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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Which do you see poised to perform better in the years to come: big Rustbelt cities (e.g., Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh) or small/midsized Sunbelt cities (e.g., Raleigh, Huntsville, Jacksonville), and why?

P.S.--I'm considering metro/urbanized area populations when I speak of size.
 

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Depending on what you mean by "Poised to perform better" I would say the Rustbelt cities. Detroit is still a strong metro area that is growing in population. I honestly think Detroit is gonna see lots of progress in the next 10-15 years
 

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Which do you see poised to perform better in the years to come: big Rustbelt cities (e.g., Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh) or small/midsized Sunbelt cities (e.g., Raleigh, Huntsville, Jacksonville), and why?

P.S.--I'm considering metro/urbanized area populations when I speak of size.
Ummm, this is WAY too subjective......:|
Detriot, Cleveland and Pittsburgh are way bigger than Raleigh, Hunstville and Jacksonville. Not to mention all of those cities dont compare with each other very well......Raleigh is very different from the other 2 "Sunbelt" cities and even more different from the "Rustbelt" cities. That goes for all of them.
The Sunbelt cities are doing much better than the Rustbelt cities now. But the Rustbelt cities have much better infastructure in place because they have matured a while back. The Sunbelt cities still have maturing to do.:tiasd:
 

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If we're going to 'vs.' any two group of cities how about small/mid-sized post-industrial/'Rustbelt' cities vs. small/mid-sized developing/'Sunbelt' cities? Why are you pairing up large and small cities? It's not as if the post-industrial Midwest is lacking in small/mid-sized cities. You could have paired those sunbelt cities you mentioned with the likes of a Dayton, Grand Rapids, Madison...
 

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Just wondering why you would ever, ever, compare Raleigh, Huntsville and Jacksonville to Minneapolis, Detroit or Cleveland...



Will Raleigh ever look like Minneapolis???



Will Huntsville ever hope to attain anything like Cleveland???



Will Jacksonville ever become a metro like Detroit???







Ummm...


Maybe in 50 years.

But then these aforementioned Metros will also have moved on....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This isn't about if the smaller cities will ever become as big as the larger cities; that's totally besides the point and I don't see how anyone could see otherwise given what I mentioned in the initial post.

I think the small/midsized Sunbelt cities provides a better comparison/contrast with the larger Rustbelt cities due to the advantages and disadvantages of each and how they could potentially factor into the future success of such cities. As triadcat mentioned, the large Rustbelt cities definitely have the infrastructure in place as well as significantly-sized corporate bases, not to mention the fact that they are significantly larger; however, the Sunbelt cities are growing faster (with college graduates comprising a significant portion of that growth) and have better business climates.

Also, I should have mentioned in my initial post that I'm speaking of "Rustbelt" and "Sunbelt" primarily in terms of local economies and not geographical location.
 

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That still doesn't make sense, to me, for whatever reason. Why not pair up similarly-sized cities in the two regions instead of adding an additional layor of contrast, and then force the comparison even more? I don't get your point unless you're trying to say/implying that one set of cities chosen is on its way up and the other on their way down. None of the smaller cities you mentioned are going to be comparable in economic output to any of the larger urban you posted for decades even with your implication that the large ones have stagnated or one their way down, the the smaller cities charging forward. The size difference is just to greater.

Just as an example of the cities mentioned in your first post, here are the GMP (Gross Metropolitan Product - 2004) of each of these areas in billions, and how much they were up from 2001 (rounded up to nearest billion):

Detroit: $176 (+ $16 billion)
Pittsburgh:$92.6 (+ 11 billion)
Cleveland: $83.6 (+ $8 billion)
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.....
Jacksonville: $48.6 (+ $8 billion)
Raleigh: $36.1 (+ $6 billion)
Huntsville: $13.9 (+ $3 billion)

Really, comparing similar-sized cities would be a better comparison.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That still doesn't make sense, to me, for whatever reason. Why not pair up similarly-sized cities in the two regions instead of adding an additional layor of contrast, and then force the comparison even more? I don't get your point unless you're trying to say/implying that one set of cities chosen is on its way up and the other on their way down. None of the smaller cities you mentioned are going to be comparable in economic output to any of the larger urban you posted for decades even with your implication that the large ones have stagnated or one their way down, the the smaller cities charging forward. The size difference is just to greater.
The Rustbelt cities are given that name for a reason. I'm not sure what you mean when you say that I'm implying that they are "on their way down," but the fact of the matter is that their performances have seriously slipped since their glory days. Of course this is not a pronouncement of final doom, nor does it mean that they currently don't have anything working in their favor economically, but the reality is indeed that they are not performing nearly as well as they once were. Conversely, the opposite is true of several Sunbelt cities.

