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Big Rustbelt cities vs. Small/midsized Sunbelt cities

5702 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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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, ect...no 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.
I know of no one who has made the decision to relocate SOLELY on the basis of climate (excluding retirees). Usually it's just an added bonus. And the way homeowner insurance rates are skyrocketing along the coast (at least here in SC), potential transplants are forced to consider other climate factors, such as hurricanes.
Atlanta's downtown core has 40+ highrise buildings from 1900-1920's, the oldest being the Flatiron Building built in 1895. There is a large neighborhood downtown called Fairleigh-Poplar that is nothing but historic buildings; then there is Castleberry Hill, which is an 1800's industrial/warehouse district that is booming with residential and retail loft conversions; the Marietta St. corridor is another 1800's industrial district, with retail and residential lofts. These comprise a huge part of downtown and I'm sure can compete with Milwaukee. In 1920 Atlanta's population was 200,000 to Milwaukee's 457,000...Atlanta was smaller, but still a large city for that time period. There is a large amount of history here that is often overlooked by people who have never visited and make assumptions that Atlanta is a "new" city. Oh, and Grand Rapids population in 2000 wasn't even as large as Atlanta's in 1920, so definitely not a good comparison.

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.
Ohand the only thing Atlanta really misses is a huge natural landmark. Say-mountains, navigable river, ocean, great lake, ect.
Atlanta being at the foot of the Southern Appalachians is the reason for all the trees...drive 30 minutes North of the city and you're in beautiful mountains. Stone Mountain is nothing to overlook either - it's the largest piece of exposed granite in the world -and there is Kennesaw Mountain in Cobb County...both visible from downtown. There isn't a navigable river here, but apparently Atlanta didn't need one to grow and prosper. The lakes speak for themselves...I'm not sure what else you could want other than the ocean - and we're closer to that than 75% of the U.S. Take a look at a map of North Georgia and it's easy to see an abundance of natural resources. The huge natural landmark is Stone Mountain - that's an easy one.
I agree with other posts that people don't make decisions about living here based only on the climate, but I don't see how that decision would be shallow. I think that people have suddenly realized that they have options to the harsh winters up North, and they have been choosing to leave for warmer climates for the past few decades. It's not about "does it get cold there?"...it's more about "is it cold there from September through April?" In Atlanta we only have 3 months of semi-cold weather, and that doesn't usually include snow and always includes about a month's worth of 60-70 degree days. It is warm here up to Thanksgiving and Spring starts in February. There is a HUGE difference in climate and it isn't shallow wanting to live your life in the warmer one.

I wouldn't judge Atlanta's core downtown without seeing/experiencing it. When is the last time you were here and noted the size of downtown Atlanta?
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, ect...no 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.
I just think he meant that Atlanta really isn't as geographically defined as some other cities out there, even some not too far away (e.g., Chattanooga, Greenville, Augusta). As much as I love Atlanta, I must admit that the city's immediate geographical setting is pretty boring.
Atlanta being at the foot of the Southern Appalachians is the reason for all the trees...drive 30 minutes North of the city and you're in beautiful mountains. Stone Mountain is nothing to overlook either - it's the largest piece of exposed granite in the world -and there is Kennesaw Mountain in Cobb County...both visible from downtown. There isn't a navigable river here, but apparently Atlanta didn't need one to grow and prosper. The lakes speak for themselves...I'm not sure what else you could want other than the ocean - and we're closer to that than 75% of the U.S. Take a look at a map of North Georgia and it's easy to see an abundance of natural resources. The huge natural landmark is Stone Mountain - that's an easy one.
Detroit - 993,078 - 77.9 sq. mi. - 12,748 ppsm
Milwaukee - 457,147 - 25.3 sq. mi. - 18,069 ppsm
Atlanta - 200,616 - 26.2 sq. mi. - 7,657 ppsm
Grand Rapids - 137,634 - 17.5 sq. mi. - 7,865 ppsm

