HomeDiagramsDatabaseMapsForumSkyscraper Posters
     

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > City Discussions

Reply

 
Thread Tools Display Modes
     
     
  #1  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2017, 3:51 PM
M II A II R II K's Avatar
M II A II R II K M II A II R II K is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto
Posts: 42,956
For Older Inner-Ring Suburbs The Best Hope Lies With Merging With The City

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A SUBURB BEGINS TO DIE?


OCT 2, 2017

By AARON RENN

Read More: https://psmag.com/news/when-a-suburb-begins-to-die

Mergers May Rescue Declining Suburbs Study: https://www.manhattan-institute.org/...rbs-10611.html

Quote:
.....

According to the Brookings Institution, a fifth of the United States population lives in what they label America's "first suburbs." Some of these communities, such as Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago, are prosperous and successful; many others, like East Cleveland, have fallen into serious decline.

- In some ways, struggling inner-ring suburbs are harder to revive than central cities. For one thing, they are often "out of sight, out of mind." Downtowns have the spotlight of the local media on them, and they attract attention from business and community leaders and local and national lawmakers. Inner-ring suburbs rarely get much attention until some serious problem emerges, as in the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, or the pay scandal in Bell, California.

- These communities are also seeing increases in concentrated poverty and isolated minority groups. Black residents leaving central cities in the Midwest and Northeast often end up in these suburbs. As with previous moves into urban areas that were once off-limits, what originally seemed like the American Dream becomes a mirage or a nightmare as opportunities recede. But unlike inner-city neighborhoods, inner-ring suburbs often have additional serious structural challenges. They often lack of good transit access, for example.

- They also sometimes are dominated by older, smaller Cape Cod or ranch-style housing that in need of repairs and out of favor in the market. And they don't have the distinctive assets of central city downtowns to draw on. Central cities are frequently the regional seat of government, either a county seat or state capital. They have major institutions like universities and hospitals; they contain regional attractions such as zoos, museums, and sports teams; and many still boast legacy corporate headquarters, among other assets.

- But inner-ring suburbs usually don't have these. As former East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton put it: "A smaller place can do very, very well if the right elements are within its borders, or it can do very, very poorly if the right elements leave. The right elements left our borders, and without all the assets that a big city has, without the diversification, that's a bad situation." There are no easy answers to these challenges. A financial control board or even a bankruptcy can potentially address debt or pension problems, but they won't help with a declining tax base that can't fund basic services.

- Merging with the city is no silver bullet, but does have the potential to help ease these structural problems. Once part of the central city, the suburb gains a high-profile mayor in the public spotlight who is now responsible for what happens there. It becomes part of a city with diverse neighborhoods and housing types that will rise and fall on different cycles. And there are the assets of a big city downtown to draw on to help finance services. Mergers are always difficult to make happen politically, and things would be no different with these inner-ring suburbs.

- East Cleveland is again the example. Its mayor and city council president were recalled as the city pursued the merger, and the option appears to be dead for now. To accomplish such annexations, state governments will likely need to offer transition assistance, potentially absorb some of the suburbs' legacy costs like pensions, and offer funding for capital improvements. Getting capital improvements is historically and still today a prime reason unincorporated areas agree to be annexed. And any merger should improve public services in the suburb while not lowering them in the city.

- Let's be clear: There are genuine trade-offs to be made with merger. City Lab's Brentin Mock recently passionately argued against merger for one of the suburbs I flag, the Pittsburgh suburb of Wilkinsburg, arguing that its status as an independent majority black city should be preserved. That's a legitimate value to consider. But the flip side can't be ignored. By not merging, those black residents are cut off from the tax base being created by the technology and medical industry booms happening in the city of Pittsburgh next door.

- Black control in many of these suburbs has meant inheriting a community where previous generations of residents did the equivalent of running up 250,000 miles on the odometer, then handed over the keys to what's now used-up jalopy and walked away. Should regions be able to wall off minorities in jurisdictions with limited tax bases? What solutions are there for inner-ring suburbs facing serious structural challenges? Ultimately these are questions these communities, regions, and states need to wrestle with. Merger may not be the best answer in every case—but it needs to be on the table as a serious option.

