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The Crisis of Suburbia / Future Utopian Ideas

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The Crisis of Suburbia / Future Utopian Ideas

Why the new name? & New higher location?

==============================

 

I have moved this Forum up into the Worldview Forums area.

 

Why?

Because I think that the theme of the need to Restructure and Write-off much of the current Suburban infrastructure is about to become a hugely important theme for the US and much of the world.

 

If you are unsure, then I suggest you listen & watch JH Kunstler's video:

 

And also take a look at my own recent article on Financial Sense: Restructuring America's Suburban Dream.

I will shortly be moving some threads from the Main Forum into the revived new Suburbia Forum.

 

And maybe this book, which I havent read yet

 

suburbia.jpg

 

Let's help each other to examine this important theme:

 

+ To avoid getting trapped in investments that may get hammered as the writedowns and restructruings come, and

 

+ To benefit from future infrastructure investments which will revitalise our ports, seacoasts, and remaining suburbs.

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Yep the end is nigh for the burb culture.

 

So much time and energy is wasted.

 

Every day when I am in the States when I switch on the mornign news and see the traffic reports their are miles and miles of freeways [Detroit Metro area] filled up in both directions with cars travelling at unearthly hours on the morning comute. Putting to one side what some of these people actually acheive each day [that is a seperate topic] they waste an incredible amount of time and energy performing this mind numbing routine. Then when they get home to their chipboard and drywall over priced homes [actually warmer and in many ways more practial than the UK Barratts shite] they are off out again commuting to a restaurant/mall or other place of consumption worship.

 

I think the pop density out side of major cities will reduce to more hamlet sized comunities with micro energy generation, or thats the idealised way of life I would like to see.

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Every day when I am in the States when I switch on the mornign news and see the traffic reports their are miles and miles of freeways [Detroit Metro area] filled up in both directions with cars travelling at unearthly hours on the morning comute. Putting to one side what some of these people actually acheive each day [that is a seperate topic] they waste an incredible amount of time and energy performing this mind numbing routine.

 

Crazy88's, I know exactly what you are talking about!

I grew up in a Detroit Suburb, and could see that sort of life looming ahead of me.

 

I could accept no such nightmare, and so got out, by way of University in Boston, and a career which

brought me into NyLonKong for the true urban experience while learning to make a living in the nexus

of global finance. Sometimes, I am not sure it is a huge improvement (other times, I am certain it is.)

 

But at least most N/L/Kers use less energy in their daily routines.

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I remember being shocked when told this about 6 years ago when living in Milan. The person telling me this was Barbara, an American in her 40s from Chicago who had got divorced and moved to Europe to reinvent herself. She spoke of traffic jams at 4am, and people getting bigger and bigger houses, and cars - which they didn't need, and twice as big as their parents had in the 50's. At the time time I thought she was exaggerating, but having read what's been posted here recently, I see she wasn't. And I also see how brave she was being, going against the flow.

 

Dr B - your article on restructuring American suburbia is excellent and informative reading - more please!

 

It seems to be that rather than avoid recession, American desperately needs one (and the same applies to the UK). This is not to wish anyone out of a job, but instead to get the sharks out of power whether it be the boardroom or the cabinet, and get things run for the benfit of the nation(s), rather than the oligarchy. The unsavouray squealing from the markets after the recent falls says it all. We need to go back to those so-called 50's values of thrift, spending wisely and looking after the pennies. And the whole concept of "ever-growing growth" needs to be examined - growth just for the sake of it surely can't be good.

 

After all, managing money is as much of an art as a science...

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Yes 50's style thrift is required. At the risk of upsetting investors here whom I have the humblest of respect too much speculation [and I do a tiny incy wincy bit myself] has helped cause the present problems.

 

I do think a re-assement of whether the concept of year on year growth is good, but I suspect anyone suggesting this in say the U.S. would be called a Marxist, taken outside and shot.

 

Growth needs re-packaging so it is not just in economic terms but in growth as a society and indivual, for example if I only had to work 3 days and got the same work done I would consider that as successful personal growth.

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It seems to be that rather than avoid recession, American desperately needs one (and the same applies to the UK).

This is not to wish anyone out of a job, but instead to get the sharks out of power whether it be the boardroom or the cabinet, and get things run for the benfit of the nation(s), rather than the oligarchy. The unsavouray squealing from the markets after the recent falls says it all.

