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Does "your city" have a fighting chance?

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What does it take to move forward, or even "keep up with the times" in todays world?

Is "your city" or better yet, what city has the best chance at "making it"

The forces affecting Cities around the world are as varried as the people that live in the Adobe Hovels or gleaming glass skyscrapers. is your urban pride wrapped up in a nice place that is destined to slowly lose standing in the regional national continental and global playing field?

Most people on this board are American and most Americans do not get the expreience of living abroad or even traveling abroad too much(statisticaly). So I understand most have a les global answer, but at least on a continental level does your city have "it"

What I am talking about is not based on a 90's sun belt population boom, or an '80s office boom, or even a '05 condo boom. Does your city have the toold it will need to stay competative in 2018? 2028?2058?2108?

now we can not completely predict technology, but lets look at some key factors.


is your city destined to be an outer hub for an all ready major city? (I am looking at you Wilmingtin DE, or New Haven CT, or Milwaukee WI, Buffalo NY,San Diego CA etc...)

Is your city the main city in your state?

will there be governmental favoritism?

will there be countless state jobs?

Is your city well connected?

by air

by Highway

by rail

Is there a port?

international anything?

Is your city a superregional leader?

Salt Lake City?Denver? Minneapolis

yes you guys dominate huge areas of this country and therefore benefit from everything that happens within hundreds of miles of of your airport or CBD.

My city.. Hartford is a red headed step child between Boston and NY. two cities that truely matter in America, and actually mater internationally.

Mega Corps?

is the fortune 500 something your city aspires to or dominate? or do they just want to be listed?

how much influence do the top 10 CEO's of your city have on the face of this earth?

do they manage trillions of dollars in bank deposits like they do in Charlotte, and NY or is it insurance money like in Hartford, NY and Minneapolis? or is it manufacturing like Stamford with GE? or resources in Houston? or media in NY and LA?

Does your city have mass transit? you know london, Moscow, Tokyo NY do. do you want to compete? will you ever have a chance to compete?

will you run out of water? LA, PXH and Vegas come to mind :P

Is there a national government building your infrastructure and subsidizing your industry therefore creating jobs and a supposed utopian affluent lifestyle?

Dubai and DC?

are the corporate and therefore employment leaders in your city take over targets? now 10 years from now?

lets talk in reality?

where does it stand

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Great topic.

I have two exes that I've remained friends with, and have travelled with on occasion - one grew up in India, the other in China, and both often commented upon the newness of even older American cities. It got me wondering what we will age into - we tend to intensely scrutinize things like the rise of the New South or the West, and the declines in the Northeast, but these phenomena have occurred in a very short historical time frame - I think, in the US and probably Canada as well - cities that even date to the 1600s or 1700s may yet still be finding their balance - what they will level off as, moving into a more long-range time frame. The rise of the US steel industry, the Auto industry, or Technology are all singular episodes in history, and a city that becomes a global, historical city I think will have, or will develop other kinds of singular episodes which will have a similar, unexpected impact that ripples through a region, the nation or the world. Those will be the cities that will live on, even when experiencing a bad decade, or even a bad century.

I also think part of it - in addition to the above - attentiveness to history can't be overstated. Everything is history - there are rust belt declines that have been framed in tragic terms in a zillion posts, papers and studies, and it's tragic, but it's still a piece of history deserving of through preservation, because it (both the rise and the fall) will remain relevant in other places, it is unique to a fairly specific area, it left (in the good years) a phenomenal legacy, and because the shifting currents of economy, social and environmental concerns, politics and history means that some of those cities will manage a rise from the ashes. When and where can't be known, and it may be later and not sooner, but it will happen. And when it does, a living example of "where we've come from" gives a place a kind of grounding and soul that one gets from the great old world cities, even the most spotless of which (now) have been through hell at times in their histories.

When it comes to global power and influence, I don't know if there's room for much more in the US. But I do wonder if one or two (and probably not much more than that) of our smaller cities might stake out a niche in global relevance - I'm thinking of something akin to Geneva, which is a city of about 200,000 people, but also one of the most important cities in the world. Size (or skylines, or the usual round of high-profile new-city urban decorations) is usually key to global importance, but not an absolute requirement. And - looking across the hemisphere, it will be interesting to see what rises and what falls in Latin America as well.

Regarding mega corporations and government: an awful lot of sunbelt boomtowns are either political cities, or are massively dominated by one industry. A lack of economic diversity can and will bring the good times to an eventual end.

Regarding water woes: the Southeast had better watch out as well, and heavy coastal development anywhere is increasingly a very unsustainable and bad idea. The Great Lakes value as a resource is going to grow astronomically in the future.

