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.
Read here what one Buffalo woman misses after moving to Florida.
This article in the Las Vegas Sun seems to think that city’s era of unbridled growth has definitely ended.
The article cites U.S. Census Bureau data showing:
-its slowest rate of population growth since 1967,
-for the first time in a long time, the state experience out-migration (more people left the state than came there).
“The new numbers contrast strikingly with the rest of this decade when an average of 45,000 people moved here every year from other states,” according to the story. “Analysts both here and nationally cited the weak economy of Nevada and other Sun Belt states, including Florida and Arizona, as the primary cause of the sudden halt in America’s 60-year move to the South and West.”
The story doesn’t really address if this growth will pick up again after the current recession ends. I’m not sure that the Sun Belt’s growth is over for good. What do you think?
Reuters is running a story about the precipitous job losses in Southern states.
While during the house boom, these states enjoyed relatively low unemployment rates, many have now seen jobless tolls reach the double digits.
Georgia weighs in at 10%; North Carolina, 11%. South Carolina bests them both with 12.1%.
Florida has been especially hard hit because of declines in the tourism industry.
A friend of mine just moved to Charleston and she said the job market there is terrible. Everyone she knows is a server, she said. I was surprised.