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graysonelijah

What is Hampton Roads?

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I made this thread to try and spark some discussion about the significance of the hampton roads metro, what is this place we call home? Are we moving in the right direction? Here are a few questions to start the topic off.

  • Is Hampton Roads a major player in the national/ global economy?

  • What is the region known for other than the military?

  • Does the area have enough high paying corporate jobs?

  • Will the area ever get a true professional sports team?

  • What role does the region play in the state and the east coast?

  • Is HR a great place to live?

I want your guys input because I really can't get a fix on the area. It's the fifth largest metro in the south and top 10 in GDP. Top 20 in tourism dollars. Virginia Beach is the most populated city in the state, while Norfolk is 2nd, chesapeake 3rd. Norfolk has a growing downtown, but is it a big city? Or just a old navy town? Outsiders are willing to comment too. What do you think?

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  • Is Hampton Roads a major player in the national/ global economy?

  • What is the region known for other than the military?

  • Does the area have enough high paying corporate jobs?

  • Will the area ever get a true professional sports team?

  • What role does the region play in the state and the east coast?

  • Is HR a great place to live?

I want your guys input because I really can't get a fix on the area. It's the fifth largest metro in the south and top 10 in GDP. Top 20 in tourism dollars. Virginia Beach is the most populated city in the state, while Norfolk is 2nd, chesapeake 3rd. Norfolk has a growing downtown, but is it a big city? Or just a old navy town? Outsiders are willing to comment too. What do you think?

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I'm not so sure I agree with this area not having much to offer.. There is something for everyone here.. Beach resort, urban areas, farmland, suburban living, amusement parks, water parks, upscale shopping, concert venues, opera houses, pro sports, airports, cruises, trains, rivers, parks, etc.. I know I love it here, and that's all that matters.

Why would 1.7 million people live here if the cost of living didn't correlate with what the region offers? The navy is only a small fraction of the population.

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The people that lived here before the cost of living increase hit aren't really affected by it. To quote a coworker I had back at JFCOM, "If I had to re-buy my house now, given my salary now and what it's supposedly worth, I could never do it."

Everything you listed can be found elsewhere.

Try it again.

What makes this area better than Raleigh/Durham/Cary, NC? So much better that decent houses are twice as much?

We have little to no independent media in Hampton Roads. Raleigh has a number of independent papers.

Our local newspaper is pretty bad. They cover up for the fact there is tons of violent crime committed by the black community here. The stories are weak, and sparse. The comments are overly censored. I know they are financially hurting, but I can see why. Not sure how Raleigh ranks.

Local politics are a mess, but this is probably true everywhere.

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Life to me is not all about music and independent media. Everything I listed can not be found in Raleigh, but arguing about this is pretty pointless.

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Okay. So let's talk jobs. The majority of the good jobs in Hampton Roads are gov't contractor jobs. This money comes straight from uncle sam, and often adds to the national debt. While I'm all for stuff like NASA and JLAB, I'm less keen on the DoD. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't hesitate to take a job with them if I needed to eat. But I *have* enjoyed working for private non-contractor companies much more. Granted, I'm in technology and I recognize there are other industries.

But there just isn't much here with regards to companies that move the world forward, ya know?

Raleigh has Cisco, IBM, a bunch of Biotech stuff, and lots of smaller companies.

Hampton Roads has a few, but it doesn't have a large track record of successful companies that have gone far.

And it's not the kind of environment where those types of companies are likely to exist.

I mean, look at the maglev project at ODU. Instead of being excited about that, everyone cries about it. Then I see people giving props to the stupid light rail track. The newspaper articles talked about how they were finding the ... light rail line tracks under the road when they were digging. The ones from before, that was torn out. Why replay history? Why not building something new and good for generations going forward? Instead they are re-deploying the past. I'm not against mass transit, I'm against outdated mass transit. Move society forward.

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http://smartregion.org/2009/07/tech-boom-s...-sector-behind/

Seemingly in every corner of Hampton Roads there’s a virtual battlefield.

Big players like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and SAIC compete and collaborate with two-man shops to provide the country’s military branches with high-tech training and analysis that help prepare soldiers and decision-makers to chart the course of overseas operations.

The steady rise of information technology in Hampton Roads began in 1994, with the establishment of the military’s Joint Training, Analysis and Simulation Center in Suffolk. Dozens of companies have sprouted around it.

As the high-tech world in Hampton Roads has blossomed, the region has taken several steps to position itself as a technology hub, most recently by crowning itself with the nickname “Pentagon South.”

