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Old December 24th, 2004, 07:15 PM   #1
edsg25
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missing piece in chicago's global position?

sorry. Mr. "I Wonder if" is back with another crazy question.

Obviously there is no question about this city's global status. the urban qualities we have in Chicago in areas of the arts, entertainment, business, museums, educational institutions, architecture, density, etc., speak for themselves.

Yet I wonder if one piece is still lacking: do we have the "draw power" to make us a destination not just for vacation and business, but for relocation? Of course we have a tremendous pull on students straight out of college from across the Midwest. We get the a piece of the same draw nationally as we end up being in that grouping with NY, SF, Bos, etc., that give students straight out of college what they want in a place to settle.

And certainly we continue to be the draw for immigrant groups from around the world...the same function we've served for a century and a half.

But other than that: are we drawing folks outside our region to come live in Chicago because of the urban experience it offers. My guess is: not nearly as much as we should. In other words: it just ain't happening.

Perceptions on this one from the rest of you: are we, in any way, exercising the drawing power of places like NY, London, etc.? As I said, in my mind and as of now: NO WAY.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 08:40 PM   #2
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I think yes, especially from smaller midwestern towns. People do relocate to Chicago. However, if some guy named P.J. Hayseed from Kansas wants to live in a real urban environment, I would say they would think of NYC first then Chicago. Overall we are attracting newcomers, especially for job opportunity. I see so many people driving cars with liscense plates from Michigan, Missourri, Ohio... all over the city. It's safe to assume they are not all just visitors. Recently the census came out with figures showing the est. pop. growth of states. The southern states are growing fast, as are the desert states. Illinois is holding it's own.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 10:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagogeorge
Recently the census came out with figures showing the est. pop. growth of states. The southern states are growing fast, as are the desert states. Illinois is holding it's own.
interesting you mention that. Illinois is gaining more gross population than any other northern state in the country, so id say we are holding our own quite well
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Old December 24th, 2004, 11:00 PM   #4
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We are 5th in terms of total population, and 10th in terms of raw population gains for 2004. BTW, I think many of the larger states including Illinois are grossly undercounted. I'l bet that by the time the 2010 census comes around, Illinois will have over 13.5 million people, and Chicago will have gained around 100,000 or more residents pushing it over the 3 million mark (even though they estimated that chicago has lost 22,000 since the 2000 census), especially with all the revitalization projects going on in the city.. All through out the 90's, the census was estimating population losses for Chicago and in the end it had gained over 120,000 people. In fact I had read recently that the hispanic population is growing faster that it was in the 90's so that may boost the city's (and metro area) even further.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 11:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagogeorge
We are 5th in terms of total population, and 10th in terms of raw population gains for 2004. BTW, I think many of the larger states including Illinois are grossly undercounted. I'l bet that by the time the 2010 census comes around, Illinois will have over 13.5 million people, and Chicago will have gained around 100,000 or more residents pushing it over the 3 million mark (even though they estimated that chicago has lost 22,000 since the 2000 census), especially with all the revitalization projects going on in the city.. All through out the 90's, the census was estimating population losses for Chicago and in the end it had gained over 120,000 people. In fact I had read recently that the hispanic population is growing faster that it was in the 90's so that may boost the city's (and metro area) even further.
Come 2010 Metropolitan Chicago will have at least 10.5 million people with slightly over 3 million living inside the city limits. Mark my words.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 11:43 PM   #6
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^
Word.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 11:58 PM   #7
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guys...i'm in total agreement. but more than anything else, you are mentioning (and rightfully so) the MIDDLE WEST.

that was never the issue.

but if Chicago is truly gloabl, as we have every reason to believe, than why doesn't it attract more of the brightest and best from beyond the region (discounting immigration, the nature of which differs from the type of movement I've described).

*******************

I'm going to also take a little side bar to my original thought, but still keep it related.

Chicago may very well be the most event oriente city in the world (Taste, Blues Fest, Jazz Fest, Mac Race, Marathon, Venitian Night, Air and Water....the list goes on and on.)

Events put you up there in front of the nation. Some like the Marathon are highly visible internationally.

At one time, Chicago led the way in high profile sporting events. We invented MLB's All Star game and had the NFL champ vs. the best of college football in a yearly classic at Soldier Field.

Yet today, we have put our visiblity at zero.

I realize that we made a conscious decision to keep the new Soldier Field outdoors (even though the trend has been to convertible roofed stadiums). I also realize the UC, for however large, still has size limitations.

But I still have to wonder: are we missing out on something that may not be that big financialy for the city but would bring the city enormous positive exposure....I'm talking about Super Bowl, Final Four, etc. We've shunned those and, unlike other major American cities, promotional conscious Chicago has also shunned any attempt for an Olympic bid.

