I’m starting to get a little frustrated with the economic trends in my city. If you took this city, you could break it up into two halves, A and B. Half A tends to be a lot more prosperous and attracts tons of new businesses and developments all the time. Part of the reason behind this is because our city gives an overwhelming amount of economic development attention to that side of the city. We’re talking tax incentives to bring in new businesses, infrastructure investment, what have you. Half B, while still a good part of the city and full of wonderful people to know and amazing places to visit, seems to fall behind a bit more each year. This divide can really be apparent in everything from road conditions to property values to the types of businesses found in the neighborhoods. Yeah, you’ll get some speckles of rougher places in Half A and some nicer places in Half B, but for the most part, you get my drift.
Anyhow, there’s a major retail and restaurant business area in Half B that’s lost quite a few big box stores over the past few years and it looks like it’s gonna lose one or two more this year. The strip malls in the area are either A) getting way more than a bit threadbare or B) finding themselves filled with pawn shops or title loan companies or what have you. Some of the buildings that the major retailers were in are either dormant and neglected or filled with bargain outlet stores. I don’t want to disparage the neighborhood too much, cause it’s still has some nice places in it and it’s full of wonderful people, but economically, there’s a difference compared to just five or six years ago. That’s just one neighborhood in particular, but you see similar stuff in other parts of town.
Now, I wouldn't say the Half B is fragile or anything, but it's starting to feel really neglected. It's starting to feel like though, that we're gonna have another recession, and I don't think that's gonna be good for this divide. If neighborhoods are falling behind in times of prosperity, you can only imagine what’s gonna happen in times of hardship. Anyone who reads half what I write pretty much know at this point how I feel about economic imbalances, though I'd like to stress that I'm not a capital S socialist or capital C communist or anything, but I'm really starting to understand now how these types of situations tend to create positive feedback loops and I gotta say, it's crazy to look at things first hand and get a sense of what's going on.
So my questions are these, because I know that this type of situation isn’t specific to just my city. How do these imbalances get started in the first place? What policies and practices tend to aggravate these imbalances and what incentives do cities have to promote them? And finally, does anyone know anything cities are doing to try and address these problems or do they tend of being content with being hands off?
Community A is winning and it will take all when it's over.
Before long it's just going to be dog coats, succulent's, truffle fries, and artisan ice cream all the way down.
We vote big bond issues for pleasant amenities like parks. No one is the city is supposed to less than an easy walk to a nice park. Taxes go up and the closer you are to a park the higher your home value goes up. The people at the bottom get pushed out as clusters of new businesses emerge to satiate the desires of the new wealthier residents. It starts with a tap room and a coffee shop and ends with a New Seasons (Think Whole Foods if you don't have them around you). Values go up more, more people get moved on.
City B will be gone in ten years.