by green space and linked by light rail, or do they rebuild the same unlivable monstrosity that is crumbling now? This was my point.
    The Detroit area has been many smaller communities separated by green space for the past 100 years or so. They were linked by light rail roughly between 1910 and the mid-1950s.

  8. #78
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    There is some confusion about the state of the broader economy and the state of the actual City of Detroit defined by its political boundaries. The cities neighboring Detroit are rather diverse, since there are roughly 80 municipalities in the area... .
    You are proving my point.

  9. #79
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    The Detroit area has been many smaller communities separated by green space for the past 100 years or so. They were linked by light rail roughly between 1910 and the mid-1950s.
    Dan, I wish you folks in Michigan well. I truly do. In the meantime, my region continues to grow better. I don't drive a car built in Detroit. I don't buy steel made in Detroit. I will do everything in my power to see that my tax dollars do not go down that rat hole in a failed effort to make Detroit what it once was. And I won't spend a lot of time arguing that the decline of a major US city does not have a great deal to do with the unwillingness of its traditional industries to adapt to changing needs.

  10. #80
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    Dan, I wish you folks in Michigan well. I truly do. In the meantime, my region continues to grow better. I don't drive a car built in Detroit. I don't buy steel made in Detroit. I will do everything in my power to see that my tax dollars do not go down that rat hole in a failed effort to make Detroit what it once was. And I won't spend a lot of time arguing that the decline of a major US city does not have a great deal to do with the unwillingness of its traditional industries to adapt to changing needs.
    I don't know what your region is. As for the rest, you seem to have created an alternative reality.

  11. #81
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCosh View Post
    I don't know what your region is. As for the rest, you seem to have created an alternative reality.
    If I am, then I'm not alone. From Wikipedia:

    The city of Detroit, in the U.S. state of Michigan, has gone through a major economic and demographic decline in recent decades. The population of the city has fallen from a high of 1,850,000 in 1950 to 677,116 in 2015, kicking it off the top 20 of US cities by population for the first time since 1850.[1] The city's automobile industry has suffered from global competition and has moved much of the remaining production out of Detroit. Local crime rates are among the highest in the United States, and vast areas of the city are in a state of severe urban decay. In 2013, Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history, which it successfully exited on December 10, 2014. However, poverty, crime, and urban blight in Detroit continue to be ongoing problems.

    The deindustrialization of Detroit has been a major factor in the population decline of the city.

    "Detroit rose and fell with the automobile industry." Before the advent of the automobile, Detroit was a small, compact, regional manufacturing center. In 1900 Detroit had a population of 285,000, the thirteenth largest city in the U.S. Over the following decades, the growth of the automobile industry, including affiliated activities such as parts manufacturing, came to dwarf all other manufacturing in the city. The industry drew in a million new residents to the city. At Ford Motor's iconic and enormous River Rouge plant alone, opened in 1927 in Dearborn, there were over 90,000 workers.

    The spread of the auto industry outward from Detroit proper in the 1950s was the beginning of a process that extended much further afield. Auto plants, and the parts suppliers associated with the industry, were relocated to the southern U.S., and to Canada and Mexico. The major auto plants left in Detroit were closed down, and their workers increasingly left behind. When the auto industry's facilities moved out, there were dramatically adverse ripple economic effects on the city. The neighborhood businesses that had catered to auto workers shut down. This direct and indirect economic contraction caused the city to lose property taxes, wage taxes, and population (and thus consumer demand). The closed auto plants were also often abandoned in a period before strong environmental regulation, causing the sites to become so-called "brownfields," unattractive to potential replacement businesses because of the pollution hang-over from decades of industrial production. The pattern of the deteriorating city by the mid-1960s was visibly associated with the largely departed auto industry. The neighborhoods with the most closed stores, vacant houses, and abandoned lots were in what had formerly been the most heavily populated parts of the city, adjacent to the now-closed older major auto plants.By the 1970s and 1980s the auto industry suffered setbacks that further impacted Detroit. The industry encountered the rise of OPEC and the resulting sharp increase in gasoline prices. It faced new and intense international competition, particularly from Japanese and German makers. Chrysler avoided bankruptcy in the late 1970s, but only with the aid of a federal bailout. GM and Ford also struggled financially. The industry fought to regain its competitive footing, but did so in very substantial part by introducing cost-cutting techniques focused around automation and thus reduction of labor cost and number of workers. It also relocated ever more of its manufacturing to lower cost states in the U.S. and to low-wage countries. Detroit's residents thus had access to fewer and fewer well-paying, secure auto manufacturing jobs.The leadership of Detroit was not passive in the face of the adverse trends that developments in the auto industry posed. Because the city had flourished in the heyday of the auto industry, the city made periodic attempts to stimulate a revival of the industry within the city. For example, in the 1980s the cities of Detroit and Hamtramck used the power of eminent domain to level part of what had been Poletown to make a parking lot for a new automobile factory. On that site, a new, low-rise suburban type Cadillac plant was built, with substantial government subsidies. The new Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly employs 1,600 workers. In the 1990s, the city subsidized the building of a new Chrysler plant on the city's east side - Jefferson North Assembly - which currently employs 4,600 people. These efforts, however, were an uphill struggle against overall trends in the industry. In 2009 Chrysler filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, and survives in a partnership with Fiat SpA of Italy while GM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 1, 2009, and survives as a much smaller company - smaller now than Japan's Toyota Motor Company. A little over two years after these major blows to the U.S. auto industry, the city itself went into Chapter 9 bankruptcy.
    When I read that, I see a picture of a city that failed to adapt to changing circumstances. Knowing what I know if the American car industry, and watching it fail to respond to several oil shortages while foreign-made cars offering better gas mileage made inroads into our economy, I see a failure to adapt and the inevitable decline of a society built on that old technology.

