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GRDadof3

1/5 of Grand Rapids Metro residents live in "exurbs"

Exurbs a good thing or bad thing?   59 members have voted

  1. 1. Is the fact that 1/5 of Grand Rapids MSA residents live in "exurbs" a good thing or a bad thing?

    • Good thing - people should live where they want to live
      11
    • Bad thing - "sprawl" is a real issue and a problem
      38
    • Good or bad for other reasons
      6
    • Brookings' study is inaccurate - (describe why)
      4
    • Other
      0

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55 posts in this topic

Finding Exurbia - Brookings Institution

Seven metropolitan areas have at least one in five residents living in an exurb. These metro areas include Little Rock (AR), Grand Rapids (MI), and Greenville (SC), as well as areas like Poughkeepsie (NY) that serve as "satellites" to nearby larger metro areas. Both fast-growing and slow-growing metropolitan areas have developed exurbs.

Here's the corresponding chart of the worst cities ranked from the Brookings study:

276697338_89a29bf780_o.jpg

Exurb:

The expression "exurb" (for "extra-urban") was coined in the 1950s, by Auguste Comte Spectorsky in his book "The Exurbanites", to describe the ring of prosperous rural communities beyond the suburbs that, due to availability via the new high-speed limited-access highways, were becoming dormitory communities for an urban area.

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I voted that sprawl is a problem, but that doesn't fully represent my opinion. People can live wherever they want to live but we need to stop subsidizing suburban sprawl. Let the suburbs compete on their own merits.

-nb

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The link dosen't seem to work for me, but is this study of our MSA or CMSA? Nevermind, the link works, but dosen't seem to mention anyone of the two... It appears as though the Study used demographic and economic data from 1990 to 2005. I would wonder if our MSA break up could have 'played' with the results. Maybe amplify the results?

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The suburban lifestyle is not a sustainable lifestyle. The sprawl its causing is ruining the enivonment, stretching urban resources to the limit, increasing dependance upon the automobile as Mass Transit will never be able to cover the vastness of low density master planing. Lastly its killing the core city from whence the sprawl originated. Somthings going to give sometime and when it does, start praying.

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I can't say it enough times...we need to establish a county-wide greenbelt millage!

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The concept of a greenbelt is indeed a good one but one big worry about them is that instead of sprawl occuring on the fringes of the metropolitan area, it instead will start to occur at the edge of the greenbelt.

It is going to take a long time for the deep rooted attitudes of the post-war "American Dream" to change. The best plan of attack, as already mentioned, is to cease subsidizing sprawl. Better urban schools, lower cost of good housing, and educated civic leaders will also help.

But to think people are going to live for more than whats good for themselves is unrealistic.

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The concept of a greenbelt is indeed a good one but one big worry about them is that instead of sprawl occuring on the fringes of the metropolitan area, it instead will start to occur at the edge of the greenbelt.

It is going to take a long time for the deep rooted attitudes of the post-war "American Dream" to change. The best plan of attack, as already mentioned, is to cease subsidizing sprawl. Better urban schools, lower cost of good housing, and educated civic leaders will also help.

But to think people are going to live for more than whats good for themselves is unrealistic.

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I don't know if we should 'law' ourselves out of this... I wouldn't feel comfortable telling someone how big of a house they can build.

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Along with that, how about adding substancial tax incentives at a federal and state level to intice people to move into the city instead of the 'burbs. Maybe for good measure, pass a state and/or federal law deeply cutting then capping interest rates on innercity realestate. You got to have people living in the city to fuel the coffers in order to do things like improving innercity schools, building a mass transit system, etc. Sure its going to take a lot to change attitudes as you've mentioned. However, money can be very persuasive.

Some more thoughts to toss into the hat.

*Pass a hefty gas guzzler tax, more so than what's in place now. (discourages the owning of big SUV's)

*Pass a tax credit on fuel efficient vehicles.

*Place a limit on the size of homes. Unless one has sixteen children, nobody needs a house bigger than 2,000 sq ft. Small homes take up less space and are more efficient than big McMansions.

*Laws at state and federal levels requiring cities, townships, and counties to revise master plans to discuorage low density urbanisation and encourage medium and high density mass transit based developments as well as infilling existing low density into medium and high density urbanisation. The denser the city, the less space it takes up and the easier for a well managed mass transit service to make a profit and stay running.