By some estimates, defense spending has expanded to comprise about a third of the regional economy. Over the last 15 years, much of that growth has been driven by the emergence of modeling, simulation and analysis.

“If it weren’t for the Joint Forces Command’s center back in 1994, a lot of this growth just wouldn’t have happened,” said Andrew Sinclair, who tracks the industry for the Hampton Roads Partnership. “That’s what brought this center of gravity to Hampton Roads and allowed us to bring in the expertise to develop these other opportunities.”

Until today, much of the region’s tech boom has been tied closely with military applications. But as military spending in the sector begins to plateau after years of solid growth, the industry’s opportunity lies with exploiting its capabilities in non-federal sectors, including private businesses and local government.

“We’ve spent 15 years building, building, building. The military is taking advantage everywhere it can, but there are applications in so many other areas,” Sinclair said. “This technology is just at the beginning with a lot of other sectors.”

Where Hampton Roads is out front nationally is a sector called decision-based modeling. Simply explained, these types of computer-generated models can help companies or local governments make more-informed decisions. Pick a category — crisis management, city government, health care, transportation — and decision-based modeling has an application.

Take transportation. Before a new highway is built, a model can determine whether it’s worth the price. In crisis management, models can help streamline communications between local, state and federal governments and help chart the best routes for hurricane evacuations.

“If we can get out front with these things — which we’re starting to do — we’ll grow like gangbusters,” Sinclair said. “And you’ll see another exponential rise to carry us forward.”

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I made this thread to try and spark some discussion about the significance of the hampton roads metro, what is this place we call home? Are we moving in the right direction? Here are a few questions to start the topic off.

  • Is Hampton Roads a major player in the national/ global economy?

  • What is the region known for other than the military?

  • Does the area have enough high paying corporate jobs?

  • Will the area ever get a true professional sports team?

  • What role does the region play in the state and the east coast?

  • Is HR a great place to live?

I want your guys input because I really can't get a fix on the area. It's the fifth largest metro in the south and top 10 in GDP. Top 20 in tourism dollars. Virginia Beach is the most populated city in the state, while Norfolk is 2nd, chesapeake 3rd. Norfolk has a growing downtown, but is it a big city? Or just a old navy town? Outsiders are willing to comment too. What do you think?

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I don't see how lightrail is outdated. So simular systems have been in use for centuries, that means it is a good system.

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I used to work at JFCOM (The simulations place out there). My employers office was there. I have friends out there now, as well.

I'm familiar with it :-)

Light rail is outdated. Elevated maglev would have been much much better.

Ain't been to Bier Garten in a long time. Always seem to end up at Cogans or No frill.

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I made this thread to try and spark some discussion about the significance of the hampton roads metro, what is this place we call home? Are we moving in the right direction? Here are a few questions to start the topic off.

  • Is Hampton Roads a major player in the national/ global economy?

  • What is the region known for other than the military?

  • Does the area have enough high paying corporate jobs?

  • Will the area ever get a true professional sports team?

  • What role does the region play in the state and the east coast?

  • Is HR a great place to live?

I want your guys input because I really can't get a fix on the area. It's the fifth largest metro in the south and top 10 in GDP. Top 20 in tourism dollars. Virginia Beach is the most populated city in the state, while Norfolk is 2nd, chesapeake 3rd. Norfolk has a growing downtown, but is it a big city? Or just a old navy town? Outsiders are willing to comment too. What do you think?

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Thanks for all of your comments.. I'm still in high school and have travelled to pretty much all of the east coast cities and more often than not, I'm like "dang, this is so much better than back home." I want this area to become like those places like Charlotte, Atlanta, The Northeast cities.. But I guess I'm just gonna have to move to a better place when I get older. Norfolk will never be Atlanta, Virginia Beach will never be Miami.

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I tend to think of this area in the same way that Tel does, only I can speak from the experience of one who left in the mid 70's and returned in the mid 90's. I had family ties and connections here, and I thought that raising my family in Norfolk was a better option than to do so in California, so I came back home. Given my own circumstances, I think that I made a reasonable choice. I don't always think that I made a good one, but I won't go into that here.

Regarding Hampton Roads and it's role, I agree that military and port activities are the focus. I also think that the huge military presence really is a part of our national economic policy, as scary and unglamorous as that may be. Given that, I've begun to wonder about some things. How much population and job growth would you want to see here? We have to be the richest military target on the planet. If anything, I think that I would try to reduce growth here, or just keep it stable if I were doing planning at a national scale. Then there's the increased cost of expanding our economy and our population. The water crossings now paralyze us. It is not too likely that we will see a significant rapid rail link any time soon, and sea level rise has got to be a concern. With that, I would think that our coal export business really has to slow down if we ever take climate change seriously.

