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mattnf

parisianization?

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mattnf    0

While North American cities have typically been that of poor people living in the city proper and better-off people in the suburbs, it seems this development may be changing in certain centers - San Francisco, Seattle and "old" Toronto (prior to forced amalgamation in '98) come to mind - where increasingly poorer people are living in the suburbs, the working classes are selling their homes to yuppies for a good price and the city core is increasingly gentrified and home to the affluent. Is this happening elsewhere, this "Parisianization" of the North American city?

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monsoon    0

While North American cities have typically been that of poor people living in the city proper and better-off people in the suburbs, it seems this development may be changing in certain centers - San Francisco, Seattle and "old" Toronto (prior to forced amalgamation in '98) come to mind - where increasingly poorer people are living in the suburbs, the working classes are selling their homes to yuppies for a good price and the  city core is increasingly gentrified and home to the affluent.  Is this happening elsewhere, this "Parisianization" of the North American city?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think this is now happening in a number of cities, especially if there is a lot of growth in the city. Here in Charlotte, any housing in and near downtown has become very expensive and well out of the reach of even some of the middle class. In the meantime, suburbs built during the recession of the 70s and very high interest rates of the 80s (houses tend to be small) are being taken over by the poor due to the low cost.

Good topic and welcome to the forum Matt!

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Cotuit    0

Boston has rings around it. The downtown core (the North End, Beacon Hill, Back Bay...) is super pricey, then there is a relatively affordable ring running through some of the cities outer neighbourhoods and inner suburbs. Then there is a ring of expensive suburbs, then further out the suburbs become more generally affordable. The rings aren't exact, for instance there is a tendril of priceyness that extends out from Back Bay, through Brookline and Newton to Wellesley busting through the affordable rings that wrap the rest of the city. Also Chelsea, Everett, Revere, and East Boston are more affordable and are closer in than the affordable rings around the other parts. But basically an affordablity map would look like a target.

In Providence the expensive-inexpensive zones have been more hodgepodge in the past, but we have luxury condo and rental units coming on the market or being proposed downtown all the time. The city's core is quickly becoming the most expensive area. Outer neighbourhoods and suburbs are cheaper, and you have to go further from the city than you do in Boston to find the toney suburbs in South County and the East Bay.

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DCjedi7    0

Same goes with Washington DC

the whole NW (northwest) side of DC is Exspensive

Georgetown: SUPER SUPER PRICEY (historic homes/Masions/embassies/Shopping district). there's actually a Condo building going up on Wis ave across from whole foods they are going for the mid 500$-1.2 million

Dupont Circle: Expensive(downtown Area, the Gayborhood/large brownstones)

houses here are mostly brownstones and apartments buildings since this is the downtown area

American Univ/Tenlytown/Chevy Chase: VERY Expensive

this area has detached houses and mansions as well with embassies and chancery's

Columbia heights: mid priced though this area is GROWING fast and people are fixing up rowhouses and old brownstones. a large Target is planned across from the metro station

Logan Circle: the Next Dupont Circle

Shaw: Depressed area of the city due to the 60's Riots is well on it's way to becoming a new and upcomming area

Anacostia: mostly african american area of town with proposed condos along the Anacostia river front.

Fun stuff going on in DC

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Hisma    0

I think in every city currently in the midst of a downtown building boom, all new housing is for upper to middle class only (mostly upper). It's great to see renewed interest in downtown living. I think it's part of the ebb & flow of time. History repeating itself. Before WWII city centers were vibrant & catered to the upper & middle class, and nowadays it's on it's way to happening again.

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mattnf    0

Regarding Toronto (prior to the forced 1998 merger with a bunch of suburbs), one can divide the city into north, central/downtown, east and west sections. Traditionally the north (incl. the Annex, Rosedale, Yorkville) has been mostly white and middle and upper class, the central area being extremely diverse in terms of both ethnicity and SES (ranging from poor Regent Park to gentrified Cabbagetown and the luxury condos along the Bay St. corridor), and the west and east being multicultural, heavily working class with some middle class areas (i.e. High Park and Bloor West Village in the west and the Beaches in the east), with the west being a little more multicultural and immigrant-based. What has happened is that the central, east and west areas have become increasingly trendy and gentrified. The west - the largest area - can be split into west and northwest sections - it's the west (closer to the lake) that have been gentrified. The only solidly working class, untrendy area is in the northwest. Industrial, bland architecture and too far from downtown - it hasn't really been that much affected. The ritziest suburbs of Toronto (like Lawrence Park and York Mills) have tended to be north of the downtown area (connected to the wealthy northern sections), and are the closest to the city, after that they're less expensive but for the most part middle class/professional. There's also a few to the west (Kingsway Park) but the western suburbs are kind of a mix of working class (Cooksville) and middle class (Oakville). Northwest there's pre-war and post-WWII industrial burbs that are getting poor due to their very cheap housing.