.....



__________________
ASDFGHJK
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #2  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2017, 4:03 PM
Steely Dan's Avatar
Steely Dan Steely Dan is online now
Professional Midwesterner
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Edgewater, Chicago
Posts: 17,868
in chicago's case, it seems that most older inner ring burbs are actually doing great or at least holding their own (evanston, wilmette, skokie, niles, park ridge, elmwood park, oak park, berwyn, cicero, riverside, oak lawn, evergreen park, etc., etc., etc.), but when you get into the suburbs of the deep south side that have become mostly black (harvey, dolton, south holland, calument city, etc.) the story there is more unfortunate.

as with so many, many things in this nation, it does appear to be a race thing.
__________________
He has to go.

Last edited by Steely Dan; Oct 12, 2017 at 4:15 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #3  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2017, 4:14 PM
Centropolis's Avatar
Centropolis Centropolis is offline
crisis actor
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: mississippi basin
Posts: 7,594
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
in chicago's case, it seems that most older inner ring burbs are actually doing great or at least holding their own (evanston, wilmette, skokie, niles, park ridge, elmwood park, oak park, berwyn, cicero, riverside, oak lawn, evergreen park, etc., etc., etc.), but when you get into the suburbs of the deep south side that have become mostly black (harvey, dolton, south holland, calument city, etc.) the story there is more unfortunate.

as with so many, may things in this nation, it does appear to be a race thing.
the inner suburbs around st. louis largely reflect the health of the adjacent section of core city. chicago (may) be slightly different (oak park for instance?).

i wonder though how much of a difference an unhealthy pre-war suburb becoming contigious with an unhealthy section of core city would make. unless there was a massive annexation incorporating vast healthy areas as well.
__________________
finally, the cities were abandoned and the survivors fled in all directions, carrying the plagues with them.

william s burroughs, cities of the red night
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #4  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2017, 4:24 PM
Steely Dan's Avatar
Steely Dan Steely Dan is online now
Professional Midwesterner
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Edgewater, Chicago
Posts: 17,868
Quote:
Originally Posted by Centropolis View Post
chicago (may) be slightly different (oak park for instance?).
yeah, the oak park/austin juxtaposition certainly isn't a typical arrangement.

you have a wealthy older inner ring burb where homes routinely sell in the upper 6 - 7 figures literally right next door to one of the most violent places in the nation.

it's a fragile balance.
__________________
He has to go.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #5  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2017, 4:51 PM
Pavlov's Dog Pavlov's Dog is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 261
Local taxation plays a massive role in this too. If taxation was at the state level only and then allocated on a per capita basis small suburbs would start merging with each other and not have problems providing basic services. The continual existence of local taxation means that rich people can congregate together, pay lower tax rates and get better services.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2017, 5:15 PM
JManc's Avatar
JManc JManc is online now
Registered Putz
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Houston
Posts: 20,842
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
yeah, the oak park/austin juxtaposition certainly isn't a typical arrangement.

you have a wealthy older inner ring burb where homes routinely sell in the upper 6 - 7 figures literally right next door to one of the most violent places in the nation.

it's a fragile balance.
I noticed that when we drove around Oak Park visiting all the FLW houses then back into Chicago proper.
__________________
Castigat ridendo mores
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #7  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2017, 5:25 PM
Sun Belt Sun Belt is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: SPF 50
Posts: 319
There is also the opposite effect occurring in large geographical cities like Los Angeles that annexed previously suburban/exurban entities. There is a steady and growing thought that as the city expanded to the hinterlands to absorb a tax base to fund other programs and projects that occur in far away locales, it has alienated those residents in the Valley, Venice, San Pedro and others. Los Angeles has had a few movements of succession from within the city because they feel they contribute an unfair amount of tax dollars for what they receive in return.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #8  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2017, 5:42 PM
M II A II R II K's Avatar
M II A II R II K M II A II R II K is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Toronto
Posts: 42,956
Perhaps the suburbs could merge with each other if not with the central city.
__________________
ASDFGHJK
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #9  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2017, 5:43 PM
10023's Avatar
10023 10023 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: London
Posts: 14,743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
yeah, the oak park/austin juxtaposition certainly isn't a typical arrangement.

you have a wealthy older inner ring burb where homes routinely sell in the upper 6 - 7 figures literally right next door to one of the most violent places in the nation.

it's a fragile balance.
And that's why this idea doesn't work.

