Urban migration

In the decades ahead more people will be living in urban areas than anywhere else. This is a global phenomena. There has been a shift to city life for multiple reasons besides the obvious which is access to medical, food, arts, education and work but also the amplified desire for real human connections. Even if you live alone in a city and spend all the time on your phone you still have interactions with people everyday.

Major cities such as NYC and SF have become so incredibly expensive that we have begun to see urban migration to other urban cities such as Austin, Charleston, Nashville, Atlanta and Denver to name a few. These secondary cities are seeing major growth in developments, businesses and housing.

What happens when secondary cities become too expensive to live in? Will developers or city Government learn anything from the primary cities who have found themselves short of affordable housing? Where do the police, teachers, retail workers, Government employees live when it becomes too expensive to live where they work?

The urban shifts are happening but what we are truly missing to create larger urban areas where affordable housing is available is mass transportation changes. Each car purchased should have a transportation tax. That capital would be put directly into the rebuilding of above ground rail, high speed trains and cleaning up the subways for every city. Each developer should have to pay the same tax on every apartment sold or even a small amount of each months rent. Each bank that loans the developers money should have to pay into that tax too. Added up that could be a huge number. We need to start thinking differently about how to rebuild our cities both primary and secondary and how to fund it

The biggest problem is mismanaged funds. Maybe fixed costs contracts with a thorough bidding process to build transportation? How does the graft, overages and incompetence cease in the building of our Government infrastructures? That’s a whole problem.

I went to Detroit awhile ago and was fascinated with the redevelopment of that city. They appear to be thinking about how to keep a balance of housing and multiple neighborhoods inside the cities where everyone can live. I plan on returning to Detroit this fall and am so curious to see if they were able to keep that promise.

You should be able to afford to live in an urban area, step in clean efficient public transportation that is 30 minutes from your home or even an hour with ease.

Comments (Archived):

  1. JLM

    .Having lived in Austin By God Texas since it was 200,000 people in the late 1970s, I have observed what you described, been involved in its reality as a real estate developer, and have watched the several waves of development. The MSMA is approaching 2MM and forecast to be 4MM by 2040.Growth of cities, like Austin, has been a chicken v the egg contest. Jobs v growth, growth v jobs.Nice enough city in the late 1970s — big university with a winning football team, state government, pleasant climate, hip music scene, and low cost of living. Few jobs. The jobs were in Dallas and Houston.With the advent of a favorable business climate — low regulation, zero income taxes, available labor, and a low cost of operations — Austin blossomed. It was never Dallas or Houston — big cities. It started to generate jobs.The first big effort was the creation in 1991 of Sematech — Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology — a consortium of the US Dept of Defense, semiconductor manufacturers, and academia gave rise to Semi-Sematech (equipment and materials) and Semiconductor Research Corporation.Big semiconductor manufacturers came to start plants — AMD, Samsung, IBM. Huge employers with fat payrolls.In 2000, with the initial growth of tech and MCC (Microelectronics and Computer Corporation, another research consortium) — the US effort to counter the Japanese impending domination of micro-electrons and computers — Austin was put on the tech map.Since then, it has been organic growth with one big win after another. Today, Austin is the #2 location to large corporations with HQs on the West Coast.Austin created 37,000 tech jobs last year and was voted #1 in the country amongst tech workers as a place they’d like to work.http://themusingsofthebigre…When Louis Black (publisher of The Chronicle, a wacky, leftist, tie dyed rag, but entertaining) and his bunch started SXSW, you got a sense that Austin was going to get with the program though it had historically been opposed to growth. I fought with the City Council in constant skirmishes to build high rise buildings and to renovate old ones.The future is going to be the same — cities with a favorable business climate will do well. Cities that stick a finger in the eye of growth (talking about Amazon coming to AOC country) will face a lot of self-inflicted wounds.The jobs will drive growth and growth will drive jobs.I cannot recognize the Austin of the early 1980s when I used to have breakfast every morning at Las Manitas on Congress Avenue in an un-air conditioned little taco joint that was also the HQ of the Mexican Communist Party. Truth.I do recognize a bigger, better, stronger Austin that has the jobs and the growth and a bright future. The formula is a differential equation, but the math on who wins is precise.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Pointsandfigures

