Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Dead Cities, Second Cities, and more

1. A Top Ten List to Avoid: Whew! It's a list I'm mightily glad Charlotte is not on: "America's Dead Cities," from the website 24/7 Wall St. This paragraph did have me a bit worried: "Most of America’s Ten Dead Cities were once major manufacturing hubs and others were important ports or financial services [my emphasis] centers. The downfall of one city, New Orleans, began in the 1970s, but was accelerated by Hurricane Katrina." Only two cities in the South or the Sun Belt make the list, one at No. 5 and one at No. 10. (That sentence is corrected from my earlier miscounting).

2. Second City News: Tuesday's big news, in urban circles, was the surprise announcement from Chicago's Mayor For Life Richard M. Daley that he isn't running again, having served since 1989. Here's the Chicago Tribune's story from yesterday. The election is next February. "Daley's decision sets off a major power scramble following more than 20 years of stifled political ambitions in city politics" the Tribune article notes. Here are some of today's links. And here's a conversation between the New York Times' Gail Collins and David Brooks about what it takes to be a good mayor. Brooks basically gushes ("He is arguably the most accomplished mayor in America today.")

Collins, with an aside about Pete Rose, says she gets nervous gushing about any public figure who is still alive. Here's her take on Rahm Emanuel's possible candidacy: "My reaction to the idea of Rahm Emanuel as mayor is pretty much the same as my attitude toward the abortive attempt to get Rudy Giuliani elected governor. I can’t say I can imagine it working out, but I definitely think you could sell tickets to watch."

3. Urbanism and Libartarianism: Here's an interesting website called "Market Urbanism: Urbanism for Capitalists/Capitalists for Urbanism." In "Why does the Infrastructurist hate libertarians so much, " Stephen Smith writes: "Among urban planners, libertarianism gets a pretty bad rap. Melissa Lafsky at the Infrastructurist goes so far as to call libertarianism “an enemy of infrastructure,” and dismisses entirely the idea that private industry can build infrastructure ..." writes Stephen Smith. He says, "Here at Market Urbanism we’re used to these sorts of attacks from the left, and we work tirelessly to disassociate ourselves (well, mostly) from Reason’s brand of (sub)urbanist libertarianism."

Smith fingers the Progressive Movement for the end of mass transit. I wouldn't go that far, because General Motors certainly helped. But I'm reading Roberta Brandes Gratz' "The Battle for Gotham," in which Gratz, a friend of the late Jane Jacobs, writes about how Robert Moses' style of punching freeways through the city and disregard for the small businesses and people he displaces led to the city's 1970s and 1980s crime and disinvestment.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I count two cities on the gulf coast.

Mary Newsom said...

Re: Gulf Coast -- I'll rework that part. I think New Orleans isn't technically on the coast. Although with a few more hurricanes it might be. But thanks for the correction note.

Anonymous said...

In a way, it's good that the financial crash happened. It has forced Charlotte to re-examine everything about itself and set it up for another re-invention-gold, cotton, textiles, distribution, finance, now energy (and manufacturing and distribution again.)

No one would have wished for the financial calamity of 2008. But since it happened, Charlotte is making the best of it.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to check Galveston, but at least 9 of the 10 are run lock, stock and barrel by Democrat political machine politics. I grew up in suburban Detroit in the 60's. Yes, there actually was a time when Detroit didn't look like Berlin or Dresden circa 1946. Back then it was a great place to grow up. Nobody's left there anymore and I seldom go back, and never at night.

Anonymous said...

Well, look for the rest of America to look like Berlin or Dresden circa 1946 and current day Detroit if Obama stays in office!

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous 9/08/2010 07:31:00 PM said...

Well, look for the rest of America to look like Berlin or Dresden circa 1946 and current day Detroit if Obama stays in office!"


Didn't take long for someone to drag Obama into it, did it?

He's going to be in office for at least the next couple of years, so guess you better get used to it.

Anonymous said...

I guess it's all a matter of perspective. What seems "dead" to the people who created this list may not be dead to another. New Orleans, Cleveland and, yes, even Detroit are home to much more vibrant and sophisticated cultural institutions than we can claim here in Charlotte. To my mind, having access to lots of great art and music are part of what make a city alive. NOLa is currently one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. Granted, most of the growth is due to Katrina refugees returning home, but it's still hard to see how anyone could call that place dead.

tarhoosier said...

Minor issue: Eriecanal.org and other sources cite Troy, NY as the start of the Erie Canal (mentioned in the Albany note). Troy is just upstream from Albany and is noted as the end of the tidal stream for the Hudson River.
The Fall of Troy (New York)-I love to write that- was from the late 1800's. Albany from the mid 2000's.

Anonymous said...

GW Bush didn't make us look good either. The current decline happened as he was the head coach. Not exactly the Clinton 8 good years ...

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it but Charlotte is heading the same drection of these wastelands. The progressive (read socialists) running the local government are hellbent on taxing the producing citizens out of the city and county while luring more moochers and looters from other areas by providing more and more free taxpayer provided goodies. We would not need more affordable housing if the type of individual we tried to recruit as citizen did not have a criminal record but had a trade and a job to come here. But if you build it, the progressive voting dregs will come and Charloot will be on this list in no time.

Bréanainn Séaghdha said...

Anonymous 6:38PM: Correlation does not show causation. Most cities are run by democrats. On a list of failed cities AND a list of the most successful cities you are going to find democrats in charge. Another thing all those cities have in common? They are all adjacent to a river or body of water. Would it make sense to say that easy access to a waterway will kill a city? No, every major city has easy access to a water body.

Anonymous 7:31PM: Do you seriously think Obama is going to carpet bomb America? That's why Berlin and Dresden looked the way they did in '46. Berlin and Dresden today are world class cities, and Germany is one of the most progressive nations in the world.