At a time when many states and localities are crying for help from the feds, how do you like our chances for major economic growth with regard to other national needs?

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I don't think the concentration of military installations means the area should be limited to the amount of growth that could occur.. Look at San Diego. According to socioeconomic estimates, HR will have 2.1 million residents by 2030. Why do so many people live here if the area is as many of you describe it? You all say there aren't enough high paying jobs, but not too long ago Virginia Beach was ranked the 4th richest big city by median income.. You say it's not a hotspot for young people, but both Norfolk and Virginia Beach were ranked in the top 20 for medium sized cities.. Now I'm not saying what you all think is wrong, because I really have no opinion about this area, but I don't think it's as backwards as Tel makes it seem.

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I don't trust statistics regarding wealth from the past few years. It could have easily been skewed by real estate dealings, and people profiting from the housing bubble (that is now collapsing). There were lots of people that made tons of money from housing, but now are broke. They shouldn't really have ever made the money, it was based on banks giving loans that can't be repayed. But I've been over that :-)

The creative class drives innovation, and drives our country forward. It's the creative people that invent new things, build new services, and all of that. They tend to be open minded people. You can see this in the real, large, big cities that you all want Hampton Roads to become like.

But this area isn't friendly to that. It isn't a place for the creative or open minded. Boots Riley joins Galactic on stage at town point park, utters a dirty word or three, and there is an uproar and arrest. This is a block away from the bars that are supposed to pay city taxes after shaking the money out of the younger people. The neighborhood near the park freaks out when there is an event that caters to the black people. The park gets re-engineered to direct sound away from them.

The Military has a huge presence. It's members are taught to obey command and not think out of the box. Don't question authority. Etc. The people that spawn companies from there are likely to be the ones that earn private profits that add to our national debt. Not cool new services and stuff. Many seem to have ties to the military and it's politics and inside deals. And lots of waste. But it seems like working for the gov't soon might be the only way to ever get a retirement or decent income.

We might have lots of people, that doesn't mean we have good people. Not to be emo. Did people move here cashing out of other areas? Does the area attract top talent? When I've seen people move here because they were lured for their talent, they all want to move away fast (seriously). Some of it might be Navy people that retire here or hang here.

A friend moved back to the area after leaving here 8 years ago. He went to work for .coms. In California the lower class was illegal and legal mexicans. They tended to work hard and not get in the way. Here, there is a ghetto factor. He said he was meeting a rep from a vendor the other day at ODU, since the vendor was in town to visit ODU and JLAB. Easier to meet them here then to go to DC. Said they went across the street to McDonalds and it was so ghetto, he was embarrassed to be associated with living in the region. People playing rap music loudly on distorted cell phones, acting up and loud, being obnoxious. I think he is torn, and he has talked about relocating to other areas. I can see it. His and his wifes family are here and he has kids. But the daily crime, lack of job opportunities, high cost of living (there was a benefit to the high cost of living in San Jose, there isn't a benefit to it here).

*Shrug* what can you do? I don't think it's possible to change people that easily.

(Yes, I'm still reading Richard Florida's books).

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I know I've been stubborn, but I'm starting my turn around and realize this area has some nice assets.

The region was known for an affordable sustainable cost of living, but with a population and services increases something had to give. When I meet people that visited the area VB before 1990 they all remember the North End with cottage homes and every single one regrets not getting a place as a vacation home. They ask if real estate is still affordable along the water and I have to update them.

I think a better question is does the area have a strong enough business core, rather than high paying jobs. I don't feel the region has enough, but I'm think economically in terms of cyclical businesses, etc.

The area needs a test run at a "professional" team. A good pilot program, I feel, would be an AFL (arena) team. Many people on here have made mention at one time or another about the old Neptunes and this area is (I'd hate to say it coming from a baseball guy) a football area. The area also had the Squires, but the ABA had its rebel flavor which attracted some, not the sport. AFL would be a better pilot rather than an NBA D-League. If the region can prove that the fan support is there than maybe a true big league team will step in.

I think overall, Tidewater/HR is a good place to call home. The weather makes unconventitional transportation (bikes, trails) more easily utilized. A big grip I have is that the road system doesn't take you from point A to point B in a decent amount of time, but that's because of all the water everywhere.

Just to comment on varider's post; a very good one in scope. San Diego maybe considered a bad comparative to HR because SD is a product of long ago and continued modern day sprawl from LA. Along with that, SD tries to attract new industry there by a new subsidy when a previous one died.