I don't know about others, but I see a helluva lot of irony in this.
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Old December 25th, 2004, 04:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dampyre
Come 2010 Metropolitan Chicago will have at least 10.5 million people with slightly over 3 million living inside the city limits. Mark my words.
I just don't get why the 2003 census actually showed Chicago losing 27,000 people. Sure, they screwed up their counts in the 1990's, but what makes you guys think the same thing will happen this decade?
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Old December 25th, 2004, 06:24 AM   #9
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Chicago faces a dilemma where, while it is well-known within the US... it has an image of negative stereotypes: crime, corruption, decaying hellhole, etc. It's turned itself around, but there's still work to be done. The image of Chicago many people in this country have in their minds is a stark contrast to the Chicago that other people know exists, and to be honest... the good side of Chicago is actually well known overseas. It's a case of Americans not knowing what is in their own "backyard" I guess. I think that's beginning to change though.
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Old December 25th, 2004, 07:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dampyre
Come 2010 Metropolitan Chicago will have at least 10.5 million people with slightly over 3 million living inside the city limits. Mark my words.
i accept your offer, and raise you .5 million in the metro, and .1 in the city!
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Old December 25th, 2004, 02:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail Claimore
Chicago faces a dilemma where, while it is well-known within the US... it has an image of negative stereotypes: crime, corruption, decaying hellhole, etc. It's turned itself around, but there's still work to be done. The image of Chicago many people in this country have in their minds is a stark contrast to the Chicago that other people know exists, and to be honest... the good side of Chicago is actually well known overseas. It's a case of Americans not knowing what is in their own "backyard" I guess. I think that's beginning to change though.
Rail, I know you're not trying to be negative; your last comment proves this. But you are so far off base on your observation. I have no doubt that most Americans have a pretty damned favorable impression of Chicago.

This city is the #1 business destination in the country, still a powerhouse in the convention trade, and a mecca for tourists. People pour in here in droves. The impreession they have is hardly of crime, corruption, or a hellhole on any level. The only hell I hear about from out-of-towners is "how the hell can anyone afford to live here"

I'm not saying this in defense of Chicago which needs one and which I have stated many times that people are entitled to their opinions. It just comes from my experience with out-of-towners (through meeting them, through reading, etc.) and my impression of what they think is about 180 degrees removed from what you are observing.

Now I don't know what they are thinking in Birmingham, Mobile, Tuscaloua, Huntsville, etc, but from the rest of the US, the windy city is getting some pretty damned good vibes.

Other Chicagoans (or non-Chicagoans), how do you see this? Do you think my perceptions are off here?
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Old December 26th, 2004, 08:26 AM   #12
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"Now I don't know what they are thinking in Birmingham, Mobile, Tuscaloua, Huntsville, etc, but from the rest of the US, the windy city is getting some pretty damned good vibes.

Other Chicagoans (or non-Chicagoans), how do you see this? Do you think my perceptions are off here?"

I really do. I think you probably talk with a circle of intelligent people who like big cities, and intelligent people who like big cities are probably going to like Chicago. But you know what, most people don't think of big cities as a good place to live. They like suburbs, or they like rural areas. Also the intelligence, or better-put, the open-mindedness of the average person is not necessarily great. I have lived in Evanston and Madison, I have met people from all over Wisconsin, and if they are any kind of good sample, Chicago--especially outside of North Michigan Avenue--is not exactly well-thought-of. Even very liberal people were skeptical of the safety of walking around any neighborhoods in Chicago. You would be amazed at what people say. One person told me they might want to live in an apartment, but were averse to living in an apartment, because "only poor people live in apartments." And this was a person whose politics were far to the left of mainstream Democrats. I've been told by people in Madison and Evanston that New York and Los Angeles are the only "real" cities in America. I was in Lakeview once with some people from Evanston, on a very pretty street, and I said something about how it would be nice to live there; my companions sort of rolled their eyes and said, "Yeah, I guess so." I have met lots of people who complained that Madison's traffic was grueling. I think we on this message board--and most likely in who we talk to in real life--are very, very skewed. Frankly, all you have to do is look at the election results to know that.
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Old December 26th, 2004, 08:27 AM   #13
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^ "Might want to live in Chicago, but were averse to living in an apartment..." is what that should say.
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Old December 26th, 2004, 08:31 AM   #14
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^ And if I could elaborate on that.