As far as comparing small/midsized cities in both categories, I don't really see how that would make for a good comparison. Why would I throw Youngstown, Akron, or Flint up against the Sunbelt cities I mentioned? At present, what do these cities have going for them economically that would make a propsective company relocate there as opposed to a burgeoning small/midsized Sunbelt city?

Just as an example of the cities mentioned in your first post, here are the GMP (Gross Metropolitan Product - 2004) of each of these areas in billions, and how much they were up from 2001 (rounded up to nearest billion):

Detroit: $176 (+ $16 billion)
Pittsburgh:$92.6 (+ 11 billion)
Cleveland: $83.6 (+ $8 billion)
.....
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Jacksonville: $48.6 (+ $8 billion)
Raleigh: $36.1 (+ $6 billion)
Huntsville: $13.9 (+ $3 billion)

Really, comparing similar-sized cities would be a better comparison.
I can already tell from just looking at those figures, without doing any calculations, then when you consider how the GMP of the smaller/midsized Sunbelt cities has grown percentage wise, they are outcompeting the Rustbelt cities. Just look at the Jacksonville and Cleveland figures. Obviously Cleveland has a larger GMP, but in terms of absolute growth, Jacksonville grew by the same amount as Cleveland. However, I think that the Rustbelt cities still have an advantage simply due to their size and all that goes along with that, like their larger GMPs; however, how much of an advantage will that have in the long run compared with the rapidly-growing Sunbelt cities? That question is along the lines of what I wish to explore here.
 

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Just as an example of the cities mentioned in your first post, here are the GMP (Gross Metropolitan Product - 2004) of each of these areas in billions, and how much they were up from 2001 (rounded up to nearest billion):

Detroit: $176 (+ $16 billion)
Pittsburgh:$92.6 (+ 11 billion)
Cleveland: $83.6 (+ $8 billion)
.....
.....
Jacksonville: $48.6 (+ $8 billion)
Raleigh: $36.1 (+ $6 billion)
Huntsville: $13.9 (+ $3 billion)

Really, comparing similar-sized cities would be a better comparison.
You do realize that Raleigh is part of the "Triangle" area, dont you?
Raleigh is very much connected to Durham and Chapel-Hill; hence the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel-Hill (Triangle) area..... RTP... RDU.... Raleigh does not operate by itself.
:cheers:
But I agree: You cant really compare these.....too many differences besides size.
 

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krazeeboi,

Duh, of course the cities economies at the bottom are growing faster. My point is that the size difference is still too great for these to be comparable for decades. It also shows that, proportionately, the cities that are listed at the top are losing 'market share', if you will, but still growing.

BTW, you're selling quite a few smaller/mid-sized rustbelt short. Grand Rapids, Madison, and the like are all healthy metro areas that could easily be compared with similarly sized sunbelt cities. Really, what is your point if you haven't already made it clear?

Triadcat,

How metros interact with each other, ecnomically, is determined by the United States Office of Management and Budget. The metros above are MSA, not the CSA, and the economies are measured by MSA for each. The numbers above are uniform and consistent, so it's not MSA being compared against CSA. If you're going to add all Raleigh as a CSA than every other metro should also be added as a CSA. Regardless, the economic numbers are calculated for the MSA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
krazeeboi,

Duh, of course the cities economies at the bottom are growing faster. My point is that the size difference is still too great for these to be comparable for decades. It also shows that, proportionately, the cities that are listed at the top are losing 'market share', if you will, but still growing.
You can't just say, "Oh, those cities are smaller so of course they will have faster growth." Look at some of the larger Sunbelt cities, such as Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, etc. that already have large GMP figures and high GMP growth. It is this loss of "market share" that I'm highlighting here, as I think it would have something to do with future economic growth and performance.

I don't understand this, "City X and City Z can't be compared because the size difference is just so big" within this particular context. I'm talking about overall economic growth and long-term performance here, so your reference to decades is actually quite appropriate. Essentially I'm asking: In the long run, are small/midsized Sunbelt cities, with their rapidly growing economic output and population growth but less-than-mature infrastructure, poised to economically outperform larger Rustbelt cities, with their declining manufacturing industries but larger economic bases? In other words, which advantages will prevail?

