June 19, 2008

GasPANIC + HousingPANIC + New Light Rail = The Death of Far-Flung Suburban Hell, and Here Comes "Re-Urbanization"


Anonymous said...

Yes, the only problem is, the homes that they left before in the city that they will now seek to return to is owned by the speculator mafia.
Realtors, Appraisers, Insurance Title research, Housing builders and all blue collar plumbers, carpenters, etc. get their pay from the mafia and the mafia tells you what you will pay in the area your are seeking to move into. and by the way, you white folks from the suburbs better get used to "International House" when you return. It is not what you left years ago. It's like 3rd class on the Titanic when your riding public transpotation as well.

Anonymous said...






Anonymous said...


Mammoth said...

Living in the city is a great place to be when the SHTF.

Got food, water, and ammo stashed in that inner-city condo or apartment?

No thanks, I'll just keep living on my 5 acres in a rural area.


Anonymous said...

we have lots of space for food and gardens out here. do you in the city? i read somewhere that 35% of the nation's wealth has been spent on building up suburbs and their infrastructure - i have severe doubts we are going to throw that all away. what reason would i have to go to the city, other than to maybe work? oh, but in this modern age many people can telecommute... i'm not too worried.

Brad said...

The city is a slightly better option than the suburbs when the shtf.

Anonymous said...

Mammoth is right - when it comes time to round 'em up for the internment camps, it's easier to go apartment/condo-to-apartment/condo than house-to-house.

Devestment said...

Don’t worry about it till you see employment panic.

Anonymous said...

In time, no matter where you live people will work it out. In the burbs there is land to grow food. That will be traded a little closer in for other things. Jobs will be created where ever people are.

If there is massive unemployment people will dig in and refuse to move, regardless of whether they can keep up with their mortgages. I would do that, because it will come to that; why not be the first?
Squat in your own home.Families may bunch up in houses because of heat costs. Pick the largest house with the largest yard in the most defensible area.

Also times will change. If it really falls apart, at first it will make sense to be close to resources until they begin to become unattainable. Then move.

It's the interim that will be difficult.Hard to say how long it will last.But many people have hobbies or knowledge that can be turned into tradeable resources.

In life, most of the time has to be spent taking care of the needs of life. That won't change.Just the form of doing it.

grandma pkk

Anonymous said...

We live in the county but in a sub that has 40 homes all one 1-2 acres.

We also have a creek/stream that runs from one spring fed lake to another very large lake.

I am alreading planning on chickens and goats. The stream can water our vegtable gardens and the goats can drink from the stream.

I can't believe I am thinking like this.

RBS bank is shouting out some credit crisis within the next 3 months.

Holy Shit Batman!

Anonymous said...

Pasedena - Now, there's an area that already suffers from over-speculated housing!

What was once considered "undesirable" by many to live by the train-tracks, will now become a necessity for many of these same people.

That's what happens whwn we price *ourselves* out of the very neighborhoods we choose to live in.

Anonymous said...

This is tripe. Everyone uses Eruope as a model of efficient urban living. Europe has boatloads of suburbs. I lived in two, and they were further away from most support services than here in the U.S. Most grocery stores, Starbucks and Home Depots are within two miles of the average house in the U.S. This is really about job commuting. Companies that want to keep empoyees will need to accomodate geographic dispersion. Governments will need to accomodate more mass transit. Light rail for most suburban areas does not work. As pedestrian as it sounds, an integrated bus system usually works best and for the least $$.

Frank R said...

So after all the recent revitalization and cleanup of downtowns to make them nice touristy areas, they're going to return to being the inner-city sh*tholes they always were before.

Thanks a lot, REIC.

Anonymous said...

This story has been trotted out for over a decade. It's simply not true.

Jobs are now located in suburbs as well as cities. In fact, one of the problems with mass transit is that the commuting is often not from suburb to city but suburb to suburb, making it more difficult to create a viable system.

Cities lose population every census. There's no mass movement of people back to the inner cities. A few yuppies and empty nesters is not a mass movement.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love these networks that never bring numbers to back up their sensationalism. Bianna is hot, and I'd love to date her, but she could have brought some numbers to show evidence. First instance, how are people moving to the city without selling their homes first at the burbs?

Mammoth said...

Anon 4:54 PM said...
"I can't believe I am thinking like this."
Last week I stashed a case of canned food inside the crawlspace underneath my house. Soon to be followed by more.

I can't believe I am thinking like this!


Anonymous said...

Not everyone can afford to live in the country, and and apartment or condo will be cheaper, especially if you can ditch the car. It isn't just the job commute that will be affected, it is people who live in very big homes that need to be heated(and cleaned and maintained and taxed, etc.) and that are losing their value everyday, and likely not going to gain it back that will be the losers. Look at Detroit, folks, part of that city has become urban prairie, and some are doing okay, closer to downtown and the highway. Likely similiar things will occur in the burbs.