Most people do not want to live in big cities. But they will visit places like New York or Los Angeles and say, "Well, it's great to visit but I wouldn't want to live there." Those cities still have a certain magic for them, pretty much because of what they see on TV and in movies. Chicago does not have that charm for the vast majority of Americans. That's why we truly are in the second tier--or even third or fourth--of American cities in the minds of the American public.
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Old December 26th, 2004, 10:01 AM   #15
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^That's also only natural for a city like Chicago, when you think about its history and why it was founded. Chicago is one of those cities that are well thought of in some circles that Chicago caters well to, but unlike New York or Los Angeles, or even Washington DC, Chicago's importance is not entrenched in the minds of most Americans based on what they see or hear, whether it be media, word of mouth, or just vibe in general. Chicago has always been that central Midwestern metropolis that got its importance and has maintained its importance by pulling strings off stage, being established by and thus selling itself to the right people for such a job, not Hollywood actors.
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Old December 26th, 2004, 11:36 AM   #16
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^ Yeah. I still love Chicago above all other cities, but I'm realistic about our standing with the rest of the American public. And frankly, as much as it frustrates me sometimes, it's not all bad. I've commented about this before: we are a city with only one true tourist trap (Navy Pier).
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Old December 26th, 2004, 05:05 PM   #17
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Oshkeoto, I respect your opinions and we've disagreed on some of this before, but I still gotta say:

you and I are poles apart on a lot of these issues.

Now I would dismiss (like you) folks who dislike cities since they are meaningless to the discussion. However, on other issues:

1. you know I know Evanston well and spent many, many years living there. Most of the people who live in Evanston do so because of proximity to Chicago. And Evanston, a truly neat place, went through its own stagnant malaise during the 70's, 80's and early 90's. And what drew it out of that stagnation? Chicago. Close in Evanston suddenly became the place to be. What has fueled downtown Evanston and Chgo Ave growth: Metra and CTA.

2. Most midwesterners (and particularly most Wisconsinites) who bash Chicago are really bashing suburban Chicago. That's where most of the FIP's come from that pisses off Wis.

3. NYC, of course, continues to be a magnet for Chicagoans and others. But LA? I think it barely makes the radar here. Even if you look on this board, it is the LA forumers that whine the loudest for not getting respect; something that is far less true of Chgo. I don't know about you, but I can think of very few Chicagoans nowadays who say, "Let's go on a trip; how about LA?" (unless, of course, they have relatives there. everybody does.)

4. Provenicalism can exist in the city as well as the suburbs. How many Chicagoans wouldn't be caught dead making a pleasure trip to the suburbs (unless that trip was to Ravinia)? It exists on both sides; actually all sides

5. I still have to say from personal experience and through reading that Chicago is eminently respected as a city. It is hardly unusual when you read that, for example, among MLB baseball players, it was by far their favorite city.

Again, I know you see it differently, but my experiences sure have taken me in a different direction than yours have on these perception issue.
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Old December 26th, 2004, 05:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25
3. NYC, of course, continues to be a magnet for Chicagoans and others. But LA? I think it barely makes the radar here. Even if you look on this board, it is the LA forumers that whine the loudest for not getting respect; something that is far less true of Chgo. I don't know about you, but I can think of very few Chicagoans nowadays who say, "Let's go on a trip; how about LA?" (unless, of course, they have relatives there. everybody does.)
^I think Oskeoto was not referring to people on this forum, but the general public. People on this forum overwhelmingly prefer Chicago over LA, but that is because of the architecture/urban-planning mindset of the population that actually visits SSC. If you take the general public, most of them would be much less likely to recognize Chicago's importance, with the exception of experts in finance & economics.

Therefore, if a poll were done in the general public, NYC and LA would be considered the top cities in this country due to the overwhelming attention they get--even though most experts know better. Chicago truly is the unsung hero--its contribution to theater, arts, finance, commerce, architecture, human rights, advertising, etc are second only to New York's, but it doesn't have Hollywood and E!, therefore nobody really cares or notices.
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Old December 26th, 2004, 08:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Urban Politician
^I think Oskeoto was not referring to people on this forum, but the general public. People on this forum overwhelmingly prefer Chicago over LA, but that is because of the architecture/urban-planning mindset of the population that actually visits SSC. If you take the general public, most of them would be much less likely to recognize Chicago's importance, with the exception of experts in finance & economics.

Therefore, if a poll were done in the general public, NYC and LA would be considered the top cities in this country due to the overwhelming attention they get--even though most experts know better. Chicago truly is the unsung hero--its contribution to theater, arts, finance, commerce, architecture, human rights, advertising, etc are second only to New York's, but it doesn't have Hollywood and E!, therefore nobody really cares or notices.
I was also referring to off the forum. And I do agree about NY. As far as LA goes, IMHO it has lost some of its hold. Also, away from this forum, I see a lot of interest and positive thoughts about Chicago. Again,it's all opinion here, but I generally pick up good vibes from others about Chicago. I suppose there is no real answer here.
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Old December 27th, 2004, 12:56 AM   #20
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The only thing Chicago needs for "draw power" is the ability to attract businesses and development, which it has been doing quite well. Then, people will follow the jobs to Chicago, realize how awesome it truly is, tell others about it, and eventually their kids will live in Chicago, too.
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