 

We need to go back to those so-called 50's values of thrift, spending wisely and looking after the pennies. And the whole concept of "ever-growing growth" needs to be examined - growth just for the sake of it surely can't be good.

 

I agree.

As I have been discussing with Frizzers recently, the market is like a mad zombie (from Legend):

 

dynamite-1.jpg

 

It is now demanding the "red meat" of rate cuts, and if it doesnt get enough, and then enough again,

it becomes suicidal, and starts banging its head on the floor. In addition, the "daylight" of truth about the

many lies that have sustained the American economy* also makes the Zombie market suicidal.

 

It is foolish to give in to such a beast. I'm with Ron Paul. We need a new and more honest system.

And getting rid of the Fed, and the whole system of corrupt I-banks that feed off it, might be a good

way to go.

 

If others come round to this way of thinking, there will be a huge reshaping of market caps, and

investment values. I-Bank speculation would be choked off, and banks would go back to real

banking, rather than the hype and scam of the last few years.

 

= =

 

*LIES:

Other fictions that I expect will be exposed are:

 

+ US inflation is low :

+ The US banking system is solvent : -

+ US government finances are sound :

+ American pensions are adequate :

+ The American suburban way of life is sustainable :

 

See: Suburban Dream

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Growth needs re-packaging so it is not just in economic terms but in growth as a society and individual,

for example if I only had to work 3 days and got the same work done I would consider that as successful personal growth.

 

Yes.

I have started a new thread on Why life may not be so bad in a Post-Crash Society : Bright Future

 

The Key thing is: a sense of community may grow out of hardship, as people rediscover an old formula:

 

JOURNEY: Selfishness > Noticing > Helping > Altruistic Joy

 

By looking after our neighbors, we build community, and the community sustains us emotionally,

and in some material ways, when times are tough.

 

Unfortunately, not everyone "gets it". I have a rather new acquaintance in HK, who is going through

a tough time. I phoned him, yo offer to help him find a cheaper place to live (partly, because I was

thinking about the formula above.) He treat my offer of help with the utmost suspicion. I would up

saying something like, "Well, of course, thus idea may not work for you. And I certainly dont want to

impose it on you... I'm here, if you want the help. But if you choose niot to take it, well that's fine

too."

 

Those alturistic feelings will never come forth, if you discover you are helping the ungrateful,

or worse yet, others who are mere vampires, and just want to suck up all the blood they can get.

 

I suppose a new world of richer communities, will take a new mindset of people who understand the

goal of building a network of people who give and take help.

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Peter Schiff understands the problem :

That rate cuts are driving America to overconsume rather than to save:

 

From Pt.3:

"Bernanke gave the market a 'stay of execution'".

But it 'is going to 11.000'

"What we need is a recession."

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Yes 50's style thrift is required....

 

Growth needs re-packaging so it is not just in economic terms but in growth as a society and indivual, for example if I only had to work 3 days and got the same work done I would consider that as successful personal growth.

 

Today's Asia WSJ has an article about a slowdown in spending by the wealthy:

 

Luxury Brands get hit in the pocketbook

(excerpt):

"Efforts to attract wealthy shoppers with super-exclusive items could fall flat if

rich consumers reject ostentatious displays of wealth as they did in the early

1990's. "the rich are different rthan we are. But there comes a time when even

the rich understand that there's some anxiety in the world."

. . .

In sales being achieved:

"Florida and California are two big statesthat ended upo quite below expectations."

(Ermenegildo Zegna.)

 

Some Vulnerable co's

COMPANY---- : Pct.Sales in the US

Coach.......... : ... 76.7%

Tiffany......... : ... 60.2%

Ferragamo... : ... 25.0%

LVMH........... : ... 24.6%

Burberry...... : ... 24.5%

Prada........... : ... 21.0%

Richemont.... : ... 20.0%

Gucci Group.. : ... 19.3%

Bulgari......... : ... 16.5%

Hermes........ : ... 15.0%

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Today's Asia WSJ has an article about a slowdown in spending by the wealthy:

 

Luxury Brands get hit in the pocketbook

(excerpt):

"Efforts to attract wealthy shoppers with super-exclusive items could fall flat if

rich consumers reject ostentatious displays of wealth as they did in the early

1990's. "the rich are different rthan we are. But there comes a time when even

the rich understand that there's some anxiety in the world."

