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TheBostonian

How the crash will reshape America

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Cities are rarely the same before and after a crash as it requires the city to rethink how it does business and to diversify. I look forward to seeing how this country is reshaped by the current crisis but it won't last forever. Cities begin to take their economy for granted and when something happens in a specific sector or several sectors they find themselves in hard times.

Just take a look at cities like Detroit that were built around the auto industry. What was once a great city is now rarely mentioned unless you're discussing doom and gloom. Detroit has become a poster child for meltdown at the expense of the greatness of other cities like Charlotte. Hopefully Charlotte (and other cities) will take a queue from history and spread out their liability to recovery more quickly and lessen the impact of a future crisis.

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There are still a lot of big question marks in the future. How will the price of oil change over the next few years? Will there be a concentrated spending on education and, if so, what level? Are big companies really on the way out, and will smaller companies grow to replace them, or will we develop a diversified economy of smaller, more nimble companies?

One of the reason why some cities have prospered in the past several years are because they have had one big company that drove the economy, but were able to generate enough independent businesses to get the city thriving. With the big companies cutting back, how far along that development of a small-company base a city has can be a huge factor in how they change over the next few years. Even more so, how the city leadership reacts - do they focus on the big company or the smaller companies?

I think those that are going to fare best won't have any one characteristic in common. Rather, they will have the proper focus - small companies, a culture of place, and investment in infrastructure. You will see successful suburbs that become small art towns, and dying suburbs of housing developments. You will find big cities that become bigger cultural attractions, and big cities that become factory wastelands. It's not the size or density, it's what makes up the community that matters.

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I think in this crash there are some major differences from past major crashes.

One example would be architecture and quality of buildings.

when companies come and go the only thing left is the built environment and the secondary effects on the community.

If bank of America went the way of the Hula Hoop, there would be some large office buildings, and the effects of donations and cultural institurions that benefited from the companies success.

Back in the day manufacturing towns built factories that were attractive and have become much sought after housing conversions in recent history.

The factories that were built in the South and West during the last 30 or so years have no such re-use.

I am not sure what this means, but the big box stores and factories of the 30 years will need to be re-invented for any benefit to come of them. The old brick storefronts from the last century have a retained value.

Skyscrapers from the 1980s are viable as offices, but they kill the street activity due to the design philosophy of that era.

Any city that just went through boom times in terms of construction is likely to recover from this crash much better than cities that did not boom, or cities that boomed in the 1980s only.

All modern highrises are much more street friendly(unless your planning department has its head in the ground)

if these buildings are built, you city is nicer for it. regardless if a major company fails is bought or moves away, you city still will attract jobs because it is attractive...

I hope that makes sense.

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Just take a look at cities like Detroit that were built around the auto industry. What was once a great city is now rarely mentioned unless you're discussing doom and gloom. Detroit has become a poster child for meltdown at the expense of the greatness of other cities like Charlotte. Hopefully Charlotte (and other cities) will take a queue from history and spread out their liability to recovery more quickly and lessen the impact of a future crisis.

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