Relative to the whole area, Toronto is in fact increasingly dominated by white, middle class professionals. Where have the working class, people of color and immigrants gone? Largely to working class suburbs, ranging from Scarborough (the Aurora, Illinois of the north - this is where Mike Myers grew up) east of the city, to older pre-WWII industrial suburbs like Weston, and northwest 50s/60s suburbs like Rexdale. Some have gone way out to Brampton, an industrial suburb northwest of the city that has seen a lot of growth over the last 20 years.

Meanwhile, more affluent middle class suburbs to the north have gotten wealthier as well. Lawrence Manor, a largely Jewish area (including a great number of orthodox) has seen a lot of its original 1940s and 1950s housing stock replaced with much larger custom-built homes. The area is close to the ritzy areas, close to the downtown and has lots of high-end stores, including Pusateri's high-end supermarket (drawing yuppies from the ritzy areas nearby). A similar thing has happened in Willowdale, another 1950s burb, which has become kind of a suburban "downtown". Further out, newer suburbs like Thornhill, Markham, Richmond Hill and Aurora are quite well-off, and there is concern that their workforces largely can't afford to live there.

An interesting exception are traditionally working class Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch areas, pre-WWII industrial suburbs. and very close to downtown. They're by the lake, and a lot of luxury condos are going up. Perhaps they're the Hoboken of the north.

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mattnf    0

It seems to me the classic "Parisianization" centers of the US are San Francisco and Seattle. They're small enough in population (ie. around 500,000 and 750,000) to be more easily gentrified. So in Seattle, places like Renton, Kent, Federal Way and Seatac have lower median family incomes and are just as diverse as Seattle. San Francisco has almost completely being Parisianized, from what I understand.

Gentrification of the city core is certainly going on in Boston, Washington, New York and Chicago. However it seems to me there are factors that are making movement of poor and working class people to the suburbs quite difficult, as well.

In Boston for example, a lot of working class suburbs remain unwelcome to blacks. Boston has one of the lowest proportion of suburban blacks of any metro area.

The Washington area is probably the best-educated and most affluent - as well as racially unequal - of all metro areas. Working class whites seem almost non-existent there. So a higher proportion of suburbanites there are in ritzy suburbs, like Montgomery County, MD and Fairfax County, VA. The only really working class suburb is Prince George's County, where a lot of working class blacks as moved as the DC has become increasingly white and affluent. I've also heard far-out counties like Frederick have become increasingly black and working class but still, the suburbs as a whole seem wealthier than most. Someone I know from that area thought the idea of working class suburbs as kind of a weird idea - the burbs tend to be middle class and affluent. Certainly other areas have had working class burbs long before the term gentrification entered popular discussion.

NYC and Chicago are also becoming quite gentrified. Manhattan, of course, is almost completlely so, save the far northern part. It's also a huge issue in Chicago. But these two cities have millions of people - so while the North Side of Chicago is increasingly wealthy, the south side remains heavily poor and working class, even as some poverty has spilled over to Blue Island and Harvey. In NYC, despite some parts of Brooklyn becoming trendy, the outer boroughs are overwhelmingly working class, and I haven't anybody mention how "trendy" the Bronx was. It's true places like Paterson and East Orange in NJ and Mount Vernon and Spring Valley are quite poor and seem to be home to many who can't afford to live in the city, but NYC is too big to be gentrified easily.

What do others think?

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monsoon    0

What is interesting about Chicago and San Francisco is these cites are actually losing population. Since 2000 both places have had significant population drops. This would suggest that over time if this trend continues, the "parisianization" will drop as jobs continue to disappear and these places become economically less desirable places to live.

DC is a special case in that in being the place where the vast majority of people there work for the Federal government, the demographics of the work population are skewed towards the white collar worker. DC's biggest problem to having more "parisianization" is the perception (right or wrong) that its public school system sucks. This means that people with children will not move there unless they place their kids in private school. DC's excellent, but over burdened metro system, also makes it fairly easy to get into the city from many of the suburbs. It is one of the few systems in North America that actually uses its heavy rail system as a commuter system as well.

