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JerseyBoy

The Price of Growing At All Costs

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http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/12/cities-te...212_cities.html

Greensboro was recently ranked by Forbes as the fourth most abandoned city in the country behind Las Vegas, Detroit, and Atlanta. Usually, I don't put much stock into these polls, but it's a bit of a different story when it hits this close to home. The rankings were based on "a combination of rental and homeowner vacancy rates released by the Census Bureau for the 75 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country." It is from my observations that the city of Greensboro rubber-stamps every project that comes their way. This mentality often leads to unplanned and car-oriented neighborhoods that are easily abandoned for the next "big thing" or don't sustain their value. It appears that this poll reflects this. During the few times I drive into Greensboro, I have noticed housing development after housing development. I often wonder," Where are they going to get the people to live in these places?" To its credit, Greensboro has attracted many jobs with PTI and the manufacturing industry, but it has also lost quite a few as well. The unemployment rate in the Greensboro-High Point MSA is, I believe, 8.1%. Layoffs at the newly opened Lenovo warehouse and Lincoln Financial have contributed to this greatly. It seems as if everyone is working against DGI and downtown Greensboro with rumors persisting that suburban office parks are doing everything they can to attract companies away from downtown. :stop: What can Greensboro do to change this type of thinking?

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As if Winston-Salem doesn't suffer from the same car-dominated mentality. Winston-Salem was not even considered for ranking because its MSA is much smaller. The article is actually about the "emptiest" cities, not abandoned, and I would take these rankings with a grain of salt.

For example, the Raleigh-Durham metro area was not listed in this ranking, yet the Triangle has a 19 month supply of existing homes waiting to be sold while Greensboro's existing home inventory is only a 9.6 month supply.

As far as downtown goes, I'm not even sure why you mentioned that point because companies downtown has nothing to do with the Forbes ranking. But I would appreciate it if you provided me with links to these "rumors."

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The point of this is to bring to light the fact that Greensboro's development practices have caused it to be ranked among the likes of Las Vegas and Atlanta. Both cities were heavily invested in this real-estate mess and now have empty homes that were foreclosed on and abandoned subdivisions that have yet to be completed.

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As if Winston-Salem doesn't suffer from the same car-dominated mentality. Winston-Salem was not even considered for ranking because its MSA is much smaller. The article is actually about the "emptiest" cities, not abandoned, and I would take these rankings with a grain of salt.

For example, the Raleigh-Durham metro area was not listed in this ranking, yet the Triangle has a 19 month supply of existing homes waiting to be sold while Greensboro's existing home inventory is only a 9.6 month supply.

As far as downtown goes, I'm not even sure why you mentioned that point because companies downtown has nothing to do with the Forbes ranking. But I would appreciate it if you provided me with links to these "rumors."

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Another meaningless Forbes article that takes one or two numbers and declares a place 'thriving' or 'dead', 'appealing' or 'ghastly', and at last 'empty' or abandoned.'

These articles do very little for me and I wish all UPer's would IGNORE them. I looked at several after this was posted and while one rated Detroit, MI as one of the most appealing family locations in the country, another article rated it as one of the most loathed places in the country to live. Forbes grabs a few numbers and tries to lay the same rule over a bunch of cities and comes up with a list. Not very scientific.

I will agree, Greensboro does have a bit of empty residential property (W-S does too), but I wouldn't declare Greensboro abandoned. Cities such as Buffalo, Syracuse, Detroit, and Cleveland come much more to mind in that regard.

Greensboro does need to change planning habits, heck every city in NC needs to be more mindful of them to get away from car-centric neighborhoods. We all now that and we all should be striving thru email drives, going to planning meetings, talking to our elected officials, and public assembly.

Now let's use the Forbe's article what they are best used for, bathroom reading and move on to something more constructive.

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Another meaningless Forbes article that takes one or two numbers and declares a place 'thriving' or 'dead', 'appealing' or 'ghastly', and at last 'empty' or abandoned.'

These articles do very little for me and I wish all UPer's would IGNORE them. I looked at several after this was posted and while one rated Detroit, MI as one of the most appealing family locations in the country, another article rated it as one of the most loathed places in the country to live. Forbes grabs a few numbers and tries to lay the same rule over a bunch of cities and comes up with a list. Not very scientific.

I will agree, Greensboro does have a bit of empty residential property (W-S does too), but I wouldn't declare Greensboro abandoned. Cities such as Buffalo, Syracuse, Detroit, and Cleveland come much more to mind in that regard.

Greensboro does need to change planning habits, heck every city in NC needs to be more mindful of them to get away from car-centric neighborhoods. We all now that and we all should be striving thru email drives, going to planning meetings, talking to our elected officials, and public assembly.

Now let's use the Forbe's article what they are best used for, bathroom reading and move on to something more constructive.

