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Big Rustbelt cities vs. Small/midsized Sunbelt cities

5705 Views 57 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  NLouisianaJay
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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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...
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)
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.

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?


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.
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.
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.
^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.
Climate decisions are shallow considering the different and challenging environments humans have lived in since their existence. Furthermore, 'climate' decisions are often made on little more than 'does it get cold there?' which is shallow. If anyone is to make a climate decision at least try and make it along the lines of meaningful factors such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes, whether you're going to feel uncomfortable or inconvenienced by cold or snow. lol

BTW, I'm not picking on Atlanta, but making note of where the growth has gone and is going. It's great to finally see population growth in its core city and see the infill, but it doesn't change the fact that its core downtown area is historically small, and small for a city and economy of its size.
Out of curiosity, where are those numbers coming from?

I agree, for historical comparison, a city like Indy would be a much better comparison.

sprtsluvr8, again, this isn't an Atlanta bash but it's core and core city neighborhoods are not representative of a metro and urban area of its size for the simple fact that much of the urban area growth didn't occur until very recently (past 3 decades or so). Really, one doesn't have to look look any farther than say the cities of Birmingham and New Orleans to see some impressive southern cores that are easily on par with similar cities in other regions.
I'm not implying it has a more impressive downtown core. That's you bringing subjectivity into this. It's not about being impressive or not. I was remarking specifically on the build. Cities like Birmingham and New Orleans have significantly more traditional urban cores.

But, instead of continuing to drag on this obviously personal beef of Atlanta with you, and I'm not going to any longer, why don't you answer Krazie's question, already, and get back on topic?
We have three or four different personal tiffs going on at once. This is why these are banned over at SSP. Are these types of threads banned over here, as well? Is it possible for this to get back on topic? I kind of doubt it as the original 'question' was a dubious, pointed one to begin with. It seems like the natural progression of these types of things. I do feel stupid for taking the bait.
I see that you don't ever stop. I'm getting the feeling that you just love to hear your city's name mentioned, good or bad. If something's not about Atlanta, it's not worth talking about, and if someone gets something incorrect about it, that's even better! Give all of us a break, already.
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