Tuesday, April 27, 2010

BofA-sponsored report raps sprawl

A new article in Harvard Business Review "Back to the City" predicts a major cultural and demographic shift away from suburbia and back toward central cities.
It cites United Air Lines' plan to move its operational center to downtown Chicago from the suburb of Elk Grove, and Walgreens buying New York drugstore chain Duane Reade, "signaling a deliberate decision to improve its capabilities in urban settings."

Interestingly, it says:

"A recent report sponsored by Bank of America, the Greenbelt Alliance and the Low Income Housing Fund examines the inefficiencies of the current “geographical mismatch between workers and jobs.” Focusing on California, it says that sprawl “reduc[es] the quality of life,” “increase[s] the attractiveness of neighboring states,” and yields “higher direct business costs and taxes to offset the side-effects of sprawl”— which include transportation, health care, and environmental costs."

"To put it simply," the HBR article says, "the suburbs have lost their sheen: Both young workers and retiring Boomers are actively seeking to live in densely packed, mixed-use communities that don’t require cars—that is, cities or revitalized outskirts in which residences, shops, schools, parks, and other amenities exist close together. "


tarhoosier said...

I have been here near downtown for 36 years. I have seen the flight of the refugees and the rediscovery of the urban delight by their children now my neighbors. Welcome from one who never left. Remember to follow your historic district standards

Sam said...

And of course since Haaaavvvaaad says it, it must be so. Right Mary????

Bob said...

Tonight's Wall Street Journal even discusses Wal-Mart building smaller stores to start moving out of the burbs:


Larry said...

So this is what the grave stone of the Great American Dream looks like?

America is too big to have small dreams. Ronald Regan.

Maybe we should quit listening to these professionals and get our country and our dreams back on track!

FKACato said...

Mary, the full quote that from the Greenbelt Alliance "report" regarding California's competitiveness (not really much new data in it - mostly a predictable smart-growthy wish list) is as follows:

"Adverse impacts on the state's business climate. By reducing the quality of life, sprawl has made California a less desirable location for business owners and potential employees. By increasing suburban resistance to further growth, sprawl has made it difficult for businesses to relocate and expand in California. Both these trends increase the attractiveness of neighboring states such as Arizona, Nevada, and Utah." [Emphasis mine]

Do you think the states mentioned have any less sprawl than California? I was under the impression that Arizona and Nevada, in particular, were teeming with it in their metro areas.

Could California's relative unattractiveness for new business be related to something else? And could that possibly be related to, oh I don't know, the same reason that its fiscal health is quickly going the way of Greece's?

Algernon said...

Personally I believe there should be an urban sprawl czar to investigate this matter further.
People are easier to control, keep track of and tax when in close proximity to one another.

Samuel said...

Who gives a flip what Harvard says other than lemming liberals?

Mary Newsome obviously desires that we all live stacked up in high rise condos. High rise condos are fine, and it's great that certain people prefer them. For many of us who like wide open spaces, we don't want to live all stacked up.

This is about freedom - freedom to live where and how you like. Judging from Newsome's past columns, she desires that govt give strong incentives, or even require, we live in hi rise condos.

Newsome - if you want govt to tell you where and how to live, go to a wonderful place like Cuba or Venezuela. But until the US turns socialist {not that crazy in the present time, unfortunately], then I'll choose where & how I live, thank you.

Bob said...
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Bob said...

I laugh when the suburbanites bring up the forced march to the condos thing.

Thanks to government incentives (FHA loans limited to single family houses), government paid infrastructure (interstate highways) and local zoning (which increased the difficulty of putting residential space in town) there have been essentially zero options for intown living since the mid 1960s.

Until the government subsidies for suburban living are taken away yall's whining about being forced out of the burbs just sounds childish.

Entree said...

Mary Newsome (the messenger) sure gets bashed a lot in this column.

What's up with that people?

Is it the way she delivers her message?, the message itself?, or just an arena for trumpeting the act bashing itself?

James said...

Mary, have you been to Tokoyo, people on top of people....you would love it.

Larry said...

"Blogger Entree said... Mary Newsome (the messenger) sure gets bashed a lot in this column. What's up with that people? Is it the way she delivers her message?, the message itself?, or just an arena for trumpeting the act bashing itself? 4/28/2010 06:30:00 AM"

Actually she cut me off when I tried to get over on Independence one day and I vowed to get my revenge on Her for the rest of my life.

Bill said...

To the flat-earthers:

Can you please locate anything in the report that would prohibit you from living anywhere you please? I do think it addresses several key points. First, the long-term sustainability of urban sprawl is questionable. If you're willing to pay your fair share of the infrastructure costs, please move out into the country. But, don't come complaining when your taxes are applied accordingly.

Mary Newsom said...

Larry, did I really cut you off? If so, I apologize. If that was a joke, then :-)

And other commenters, please note, it's Newsom, not Newsome.

consultant said...

Just for the record:

Every recent and current top manager at BofA should get the same treatment as the Golddigger Sachs people. All of them are criminals.

But what gets me is that collectively, as a society, we just can't seem to get up a head of steam and do some serious rounding up, indicting, prosecuting and convicting what amounts to the most obvious, widespread acts of criminal behavior in the history of crime.

All the shoutin' on Capital Hill and finger waving won't change the behavior of our Wall St. criminal gangsters (BofA included).

What would happen, if say, one fourth (1/4th) of the top Wall St. & Charlotte bankers were black men?


You think OJ TV, 24/7 was a lot? The networks would drop their prime time lineups. Unemployment would drop because so many people were being hired to help track down and prosecute what would be called, "The Most Depicable Acts in The History of The World!".

There would have been no bailout. Every prosecutor in the country would have been put on notice to help carry the work load to bring these criminals to justice. And boy, we would have got us some good old justice.

But.., no, that's not going to happen. White guys wreck the world and well, that's okay. Just boys being boys.

From here on out, most of the moving going on in this country is going to be with a decided step down the economic ladder. You can thank the BBoys on Wall St. and in Charlotte for that. Most of the country seems okay with that.

We're all screwed of course. But I guess that's okay too.

tylerChill said...
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tylerChill said...

The whole idea of suburbs as a dominant way of life is a failure. Trumpeting personal freedom at the expense of your country is anti-American.

There will always be anti-American failures among us who need to satisfy their anti-social needs at the expense of this great country.

But I, for one, like being with people in my city and love my country enough to do what's best for it.

God bless the USA

Lana said...

Uptown condos are sprouting cobwebs or going apartment; meanwhile there are 10 $300-500K homes under construction in my suburban neighborhood (being built by a company that doesn't do specs, so they all have flesh-and-blood buyers).

Looks like real people aren't buying your snake oil, Mary.

Frank said...

I'm not buying the argument that abolishing states empowers cities. These are mayors of central cities that are surrounded by dozens of municipalities comprising an overall metropolitan region. Perhaps state legislators would be more responsive to these mayors if their respective cities (i.e. municipal boundaries) actually had the resident populations to make them more significant to legislative bodies.