In general however, with the exception of NYC, the "parisianization" of the cities listed so far is going to be limited mainly because they are not growing that much. The more interesting story here is to look at what is going on in the sunbelt cities since this is where the fastest growing cities in North America are located. For the most part these places really don't have that much in the way of older neighborhoods (relative to the population) as northern cities because they simply did not start growing until the 60s or so. And unlike what popular steriotypes would suggest there was not the "white flight" in the sunbelt that plagued the North.

Sustainable development in the Sunbelt has been pretty bad in the past 50 years, but no more so than in the rest of the country. The big difference is there were no transportation alternatives other than the automobile, so these places mainly built up around the car. The center cities are full of gleaming new office towers, but everyone retreats to the suburbs after work. However in places such as Phoenix, Charlotte, Dallas, Miami, etc. this is changing. All of these places are making significant investments in rail transit and all are building rather expensive condos and townhomes in their center cities. So here you have "parisianization" as well, but it is being built rather than renovated. Also because of the growth, I think some of the prices are going up because speculators are purchasing these places in hopes of making a quick buck.

The unfortunate side effect of these new residential developments is that lower cost and public housing is being torn down to make way for these developments. Unlike more established cities there really isn't any resistance to tearing down older places for new construction. The end result is that most of the poor and even the middle class simply can't afford to live in these new cities. Another difference is there is no "grit" in these places which is one of the reasons for moving there in the first place. It might be called "parisianization" but the end result looks more like a cross between a shopping mall and an office park than anything like Paris. I personally don't think these kind of cities will exist in the long run when they only appeal to one or two demographics.

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mattnf    0

"Parisianization" is just a term I came up with as a metaphor for the idea of the wealthy central city with poor people concentrated in suburbs. With the exception of San Francisco and to a lesser extent Seattle this development is light years away from maturity.

I think declining city populations can actually be a sign of gentrification. San Francisco, as a I said above, is the closest in terms of "Paris" in this regard in N. America. Chicago may be declining because so many working class people are moving out as yuppies are moving in.

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Hisma    0

I still don't think that anyone can deny that before WWII, all major cities had significant wealth & vibrance in their downtown districts. This "parisianization" exsisted in the US in the past, it's not exactly a new concept over here. It's just recently being rediscovered.

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mattnf    0

That's true but a much smaller percentage of people lived in suburbs as opposed to cities. So naturally you'd have a greater mix. It wasn't really a reverse doughnut that seems to be emerging in some N. American cities. Pre-WWII suburbs tended to be either heavily industrial or exclusive.

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tsoutside    0

What is interesting about Chicago and San Francisco is these cites are actually losing population.  Since 2000 both places have had significant population drops. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

True that SF lost population from 2000-2003 but for the years 1990-2000 it gained over 7%.

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Scott    1

In Boston for example, a lot of working class suburbs remain unwelcome to blacks. Boston has one of the lowest proportion of suburban blacks of any metro area.

Which working class suburbs are those that don't welcome blacks?

Boston Metro may not have a high proportion of blacks but that doesn't mean the KKK will show up at the door of a black person who bought a house in.. say... Weymouth. History and demographics, not racism are responsable for that racial composition. To claim that Bostonians are any more racist than any other population is not factual.

btw-mention of busing is countered with the fact that we desegregated schools in the 1830's and abolished slavery without anyone forcing us to. History isn't pretty but that the way people thought 30 years or 300 years ago and not what you would find today.

EDIT: Boston's schools were integrated in 1855 100 years before Brown vs Board of Education and slavery was abolished in 1783 in Massachusetts.

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Scott    1

btw- I thought "parisianization" meant to build dense cities with commercial space on the ground floors with residences on the floors above.

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monsoon    0

Actually the courts ruled that Boston's school system was illegally segregated in the early 70s and forced the school system to implement busing to achieve racial equality in the schools. The resulting riots by whites opposed to this were probably the worst in the country. Some have said these riots were one of the ugliest days of the city's history.

White protesting Blacks attending their school in Boston

Boston2.jpg

This became a very famous photo. A white man beating a black man with the American flag because he did not want the black man's kids to attend the same school as his in Boston.