. . .

In sales being achieved:

"Florida and California are two big statesthat ended upo quite below expectations."

(Ermenegildo Zegna.)

 

Some Vulnerable co's

COMPANY---- : Pct.Sales in the US

Coach.......... : ... 76.7%

Tiffany......... : ... 60.2%

Ferragamo... : ... 25.0%

LVMH........... : ... 24.6%

Burberry...... : ... 24.5%

Prada........... : ... 21.0%

Richemont.... : ... 20.0%

Gucci Group.. : ... 19.3%

Bulgari......... : ... 16.5%

Hermes........ : ... 15.0%

 

The names mentioned in your post remind me of when my family and I happend to stumble into the Harrods Xmas sale (Family visit to Nature History Meusem).

 

~ The discounted items, [quality brands] were still outrageously expensive [to my value system]

 

~ People from the, at the risk of sounding like a snob, shell suit end of socitey were buying these items up like there was no tommorrow - which can only devalue the branding of said items

 

I think in a down turn items luxury items should take a beating in terms of sales, but in this crazy world perhaps the people standing in line at the dole que will all be waring discounted Prada?

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I think in a down turn items luxury items should take a beating in terms of sales, but in this crazy world

perhaps the people standing in line at the dole que will all be wearing discounted Prada?

 

Or maybe copies of Prada. Cool, but Poor. Or maybe: Poor, but still cool

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(this HPC poster showed great appreciation for Kunstler's

video):

 

Thanks for intorducing me to Kunstler, he is hilarious. Why isn't he better known?

 

Could have made it as a stand up with that timing.

 

Indeed.\

 

Funny, while being one of the most acute observers of American life, ever.

 

I laugh, but take his arguments very seriously.

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Yes.

I have started a new thread on Why life may not be so bad in a Post-Crash Society : Bright Future

 

The Key thing is: a sense of community may grow out of hardship, as people rediscover an old formula:

 

JOURNEY: Selfishness > Noticing > Helping > Altruistic Joy

 

By looking after our neighbors, we build community, and the community sustains us emotionally,

and in some material ways, when times are tough.

 

Unfortunately, not everyone "gets it". I have a rather new acquaintance in HK, who is going through

a tough time. I phoned him, yo offer to help him find a cheaper place to live (partly, because I was

thinking about the formula above.) He treat my offer of help with the utmost suspicion. I would up

saying something like, "Well, of course, thus idea may not work for you. And I certainly dont want to

impose it on you... I'm here, if you want the help. But if you choose niot to take it, well that's fine

too."

 

Those alturistic feelings will never come forth, if you discover you are helping the ungrateful,

or worse yet, others who are mere vampires, and just want to suck up all the blood they can get.

 

I suppose a new world of richer communities, will take a new mindset of people who understand the

goal of building a network of people who give and take help.

 

I had a good experience like this a couple of years ago. Someone I had recently met, a Japanese masters student here in the UK, was struggling with his thesis. Although he had pretty good English, he lacked certain communication skills, and he also did not really "get" what was required by his tutors, which was culturally very different from what was expected in Japan. At that point, I had a Eureka moment (I work in the field of communications training, and had recently completed a masters too, and could easily see where he was going wrong). Also, this guy had spent £25k and saved for 5 years to realise this dream, and it broke my heart to see that he was probably going to fail.

 

So I said "Look! I'll come down to Bath for 3 days, and let's sort this out". He was shocked at first, and I wondered if I was being pushy. Was I humiliating him? Did he think I had a hidden agenda?

 

In the end, I went down, and we worked together (he was desperate!), and in the end he passed his masters.

 

Was I being altruistic? Not really, the guy is now one of my greatest friends, and has sparked numerous trips to Japan and other global adventures, so I gained much more, in a way than I put in. And anyway i enjoyed the work I did in Bath.

 

So, my experience tells me that you are right to take control and offer help: people might be surprised at first, but in the end it's a win-win situation for both parties.

 

But it's the modern world that's gone awry: I'm sure the Ancient Greeks, and many other traditional societies, would have had no problem with this approach.