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  • 1 month later...

A very thoughtful reply.

I think cities like Detroit are not dead or dying. I think Detroit is going through what Rome went through after the fall of the empire. The American automobile empire was a lot like the old conquering armies of yore. they left from the mother city spread across the land and sent money back to the core city. Detroit was once a shining example with the auto industry minting money. The empire has now fallen, and American cars do not sell particularly well even in Amerrica, and they are not made near detroit any more either. so it is a bad time. It may remain a bad time in Detroit for another 50 years, but in 50 years things change. look at what computers did for San Jose, or IT did for Seattle in the last 20 years. Detroit may never have a boom like it did at the turn of the last century, but it will find other industries, and some day the auto industry will be but a footnote in its history.

I wonder what the maximum potential of places like Atlanta will be. or Charlotte even. They both seem to have had been annointed stars of the south, but Atlanta is now running out of water. Will ATL figure out a solution for the next 300 years? Will the current troubles with banking be the downfall of Charlotte like the rise of BOA and Wachovia were what made it relevent.

What is the potential that a place like the Twin Cities? it seems well positioned.

How much longer will the population of the US spread west and southward? the North East is allready stabalizing and showing growth in some places. The rust belt is now the loss leader for population shift.

The North East Cities have a tremendous capacity to hold more people than currently. Cities like Hartford, Providence, Buffalo etc are all making strides, but are also still well below their peak populations of 60 years ago.

I think in North America

New york is a lock as a global city.

I think Toronto is also a lock

I think Miami is most likely to be another, but only time will tell.

San Francisco/San Jose also seems like it will always have a global relevance.

But I can not for sure annoint any of the West Coast cities as the clear focus of the West coast.

LA, Seattle, Vancouver, SF all are major players right now, but one earth quake could change a lot. LA's lack of sustainability is also a problem, and of course a nucular act of terrorism could again change a lot anywhere. but lets not go there...

Chicago also seems a lock

NY, CHI,TOR, MIAMI, some west coast city/cities

Furher south, I see Mexico City maturing right now, but it still has a long long way to go before it can stand next to any major first world city.

On a more local scale I wonder what the "end game" will be for places like Hartford. right now it is still its down city, MSA, CMSA. it is the big city around here, but a small city regionally and tiny nationally. Globally we hardly exist. But in 50 years, assuming the US has doubled, the western spread would have all but stopped, and the bigger cities in the East regained growth.

in 50 years will Hartford grow exponentally since it is geographicly is a good spot between NY and Boston? as the NE becomes more and more urban it is a logical assumption that the 2nd tier cities will have a rebirth and attract people as well as jobs. Hartford due to its location will likely not become a satalite to NY or Boston. possibly never, and as such has the potential to attract a disporportionate amount of business. Sure providence and Stamford will swell with commuters to Boston and New york respectively, but at a certain point current technology makes Hartford as its own city a necessessary evil.

I wonder how it will all work out because right now our government is not gery helpful, but at some point there will have to be a government that recognizes the importance of cities in our national/global econemy.

sorry for all the typos and spelling errors. I was rushed

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  • 2 months later...

I think it has potential. For one, Texas is relatively well-off compared to a lot of other states currently. Tyler has a regional airport which underwent some upgrades in '03, although it still just receives turboprop commuter planes and the odd private jet. It's reasonably close to Interstate 20, but even more importantly, it connects to several of Texas' excellent state highways. There's a rail line through town, but no passenger service.

Population has been steadily increasing and there's a ton of new construction here. It doesn't have the distinction of being an exceptionally important city in Texas, but it does have a University of Texas campus as well as a junior college and Texas college, an all-black institution.

Still, despite the UT campus, there's a lack of diversity here I find striking. It's not really a skin color issue, but rather a cultural issue. In terms of food, architecture, music - it's stagnant here, and to someone who grew up in one of the most culturally diverse areas in the nation (San Francisco Bay Area), I do feel a certain amount of constriction here, and have found if not an outright dislike, than at least an uncomfortability towards someone such as myself here. Along with that I think the area still lacks in intellectual capital as well. I have talked to quite a few people who have good practical experience - something Texans excel at - but little in terms of broad conceptual knowledge on how things work.

In the future, I see Tyler expanding both in its current role as a retirement community, as well as a blue-collar, but middle-class neighborhood. Trane (American Standard) is a longtime employer here, and with the Goodyear plant slated for closing (maybe?), I feel Tyler will try to pull as many skilled manufacturing jobs its way as it can.

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