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  1. #1
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    The future of urban sprawl?

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  2. #2
    Dare to be weird!
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    Gulp.

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    We are starting to see older burbs decay just like the cities did 30 years ago. Unfortunately, the population continues to push further from the cities searching for newer and safer subdivisions. White flight continues today but it's not from city to burb but from burb to exhurb!

  4. #4
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Interesting series of articles and pretty scary too. I have been aware of "inner" city decay for years as well as some of the attempts to counter act it in the smaller and medium sized towns. But to see something the size of Highland Park basically abandoned.... I wonder how many more areas there are like that around?

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  5. #5
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Don't you mean urban DECAY?

  6. #6
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    A great place to start a car free zone

    What I find interesting is this is what the sparwl will look like when if they car ever comes crashing down. Funny how we are shown this with the Model T in full view.
    My Youtube Cycling Videos Here

  7. #7
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    12 monkeys

  8. #8
    Dare to be weird!
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    Here's a 2005 article about being carfree in Detroit.

    http://www.thedetroiter.com/jan05/biking.html

  9. #9
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    My own creation:

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  10. #10
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordfasterr
    My own creation:

    I'd love to make a T-shirt from that, are you willing to part with a hi-res version?

  11. #11
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patc
    I'd love to make a T-shirt from that, are you willing to part with a hi-res version?
    This is the highest I've got: 640x480..

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  12. #12
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordfasterr
    This is the highest I've got: 640x480..
    I can work with that. Want a credit line? (Disclaimer: it may takes me months to get around to makign a t-shirt from this, but I do need to make more company shirts anyway.)

  13. #13
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Hmmm. Lots to digest here. The pictures make me very sad, like one of those haunting dreams....

    Highland Park, Michigan is my hometown. My parents moved there when I was 10 (1965) because they wanted their children to grow up in a racially integrated city. The elementary and middle school I attended is (WAS?) only two or three blocks from the municipal buildings depicted in the photos. Our beautiful home was a couple blocks further away, on McLean St. by Bush St.

    By the time I finished high school, Highland Park had experienced two major race riots and I was one of the few remaining white people in the city. I guess that's what happened to my parent's dream. Well, so it goes with dreams.

    Highland Park was known as the City of Trees and the City of Schools. As mentioned in the report, Henry Ford designed the city as a social experiment in support of his dreams of a personal empire. It was a wonderful vision, but it self-destructed due to the automobile and racism--ironically, two of the keystones in Ford's dream plan. The automobile made the suburbs possible, and racism impelled people to abandon the city.

    Like most modern dreams, Ford's was both daring and totally unsustainable. And so it goes....


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  14. #14
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheel
    A great place to start a car free zone
    You'd think so, but the entrenched corruption in city and county politics there would bring any plans to a screeching halt unless you have the money to buy them off, even if you are interested in a place that has been virtually or literally abandoned. It's been that way ever since Prohibition. One of the major reasons why my brother and I left...

  15. #15
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    I think what made these images particularly disturbing is the apparent suddenness of the abandonment: Uniforms left intact in lockers, etc. I can easily imagine the same thing happening in suburbs and small cities all over the country if the oil were to dry up before we're ready...

    BTW, in most cities I've been to recently, the central areas are the places that are booming, because that's where the people with money want to live. Those vast expanses of tract housing are the places that either suck now or soon will suck. It's like that HG Wells novel; the charmed elite in the center live lives of pleasure and luxury while the Morlocks out in the 'burbs toil away in crappy townhouses, simmering in resentment while they sit in line at the freeway on-ramp every morning at 7:00 AM, awaiting their chance to begin their 60-minute commute...
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  16. #16
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi
    I think what made these images particularly disturbing is the apparent suddenness of the abandonment: Uniforms left intact in lockers, etc. I can easily imagine the same thing happening in suburbs and small cities all over the country if the oil were to dry up before we're ready...

    BTW, in most cities I've been to recently, the central areas are the places that are booming, because that's where the people with money want to live. Those vast expanses of tract housing are the places that either suck now or soon will suck. It's like that HG Wells novel; the charmed elite in the center live lives of pleasure and luxury while the Morlocks out in the 'burbs toil away in crappy townhouses, simmering in resentment while they sit in line at the freeway on-ramp every morning at 7:00 AM, awaiting their chance to begin their 60-minute commute
    ...
    The decline of Highland Park was actually very gradual. White flight to the suburbs, which began in the 1960s, caused a surplus of housing. This led to a decline in real estate values which led to decreased property tax revenues. The auto companies pulled out of Highland Park--the Ford plant closed in the 1960s and Chrysler relocated it's world headquarters in the 1980s, IIRC--and the city lost both jobs and big revenue sources. Powerful police, fire, teacher and city worker unions negotiated big pension plans. When the population and number of workers shrank, the city was stuck trying to pay those big pension and health care costs.