*Laws at state and federal level to require cities, townships, and counties to preserve agraculteral and green spaces. A.K.A Greenbelts on steroids to stop any further sprawl and force existing urban areas to reinvest in themselves instead of more sprawl. To do this, require plats outside of urban areas to be very large in size and buildings and developments built upon them to be very small leaving most of the plat as open space that would be ether untouched, used for agracultural or 'green' friendly recreational purposes, building of habitat area, or combination of any of these uses.

*Laws to require all states and the federal Government to help cities to build effective mass transit systems instead of more lanes to highways and new roads.

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I'm not sure how this could be considered a "good thing" by any stretch of the imagination. With that said, it should be discussed about how much of a problem this really is; to what degree should this worry us. Only half of the metro lives lives within GR's Urbanized Area, which I also find a little worrisome. I must say, though, I was surprised to see GR rank in the top ten of this list, but then again, this is just how the area developed. It's multi-nodular, so at least the exurban areas are anchored by significant urban cities in their own rights (Muksegon/Holland/GR).

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I'm not sure how this could be considered a "good thing" by any stretch of the imagination. With that said, it should be discussed about how much of a problem this really is; to what degree should this worry us. Only half of the metro lives lives within GR's Urbanized Area, which I also find a little worrisome. I must say, though, I was surprised to see GR rank in the top ten of this list, but then again, this is just how the area developed. It's multi-nodular, so at least the exurban areas are anchored by significant urban cities in their own rights (Muksegon/Holland/GR).

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Oops. I made the mistake of confusing Metro Qrea and Urbanized Area, and then forgot the Urbanized Area population of Grand Rapids. Sorry.

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What are the exurban parts of Grand Rapids? On page 40 of the report I found some reference to Allegan, Newaygo, and Barry counties but the number of residents living in exurban situations in those counties added up to to roughly 70,000 people while the total number of exurban residents is supposedly 168,000+. The report references that exurban areas are determined to be census tracts with certain characteristics. It would be interesting to see a GIS map that show exactly where these census tracts are. . . .

There are already Renaissance Zones in the city that are virtually tax free to entice people to live in the city.

I don't think this is a legitimate argument. What exactly was going on at 68th and Kalamazoo Friday night? Or at Port Sheldon and 28th Ave? Most likely nothing, but obviously that dead activity in those locations is not keeping people from moving there in hordes. It's not the lack of activities downtown that's not enticing.

I don't think anyone here is advocating living downtown. It's definitely not for everyone. The issue is Grand Rapids has one of the worst conditions of too many people not even living in suburbs. They're living in "exurbs" (rural outlying areas beyond suburbs). 165,000 people out of 750,000 to be exact. But these 165K are still commuting to GR.

Is there something wrong with the system? Is exurb living subsidized?

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I don't really consider exurbs to be negative or positive, I think it all depends on the makeup of the particular area in question. For example, I would certainly consider Coopersville, an established town as an exurb. It's not simply a mass of residential with minimal amounts of commercial or industrial. It's a traditional mix of development districts -- a main street commercial, extruding side streets with residential, and industrial centers on the outskirts. We wouldn't consider Coopersville a suburban sprawl of a mess, but a centralized town center. I guess I wouldn't characterize exurbs as the same sprawl as say Byron Center.

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I drive in from Holland every morning along with a few thousand others... :wacko:

Many of the "exburbs" are communities that have been around nearly as long as Grand Rapids. Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Ionia, etc. feed a lot of employees into the Grand Rapids business community. The suburbs were created by flight from the urban core, but the exburbs pre-existed the suburbs by as much as 100 years (1840s-1860s).

The bottom line is...if I was doing my same job in Holland I would be earning about 30% of what I am earning now. I don't mind my commute at all! :whistling:

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The suburbs were created by flight from the urban core, but the exburbs pre-existed the suburbs by as much as 100 years (1840s-1860s).

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The term coined by a local economic organization comes to mind: "LA on The Lake."

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*Place a limit on the size of homes. Unless one has sixteen children, nobody needs a house bigger than 2,000 sq ft. Small homes take up less space and are more efficient than big McMansions.