Anonymous said...

Trends, it's all it is. In the 70s it was white flight and getting back to nature. In the 80s it was about being urban. In the 90s it was about being able to afford a nice place in the 'burbs. Now people are thinking they'll be different and say they want to live in a ghetto.

Every ten years the masses decide they didn't know what they were doing the 10 years previous. Thanks, but I'll think for myself.

Anonymous said...

I have faith in innovation. I think high gas prices will be a good thing. We'll find alternatives and the suburbs will be back in business. Until then, the houses should be a bargain. Dare I say, $12/gallon?

Anonymous said...

"No thanks, I'll just keep living on my 5 acres in a rural area.

You better have your own Army to defend it when they come for your thumbs, smart ass.

Good Luck in the DIE OFF.

Anonymous said...

And where do all these people who move back to the city expect to send their kids to school??? It's like leaving the green zone in Iraq and walking around the Sunni Triangle without wearing any body armor.

Mammoth said...

Whenever there is a discussion here about what a post-apocalyptic world would be like, the flamers always post. Many are of these are in the following vein: “I will come after you with my guns to take your gold & food, and to ravage your women.”

Lotsa luck surviving with that approach! I think the way this will actually unfold, if the sh1t REALLY hits the fan and everything falls apart, would be similar to what I’ve observed in Russia:

Many families live in an apartment in the city, but also own some of property outside of town (called a Dacha), which typically has a small rustic house on a piece of land. The land is used to grow fruit and vegetables for the family’s consumption. (Food burns up a much higher proportion of people’s budgets in Russia than in the US.)

Those who have land to grow their own food on are a lot less poor than those without land, who must purchase all their food.

There were ~25 dachas in the compound which I visited and worked at. The residents said there were problems with outsiders coming in and stealing the food people grew.

Here is how they dealt with this: A couple of the men would guard the compound’s entrance at night. When they caught a thief, they would beat the living crap out of the guy, and threaten to kill him if they ever caught him again. I was told that they never caught the same person twice!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
During the summer I always bring extra garden vegetables to my neighbors. Last month one neighbor showed up at my door with a bag filled with frozen packets of deer meat, from one of his recent hunting trips.

If, as mentioned above, the sh1t REALLY hits the fan, things would probably be chaotic for a short while, but then communities would pull together where everyone would all pool their skills. The people who are good at making things will build for the community; others will bring in food to share or perform other support tasks. That is how things just may play out, if everything does indeed fall apart.

Oh, and when the thieves and plunderers from the cities show up, they will be dealt with the same as in the Russian example that was referred to above.


Anonymous said...

For the last 30 years I've been reading about the imminent collapse of the suburbs and how the majority of people are about to return to the downtowns. I'm sure urban living satisfies a portion of the population, and some cities such as New York manage to hold on to their more affluent. But I'm also fairly certain that enough employment, shopping, and other points of interest have already relocated to the suburbs. I don't doubt that pockets of the far suburbs are in deep trouble, especially those where the McMansions dominate. But I don't think the average suburban or rural resident is about to abandon where they are now living in order to flock into the cities. For one thing, if those commuters staggering under the burden of 4 dollar plus a gallon gas would trade in their SUV's and big pickups for something more reasonable, they'd lower the unbearable cost of driving considerably.

Anonymous said...

"Here is how they dealt with this: A couple of the men would guard the compound’s entrance at night. When they caught a thief, they would beat the living crap out of the guy, and threaten to kill him if they ever caught him again. I was told that they never caught the same person twice!"

Never Fired and only droped once...
ONE Lump or TWO...
threaten to kill him, huh?
BANG BANG = two down.

Still coming for your thumbs.

What next, oh brave one?


Anonymous said...

This story has been trotted out for over a decade. It's simply not true.

Jobs are now located in suburbs as well as cities. In fact, one of the problems with mass transit is that the commuting is often not from suburb to city but suburb to suburb, making it more difficult to create a viable system.

I agree bitterrenter. The light rail system here in Phoenix is scheduled to start operating at the end of the year. Its your typical suburbs to downtown system. While it might be great to take it downtown for a Suns or Diamondbacks game, it will do little for rush hour since employers and jobs here are spreadout throughout the valley.

Anonymous said...

They have the same problem in Boston. Horrible traffic due to suburb to suburb congestion. I would imagine the same is true of most places in California.

