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Everything posted by davidals

  1. ^ Probably not at the present, so your points are well taken. I would just argue that - though that's the way it is now, it's not necessarily the way it has to be in the future. To pull off such a thing - have a city that is small-to-medium in size become nationally (or internationally even) significant in spite of the lack of certain more obvious things (skylines, freeways, huge city or metro populations) - does demand multiple generations of fairly visionary leadership, which would also engage the population already in place and have an ability to trumpet those accomplishments nationally or beyond. This is why I keep zeroing in on little regional cities that have plenty of issues and things stacked against them, but also some big and obvious virtues that no one else has and can be built upon. All around, what I'm talking about is extremely difficult, and there's no real road map to it, but - over a long stretch of time - I don't think it's an impossible thing to contemplate either. Looking at the debate over the Southern city of primary importance, I'd comment on a few: Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, Memphis. Those cities may not be the largest, and may not have the F500 clout of some others, but their significance at other levels is pretty unparallelled: they occupy one-of-a-kind, visible, public historic and cultural significance, and there are things coming from those places that you find nowhere else, and this is even true to an extent at least in places like especially NoLa which have been through a lot recently. So I'd just emphasize that along with the other, obvious factors - (skylines, freeways, research parks) - that the harder to measure things like jazz, civil rights, soul or country music, arts, writers, scenery, rivers, mountains, hippies, beach music, whatever are just as essential as a measure of importance or success: if you have it, and someone else doesn't, but wishes they did, then that's where a big piece of your future success lies. And by that token, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, and Memphis' siblings, and perhaps equals, would be the smaller but no less unique Charleston SC or Asheville or Savannah.
  2. great great album...Eno is one of my biggest favorites; even some of the ambient ones
  3. I agree with a few of the previous posts - and I'd go along with them in emphasizing that it isn't JUST about population #s, skylines, interstates, etc. The extreme example would be Geneva - a global city with a city population of about 180,000-190,000, in a metro of about 800,000. A very critical part of becoming a 1st tier city - nationally or internationally prominent - is recognized uniqueness and recognized indepensability. So just because a metro has 1,000,000 people, that automatically doesn't make it anything special, and just because a city is small-ish it isn't automatically out of the running. And cultural importance and achievements and atmosphere are all very important pieces of the puzzle - being large but generic isn't worth all that much in the long run.
  4. No real reason, but I'll root for some smaller places off the top of my head: Starkville MS: Pros - major university, hot summers but othewise good climate, equidistant to some bigger metros (Birmingham, Jackson, Memphis) Con - no interstate access Gainesville FL: Pros - major university, major N-S interstate, manageable size but close to bigger cities (Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville), N Fla is less crowded - for the moment - than S Fla Cons - college towns can be a little economically weird, as a non-coastal FL city those summers are Africa hot, and the usual FL climatological risks still exist Greenville NC: Pros - apart from the top ten and the big 3 metros it's the fastest growing smaller NC city, major research university, hot summers but otherwise good climate, close to coast, between the Triangle and Tidewater VA metros, nearby military presence (Goldsboro) adds a little extra stimulus to economy, close to Global TransPark Cons - no interstate (though close), prospering town surrounded by the most economically depressed area in the state, nascent sprawl issues, close to Global TransPark Blacksburg / Radford / Christiansburg / Roanoke VA: Pros - Major N-S interstate, fairly close to several bigger metros (Richmond, DC, Triad, Charlotte), decent climate (a little harsh in the winter), scenic, several big universities in the area Cons - Metro is a little spread out and unfocused, those interstates don't directly connect with any neighboring metros Macon AND/OR Athens GA: Pros - Major univ in Athens, fairly enviable cultural/musical history in both, both are close to Atlanta but not absorbed into metro Atl sprawl, lack of an interstate in Athens may be a virtue when considering the Atl factor, 2 interstates (with a possible 3rd) in Macon, reasonable distance from coast and mountains, military presence near Macon adds a to economy, the usual Southern climate strengths and weaknesses Cons - Atlanta's dominance of Georgia's economy and (to a lesser extent) cultural atmosphere Charleston WV: Pros - WV is the butt of so much merciless humor they have nowhere to go but up (switch WV to MS and it would also apply to #1), scenic city forced into a certain amount of compact growth by geographic constraints, an Eastern midpoint between the Sun Belt and the Rust Belt - think creatively and they could reinvent themselves as the best of both, 3 interstates (with Charlotte, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Lexington, Richmond all 3-5 hr direct interstate driving) Cons - WV as the butt of so much merciless humor, legit economic issues in the state, potential serious environmental issues (most of the city is wedged into a steep river valley) that would arise with any unexpected boom, and gosh those winters can get intense
  5. Blue Oyster Cult. Unable to include either the umlaut, or the cowbell, in this post.
  6. ^ This sort of thing - duplication of services - will change in a serious, proactive fashion when there's some kind of disruptive meltdown - a ghastly corruption scandal breaking, or a municipal bankruptcy, or a suburban toy town having to be bailed out by a legislature. Such suburban incorporations (turn a semi-rural or suburban area into a faux-town of some kind) are driven primarily through reaction, instead of actually thinking through the big-picture, long range implications of it IMO, and they are hardly limited to SC - look at the incorporated scramble of towns in W Union Co NC, or the ring of towns around Winston-Salem & Greensboro that didn't exist until recently (How exactly is Whitsett - which is about 3 roads - a town?). But Captain Worley has a point - if municipal government behaves with contempt or ignorance towards those governed, then they are right to react in some way. It ultimately may be a race to the bottom - municipal decisions with questionable motives inspire reactions against them that may be equally ill-considered. Not that I'd hold hope in seeing it any time soon, but I'm starting to think that a structural redefinition of what a "municipality" is might be is in order, in many states at least, if not nationally. Trying to sell annexation to suburbanites is tough, even when the city is effective in doing what it says it will, and urbanites don't always like it either - it can drastically change the political, social, cultural and racial demographics of a place. The cities in SC could take several approaches that ideally would be responsive at some level, and wouldn't just be a blatant money/population grab: 1-Continue the push to modify current annexation laws. 2-Pursue city/county consolidations, or reconstitution as some sort of independent city. 3-Look into the kind of merged municipalities (not the same things as #2), something like the system in Ontario. I haven't researched what they are doing, but it seems to have been designed to cut duplication of services and unneeded layers of or overlap in gov't by essentially turning urban areas into a semi-consolidated or federated municipality. Maybe an Ontario resident can correct me if I'm wrong on this. 4-Push to shift SC into some modernized township system, an update on something like the New England system, where counties are essentially just statistical/geographical entities, and remove a layer of interaction between "city" and "state." Counties would basically exist as census/statistical designations only.
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