      You got a homeless problem in Austin now. Unfortunately the mayor went to LA to learn what to do about it

      1. JLM

        .We do NOT have a homeless problem in Austin By God Texas.In fact, we have a great oversupply of homeless. The wacky city council passed a “camping” ordinance that allows anybody to camp anywhere except for in front of City Hall.Our Mayor spends most of his time working his Mayor Pete campaign gig.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. SFG

          Can you look at the reviews of Austin on bestplaces.net and let me know what you think? Austin has significantly more reviews than other cities I’ve looked at and a lot of them are very negative. Are the negative reviews bullshit or is there some reality there?

          1. Gotham Gal

            Austin is a great city. I know people who live there and love it.

          2. SFG

            The reviews did strike me as a bit of a negativity pile on! No place is perfect.

      2. LE

        Interesting if the numbers I have pulled up are correct Chicago completely blows both Philly, LA and Austin away with a number of 80k homesless. If that’s correct. Philly is like 1k, Austin is like 2k. LA is 36k (city not metro). (I have for sure not spent the time to even triangulate those numbers I am just making a comment that’s all..)https://www.reuters.com/art…https://www.nytimes.com/201https://whyy.org/articles/d

        1. pointsnfigures

          Zero doubt we have a homeless problem in Chicago. Zero doubt we have one of the most corrupt governments in the history of mankind. Zero doubt we have some of the worst public policy that keeps the spigot to the homeless population active. Chicago also has more residents than any of those towns (except LA).

          1. LE

            Fwiw I happened to have a much higher opinion of Chicago (than Philly) since I used to go there with my Dad as a kid for gift trade shows at McCormick place. We stayed in some hotel (actually the Palmer House) and I can remember to this day my mother telling me that in Chicago they immediately bring you really hot coffee the minute you sit down. (The other shows were in NYC so I can conclude the coffee must have been better in Chicago for my mother..) The union shakedown in the exhibit hall was the same. You needed union electricians to literally plug in lamps. At night you had to protect your merchandise from roving security guards who ripped you off. That’s right they even stole religious giftware (from Israel make sense of that one). This was NYC and Chicago. Back then union electrician was $30 or $35/hour (the 70’s).That said, the best part of various people looking at homeless is that they think homeless are not mentally ill and you can actually somehow fix the problem (with UBI or some other social program). However it’s all either drugs or mental illness. Maybe not all but most let’s say.

  2. Pointsandfigures

    The biggest problem with NYC etc which increases expenses massively is poorly thought out and designed public policy. If secondary cities don’t use the same policies they’ll be fine

  3. LE

    Each developer should have to pay the same tax on every apartment sold or even a small amount of each months rent.Taking NYC as the example it has a proportion of grossly expensive housing for which the property taxes on the housing are extremely low. Where I am, as I have mentioned countless times, we pay roughly 3.6% per year in property taxes for the value of the house. So for a $1,000,000 house (fair market value) the tax is a whopping $36,000 per … YEAR. Compare that to what people in NYC pay. Literally in some cases 1/4 or less than that. (Not even talking about abatements etc) I play this game whereby I see some property that sold in the NY Times RE section and compare the property taxes on that to properties that I own in my state. I pay on in one example a $1,000,000 office condo $37,500 per year in property taxers!!!! And that is after an appeal. It was higher.You know what the high property taxes do? They have a direct impact on the price of the real estate. For example in suburban PA a $750,000 house will cost $400,000 in suburban NJ (equivalent type of house, neighborhood, school district etc).. (That is a rough example to prove a point). The difference is in part accounted for by the re taxes that are paid. City of Philadelphia is actually low compared to suburbs NJ and PA. Not as low as NYC though from my checking.That said NYC could easily fix their infrastructure problem by even slightly increasing property taxes. I don’t even need to do any math to know that is the answer. Why not do that?