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I'm sorry for the confusion if any of you thought I was comparing Greensboro to the likes of Detroit. The intention of this topic is to bring to light the mentality that exists in Greensboro and the rest of the Triad's cities. I don't know about the rest of you, but I feel that our area has adopted a "grow at all costs" policy. We are now aware of the effects this theoretical ordinance has on cities, yet, what do we continue to do? We promote it, in spite of what has happened in Atlanta and other cities who approved everything that came across their desk. Guilford County now has the widest freeway in North Carolina (good or bad depending on your viewpoint :) ) with more planned freeways and future interstate designations in the country in hopes of become a logistics hub and "aerotropolis." Do these industries, while lucrative in some ways, promote sustainable land use and encourage urbanity? No. When we face the facts, we know that business is in bed with government. You can be sure that the Triad will be hospitable to any company who wants to set up shop here. While there are positives to this way of thinking, there are MANY negatives. Without having any ground rules or standards, we sacrifice the quality of our area to businesses who, to be frank, don't give a damn. Dell is a perfect example of this. We emptied the bank and put on our Sunday best for them only to have them selling the plant off. :huh: This same sort of thinking applies to residential growth as well. Mega Tract Homes (theoretical company) wants to build a huge housing complex in SW Greensboro. City council doesn't care about what they have built or the ethics they practice. They view this as more tax dollars for the annual budget and approve the development. However, MTC offers $99 move-in specials and attracts people who want to be homeowners, but can't really afford it. These people end-up foreclosing and the homes become unkept and dilapidated. Multiply this scenario by the number of developments like this, and you have a hell of a problem. I fear that our area might not learn from these mistakes and end up continuing to rubber-stamp every project just to beat their next opponent in the census.

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Agreed. So how do we solve this problem. There has got to be a way Triad cities can incentivize smart growth and more urban, dense development. I think the cities could offer developers tax deferral or forgiveness for choosing to develop close to downtown or in the core of the cities. For example, in exchange for building a mixed-use or similar type development in the urban core, the city would not charge property taxes on that piece of property for x number of years. It makes sense, especially if the developers choose vacant parking lots or otherwise unused land which is not generating property taxes to begin with. This would also help off-set the cost of land in the center of the cities, which tends to be more expensive than land on the fringe or outer borders.

What do you think. Any other ideas?

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The easiest way to slow suburban sprawl in Greensboro (and everywhere else) is to offer incentives to developers for using sites with established infrastructure rather than greenfield sites. Developers are using greenfields because the costs are lower and cities are willing to invest in the water, sewer and roads to go to the new developments. If that same attention was paid to keeping development in-filled and compact, and some incentives like tax abatements and infrastructure improvements went along with the policy, you'd see a difference immediately.

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I'm glad someone started this topic cause I knew G-boro just had a lot of industrial and business anouncements. It shocked me to see that on the fox5 las vegas(like this city has any room to talk). So I look forward to seeing what is really driving this trend in the following post.

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I agree that the ranking is a bit misleading. But bottom line, this is bad news for sellers and good news for buyers because home prices will be a bit more negotiable than in other areas. Now may be a very good time to buy a home in Greensboro. So there is a silver lining with this ranking especially with new jobs coming to the area. Greensboro becomes an even more attractive place to work and live.

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My only problem is, and this is in general, why do we accept the good lists, but not the bad lists...and this goes for most of us. This is the same reaction from the "Gray Skies over Greensboro" article. If this was a list naming Greensboro the 4th most vibrant city in the US, all the GSO fans would accept it as truth! They would welcome it, brag, post on every site, etc.

Honestly, most of us are guilty of it. We love our cities and dont want to believe any bad press, but sometimes, you just have to wonder...

**edit**

And Im not saying I agree with this ranking...just an observation.

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My only problem is, and this is in general, why do we accept the good lists, but not the bad lists...and this goes for most of us. This is the same reaction from the "Gray Skies over Greensboro" article. If this was a list naming Greensboro the 4th most vibrant city in the US, all the GSO fans would accept it as truth! They would welcome it, brag, post on every site, etc.

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My only problem is, and this is in general, why do we accept the good lists, but not the bad lists...and this goes for most of us. This is the same reaction from the "Gray Skies over Greensboro" article. If this was a list naming Greensboro the 4th most vibrant city in the US, all the GSO fans would accept it as truth! They would welcome it, brag, post on every site, etc.

Honestly, most of us are guilty of it. We love our cities and dont want to believe any bad press, but sometimes, you just have to wonder...

**edit**

And Im not saying I agree with this ranking...just an observation.

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these rankings are no where near being scientific. And yes we are all guilty of promoting the positive lists. The problem I have with this list is that it was data from one quarter. If you notice the article doesnt even explain why Greensboro is 4th while it explains the ranking of the other cities. It's' very deceptive in making Greensboro appear to be a dying city.

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It's Forbes. When are they right about anything?

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