Suburban Decline

A few excerpts from an excellent article by Michael Gecan:

In DuPage County near Chicago, Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York, in Montgomery and Baltimore Counties in Maryland, in Bergen and Essex and Middlesex Counties in New Jersey, in almost every mature suburb in the northeast and Midwest and mid south, families face … suburbia’s midlife crisis. It may be part of America’s midlife crisis as well.

No longer young, no longer trendy, no longer the place to be, no longer without apparent limitations or constraints, these places, like people, have developed ways of avoiding reality.

We have moved a long way from the vision of the nation that Abraham Lincoln described in his Message to Congress, on July 4, 1861, “To elevate the condition of man . . . To lift artificial weights from all shoulders; To clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all; To afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life…” “All” is what FDR had in mind when he formulated the New Deal. It is not a word you hear in the public arena—city, county, state, or nation—these days.

(In Chicago) the Democratic machine and its allies have fought an increasingly costly rear-guard action for nearly half a century. At the end of that period, the image of the city has been burnished, but Chicago is basically broke. Housing abandonment, homelessness, and foreclosure rates are all at historic highs. 34 public school children were murdered during the 2006-7 school year alone. The police force staggers under multiple charges of abuse and corruption. The old bungalow bedrock of the city—blue-collar and tax-paying—has disappeared.

During the most productive years of its housing revival, New York City spent more than the next fifty American cities combined on housing creation and rehabilitation. It shows. The return on this investment is incalculable.

Many of the current political structures and leaders are either unable or unwilling to deal with new realities.

There may be a need for less government and more planning.

New kinds of money, from new sources, used in creative ways, will be required if cities, counties and regions are to revive.

Read the whole thing here.

via

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Suburban Decline

A few excerpts from an excellent article by Michael Gecan:

In DuPage County near Chicago, Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York, in Montgomery and Baltimore Counties in Maryland, in Bergen and Essex and Middlesex Counties in New Jersey, in almost every mature suburb in the northeast and Midwest and mid south, families face … suburbia’s midlife crisis. It may be part of America’s midlife crisis as well.

No longer young, no longer trendy, no longer the place to be, no longer without apparent limitations or constraints, these places, like people, have developed ways of avoiding reality.

We have moved a long way from the vision of the nation that Abraham Lincoln described in his Message to Congress, on July 4, 1861, “To elevate the condition of man . . . To lift artificial weights from all shoulders; To clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all; To afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance, in the race of life…” “All” is what FDR had in mind when he formulated the New Deal. It is not a word you hear in the public arena—city, county, state, or nation—these days.

(In Chicago) the Democratic machine and its allies have fought an increasingly costly rear-guard action for nearly half a century. At the end of that period, the image of the city has been burnished, but Chicago is basically broke. Housing abandonment, homelessness, and foreclosure rates are all at historic highs. 34 public school children were murdered during the 2006-7 school year alone. The police force staggers under multiple charges of abuse and corruption. The old bungalow bedrock of the city—blue-collar and tax-paying—has disappeared.

During the most productive years of its housing revival, New York City spent more than the next fifty American cities combined on housing creation and rehabilitation. It shows. The return on this investment is incalculable.

Many of the current political structures and leaders are either unable or unwilling to deal with new realities.

There may be a need for less government and more planning.

New kinds of money, from new sources, used in creative ways, will be required if cities, counties and regions are to revive.

Read the whole thing here.

via

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