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Another Reason to Live "In Town", Instead of the 'Burbs

Original post made by Mike, College Terrace, on Mar 8, 2008

"Even within the megaregions, he said, not all real estate is created equal: "If I had to give advice, I would say to buy single-family homes closer to the core, not in the outlying areas where the more affordable housing is. The really knowledge-driven people have to be more effective, so they have to use their time more efficiently, so center locations have become more valuable. Even in places like Washington, D.C., where the suburbs have been hit so hard (by the real estate downturn), the inner city core has held up."

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Comments (28)

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Posted by Tim
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 8, 2008 at 10:26 am

Mike, you have been a proponent for dense housing, infill housing, and mass transit, and you are ABAG's biggest fan. There are already just too many people in this area!! We are running short of natural resources like water to support the population now. There is not enough school space, teachers, physicians, ---and parking spaces. No one wants to live in another Manhattan or LA or Chicago or they would go there. What line of business are you in? Construction?


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Posted by Um
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 8, 2008 at 10:56 am

Palo Alto is a Suburb


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Posted by Um also
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 8, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Indeed, Um is right, Palo Alto IS a suburb.


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Posted by Ooops
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 9, 2008 at 10:33 pm

I presume when he says: "in town" he means San Francisco, Oakland or San Jose!!!




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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 9, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Palo Alto is a small city that is part of an urban region comprised of many other small, and large, cities.


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Posted by Um
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2008 at 12:07 am

thats exactly what a Suburb is. A small city that most people commute out of because there are not enough jobs in the city to employ the population of the city. Sorry to inform you that you live in a suburb, I know its a disapointment for you, but its reality that won't be changing for Palo Alto.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 10, 2008 at 12:14 am

Definition:
suburb |ˈsəbərb|
noun
an outlying district of a city, esp. a residential one

Palo Alto has a severe jobs/housing imbalance - that means that we're NOT primarily residential. Also, we call ourselves the CITY of Palo Alto. A LOT of commerce tales place here. I wonder if hp would say that it operates in the "suburbs" of Palo Alto? That's pretty funny.

In fact, Palo Alto *contains* suburbs, like the 'burbs out toward 280, in the hills.

Wishful thinking will get you nowhere.

Next, we'll be hearing that Boston is a suburb of NYC. Anything to create a language game that somehow disqualifies Palo Alto from meeting its ABAG responsibilities.


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Posted by T
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 10, 2008 at 1:40 am

Mike, what's the point you're trying to get across? I think everyone already understands that living closer to employment and/or cultural centers allows one to use time more effectively due to the shorter commute. That is a big reason why real estate located closer to employment and cultural hubs is more expensive in general, as well as being more likely to hold its value during tough economic times. There must be a deeper meaning that I missed.


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Posted by Definitions are useless here
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2008 at 7:20 am

Judging from the number of people exiting Hwys 280 and 101 in the morning, it looks like an awful lot of people commute IN to Palo Alto. Many from San Francisco and San Jose. Does anyone have actual statistics? It sure feels like the "reverse" commute is one that's leaving town.


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Posted by um
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2008 at 8:42 am

by your definition L.A. has no suburbs, because it is surrounded by cities and all of those cities have jobs. Neither does Manhattan, it is surrounded by cities and each of those cites has jobs.

Its not an insult to be a suburb. Its what we are. You live in one. Be ok with that.

Can you only see things when they are Black and White like Palo Alto Hills?

Where in Palo Alto is the Culture, Arts, Museums? We are a suburb. I think you are going through the anger and denial phases. Once you have dealt with that, I'll discuss it more, but for now I think you need time alone.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 10, 2008 at 12:03 pm

um, Thanks for the diagnosis, but dictionary definitions aside, my sense is that ABAG and other state officials will find your doubtful definitions and questionable whimsy, irrelevant.

I can't wait until some one or other Palo Altan whines "but, but, we're a suburb" during an ABAG housing hearing in Sacramento, or elsewhere, following by a coordinated rolling of eyes by those listening. That will make for a good laugh.


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Posted by T
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 10, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Mike, you didn't answer my question. You posted a link to an article that spoke to the fact that real estate values have remained more stable in the "core" area of megaregions than in the outskirts. You added no comments or clarifying information except for your subject line which reads, Another Reason to Live "In Town" Rather Than in the 'Burbs. Is the point of this post that we are to congratulate ourselves for living in town rather than in the suburbs? Or is there something else you meant to convey but didn't? I am asking a serious question. If you want this issue to be discussed, you have to give us something to discuss.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 10, 2008 at 2:21 pm

T, The point was that it's far more efficient to live closer to the core

from the article:
"Florida argues (with ample hard evidence from myriad sources) that despite all the predictions about virtual offices and globalization rendering geography irrelevant, where you live still largely determines your destiny. Though theoretically we should be able to work just as efficiently from, as he puts it, "a ski chalet in Aspen or a house in Provence as an office in Chicago," the facts suggest that the rise of a handful of global megaregions — centers of both creative innovation and economic productivity — has made place more central to people's lives than ever.