Boston3.jpg

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Cotuit    0

The schools were not segregated by government mandate as they were in much of the south. The schools were segrated by happenstance because economic and racial groups were concentrated in certain neighbourhoods.

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Cotuit    0

No one has ever claimed there is not racism in Boston. Racisim exists everywhere sadly.

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Scott    1

The problem is that other cities like Washington and Chicago have huge rambling ghettos, who's exsistence seem to convince the locals that they are somehow integrated and the lack of massive poverty in Boston seems to indicate to them, racism.

The truth is that all people in Boston have a higher standard of living than most places and that includes people of all colors.

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mattnf    0

http://mumford.albany.edu/census/newspdf/BostonHerald.html

It's not just Brookline, Newton or Lexington that have small black populations. It includes places like Quincy and Revere as well.

Look I wasn't trying to trash Boston - Boston is one of my favorite US cities, actually. But from what I understand it's a lot cheaper to live in Boston than in a lot of the suburbs. Yet these suburbs have relatively few blacks as compared to the city core. My point was that the "Parisianization" (Scott, if you have a better term for my analogy, I'd be interested) hasn't fully developed is because for some reason the suburbs haven't gotten that much more diverse as the city has gentrified - a trend most evident in San Francisco, but also to an extent NYC, Chicago, DC, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver and a host of North American cities. I suggested that the RELATIVE unopenness to blacks in Boston suburbs is likely a factor in stopping Parisianization from coming to fruitition. For DC I suggested that gentrificatiion was prevented because the suburbs of DC - save PG County are so ritzy, though this explains why the black population is declining in the District as working class blacks move to PG which is much more affordable. The whites of DC look like those of Manhattan or Fairfax/Montgomery in terms of demographics and they're growing.

Now I'm not ADVOCATING "Parisianization" by any means in case there's any confusion.

BTW, regarding the gentrification of Chicago:

http://www.russstewart.com/9-22-04.htm

BTW, the poverty rate in Boston itself is about 20% - the same as NYC and Chicago.

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LeTaureau    0

http://mumford.albany.edu/census/newspdf/BostonHerald.html

Now I'm not ADVOCATING "Parisianization" by any means in case there's any confusion.

http://www.russstewart.com/9-22-04.htm

BTW, the poverty rate in Boston itself is about 20% - the same as NYC and Chicago.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Not to be a total buzz kill tonight, but I dont exactly like this term the way it is used. I've lived in Paris before, and it is by no means an exclusive enclave surrouned by crime ridden poor suburbs like many believe.

The center of Paris (city limits) came about not because of gentrification, but more or less from its history. I like to think of Paris as a city that is "inside-out". Americans tend to think of cities with high rises in the very center, where less dense suburbs spread out from this central location. Paris however was a huge sprawling metropolis years before the sky scraper was possible. Strict building codes in the center of the city prevented large scale development, and preserved the grand architecture we see today. There are plenty of diverse neighborhoods in central Paris, you just need to go a few miles from the tourist attractions to see. Many Muslims, french speaking Africans, and Haitians live in central Paris. True in the case of Paris, some suburban communities are poorer than the whole of central Paris, but there are affluent suburbs as well.

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mattnf    0

Not to be a total buzz kill tonight, but I dont exactly like this term the way it is used.  I've lived in Paris before, and it is by no means an exclusive enclave surrouned by crime ridden poor suburbs like many believe.

The center of Paris (city limits) came about not because of gentrification, but more or less from its history.  I like to think of Paris as a city that is "inside-out".  Americans tend to think of cities with high rises in the very center, where less dense suburbs spread out from this central location.  Paris however was a huge sprawling metropolis  years before the sky scraper was possible.  Strict building codes in the center of the city prevented large scale development, and preserved the grand architecture we see today.  There are plenty of diverse neighborhoods in central Paris, you just need to go a few miles from the tourist attractions to see.  Many Muslims, french speaking Africans, and Haitians live in central Paris.  True in the case of Paris, some suburban communities are poorer than the whole of central Paris, but there are affluent suburbs as well.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

"Inside-out" might be a better term. Thanks for pointing that out.

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monsoon    0

My interpretation of the term "parisianization" was simply that some cities have become so expensive they are not out of reach of the common person, let alone the poor. As a result most are relegated to suburban development. This does not imply slums. In fact, the suburbs usually a remedy to slums that might develop in a city because vast concentrations of poor in one area are not really possible.

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