Tag Archives: Recession

Las Vegas Keeps Building


Above: The party’s not over in Vegas.

Some urban thinkers thought one silver lining of the economic crisis could be a slowdown in unsustainable sprawl, particularly in overbuilt areas of the southwest, like Las Vegas.

But that appears not to be the case at all, according to this New York Times story.

Despite home prices having declined 60 percent in four years, and despite the fact that there are nearly 10,000 empty homes with 5,600 more expected on the market soon, the Times reports, “builders here are putting up 1,100 homes, and they are frantically buying lots for even more.”

The story goes on say, “Some of the boom-era homes, meanwhile, are in developments that feel like ghost towns. And many Americans will always believe the latest model of something is their only option, an attitude builders are doing their utmost to reinforce…’We’re building them because we’re selling them,” a marketing executive with one builder told the paper. ‘Our customers wouldn’t care if there were 50 homes in an established neighborhood of 1980 or 1990 vintage, all foreclosed, empty and for sale at $10,000 less. They want new. And what are we going to do, let someone else build it?’ ”

How much longer can this go on?

Meanwhile, from last week’s Wall Street Journal, Detroit is preparing to tear down 10,000 homes, including Mitt Romney’s childhood home.


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Filed under Economic Development, Featured, regionalism, sprawl, The Housing Crisis, The Media, Urban Farming

Has Migration to the ‘Sun Belt’ ended?


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?



Filed under Economic Development, Featured, Real Estate, regionalism

Ohio Loses Population

The state of Ohio lost population overall for the first time in nearly a decade, according to a study by Community Research Partners.


90.3 WCPN in Cleveland reports that the state lost 35,000 residents. In-migration and birth rates were not able to offset the decline.

Experts believe the out-migration can be traced to job loss. Ohio has a tendency to lose residents during a recession, experts report.

Franklin County, home to Columbus, managed to avoid the decline and gained residents. Cleveland’s Cuyahoga County and Cincinnati’s Hamilton County both lost residents overall.


Filed under Art, Brain Drain, Economic Development, Featured, The Big Urban Photography Project

Assignment: Detroit

We’ve written before on this blog that we were encouraged by Time Magazine’s declaration that it intended to devote resources to covering what is happening in Detroit.

Writes Time publisher John Huey,

“we believe that Detroit right now is a great American story. No city has had more influence on the country’s economic and social evolution. Detroit was the birthplace of both the industrial age and the nation’s middle class, and the city’s rise and fall — and struggle to rise again — are a window into the challenges facing all of modern America. From urban planning to the crisis of manufacturing, from the lingering role of race and class in our society to the struggle for better health care and education, it’s all happening at its most extreme in the Motor City.”

Here are some of the journalistic fruits of the pursuit of that story – this Time Cover story, and  this site on Detroit and its importance, which seems pretty comprehensive.

I don’t really like the sound of the question, “How do you survive Detroit?”

And, as one of the commenters points out, some of the stories are cliched by now (i.e. “brain drain”).

Still, it is nice to see such a big layout and obvious dedication of resources to the story.

Thanks to Rust Wire reader Jeff Vines for his suggestion.


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Filed under Good Ideas, Race Relations, U.S. Auto Industry

More Hard Times in Michigan


I know we’ve had a lot on this blog about the current recession and how hard it has hit the auto industry and Michigan.

So, I apologize if you’re sick of reading about it, but I’m posting a link to this sobering Wall Street Journal Story about laid-off white collar workers.

“Mr. Barr, 46 years old, was the type of well-educated, white-collar ‘knowledge’ worker that Michigan hoped would help offset a decline in auto-assembly jobs. But Detroit’s Big Three car makers have aggressively thinned these ranks in the past two years, perhaps permanently, casting tens of thousands of midcareer, white-collar workers into an extended limbo,” The Journal writes.

It continues, “Many displaced veteran workers who once earned high salaries in engineering, information technology, research and design jobs aren’t now destitute, thanks to generous severance packages. But they find themselves stuck, unable to find comparable work in Michigan, but also unable or unwilling to uproot their families and try their luck out of state.”


-Michigan’s unemployment rate as of August was 15.2% compared to 9.6% in November

– its unemployment rate has led all states for at least 26 of the past 28 months

– Metro Detroit’s 17.7% rate is the highest of any large urban area in the country


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Filed under Brain Drain, Economic Development, Education, U.S. Auto Industry

Dan’s Rust Belt Road Trip

Freelance reporter Daniel Denvir has taken some interesting travels recently – places like Cleveland – on his “Rust Beltroad trip.”

Here, he highlights an employee-owned company in Cleveland.

I had never heard of Evergreen Laundry, the company he profiles, but it sounds like they are doing a good job of putting people to work.

I like posting stories like this – ones about our cities as innovators, not just victims of de-industrialization and decline.

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Filed under Economic Development, Good Ideas

Detroit’s Mayor Bing Feeling the Heat

In honor of his 100th day in office, NPR ran a story yesterday on Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.

The former NBA star is contesting with a $275 million deficit, a potential municipal strike, school and transportation systems that are tetering on collapse.


According to NPR some are questioning whether Bing, a political novice who replaced Kwame Kilpatrick, is up to the job.

Bing won a recent primary with 70 percent of the vote. But his opponent Tom Barrow, a C.P.A., says Bing is in over his head.

“He just doesn’t understand how municipal finance works; he doesn’t understand how city government functions and works; he’s having to be told things and [is] just clearly out of touch with Detroiters,” Barrow told NPR.


Filed under Featured, Politics