"The world is becoming more global, but it's also becoming more local," he told me from his Toronto office. These megaregions, Florida contends, are not only siphoning off the productivity and talent from other nearby regions, but from around the world. What he calls "global sorting" makes the productive output between the superstar cities and the rest of the world more extreme than ever."

----------
We're part of a mega-region, we're clearly not a "suburb". That anyone would think different is either wishful thinking, or naive, or both. It's best to figure out how to leverage what we have here, and bring more people closer in to the core (our region) rather than spreading them out to the 'burbs. It's simply one more rationale for supporting ABAG.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 10, 2008 at 2:57 pm

"If I had to give advice, I would say to buy single-family homes closer to the core, not in the outlying areas..."

I personally agree, but also ask: Do we equate Palo Alto with the core? If so, by what hubris?

It seems to me the Bay Area "core" is still where it has been since 1850, San Francisco, Oakland, and their close environs. All the rest is suburbia, including even that perennial wannabe-city, San Jose.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 10, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Tom, the megaregion itself is the "core" Palo Alto is *part* of the core. Read the article. It's not hubris, it's analysis.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 10, 2008 at 3:57 pm

The article offers no analysis. It's pure opinion and, via its "Web site", glazed with some nice colorful eye candy and stray book blurb material to gull the eager gullible.

Again, do we equate Palo Alto with the core? If so, by what hubris?


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 10, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Tom, Your question implies your point of view as the correct one. Sorry, I'll take analysis over opinion, any day. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

You might go back to my earlier example. GO ask hp or Wilson-Sonsini if they're located in the suburbs of Palo Alto. After you get over their eruptions of laughter, you might rethink your position, and reconsider what "hubris" means.


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Posted by T
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 10, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Okay, I re-read the article and then I went to Richard Florida's website and read the first (introductory) chapter of his book. My question for you is this: How does that article support your contention that it's best to bring more people closer in to the core of Palo Alto? I thought Mr. Florida expressed a positive opinion about megaregions when he said,

"In the United States, more than 90 percent of all economic output is produced in metropolitan regions, while just the largest five metro regions account for 23 percent of it. And cities and their surrounding metropolitan corridors are morphing into massive mega-regions, home to tens of millions of people producing hundreds of billions and in some cases trillions of dollars in economic output."


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 10, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Analysis is good, but opinions strung together do not an analysis make.

Let's try this from a different direction. Is Palo Alto in the core but, say, Tracy, is not in the core? If so, why; if not, why not? I'm sure we could find some favorable corporate testimonials in Tracy too. Santa Cruz? They made the Apollo moon landing radio headsets over there, you know.

Finally, I apologize to any Tom in Downtown North. My mouse finger slipped.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 10, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Tracy is not in the Bay Area. Neither is Santa Cruz.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 10, 2008 at 5:26 pm

I see. Bay Area. Just draw a boundary wherever you please and paste a label inside it.

If you're trying to persuade people you've got to do much better than that. You need to show a generally acceptable reason for drawing the boundary where you draw it.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 10, 2008 at 5:40 pm

OK, Tom, let's put it this way; ABAG knows what cities comprise the Bay Area.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 10, 2008 at 6:23 pm

So Palo Alto was decreed into the favored "core" by no less than ABAG. Why didn't you say so in the first place? We have arrived, by agency fiat. Culture best by government test. We could all wish it was that simple.

So where has ABAG decreed our SOHO (don't confuse SOFA; it's a bunch of overpriced suburban condos that's dead before and after dark), our Village, our North Beach, our Castro?

I know urban, and Palo Alto ain't urban or even urban material. Cities and the urban experience are made by their people, not constructed. You don't get urban by just overbuilding, even by a pseudo-government's command.


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Posted by miner
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 10, 2008 at 9:32 pm

snooze....


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Posted by Not again please Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 10, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Is there anyone alive who hasn't read Mike's advocacy of ABAG's development wishes on several threads? He has presented his big development opinions again and again and again and again. And again.
Maybe some folks were otherwise occupied when the earlier threads were going strong. Please consult them, this has become so repetitive.
I'm with miner: snooze...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 11, 2008 at 9:35 am

NAPM, On the contrary. My opinions are not "big development"; they're sustainable development. there's a difference.


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Posted by Sez U
a resident of Southgate
on Mar 11, 2008 at 10:20 am

Sure, Mike


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 13, 2008 at 10:13 pm

You said it...

Web Link


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