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I had a good experience like this a couple of years ago. Someone I had recently met, a Japanese masters student here in the UK, was struggling with his thesis...

 

Thanks for that story : A nice global anecdote, good for GEI

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Yes 50's style thrift is required. At the risk of upsetting investors here whom I have the humblest of respect too much speculation [and I do a tiny incy wincy bit myself] has helped cause the present problems.

 

I do think a re-assement of whether the concept of year on year growth is good, but I suspect anyone suggesting this in say the U.S. would be called a Marxist, taken outside and shot.

 

Growth needs re-packaging so it is not just in economic terms but in growth as a society and indivual, for example if I only had to work 3 days and got the same work done I would consider that as successful personal growth.

I doubt whether there will ever be a return to a 50's style thrift (or lifestyle) on a mass scale unless it is forced on people by circumstances. Change rarely happens overnight, usually it evolves and only when you look back over a period of time do you see how we got to where we are today. For instance, who would have thought that a Labour Government would preside over the biggest house price bubble in the history of the planet? Although many do not like to admit it, many of the policies of New Labour are a continuation of what went before, born out of Thatcherism, which itself was a reaction to a different type of consensus that developed in the 60's and 70's.

 

Today there is an obsession with growth. And there is an obsession with increasing asset values and the feel good factor that comes from it. Sometimes from way the media report house prices and the occasional dip in monthly growth, you get the impression that it is the end of the world, lower IR's say the VI's, save us! How these obsessions will change, who knows? It may happen in the long term as more of the younger generation see that they are not invited to this party. Well, they get an invite, but the entrance fee gets higher and higher with each new generation. The financial cost to them of everything that is meaningful is much higher.

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...there is an obsession with increasing asset values and the feel good factor that comes from it.

 

Sometimes from way the media report house prices and the occasional dip in monthly growth, you get the impression that it is the end of the world, lower IR's say the VI's, save us! How these obsessions will change, who knows?

 

Now we see how falling home prices have help to destroy Brown's popularity.

He should have taken the hit earlier. Now the fall will be bigger, and impact on Labour's popularity

wil be massive

 

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Hi all,

 

My first post here on GEI - been lurking a little while but finding that the ole HPC site can be a bit populist and melodramatic without the data support and economic fundamentals discussions... anyways...

 

Dr. Bubb raises some good points in his article but i think most of us here already are well aware of some of the fallacies already prevalent within the mass media.

 

What interests me enough to post is that the typical understanding of the suburban nuclear family is without doubt changing, and has been for some time. Certainly in the UK the number of unmarried couples has risen signigicantly, those having children earliest are almost always the less well educated and the reverse for those better educated. With the Baby boomers about to start mass retirement are we going to have an increasing class stratification...

 

The next round of changes in the economy will without doubt have significant effects or those in lower paid positions as the retail sectors and manufacturing (whats left of it) get hit in the credit storm. Rising inflation (so long left latent by the outsourcing/offshoring booms) is now catching up with the western world and we can expect prices of basic needs goods to continue to rise.

 

Perhaps one of the big concerns is how we will manage housing in the coming recession... Since Maggies big sell off the amount of social property (council housing) is at an all time low... where do those families in troubled financial positions move to when the government has allowed mass selloffs of council stocks and the collapsing building companies fail to meet their targets...

 

Energy is one of the next big things... but its mostly our own fault with the UK and US having invested so little into securing energy futures and continuing to try and maintain energy supply from stations which are often many decades old and already at end of life... but without suitable replacement. We've started on exploring renewables and alternative energy supplies but the UK is now a net importer of energy and all the renewables are at best a token contribution to our energy supply.

 

Oil and petrochem products are going to be racing in price as the peak oil (http://www.peakoil.com/) concept becomes mainstream, I remember studying it as part of my masters at university (within the last five years) where people were discussing it as something unlikley to hit until 2020 onwards... but i think we can safely say the prelude to peak oil is here already.

 

Again a huge shift is the geographic distribution of populas might be expected... what happens when the commute to work becomes prohibitively expensive... will people still have multiple homes when the cost of airfare (particularly for families and groups) becomes ever higher.

 

I'm reminded of Alvin Tofflers work The 3rd Wave (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Wave_%28book%29) and his opinion on the decentralisation of people during the post industrial society... I wonder whether rising oil prices will promote this, and remote or teleworking by the technical and management progfessionals, or cause investment in super sized accomodation towers and communities with even higher population density within our cities (Japanese style pods anyone?).

