In the discussion thread: Cities grow more than suburbs, first time in 100 years [View all]
Response to phantom power (Original post)
Fri Jun 29, 2012, 04:57 PM
happyslug (11,533 posts)
1. Reminds me of the 1970s, the only decade where rural America Population expanded
Do to the high price of food and high price of Gasoline, Suburbia stopped expanding in the 1970s. Suburbia resumed in the 1980s. Rural population decline resumed as did urban population decline.
The real question in the 1970s and today was why the change? One aspect was the completion of the Interstate System, thus permitting people to live in rural areas and drive to the suburbs to work (this lead to a further expansion of suburbia in the 1980s into sections that had been called "Rural" in the 1970s).
Another aspect was much of Rural America had empty out by the 1970s, thus population had "bottomed out". i.e. further population drop required abandonment of rural towns, which require abandonment of government in those places (i.e. close court houses, Sheriff's offices, post offices etc) and no one on the State level wanted that, thus rural population bottomed out.
Starting in the 1980s most suburban growth was via the City, not the inner city and rural areas (More actually, most former rural dwellers moved to the inner cities, then 10-20 years later moved to suburbia but some former rural dwellers moved directly to Suburbia till the 1970s).
Thus it seems that by the 1970s rural America had bottomed out in population (Some areas would see further population declines, but no where near the level of decline of the 1930s-1960s). In the 1970s you thus saw people seeing opportunity in rural areas and taking it up. That has continued since the 1970s but since the 1980s rural areas have seen a slight decline in population (Mostly in the grain producing areas of Rural America, as farmers became more and more corporate and mechanized, thus leading to drop in populations in those areas) .
I bring up the 1970s and rural America for it was more a product of Rural American's population bottoming out and people seeing rural america as a place to live well. As I pointed out this reversed in the 1980s, but if we exclude the grain producing areas, it has not. I suspect the same for Urban America, the advantages of living in Urban America are large, most things are within walking or biking distance and during a period of high fuel prices a big factor. Furthermore, a lot of marginal homes of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s are now finally so worthless as housing, it is worth tearing them down and building new. Prior to about 2000, a lot of housing, near the urban core, had values that exceeded tearing them down. On the down side these same homes were build late 1800s, with plumbing a retrofit (i.e. added LONG after the house was built, as was the electrical system).
Now do to Mills expansion and expansion of most "Down-towns" in the 1920s to the 1960s, most homes build 100-150 years before was torn down for Factories expansion (Common in Areas like my old hometown of Pittsburgh, massive expansion of Steel Mills during WWII, at the expense of homes built around the mill) or down town expansion (Business offices and shopping catering to the business community). Thus come the 1940s-1980s the homes that would have finally drop in price that it would be cheaper to tear down and build new did NOT exist for homes (businesses took over the property for their own use).
Since the 1980s, more and more homes further out from the urban business centers have reached the end of their life span. It is time to tear them down and build new. The values of these old homes are so low, it is like building a new home in a new suburb. Gentrification is what this is called, and has been a "problem" since the 1970s (A problem in that a lot of low income people end of being evicted and their homes torn down, so that a person with an income over the median Income could build what they wanted and move in).
You see this throughout the US, a lot of older "White" neighborhoods on the edge of Inner cities are becoming more and more a "mixed" neighborhood (with more African Americans, Hispanic and other non-whites moving in). At the same time, the older "Ghettos" and "Slums" are getting torn down and replaced by new housing catering to people earning more the median income.
I can see this in Pittsburgh. The South-side, where the Steel Mills used to be, is not a shopping mecca, and along them, where a really bad housing of the 1940s were (many even in the 1940s without indoor plumbing), are now brand new condos with people making $50,000 to $100,000 a year.
Gentrification has been a way of life within most urban areas since the 1970s, but has increased over the last 10-20 years due to the high cost of transportation (and older people moving in, after their children are no longer in school, or young people who have decided to delay having children).
Now, most people have a poor attitude to inner city public schools (and one of the reasons behind school vouchers is inner cities wanting to appear to young families with children, that their children can get the same education living in the inner city as if they moved to suburbia). Thus, today, we are looking mostly at families without school age children. E
ducation has been the biggest single problem with inner city attracting young families. Given the high number of low income people in the city's public schools, the schools have very poor numbers. This tends to scare away families with school age children (Please note I am discussing people making $50,000 plus NOT people on Welfare and have no choice as to where their children can go to school).
Please note that I am discussing IMPRESSION of the school NOT the reality.
I bring this up, for education of Children will be the biggest factor as to whether this increase in temporary or permanent. With high energy and time costs, Urban living makes sense. You minimize both.
At the same time, most parents what their children to have the best education possible and right now most people do NOT think that can be done in an inner city public school. The impression I have is most of the new urban dwellers are either older families no longer with school age children OR young families without school age children (or children at all).
Thus to make this a PERMANENT change, education has to be addressed. How it is addressed will say a lot about out inner city leaders. Will they opt for vouchers and abandon children from low income families? Low income families often need the most support from their school, they are the most expensive to educate for their parents can NOT help them (it is hard to get a parent to help a child to read, when the parent can not read). Will the inner city leaders decide that they have to get their graduation numbers up, but kicking out any child with any problem? Or will they take the most expensive road and provide the extra help these low income children need, but can NOT get from their parents? i.e. more one on one between Teachers and Children AND more interaction, including teachers visiting the home of each of their children on some sort of regular basis.
There are 52 weeks in a year, if we exclude the 12 summer vacation weeks that leaves 40 weeks, thus having a teacher visiting each of her pupil's home once a week in doable. Yes it is easier for the parent to come to Open house, but that does NOT always provide what the TEACHER needs to know of the child's background. I mention the visit as one option among others to better improve how a teacher can determine how her or his students can be taught.
It is the low end students education we need to address to improve overall education in the USA, but it is something no one is really doing. Until someone does, this urban expansion will lead to further decline in education in the inner city (As vouchers take all but the hardest children to teach away) OR it will lead to a brick wall of young families abandoning the inner city as soon as their children hit school age.
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|phantom power||Jun 2012||OP|
Reminds me of the 1970s, the only decade where rural America Population expanded
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