Ok, I know, we’ve written about this before (see here and here) so my apologies if you are sick of hearing about it.
But frankly, I think it’s important to remember that whatever challenges our part of the country faces, it’s no bed of roses in the Sun Belt, either. And now there’s a book to explain more on this topic.
USA Today says the “sunburnt” cities of Florida, California and the Southwest must rethink themselves.
The paper writes, “Boomtowns that have been scorched by the housing crisis could learn from struggling Rust Belt communities,” according to Justin Hollander, urban planning professor at Tufts University and author of Sunburnt Cities: The Great Recession, Depopulation and Urban Planning in the American Sunbelt, which was published March 1.
“Sunburnt cities have a chance to limit growth for growth’s sake by allowing dense development and reducing parking requirements to encourage walking, public transportation and more green space, Hollander says.
‘In each place there are a lot of opportunities to think smaller,’ he says. ‘It hasn’t happened yet. Largely, these cities are in denial.'”
We’ll see, I guess, what kinds of choices places like the ones Hollander describes make.
Frequent Rust Wire readers know we’ve written before about the housing crisis creating Rust Belt-like conditions in some Sun Belt cities, such as Las Vegas (See here and here).
Now there appears to be actual data to back that up, according to a study from the Research Institute for Housing America, a division of the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The Los Angeles Times explains:
“A traditional city in decline is one that has suffered a sustained population drop, leaving behind empty houses, apartment buildings, offices and storefronts. Cleveland and Detroit, for instance, suffered from the erosion of manufacturing and the loss of residents, who left in search of jobs.
Instead of eroding a particular industry, however, the housing bust left a glut of homes because of overbuilding and the foreclosure crisis. Follain (The study’s author) argues that the future of these cities is threatened in similar ways to that of Rust Belt cities.
‘Long-vacant neighborhoods are going to develop, and we can imagine what can happen,’ he said, including potentially higher crime and lower property taxes.”
Particularly hard-hit, are inland areas of California, this article says, as well as places in Florida and Nevada.
Read the study here.
An important article in Thursday’s New York Times — with all the talk of the new, “green” economy, will the jobs that are created be union or non-union?
It focuses on California (ok, I know, not the Rust Belt) and unions’ use of environmental regulations there – which, as the Times puts it “could prove to be the opening skirmishes of a larger fight over the emerging green economy.”
The story continues, “Should Rust Belt factories converted to making solar components and wind turbines be union shops, gateways to the middle-class for a new generation of workers in the green economy? Or will the green economy look more like the service economy, with low-paid employees installing rooftop solar panels and retrofitting buildings?”
I can hardly believe it, but the Pittsburgh Post Gazette says it’s true. Between 2000 and 2006, the city of Pittsburgh imported 2,300 Californians for a net gain of 100 more residents than lost to the sunny state.
This article says that people are growing weary of higher-cost mega-cities like Boston, Washington and Los Angeles. They’ve got to go somewhere, The P-G opines. It might as well be the Rust Belt.
The Rust Belt is American’s next frontier, the article says. It’s a bold statement, but I guess I kind of agree. People will vote with their feet.