So moving "back" to the central cities is not due to proximity to work for most people. In fact, downtowns across the country are bleeding jobs to the the burbs. The people moving back in are a handful of trendsters seeking a day gone by. The dominant paradigm in this country is still to obtain a dwelling on a piece of land. This is especially true of families. That presents a problem for the cities. Every generation sees a number of young people amassing in the cities. But then they meet someone, get married, have that baby and hightail it to the burbs for space, schools and lifestyle. That leaves the prosperous boomer retirees who want to live like Lisa Douglas before Oliver took her to Green Acres.

Personally I would hate a city dominated by bland, white, aging boomers. Unfortunately, that's what Portland is becoming.

Anonymous said...

mammoth - the problem is that here they have guns. i've been thinking about this lately - our crime rate is extremely high NOW.

Anonymous said...

In a nutshell, most jobs are in the service sector and telecommuting with broadband LAN, with two weekly office visits per week, is becoming the norm. Most people would prefer that over living in a city w/ scant security and dealing with the crowding/traffic situations just to be near a centrally located office. The truth is that office parks are scattered all over the place.

Anonymous said...

I like some aspects of city life, but as someone else mentioned, most American cities are boomer-fied, overcrowded and expensive. I spend part of the year in an urban condo and everything costs a lot more - groceries, gas, electricity, taxes. There are a couple of nice parks on the block, but I never see kids in the neighborhood. My neighbors had a baby and moved to a house in the suburbs. They wereen't able to sell their condo, so they are renting it to a retired boomer couple.

Many businesses have moved to the suburbs, where land is cheaper and housing is cheaper so they can pay their employees less. I don't think the suburbs will die because I think people basically hate each other and will still pay a high price for privacy and space. Most would sooner drive plug-in hybrid smart cars and move in with the in-laws than return to high-density living.

gsanford said...

I sent you a personal email about the greater dangers of peak oil over a year ago! The production charts showing a plateau from 2005 onward are not that different from the financial charts you study, but you ignored them until gas shot up above $4 a gallon. Now your blog is turning into a peak oil blog. The housing crisis is only going to be a precursor to the larger depression caused by oil depletion.

Peahippo said...

Re-urbanization is a myth.

1. The cities that were left behind during White Flight are by definition filling up with Blacks and Latinos, and Whites just don't want to live near those. And they won't.

2. The cities are dominated by ever-more-militant public schools who refuse to fix themselves. All races find this disturbing, and the suburb and exoburb movement was done partially to get the fuck away from these Communists.

3. Light rail is a joke in the USA. There is no serious attempt to improve public transit. Installing any rail system (even along current rights-of-way) involves so many studies that the war chest of money required is many times more than the project looks like just from an engineering standpoint.

4. The high cost of gasoline can be halved by getting a better vehicle than an SUV.

5. There are minor factors supporting other facts against the myth, like continued urban destruction of old housing stock (using bulldozers to remove "blight" which coincidentally reduces inventory), and the higher prices of inner-city good housing stock to begin with.

Re-urbanization is a myth, but over a much longer period of time (over the next century), there will finally be some movement by the rurals back into inner-urban zones, as the price of transport climbs hugely as Peak Oil becomes a reality to all but the densest moron. Of course, by then there will be Civil War in the USA, which will produce mass movements of people that will hide that re-urb trend.

The point here is that by the year 2108, most people in the USA will have to obtain their food from a local source. Daily and high-speed travel will be too expensive for the common man. There will be no airlines, just the occasional plane owned by one of the Lords, who use it for their elite purposes. Etc.

But even Peak Oil inspired re-urb movement is not the solution since there's no way to grow your own food in the inner city. Why move there? There won't be any more jobs there than in the suburbs, either. The exoburbs may be more useless due to being so spread out, but that means they will re-arrange into estates, and over the long term their bulk populations will move into suburbs.

Keith, honestly, why would you move into a downtown area if there's still no fucking job for you to have? Re-urb is nowhere near as simple a conclusion as you make it.

Anonymous said...

Encino, a suburb? WTF? Maybe in the 1940's it was considered a suburb, but nowadays it's clearly in the middle of a city (just look at the high rises in Sherman Oaks, just down Ventura Blvd.

No, a suburb of L.A. might be considered Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, or even Lancaster/Palmdale. Now THERE'S suburbs, and they're feeling the sting of plummeting housing prices triggered by the ever-increasing costs of a commute into L.A.

No, the young people featured in the video are trendy idiots, having to live in a desirable trendy area (Encino is where the likes of Michael Jackson's family live, up in the Hills above the Valley with a gorgeous view from South of the Blvd). They've GOT to have the trendy car, the trendy clothes, etc, even though they have to spend into debt to do so.

They're the typical "what's in it for me" types who've gotten us into this mess with the credit bubble in the first place....