Sorry tamais but I think this is insane. I think the location of the houses and the lot sizes is the problem, not the square footage.

*Laws at state and federal levels requiring cities, townships, and counties to revise master plans to discuorage low density urbanisation and encourage medium and high density mass transit based developments as well as infilling existing low density into medium and high density urbanisation. The denser the city, the less space it takes up and the easier for a well managed mass transit service to make a profit and stay running.

Current state law requires a municipality to review their master plans every five years. However, the law is rather unclear as to what consitiutes a "review". In some cases, the municipality could flip through it in five minutes and say "ok, looks good" and be done with it. Most rural municipalities would just love to preserve open space and ag land, and keep things rural. But remember, the outright barring of development on a property is difficult to do. Such is the nature of democratic government.

To do this, require plats outside of urban areas to be very large in size and buildings and developments built upon them to be very small leaving most of the plat as open space that would be ether untouched, used for agracultural or 'green' friendly recreational purposes, building of habitat area, or combination of any of these uses.

Won't this type of low-density stuff just perpetuate the problem?

*Laws to require all states and the federal Government to help cities to build effective mass transit systems instead of more lanes to highways and new roads.

I don't know about requiring it, but it's a good idea. The problem, however, is that its crazy to build mass transit if no one is going to ride it. Isn't Amtrak funded by the federal government and pretty much broke all the time because no one rides it? You could argue that people don't ride it because its not there, but I think that most people are going to drive their cars until it becomes impossible to continue to do so.

I don't think that 1/5 of the population living in the is a particularly good, but I don't like the idea of the state (or anyone else) telling people where they can or can't live. Sprawl is a much more complicated issue that it seems on the surface.

This is a good conversation though.

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I drive in from Holland every morning along with a few thousand others... :wacko:

...

The bottom line is...if I was doing my same job in Holland I would be earning about 30% of what I am earning now. I don't mind my commute at all! :whistling:

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The question is then, is the overdevelopment of these small towns and the townships that surround them like Byron Center, Ada, Coopersville, Lowell, Hudsonville, Rockford, Cedar Springs, Dorr, Allendale, etc. a good thing or a bad thing? They're saying it's now about 100,000 people who live in these areas. And about 70,000 people live further out in surrounding counties (Allegan, Newaygo, Barry) and commute into Grand Rapids.

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AB, what's the time duration of your commute? Your MPG? Do you buy parking or is it provided? And is your job available in Holland or unique to GR?

[curious, and missing my 1-mile bike commute to 300 N. Monroe]

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The biggest exurb culprits are: Rockford, Ada, Byron Center, Caledonia, and Hudsonville/Jamestown.

In the next 20 years don't be surprised to see places such as Wayland and Dorr added to that list.

What exaggerates this problem is communities that will grow on the fringes of these already edge communities. For instance take the Jamestown/Hudsonville example. The actual city of Hudsonville itself isn't really that big and really has no room to grow. The problem is at places like the exit ramp where the new Meijer is going to be on 32nd Avenue. It is technically Jamestown Township but its considered to be within the Hudsonville community. The same thing is occuring in the north in Georgetown. The area and school of distirct of Jenison really has not alot of room to grow upon but development is going on like crazy west of 28th Avenue where one can belong to the Hudsonville Community and/or Jenison. The vagueness and lack of identity of the Township system has created this problem.

Now obscure little known places like Bauer and Blendon which are more or less a reference to space rather than communities are being developed as suburbs of the suburbs.

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I'm not sure what the purpose, benefit and even usefulness of this study is. Mostly, they limit their definition of exurbs to ones where the population is growing at a faster rate than the metro area. They have one page talking about slow or no growth exurbs, and then make the following amazing conclusion:

In 2000, 6.8 million people lived in these slow-no-growth exurbs. Including these areas would thus boost our overall exurban population by roughly two-thirds. Moreover, it would alter somewhat the geographic distribution of exurbia. The table below shows that, compared to the exurban tracts identified in the text, slow/no-growth exurbs are tilted more heavily towards the Middle Atlantic states, and away from the interior South and Mountain states. This makes sense, given the slower growth prevailing in the northern part of the United States.

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I would love to know how they defined the difference between exurban, suburban, and rural.

In the book

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