    There was corruption also, as donnamb mentioned, but I'm not sure that played a large role in what happened to Highland Park, compared to economic and social forces.

    A skyrocketing crime rate--highest in the nation in some years in the 1970s--is what scared me away. Nobody knows what causes crime, but it's highly correlated with poverty, bad education, unemployment, etc.

    At any rate, things ot so bad that the city basically shut down a few years ago. The state came in and started running things--schools, government, almost everything.

    I did hear a little good news out of Highland Park recently. A new parts plant has opened, The first new housing construction in decades was initiated and special tax policies are working to some extent.


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  17. #17
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    The decline of Highland Park was actually very gradual. White flight to the suburbs, which began in the 1960s, caused a surplus of housing. This led to a decline in real estate values which led to decreased property tax revenues. The auto companies pulled out of Highland Park--the Ford plant closed in the 1960s and Chrysler relocated it's world headquarters in the 1980s, IIRC--and the city lost both jobs and big revenue sources. Powerful police, fire, teacher and city worker unions negotiated big pension plans. When the population and number of workers shrank, the city was stuck trying to pay those big pension and health care costs.

    There was corruption also, as donnamb mentioned, but I'm not sure that played a large role in what happened to Highland Park, compared to economic and social forces.

    A skyrocketing crime rate--highest in the nation in some years in the 1970s--is what scared me away. Nobody knows what causes crime, but it's highly correlated with poverty, bad education, unemployment, etc.

    At any rate, things ot so bad that the city basically shut down a few years ago. The state came in and started running things--schools, government, almost everything.

    I did hear a little good news out of Highland Park recently. A new parts plant has opened, The first new housing construction in decades was initiated and special tax policies are working to some extent.
    Interesting article in USAToday about this very subject...Also interesting is the current Highland Park website What will the Future hold???

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  18. #18
    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    I thought aout the plight of Highland Park overnight, and decided that it has nothing to do with urban sprawl. It has to do with the main employer in town leaving. A fair comparison can be made between highland Park and countless small farming-based towns in the Plains. These places deteriorated because the main source of employment disappeared. Corporate farming made the family farm unappealing as a job, and the people went elsewhere. Ford and Chrysler pulled up their roots in Highland Park, and the town went bankrupt.

    The race riots contributed to white flight to be sure, but if the jobs had been there, the city would look MUCH different than it does today.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooperwx
    I thought aout the plight of Highland Park overnight, and decided that it has nothing to do with urban sprawl. It has to do with the main employer in town leaving. A fair comparison can be made between highland Park and countless small farming-based towns in the Plains. These places deteriorated because the main source of employment disappeared. Corporate farming made the family farm unappealing as a job, and the people went elsewhere. Ford and Chrysler pulled up their roots in Highland Park, and the town went bankrupt.

    The race riots contributed to white flight to be sure, but if the jobs had been there, the city would look MUCH different than it does today.
    I agree with your take on the employer leaving town, but it is also going to occur when you don't have a core business district to depend on, such as happens in sprawl. When fuel prices get to the point that bigger businesses that are out in the middle of nowhere in these made up areas can no longer afford to get their stock to their stores they are going to abandoned the area and the people who live there won't be far behind. A couple of other towns come to mind. Elmira, NY was once home to the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (forerunner of Walmart? ) Elmira was also home to a lot of heavy industry that has long since moved away, it has areas that approach the desolation of Highland Park, but without the crime rate. I suspect the suddenness of the decline of HP played a major role in the problems. Another area that has been hard hit is the area north of Pittsburgh known as the rust belt. In fact I suspect you will find partially abandoned towns all over the country caused by the loss of manufacturing jobs and the relocation of manufacturing facilities offshore. Look at some of the old ghost towns in the west, as the mines closed down the towns were abandoned, just like Highland Park. Some areas have other economic forces driving their economies, for example Fayetteville, NC has lost over 10,000 manufacturing jobs in the past 25 years but those have be made up for in many ways by the influx of troops into Fort Bragg. I haven't bothered to track the income levels to see whether they have risen or fallen. I think we forget that at least in America cities and towns are dynamic and will shrink and grow based on many factors. In Europe most of the large cities have been established for over 1000 years, but they don't have the sheer space we have in the US. (sorry about the ramble, as I ride so do I write )

