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658132 Posts in 9262 Topics by 3396 Members Latest Member: - vlozan86 Most online today: 61 - most online ever: 494 (Jul 01, 2007, 02:59:53 PM)
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Author Topic: EXTRA EXTRA! Post all about it! (new news thread)  (Read 77358 times)
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jebreject
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Posts: 27071


« Reply #550 on: Mar 16, 2008, 11:51:08 AM »

Yeah, basically what's being talked about in that article is the one issue that really makes me wanna do like urban studies or sociology or whatever but in the end I'm far, far too lazy for that. It's something my friend Scott and I talk about a lot--and which some of us have discussed on here before, too--and I'm just completely intrigued by what seems to be happening in many major cities--the inner city being rebuilt and recovered and refinanced, and its former inhabitants being pushed further and further out. My concern is that working people are gonna be totally fucked when they're stranded on the cul de sac with gas at 10 bucks a gallon and no options for gainful employment out in the suburbs as all the shops close due to decreasing property values.
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jebreject
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Posts: 27071


« Reply #551 on: Mar 16, 2008, 11:53:15 AM »


Holy shit, that's fucking sick.
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I'm not racist, I've got lots of black Facebook friends.
Thermofusion
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Posts: 10000


« Reply #552 on: Mar 16, 2008, 12:19:13 PM »


This article hits on a number of interesting points.  I was born in Charlotte and lived there until I left for college, so I'll offer a little insight.

The article's central point (that the long post-war love affair with suburbia is over and the shift is back to urban development) is spot-on applicable pretty much everywhere I've lived, but especially in Charlotte.  Basically, the 1990s were the height of the suburban boom: huge swaths of ex-farmland were turned into cookie-cutter subdivisions (most of them middle class, but a a few McMansion communities, too) until the formerly rural southeastern and northeastern parts of Mecklenburg county were a spaghetti tangle of suburban subdivisions.  Most of the roads in these areas are narrow, two lane, rural roads with lots of curves through forests and around hills and completely ill-equipped to handle the amount of traffic forced upon them once the land switched from farms to cul-de-sac communities.  In some cases, the ex-rural roads have been widened to 4 lanes but by the nature of their design and isolation, it does little to mitigate the traffic problem.

My last year of high school, we moved into a typical middle-class suburban development that was built on the edge of old farmland and accessible only by one of those aforementioned roads.  20 years ago, this would've been considered the frontier but annexation rules in Meck. County are very lax and Charlotte generally assimilates any new development on its fringes so's to add to the tax base.  Anyway, traffic was a nightmare, you had to drive to get anywhere, the old rural roads were too curvy to safely handle suburban traffic (there were seemingly weekly accidents right in front of our subdivision) and whatever little value was to be gained by living in the burbs was cancelled out by the sheer frustration of the experience.  My parents divorced that year and neither of them wanted to keep that house (which has to be a first).

Anyway, flash forward to now: when I was back in Charlotte over the holidays, I drove through the old neighborhood and I'd estimate that roughly 25-30% of the houses had for-sale signs, one or two looked abandoned (as was the former sales center, which was perched in some wildly overgrown grass) and the general appearance of the community was starkly more bleak than I'd remembered it.  It was fucking eerie to see something that's soulless by definition, like suburbia, turn into a shadow version of itself. 

Meanwhile, the hot trend in Charlotte is gentrification of first-wave suburbs (small home communities that were on the fringes of the city back in the 50s and 60s but very much considered "inner-city" nowadays) and urban development.  Charlotte is still considered one of the few remaining hot real estate markets in the country and the big local development companies that built the now-dying suburbs back in the 90s have instead turned toward building urban lofts and condominiums for the young & moneyed along Charlotte's new rail transit system as the suburbs slowly choke to death.  As the privileged white class returns to the inner city, the poor minority populations get forced out to the suburban fringe, in a twisted reversal of the "white flight" phenomenon that fucking unnerves me to say the least.  There've been maybe one or two noble attempts at creating new, affordable apartment housing near the city center, but for the most part, it's $400k condos that are mushrooming up.

But still, it's insane to think that only ten years removed from the height of the housing boom, cities are looking at a scenario where the suburbs of the 90s are the new inner city.  And everyone holds a piece of the blame pie: the mortgage companies, obviously...the development companies who built the things and convinced first-time home buyers to take on the high-risk mortgages...the real estate companies who acted in the interest of the development companies instead of their customers...the city/county government for gleefully zoning ex-farmland for more environmentally-and-culturally-devastating suburban growth in the greed-minded purpose of expanding the tax base...and the home-buyers for never pinching themselves and realizing the Faustian gambit being offered by those self-interested parties offering them a slice of supposedly perfect American Suburbia at a price they couldn't actually afford.  What a sick, mad, disgusting legacy to close the century out on.
« Last Edit: Mar 16, 2008, 12:20:50 PM by Thermofusion » Logged

triple paisley minimum
slow west vultures
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Posts: 2326


« Reply #553 on: Mar 16, 2008, 01:35:07 PM »

that's a really interesting analysis thermofusion. 

but let's continue it here shall we

http://www.lastplanetojakarta.com/forums/index.php/topic,10206.0.html
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Ocean in view! O! The joy!
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