I don't know about you, but I would definitely say Atlanta had a lot more in common with Grand Rapids than it did with Milwaukee or Detroit. It was definitely a larger and more important city than Grand Rapids, considering that it was the capital and largest city in Georgia, but on a relative scale, its closer to Grand Rapid Rapids than it is to other large Midwestern cites. I guess a better comparison would have been Columbus or Indianapolis, but even those cities were larger than Atlanta in the 1920's.
Atlanta's downtown core has 40+ highrise buildings from 1900-1920's, the oldest being the Flatiron Building built in 1895. There is a large neighborhood downtown called Fairleigh-Poplar that is nothing but historic buildings; then there is Castleberry Hill, which is an 1800's industrial/warehouse district that is booming with residential and retail loft conversions; the Marietta St. corridor is another 1800's industrial district, with retail and residential lofts. These comprise a huge part of downtown and I'm sure can compete with Milwaukee. In 1920 Atlanta's population was 200,000 to Milwaukee's 457,000...Atlanta was smaller, but still a large city for that time period. There is a large amount of history here that is often overlooked by people who have never visited and make assumptions that Atlanta is a "new" city. Oh, and Grand Rapids population in 2000 wasn't even as large as Atlanta's in 1920, so definitely not a good comparison.
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.
My how things have changed.
closer to Grand Rapid Rapids than it is to other large Midwestern cites. I guess a better comparison would have been Columbus or Indianapolis, but even those cities were larger than Atlanta in the 1920's.
It lists the largest cities every decade from 1790 to 1990.
http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0027.html
To each city its own. No need to compare cities. I thought this type of vs. discussion was banned...mods? But anyways.....
No it wouldn't. Indy was twice the size of Atlanta from 1870-1900. Even afterwards, Indy was larger until about 1960.

In Atlanta's defense, the city (population wise) is in the top 50 cities from 1880-on. Jesus, you guys are making it seem like Atlanta just sprang up out of nowhere, and it didn't.
I agree, for historical comparison, a city like Indy would be a much better comparison.
How am I saying that? I just said that Atlanta was more similar to Grand Rapids than it was to Milwaukee or Detroit in the 1920's. It's not like Grand Rapids isn't an historic older city on its own... Sure to compare Atlanta and Grand Rapids today is ridiculous, but 100 years ago it was a different story.

I don't think people would say comparing Des Moines to Wichita today is out of the question, but in fifty years, Des Moines could be a major city of 5 million while Wichita could be languishing around 1 million.
Thank you! Atlanta is a city people love to make judgements about without ever having visited or experienced the actual city.

So Lmichigan, your assertion is that Birmingham has a more impressive downtown core than Atlanta? Are you serious? As for the past 3 decades that you say Atlanta's core experienced growth...that isn't true at all. Atlanta's urban core grew steadily up until the 1970's, when the city hit it's peak population. Then began a decline until the mid-90's, when city population began to creep back up again...and today it is almost back up to that peak number again. Downtown/Midtown development also stagnated until the early 90's, when the Olympics brought new interest. To make those kinds of judgements you really need to see a city and walk around. Otherwise you are going by...hearsay?
No it wouldn't. Indy was twice the size of Atlanta from 1870-1900. Even afterwards, Indy was larger until about 1960.

In Atlanta's defense, the city (population wise) is in the top 50 cities from 1880-on. Jesus, you guys are making it seem like Atlanta just sprang up out of nowhere, and it didn't.
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?
Lmichigan's words:

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.
more of Lmichigan's words:

I'm not implying it has a more impressive downtown core. That's you bringing subjectivity into this.
Case closed.
Your assertion about the larger urban cores of other cities is based on WHAT?

Yes, it does become personal when someone makes false or negative statements about another's hometown. That usually is what starts this type of back and forth conversation. You would never see a post from me about your city that is derogatory and without any kind of provocation. So think about that while you get back on topic...
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?
Ummmm, riiiiiiight.......
Why are you comparing Minneapolis to Raleigh when Minneapolis isnt even a "Rustbelt" city? :weirdo:
If you are gonna do that, then I will make a better comparison to Minneapolis: Charlotte




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



Will Raleigh ever look like Minneapolis???

thank u!! :)
No it wouldn't. Indy was twice the size of Atlanta from 1870-1900. Even afterwards, Indy was larger until about 1960.

In Atlanta's defense, the city (population wise) is in the top 50 cities from 1880-on. Jesus, you guys are making it seem like Atlanta just sprang up out of nowhere, and it didn't.
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.
Taking the bait? You must be joking...you put out the bait with untrue remarks about Atlanta when Atlanta wasn't the 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.
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