BTW, you're selling quite a few smaller/mid-sized rustbelt short. Grand Rapids, Madison, and the like are all healthy metro areas that could easily be compared with similarly sized sunbelt cities. Really, what is your point if you haven't already made it clear?
As I stated in an earlier post, I'm speaking of Rustbelt and Sunbelt primarily in an economic sense here, not in terms of geographical location. I fully realize that there are cities that are geographically located in the Rustbelt that are doing quite well economically and have managed to escape the Rustbelt reputation, and that there are cities geographically located in the Sunbelt that tend to have more in common with declining industrial urban centers in the North and Midwest. For the comparison as I've set it up here, size and long-term growth will be the wildcards. I asked the question because I wanted to get others' thoughts on this. I know you may be a bit sensitive to this topic as you hail from the Rustbelt, but this isn't a "Bash the Rustbelt!" thread and I really don't appreciate you foisting that implication on me. I actually believe that in terms of urban diversity, the Midwest holds the title in the U.S. and I'm rooting for a comeback for those declining urban centers that have much to offer in several respects that the typical Sunbelt city cannot presently match. I just simply want to get people's thoughts on how these two categories of cities will perform over the long term in view of their advantages and disadvantages and then make comparisons--nothing more, nothing less. If you think the advantages that the large Rustbelt cities currently enjoy position them for greater economic growth and prosperity over time, then just say that and say why. But please don't act like the question isn't at least worth exploring, even if you personally feel that way.
 

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If the status quo continues, the latter may have an edge but the former has the advantage for growth due to the infrastructure being there...sure, Pittsburgh or Detroit probably will never have population growth as fast as Raleigh or Jacksonville, but they can tackle the growth if it comes back better than those cities which were small until recently.
 

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To answer your question, then, krazeeboi, I think the cities with the existing intricate and heavy infrastructure are better poised for any future growth whatever region any one of those particular cities may be in. How I see it is that, economically, we'll only be able to sustain a decentralized, suburbanized economy for so much longer. When the economy begins to race back towards the center of its metropolitan area to recentralize, it will be able to do so much easier in established cities that were used to centralized economies.

How the question is framed is leading, to say the least. But even with it leading, the 'Rustbelt' cities mentioned are still decades from even ever thinking about being overtaken economically by any of those cities mentioned in the 'Sunbelt', and that's even if local American economies don't ever centralize, again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
^That's all I wanted.

I wish I really had a clear answer on this one. The existing infrastructure of the major Rustbelt cities is definitely an advantage, but I don't think that it alone, or even primarily, will be the saving grace of those cities--otherwise, the larger share of the economic growth we see occurring in the Sunbelt cities, large and small/midsized, would be directed towards the major Rustbelt cities. Also, we should take note that a lot of the Sunbelt sprawlers are currently seeing a lot of quality infill development happening now which is accelerating the maturation of their infrastructure.

Also, I don't think that decentralization has to be synonymous with suburbanization (in terms of form). I think DC is a pretty good example here, as outlying urban centers such as Bethesda, MD, Silver Spring, MD, and the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor of NoVa serve as significant employment centers in their own right, but those areas have been urbanizing for some time now. Of course, it could be argued that this is an anomalous situation given DC's unique circumstances as a city, but it could very well serve to be a model in this regard. One thing that has helped DC here, and could potentially help the Sunbelt cities, is an enhanced level of regional cooperation, particularly when it comes to mass transit, that several Rustbelt metro areas lack due to a plethora of municipalities (which tends to be the result of archaic/restrictive annexation laws) all competing against each other for a piece of the pie.

There are other factors that really play into this and the more I think about it, the more they come to me. Those I mentioned earlier in the thread are simply those that I came up with off the top of my head. Another one that I could throw in there is climate, even though there isn't really a consensus here as to how important a role it plays the growth of the Sunbelt cities.
 

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^That's all I wanted.

I wish I really had a clear answer on this one. The existing infrastructure of the major Rustbelt cities is definitely an advantage, but I don't think that it alone, or even primarily, will be the saving grace of those cities--otherwise, the larger share of the economic growth we see occurring in the Sunbelt cities, large and small/midsized, would be directed towards the major Rustbelt cities. Also, we should take note that a lot of the Sunbelt sprawlers are currently seeing a lot of quality infill development happening now which is accelerating the maturation of their infrastructure.
The truth is that a majority of ecnomic growth is suburban-based, these days, for just about every city in this country, meaning that many of these 'newer' cities still aren't going to be seeing near the amount of inner-city infrastructure enlargement and improvement they'll need to be able to recentralize. And, no, freeway expansions and enlargements won't be enough. I'm talking about inner-city rail lines that will make economies more efficient.

A city like Cleveland (built for nearly a million + its urban suburbs), or Detroit (built for nearly 2 million + its urban suburbs) will be much better positioned the re-urbanization of the country's population whenever that happens. A lot of sunbelt cities are seeing some decent infill, but it's still a ridiculously small percentage of the total growth of the urban/metro areas. I mean, urban and metro Atlanta has added a ridiculous amont of population and economic growth, but just a smidgen of that has been in the inner-city, and inner-city growth is an even ridiculously smaller percentage in many other 'newer' cities.

As long as growth is suburban-oriented, those that have been great at this type of development will continue to proposer. I also think that as shallow as we become, we're going to find climate become less and less important like it used to be.
 

