Tag Archives: Sun Belt

A Story I Never Get Tired of Reading!

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.

-KG

4 Comments

Filed under Economic Development, Featured, Real Estate, regionalism, sprawl, Urban Planning

Study: Housing Bust Turns Parts of Sun Belt…into Rust Belt

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.

-KG

1 Comment

Filed under Economic Development, Real Estate, sprawl, The Housing Crisis

Where Did Your Neighbors Go? Click and Find Out!

Our readers know we love to beat up on Forbes magazine for their frequent lists of dead/ dying/ shrinking/ etc. cities.

But let me give credit where credit is due…this is a really interesting and cool interactive graphic that uses IRS data to show migration within the US, sorted by county. Good job on this one, Forbes!

Click on a county to see inward and outward migration and where residents moved to/ or from. I could spend a long time playing with this.

Thanks to a frequent Rust Wire reader, my Dad, for pointing this out to me.

-KG

1 Comment

Filed under Brain Drain, Economic Development, Good Ideas, Real Estate, regionalism, The Housing Crisis, The Media

Las Vegas Keeps Building

16builder_ca0-articlelarge

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.

-KG

1 Comment

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

Has Migration to the ‘Sun Belt’ ended?

04summerlin_t651

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?

-KG

11 Comments

Filed under Economic Development, Featured, Real Estate, regionalism

Introducing The “Water Belt”

don_carterbw

Check out this recent column by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Brian O’Neill.

He interviews ‘burgh native Don Carter, who recently retired president of Urban Design Associates and was named director of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

For years, Carter tells O’Neill, he has hated the term “Rust Belt.” And he’s trying to get folks to start calling …the “Water Belt.”

In place of “Sun Belt?” Try “Drought Belt.” Cities here, Carter writes, “are low-density, auto-dependent, and survive on ever diminishing supplies of borrowed water. ‘Sun Belt’ economies are driven not by diversity but by the business of growth itself, such as home building and construction, which the great recession of 2008-2009 revealed as illusory and unsustainable.” Amen brother!

Someone I knew in Lorain (Ohio) actually used to use these terms, so I think they could certainly catch on.
I personally kind of like the term “Rust Belt,” but I think a lot of the people I know use it in kind of a proud, reclaiming the word kind of way, not in a derogatory way.
What do you think? Is it futile to try to change these terms used by people and the media? Or does Don Carter have the right idea?
-KG

5 Comments

Filed under architecture, Art, Book review, Editorial, Good Ideas, Headline, Real Estate, regionalism, Urban Planning

What Las Vegas Can Learn From the Rust Belt

What can Las Vegas learn from the Rust Belt? Quite a bit, according to this article in the Las Vegas Sun.

Not to toot our own horn, but this story references Rust Wire, and our own Angie Schmitt!

I thought this story was well-written, and made an interesting comparison: though many wouldn’t think of it this way, Las Vegas and Detroit are both one-industry towns – Vegas’ industry of course, being tourism.

The author definitely did his homework- and talked to a number of knowledgeable folks in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Boston and elsewhere.

I don’t really consider Boston to be in the Rust Belt, but still an interesting read.

-KG

1 Comment

Filed under Economic Development, Good Ideas, regionalism, Rust Belt Blogs, The Housing Crisis, The Media, U.S. Auto Industry