I read an article (Forbes?) that VB/Norfolk ranked 4th in the nation for being in debt as a population, but I think the numbers were skewed. One guess I have is that with gov't being "the fist" of the area payments aren't made at sale. Rather, the 30 day turnaround is in effect, thus labeled as "debt" (my personal guess, nothing else). Either way, debt whether it truly is or artificially labeled can be a large deterrent to quality of life. Forbes recently ranked VB the best place in the nation to start a business so someone's business model is working.

Finally, I enjoyed the projections reference of the argument, but I'd like to make note that most of the growth is projected west of Norfolk/VB/P. Who knows, it's 25yrs. down the road and after all they're just projections, anything could happen.

Great job and question varider!

I have my own question; How did the area react during the recession in '73 and '83? Was it felt at all in HR? I ask because I've been to FL and Detroit (the two petry dishes during this recession) and I'm thankful to be here because I'm hardly feeling the pinch, where there people are trying to survive.

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OMG, how come you can't just give VB it's props for having a lot of people making good money? I don't want the area to become a big city just for the sake of living in a big city, but I would like the big city amenities like a intricate transit system, abundant jobs, pro sports, etc.

Sure, Norfolk has "ghetto" neighborhoods, but doesn't every city?

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I know I've been stubborn, but I'm starting my turn around and realize this area has some nice assets.

Finally, I enjoyed the projections reference of the argument, but I'd like to make note that most of the growth is projected west of Norfolk/VB/P. Who knows, it's 25yrs. down the road and after all they're just projections, anything could happen.

Great job and question varider!

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Okay, Virginia Beach has people making money. Although there are some serious discrepancies. From city data:

Estimated median household income in 2007: $61,462 (it was $48,705 in 2000)

Virginia Beach: $61,462

Virginia: $59,562

Estimated per capita income in 2007: $29,511

Virginia Beach: $29,511

Virginia: $31,177

So from that perspective, it doesn't look so hot. But I seem to remember other sites claiming the income was more like $75K+ median in VaBeach, so I was surprised by the city data numbers.

And of course, this bubbleriffic piece of gold: Estimated median house or condo value in 2007: $282,400 (it was $121,500 in 2000)

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Okay, Virginia Beach has people making money. Although there are some serious discrepancies. From city data:

Estimated median household income in 2007: $61,462 (it was $48,705 in 2000)

Virginia Beach: $61,462

Virginia: $59,562

Estimated per capita income in 2007: $29,511

Virginia Beach: $29,511

Virginia: $31,177

So from that perspective, it doesn't look so hot. But I seem to remember other sites claiming the income was more like $75K+ median in VaBeach, so I was surprised by the city data numbers.

And of course, this bubbleriffic piece of gold: Estimated median house or condo value in 2007: $282,400 (it was $121,500 in 2000)

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Good point russ. No jobs, daily crime, high cost of living with no benefits whatsoever, why are you here?!

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what keeps me here:

Lovely scenery, especially water vistas

old friends

stable if humdrum economy

lots of good people disgruntled about not thinking outside of the box

lots of people who don't like jet noise so much

good cultural assets

more laid back-not yuppified-high pressure bs

good orchestra-some jazz too (at times)

what would make things better

merge ODU and EVMS--get a brain trust going

secede from Virginia

establish a gas tax (or equivalent) and build the 3rd crossing, Midtown tunnel expansion, LRT expansions

move the dumb golf ball radar (don't leave a dime there)

and so on

color outside the lines

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I think once the economy picks back up we will see real growth. All of the plans for Town Center, while very elaborate and expensive, are feasible as long as light rail comes through. We would really be a tourist destination with something unique to offer...beautiful, desirable conference space, a new urban upscale downtown (anthropolgie, coach, ruth chris, downtown movies, etc...that sort of thing), plus being able to easily move from town center to the Ocean front along light rail to a beautiful beach.

This whole package can be capitalized on in a major billion dollar way once all the pieces are in place. What other tourist destinations have this combination of goods?

Not Vegas, nor Atlantic City...maybe Miami? We will never be as great as that place I guess.

But for me what's exciting is that it doesn't stop there...VB is not alone, but Downtown Norfolk holds its own excitement to me, its own potential for the future, and being connected on the light rail line will include it into the overall macro marketing package. Its all of those things that you can just feel potential...also for me its the enormous amount of waterfront and nature surrounding the built environment!!!

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Mlsimons, me and you think just alike. That's why I say I love Hampton Roads, and me and you can actually see the potential of the area.. Good post.

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