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The truth is that a majority of ecnomic growth is suburban-based, these days, for just about every city in this country, meaning that many of these 'newer' cities still aren't going to be seeing near the amount of inner-city infrastructure enlargement and improvement they'll need to be able to recentralize. And, no, freeway expansions and enlargements won't be enough. I'm talking about inner-city rail lines that will make economies more efficient.

A city like Cleveland (built for nearly a million + its urban suburbs), or Detroit (built for nearly 2 million + its urban suburbs) will be much better positioned the re-urbanization of the country's population whenever that happens. A lot of sunbelt cities are seeing some decent infill, but it's still a ridiculously small percentage of the total growth of the urban/metro areas. I mean, urban and metro Atlanta has added a ridiculous amont of population and economic growth, but just a smidgen of that has been in the inner-city, and inner-city growth is an even ridiculously smaller percentage in many other 'newer' cities.

As long as growth is suburban-oriented, those that have been great at this type of development will continue to proposer. I also think that as shallow as we become, we're going to find climate become less and less important like it used to be.
A smidgen of Atlanta's overall growth has been in the actual city limits, but that growth is amazing considering past declines...and it represents about a 15% increase in the city population. From 2000 to 2005 Atlanta's urban population increased by 54,000...and this is a trend that is predicted to continue and increase in the foreseeable future as urban living becomes more attractive in Atlanta. Other sun belt cities are seeing this trend as well, so the tide is already turning and these cities are not doomed to see only suburban growth.

Atlanta is not exactly a "newer" city...it has been an important center since the 1850's, and has seen trememdous growth and development for decades. Climate isn't the only draw to Atlanta and the South...although it is an important reason for many people who have chosen to live here. What is so shallow about being drawn to warm sunny weather? It sounds like an intelligent move to me!
 

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People never see the real side of Atlanta. The booming urban areas are hidden from downtown. I absolutely love the character from all of our different neighborhoods around the city. Take for example the edgewood area-east of downtown. (i think that's its name) There are lofts converted from an old shoe factory, and retail stores converted from warehouses and factories. This is the same development happening in cities like milwaukee, chicago, cleveland, ect. It is ridiculous how people have formed this ideological idea of atlanta having a few downtown towers and tons of sprawl shooting out like bamboo trees. Atlanta is just like any old american city these days that is having a downtown condo boom/ gentrification. But It is still evident that the sprawl rate is extremely higher than most northern cities.


Oh^^and the only thing Atlanta really misses is a huge natural landmark. Say-mountains, navigable river, ocean, great lake, ect. Providided, atlanta does have the chat. river, stone mountain, & countless amount of trees.
 

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Atlanta was more like a Grand Rapids than a Milwaukee in its early years. Sure Atlanta has an historic core, but its not nearly as large as what you'll find in the larger Midwestern cities. Even in the 1920's Milwaukee was more than twice the size of Atlanta.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
As long as growth is suburban-oriented, those that have been great at this type of development will continue to proposer. I also think that as shallow as we become, we're going to find climate become less and less important like it used to be.
I agree with your first assesment, but I hardly think that climate ranking high on someone's priority list when it comes to relocating is shallow. Of course it's not everything, but when combined with economic opportunity and the like, it makes much sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
The truth is that a majority of ecnomic growth is suburban-based, these days, for just about every city in this country, meaning that many of these 'newer' cities still aren't going to be seeing near the amount of inner-city infrastructure enlargement and improvement they'll need to be able to recentralize. And, no, freeway expansions and enlargements won't be enough. I'm talking about inner-city rail lines that will make economies more efficient.

A city like Cleveland (built for nearly a million + its urban suburbs), or Detroit (built for nearly 2 million + its urban suburbs) will be much better positioned the re-urbanization of the country's population whenever that happens. A lot of sunbelt cities are seeing some decent infill, but it's still a ridiculously small percentage of the total growth of the urban/metro areas. I mean, urban and metro Atlanta has added a ridiculous amont of population and economic growth, but just a smidgen of that has been in the inner-city, and inner-city growth is an even ridiculously smaller percentage in many other 'newer' cities.
These are also good points, but something else should be taken into consideration, which is a highly educated workforce. I don't know the exact figures, but I know that several of the large Rustbelt cities are having trouble retaining college graduates, whereas that is no problem for some of the smaller/midsized Sunbelt cities, particularly Raleigh. Of course, all industries don't require a large swath of its workers to hold masters degrees, but a highly educated workforce usually bodes well for all sectors of employment growth across the board in a metropolitan area. The irony of this is that some of the large Rustbelt cities actually have great institutions of higher learning, such as Pittsburgh. They definitely have what it takes to turn the tide, which is already starting to happen in several of them (such as Pittsburgh), but they have a big perception problem to overcome.
 
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