    Aaron
    Last edited by wahoonc; 02-22-07 at 09:11 AM.
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  20. #20
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooperwx
    I thought aout the plight of Highland Park overnight, and decided that it has nothing to do with urban sprawl. It has to do with the main employer in town leaving. .........
    Ok, good point. lol
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  21. #21
    Senior Member cooperwx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc
    I agree with your take on the employer leaving town, but it is also going to occur when you don't have a core business district to depend on, such as happens in sprawl.
    Good point, wahoo. Highland Park had nothing to fall back on. Ford/Chrysler was the only game in town. A core business district with a diversified corporate base would be MUCH less vulnerable.

    I think the crime came after housing prices fell off steeply. Suddenly, the lower class could afford to be there, and my guess is that many homeowners moved away and rented their old places, becoming absentee landlords. Some places were totally abandoned, lending themselves to squatters. This sudden influx of the lower class likely contributed to the insane crime rate. The rest of the tax base then moved out and you have what's there today: dilapidated, abandoned homes and brownfields.

    If anything, this is a sad case of over-dependence on a single employer/industry. For reasons Wahoo pointed out, the burbs are much more prone to this than a true business district.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Another thought wandered across my mind The small town we are establishing ourselves in has all the good things to look for in a small town for car free living. Including a fairly diversified manufacturing base. Unfortunately Walmart is one of the largest employers (go figure). However we do have several other non related industries that employ over 5,000 people and some of those have been there since the 1950's and have managed to survive. We do have rail service...but they don't stop anymore. And we on a major N/S interstate. All keys to the future in my book. As well as nearby agricultural communities.

    Aaron
    Last edited by wahoonc; 02-22-07 at 02:29 PM.
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  23. #23
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooperwx
    I thought aout the plight of Highland Park overnight, and decided that it has nothing to do with urban sprawl. It has to do with the main employer in town leaving. A fair comparison can be made between highland Park and countless small farming-based towns in the Plains. These places deteriorated because the main source of employment disappeared. Corporate farming made the family farm unappealing as a job, and the people went elsewhere. Ford and Chrysler pulled up their roots in Highland Park, and the town went bankrupt.

    The race riots contributed to white flight to be sure, but if the jobs had been there, the city would look MUCH different than it does today
    .
    Of course. Ford and Chrysler leaving were final blows for HP. But why did Ford and Chrysler leave? The answer to that question has a lot to do with urban sprawl.

    Ford had the first major auto assembly plant in HP. It's where $5 a day and all that stuff happened. Bt the 1950s, the plant was seriously outdated and Ford needed to close it. Instead of rebuilding in HP, they chose to relocate in outlying areas. One reason was that much of the work force had already moved to the suburbs, and many workers were commuting into the city for work.

    The case is even clearer for Chrysler. Their facility in HP was their world headquarters, employing executives and white collar workers. These people were already comfy in their suburbs, driving their Chrysler Newports down the Chrysler Freeway to work in the inner city--a less than comfy experience for many of them. So Chrylser moved their HQ to the burbs mainly, AFAIK, to please their high echelon workers.

    So sprawl, to some extent, caused the jobs to leave, and caused the decline of an inner city area. Of course these are interacting factors, and it's oversimplifying to say that there was one root cause. But I think it's quite clear that cars helped give rise to Highland Park, and cars have very nearly killed it.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  24. #24
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Another thing that some of the younger people may not remember is that crime rates in the 1970s and 1980s were much higher than they are now. Fear of crime was another factor in people leaving the city. Of course this was all balled up with racism and classism, and people were not always thinking clearly about the crime problem.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  25. #25
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    I once had an urban economics class. The phrase used by the instructor.
    Use, abuse, abandon. Seems all too appropriate. The energy future, the exurbs will suffer the same fate. All in the name of exodus; sort an urban adaptaion of go west young man. We have no idea what it is we are escaping from. I think it is because we just do not have to come to terms with living with one another.
    Last edited by cyclezealot; 02-22-07 at 12:03 PM.

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