That city you love so much doesn't exist anymore

The place where you want to live doesn't exist anymore.  There is no pathway back to the past.  The future happens moving forward. 

These thoughts became clear recently when discussing Chicago with a friend who had moved there years ago.  Some in San Francisco, New York, and other large metropolitan areas, I would assume, now also feel the same.  The cities of their desire or memory no longer exist.

The big-city culture, history, entertainment, eateries, mass transit, and general hustle and bustle were the allure.  Amenities, job access, decreasing crime rates, overtaking the lower-income areas to create more affordable places to live once drove these large cities to be the targeted growth areas, especially for the up-and-comers. 

According to U-Haul, recent moves include states like Ohio, Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina, and Georgia.  Moves to the big cities in California and Illinois were the lowest-ranked destinations.  What are the whys of this migration trend?

The most gentrified parts of our country are these large metropolitan areas.  Gentrification as a pejorative depends on your perspective.  The rich overtake an area and put downward pressure on the ability of the less well off to remain.  Redevelopment of cheap property into the avant-garde upscale dwellings of the well off fractures the "diversity is our strength" crowd's approach and serves to destroy the social fabric of these areas, one of the alleged reasons for the well off to have moved there in the first place.  The poor are driven to the outskirts of these areas, the local culture changed, and amenities are now unavailable to them or their children.  You get a two-tiered system of rich and poor coexisting urbanites, with the middle class having the ability to flee to other areas or to the suburbs.

The children of the poor attend the oft-times deficient local government schools, while the gentry class kids attend the private institutions.  As an example, a Baltimore high school student with a 0.13 GPA is near the top half of his class.  The poor ride the bus to Walmart for groceries, while the rich drive to their local upscale Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or Giant Eagle with the pricey fruits and vegetables from around the infinitum

The prevalence of crime is typically on the fringe of the gentry.  Where once the "bad" areas could be avoided, most recently, these areas are now apparently not acceptable because they are overlapping into the more well-off areas and affecting the well-to-do.  Homelessness, burglaries, car thefts, shootings, and aggravated assaults are skyrocketing outside the doors of the gentry.  An example of one of many daily news reports for these areas includes the increase of shootings in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Portland, Baltimore, etc. 

Increasing crime appears to be a prominent driver for the recent migrations from these large cities.  Apparently, criminal activities were perfectly acceptable to the well-to-do urbanites until they affected their more affluent neighborhoods.  To exacerbate the crime problems, the "all police are racist" and "defund the police" movement has created more lawlessness, not less, driving even more migration from the big cities by those who have the ability to move. 

Unfortunately, the older couple who can't afford to move from the high-crime areas will need to watch their televisions with as many walls between them and the stray bullet as they can.  The mother who would like to sit on the front stoop of her apartment and allow her children to play on the street in front will not be able for fear of harm to her children.  There will be no local grocery, hardware, or pizza shop for fear of robbery.  Mothers will worry that their children will fall to the allure of drugs for an escape or crime for easy money.  Every person deserves to live in a lawful, orderly society, but that is difficult in these times and these locations.

It's not politically correct to notice, but these areas of hopelessness for those who are not as well off have typically been run on a long-term basis by one of our main political parties and were the destination for the like-minded well-to-do.  As those who claim to advocate for the poor, how can their decisions and lifestyles be so harmful to the very people they claim to help?

Currently, my local city of Pittsburgh is going through a renaissance in the same pattern as many of these larger cities.  New upscale urban housing is being built by renovating old neighborhoods.  New costly amenities are moving in to provide for the needs of the well-off.  Gentrification is in progress. 

We will be told the concepts of this urban evolution are sound; they just haven't been put in place by politicians as smart as the current ones.  If the past is prologue, they will tell us they are bringing us all together by acting with the best intentions for all residents and especially the poor.  I'm sure.

Image via Pixabay.

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