Healthy inner-ring suburbs like Oak Park and Evanston don't want to merge with Chicago, and Chicago can't afford to take on the burden of more depressed neighborhoods.

You could try to unify Cook County and Chicago entirely, but good luck with that.
__________________
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." - Isaac Asimov
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #10  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2017, 7:57 PM
ChargerCarl ChargerCarl is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Los Angeles/San Francisco
Posts: 2,408
delete
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #11  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2017, 8:05 PM
Steely Dan's Avatar
Steely Dan Steely Dan is online now
Professional Midwesterner
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Edgewater, Chicago
Posts: 17,868
Quote:
Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
You could try to unify Cook County and Chicago entirely, but good luck with that.
yeah.

as jesus famously said in the bible, "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is to unify cook county into a single entity government."


but with Pizza God all things are possible.......
__________________
He has to go.

Last edited by Steely Dan; Oct 12, 2017 at 9:01 PM.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2017, 2:52 AM
the urban politician the urban politician is online now
The City
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Libertyville, IL
Posts: 13,391
^ I for one would love to see a city/county merger.

Get rid of redundant layers of Government, and Chicago catapults to being the second largest American city again
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #13  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2017, 2:57 PM
dc_denizen's Avatar
dc_denizen dc_denizen is online now
Selfie-stick vendor
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 4,780
Quote:
Originally Posted by JManc View Post
I noticed that when we drove around Oak Park visiting all the FLW houses then back into Chicago proper.
I decided against a walk from oak park into austin to see chicago proper...guess it was a good decision!
__________________
Joined the bus on the 33rd seat
By the doo-doo room with the reek replete
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #14  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2017, 3:28 PM
llamaorama llamaorama is offline
Unicorn Wizard!
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,946
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavlov's Dog View Post
Local taxation plays a massive role in this too. If taxation was at the state level only and then allocated on a per capita basis small suburbs would start merging with each other and not have problems providing basic services. The continual existence of local taxation means that rich people can congregate together, pay lower tax rates and get better services.
You could argue that inability to adequately raise local tax revenue also would have this effect, the richest suburbs would be even more aggressive about separating themselves from the poorer inner city. Atlanta, St. Louis, etc, they have balkanized suburbs which are also weak. What happens is you get places like Sandy Spring abandoning the rest of Dekalb(Fulton?) county to strike out on its own while low income black suburbs in the county get worse services. There is no win win outcome here I think.

When the State is more conservative or otherwise has an administration or ruling party that doesn't care about cities, a lack of local control means fewer resources and ability for a community to improve itself. This more accurately describes the majority of US states. The state can take away money for a public service that the community can and would choose self-fund with its own taxes.

I've been reading about that being a big problem in Wisconsin. Milwaukee is always getting punished by state lawmakers for something or another. It's a mediocre city compared others of similar size because it lacks the ability to do for itself the things it needs to do, from increasing the size of its police force to building transit. It has operated on a shoestring budget for a long time. It's surrounded by a morass of small independent towns and cities. There is no regional transit system, different town's bus systems can't even connect with one another.

Also this is supposedly true in the UK under Tory control too. The Grenfell Tower fire? Local councils had the government on their butt about cutting spending, more austerity, more privatization, etc. Put anyone in a management or leadership role under impossible circumstances and the usual human response is to cheat or lie.

State governments suck and waste taxpayer money to an extent that the more accountable local governments don't, IMO. "Education spending? Redirect it to pensions. Police and Fire funds? Redirect it to pensions. Highway and transit money? Let's use it to finance a privately operated toll roads, and pass a bill banning funds from being spent on bike lanes or sidewalks."

To me the solution is still local control AND mergers of smaller entities into larger ones. More regional districts for things like transit. I think we need fewer but larger municipalities. I also think we need stronger counties.