  12. #82
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Might start by noting that the article says that the spread of the auto industry from Detroit proper was in the 1950s, but then also notes that the Rouge complex was built in 1927--about ten years after Ford moved out of the city to Highland Park, and built the first modern assembly line. What it doesn't mention is that the mid-1960s represented the most explosive growth in population ever experienced by any major city. It is a perspective oft repeated, however.

  13. #83
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    Don't you both think that the decline in steel and the automotive industries were instrumental in the decline of Detroit? Both of those American industries failed to keep up with foreign competition and development. The cities neighboring Detroit are not single-industry communities as far as I can see. Yes, Detroit has many problems, but they all grow worse when there are no jobs.
    When Seattle suffered similar decline, everything tied to aviation and then that tanked, it diversified. Admittedly, a lot of this was unintentional. Government didn't create Microsoft, Bill Gates grew up in Seattle and just decided to stay here. But, once things got rolling, Seattle didn't just waste the money, they invested in public services to create a good environment that would attract other businesses, like good public transportation, and it worked. Too well, actually, now Seattle is getting like Manhattan, overly biased toward business at the expense of housing. Detroit's public transportation system is I-75 and I-696, and that's it.
    Last edited by Bob (oh, THAT Bob); 08-13-2017 at 02:06 AM.
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  14. #84
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    This has exceeded the usual thread drift, launched into a thread taking flight. Still, I think burning the city down in the midst of an economic boom had something to do with today's vacant real estate.

  15. #85
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by peb View Post
    No, I see quite rapid changes to the energy we are using. Here in Texas, we have close to 20% of our electricity generated by wind. We have not even gotten started with solar, but that is coming. Coal usage is dropping in favor of natural gas, which burns much cleaner. Cars continue to get more efficient. EV will be the predominant car by the 2030s. Peak oil demand is only a few of years away.


    Cities have expanded and contracted for eons. The implication that any of the examples shown on this page of social change is caused by our energy policies is really ridiculous.
    http://sunradio.com/

  16. #86
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob (oh, THAT Bob) View Post
    When Seattle suffered similar decline, everything tied to aviation and then that tanked, it diversified. Admittedly, a lot of this was unintentional. Government didn't create Microsoft, Bill Gates grew up in Seattle and just decided to stay here. But, once things got rolling, Seattle didn't just waste the money, they invested in public services to create a good environment that would attract other businesses, like good public transportation, and it worked. Too well, actually, now Seattle is getting like Manhattan, overly biased toward business at the expense of housing. Detroit's public transportation system is I-75 and I-696, and that's it.
    There are valuable lessons in that observation! The city embraced change, even if they were too successful at it.

  17. #87
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    You would think some of those old abandoned factories and refineries would have been stripped for scrap metal.

    There are pics all over the interwebs of abandoned Olympic venues. Ozymandias, indeed.
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  18. #88
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    There are valuable lessons in that observation! The city embraced change, even if they were too successful at it.
    It is tough to recover from the collapse of commercial aviation.

  19. #89
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    Default Re: Urban Prairies & watching Cities Die.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerarddm View Post
    You would think some of those old abandoned factories and refineries would have been stripped for scrap metal.

    There are pics all over the interwebs of abandoned Olympic venues. Ozymandias, indeed.
    There aren't many fines for corporate littering. It's not treated as seriously as throwing trash out your car window.

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