Professor Woland wrote: GetUrban wrote: NovakOmaha wrote:
NEDodger wrote:Curious if this thread is going to go back to discussing changes to 1200 Landmark Center? Or if this "discussion" is going to go back to the same beat-the-dead-horse |expletive| that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand?
I'll bite. I was disappointed when this property was originally announced. Not the one this year but when the building was built. Some of the hope from the building of the mall was that it "might" bring some residential buildings along the mall. I never thought it was attractive. It didn't bring any 24/7 life to the area and it cut off the market from the mall. Not unlike the original Hilton did to 16th street. The proposed change in use is a positive however.
It was another case of "We'll take whatever we can get in downtown Omaha", even if it has negative impact on what was best for the GLM and Old Market. One good thing about the design, besides the aesthetics, which some like and other do not, is that it still allowed people to cut back and forth through the atrium/lobby from Farnam to Harney. I did that all the time when I worked in the old market. That connection would have been much better if it had occurred in-line with 12th street, or the development would have left 12th completely open. Back then there wasn't much talk in building new residential downtown. There was still an abundance of loft/warehouse space that was becoming the big thing for conversions into residential, especially after everybody knew that supply would be finite with Jobbers now gone.
Also, even though the discussion got off track a bit in this thread, other than the usual occasional personal jabs, most of the discussion has been related in one way or another. For example: things like why are buildings like this being converted to residential/hotels, or why don't people want to drive downtown to work, or what is the best way to get downtown?
I think if we did a deep dive into most cities we would find that jobs, even high paying jobs are more frequently appearing outside of central business districts. The reasons for this are many, I'm sure, but part of it is that millenials are growing older. Transit use is in decline in most US cities, even ones that have made expensive commitments to transit. Car sales are up and millenials with kids are moving to the suburbs. The generation after the millenials seems to be adopting ideological, lifestyle, and aesthetic commitments far different than their Gen Y predecessors. The trend toward density will probably come to an end in most cities over the next few years and downtowns will increasingly become more oriented toward entertainment, housing for young professionals and committed urbanites, and some large employers. I think Omaha will still be able to support some more urban residential construction, but the future of new housing is going to look more like the nineties with miles and miles of new subdivisions. This will be true in almost all American cities. I could be wrong, obviously, but news coverage and data seem to support this.
The issue with the media's information on the topic is that they rarely do any level of research under the surface. For the most part it seems like a lot of the reports are from someone who has gathered rather basic or partial information and from that has deduced sweeping generalizations which they report in a manner as if they've been trying to win an argument with someone about millennials and their similarities to past generations; like the legislator who brought a snowball into their meeting to prove that global warming isn't real.
The first fallacy in these reports is in how most define "millennials" as one homogeneous group, as if each person in the age cohort is exactly the same as the next one. It ignores the differing educational attainment, cultural backgrounds, political and social ideologies, and lifestyles.
The second fallacy is in treating all cities/metros as if they have the same urban form and structure. Most reports simplify the "city" as the core city of a metropolitan area, and "suburbs" as anything not the core city and use data that simply shows moves to/from the "city" and "suburbs." So, for example, if Jan moves from Council Bluffs to Omaha, Jan would be tallied as moving from the suburbs to the city. But in reality, Jan could have moved from a loft apartment in downtown Council Bluffs's Sawyer Building to an acreage in Omaha's Elkhorn area, which would clearly be a transition from urban to suburban. Limitations in data would still simplify her move as one from suburbs to the city. In contrast, if Dave moves from Los Angeles to Santa Monica, this would be tallied as a move from the city to the suburbs. If in reality, Dave moved from a ranch house in the very suburban Chatsworth neighborhood of Los Angeles to a studio apartment in a 15-story mid-rise on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica, the data used would still show that he moved from the city to the suburbs.
The third fallacy is assuming that all millennials who do leave the city for the suburbs want
to do so. This is usually coupled with information about trading loft apartments for single family homes. Of course millennials want more room when they start a family. This should not have been a surprise to anyone. But reports examining this often only look at millennials in the most expensive cities. One from recent memory examined millennials who left DC for the suburbs - as if its the case everywhere that a home with space for a family in the urban core costs around $750k as it does in DC. Anecdotally, I recently traded a small apartment in Chicago for a single family home in St. Louis with three bedrooms, a carport, and a yard. To the reporter it may look like I've gone suburban, but my house was built around the same time that the car was invented in a gridded neighborhood where walking has always been a mode of transportation to run basic errands. What seems to be desired by most is a roomy, affordable home that is still in the city or adjacent to it.
The fourth fallacy is that these reports often ignore the generation behind millennials, assuming only millennials will ever be the urban-centric generation and any subsequent generations will skip ever living in the city in mass quantities.
The fifth fallacy is that these reports completely ignore the issue of why millennials are being priced out of the city (in more expensive places). Skipping over that millennials may not have wanted to leave the city, many reports never consider why they were priced out. Instead they simply conclude that the city will soon empty itself out again and the city will somehow be left with a plethora of $750,000, 1 bedroom condos. Basic economics tells us that if housing is substantially more expensive in the city relative to housing in the suburbs, it's not due to lack of demand. SOMEONE is paying these prices and, consequently, living an urban lifestyle. It just may not be millennials.
If you look hard enough you'll find reports where someone did do their research and usually it'll show the opposite of what these more lazy reports show. This one, for example, finds that in nearly all of the nation's largest metros, the number of educated 25-34 year olds has increased in the core city: http://cityobservatory.org/cities-continue-to-attract-smart-young-adults/
. In many cases, this segement of the population has increased despite the overall population of the city decreasing. It's these sorts of reports that I believe are more telling than the more sensational ones you'll find elsewhere.
"Video game violence is not a new problem. Who could forget in the wake of SimCity how children everywhere took up urban planning." - Stephen Colbert