But I don't think making cities or suburbs dependent on the whims of rural and small town politics is a good idea. I also think even in progressive states, there's a level of detachment in state politics. Even if there was an entirely unitary system,its human nature that leaders and voters will start to generalize cities as if they were one person to be judged for failures and still not see them as dependent on their whims.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #15  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2017, 3:55 PM
JManc's Avatar
JManc JManc is online now
Registered Putz
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Houston
Posts: 20,842
Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
I decided against a walk from oak park into austin to see chicago proper...guess it was a good decision!
It's doable, just make sure you have a SEAL Team accompany you though.
__________________
Castigat ridendo mores
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #16  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2017, 5:12 PM
Centropolis's Avatar
Centropolis Centropolis is offline
crisis actor
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: mississippi basin
Posts: 7,594
Quote:
Originally Posted by llamaorama View Post

I've been reading about that being a big problem in Wisconsin. Milwaukee is always getting punished by state lawmakers for something or another. It's a mediocre city compared others of similar size because it lacks the ability to do for itself the things it needs to do, from increasing the size of its police force to building transit. It has operated on a shoestring budget for a long time. It's surrounded by a morass of small independent towns and cities. There is no regional transit system, different town's bus systems can't even connect with one another.
not to usurp your general point but i certainly wouldn't call milwaukee mediocre compared to other cities its size. in fact it almost certainly punches above its weight for a 1.5 million metro, lack of state support aside. it gives larger metro areas like indianapolis a run for their money.
__________________
finally, the cities were abandoned and the survivors fled in all directions, carrying the plagues with them.

william s burroughs, cities of the red night
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #17  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2017, 6:09 PM
goat314's Avatar
goat314 goat314 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: St. Louie
Posts: 447
Quote:
Originally Posted by Centropolis View Post
not to usurp your general point but i certainly wouldn't call milwaukee mediocre compared to other cities its size. in fact it almost certainly punches above its weight for a 1.5 million metro, lack of state support aside. it gives larger metro areas like indianapolis a run for their money.
You could argue that a similar situation is happening in St. Louis, with the outer ring suburbs and state government usurping everything the urban core tries to accomplish. With that said, I'm one of the people that thinks St. Louis should go nuclear, merge with it's inner ring suburbs, and become a city of 1.3 Million.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #18  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2017, 7:19 PM
JManc's Avatar
JManc JManc is online now
Registered Putz
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Houston
Posts: 20,842
Quote:
Originally Posted by goat314 View Post
You could argue that a similar situation is happening in St. Louis, with the outer ring suburbs and state government usurping everything the urban core tries to accomplish. With that said, I'm one of the people that thinks St. Louis should go nuclear, merge with it's inner ring suburbs, and become a city of 1.3 Million.
Aren't some of them a mess?
__________________
Castigat ridendo mores
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #19  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2017, 9:02 PM
Pedestrian's Avatar
Pedestrian Pedestrian is online now
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 2,676
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
in chicago's case, it seems that most older inner ring burbs are actually doing great or at least holding their own (evanston, wilmette, skokie, niles, park ridge, elmwood park, oak park, berwyn, cicero, riverside, oak lawn, evergreen park, etc., etc., etc.), but when you get into the suburbs of the deep south side that have become mostly black (harvey, dolton, south holland, calument city, etc.) the story there is more unfortunate.

as with so many, many things in this nation, it does appear to be a race thing.
I was gonna say: Why do we think these places aren't doing fine? I grew up in one (Silver Spring MD) when it was new and on the urban fringe but far as I know it's still fine. If not, though, it would have to be a county/state/district merger or something.
Reply With Quote
     
     
  #20  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2017, 11:52 PM
goat314's Avatar
goat314 goat314 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: St. Louie
Posts: 447
Quote:
Originally Posted by JManc View Post
Aren't some of them a mess?
Some are a mess, while others have some of the best schools and socioeconomic indicators in the Midwest. It's really a mixed bag, but I think the good would outweigh the bad.
Reply With Quote
     
     
This discussion thread continues

Use the page links to the lower-right to go to the next page for additional posts
 
 
Reply

Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Discussion Forums > City Discussions
Forum Jump


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 9:57 PM.

     

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.