 

On the flipside the industrial booms of india and china are still causing mass migrations into cities... so on a social level any global enviromental savings made in the west and likely to continue to be cancelled out by the growing booms in the east... although the extent of inflation in those economies is yet to be truly felt in my opinion.

 

Its food for thought :)

 

EDIT:

 

Above is similar to a post on HPC i made called 'The Social Disconnect':

 

http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/ind...p;hl=pyewackitt

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I'm reminded of Alvin Tofflers work The 3rd Wave (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Wave_%28book%29) and his opinion on the decentralisation of people during the post industrial society... I wonder whether rising oil prices will promote this, and remote or teleworking by the technical and management progfessionals, or cause investment in super sized accomodation towers and communities with even higher population density within our cities (Japanese style pods anyone?).

 

On the flipside the industrial booms of india and china are still causing mass migrations into cities... so on a social level any global enviromental savings made in the west and likely to continue to be cancelled out by the growing booms in the east... although the extent of inflation in those economies is yet to be truly felt in my opinion.

 

We cannot all be web-based workers.

And if we could, how are those in the US and UK going to compete with the teaming millions who

have access to teh web, and live in cheaper places like India and China?

 

Eventually, the web is global enough to produce a gloabl leveling, and worldwide price for

talent. Even things like property prices will trend towards a global leveling

 

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I agree completely that we can't all be web based workers - however the web does, as you say, provide an ever increasing levelling factor.

 

One of my friends works in software development and regularly uses sites like http://www.getacoder.com/ - i believe his last project had a team of coders from eastern europe, ukraine or belarus i think, working on a 2 month contract. The business i work for and those i regularly work with also have significant investment and outsourced departments in India. All of this goes towards decreasing the income gap between the developed and developing nations.

 

 

Additionally i know of businesses looking at 'teleworking solutions' and I mean big businesses setting up Virtual Private Networks for their global employees... a lot of this is already in place (i've designed and built a few myself) but to what extent it continues to to roll on we shall see. As i posted my feeling is that its mostly technical and management proffessions that will make the most from these working practice changes and I wonder how the impact of ever increasing transport costs will promote that. Personally I already use teleconferencing systems on a regular basis but considering my background is in Telecomms thats hardly suprising... however products like Skype will only further serve to increase this.

 

Perhaps it will take a climactic event like the first global recession (which is where i feel we're approaching) that brings the harmonisation and levelling you've mentioned... I'll be sitting here watching on the sidelines with mah gold and silver watching (although really just by investing in these, rather than stocks or housing, I guess im helping it along myself)

 

 

 

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Just to provide a contrarian point of view I post this LA Times article which tries to argue that the suburbs will not be so bad.

Some believe high gas prices will force a migration back to cities. Don't bet on it.

By Joel Kotkin

July 6, 2008

While millions of American families struggle with falling house prices, soaring gasoline costs and tightening credit, some environmentalists, urban planners and urban real estate speculators are welcoming the bad news as signaling what they have long dreamed of -- the demise of suburbia.

 

In a March Atlantic article, Christopher B. Leinberger, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and a professor of urban planning, contended that yesterday's new suburbs will become "the slums" of tomorrow because high gas prices and the housing meltdown will force Americans back to the urban core. Leinberger is not alone. Other pundits, among them author James Howard Kunstler, who despises suburban aesthetics, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, see the pain in suburbia as a silver lining for urban revival.

 

<snip snip>

 

A desire to live closer to their jobs doesn't mean that people have to move to the inner core, particularly if that's not where the jobs are. Of the 20 leading job centers in Southern California by ZIP Code, none are downtown. The central core does remain an important job center, but it accounts for barely 3% of regional employment. Among those who work downtown, some may shift from cars to public transit, although many will simply buy a more fuel-efficient car and stay put in the suburbs.

 

For residents who live in suburban areas with large concentrations of employment -- Burbank, Ontario and West L.A. -- commutes to work can be shorter than those experienced by their inner-city counterparts, according to Ali Modarres, a professor of geography at Cal State Los Angeles. Commutes in these communities, on average, are less than 25 minutes, while in high-density areas, such as Pico-Union, they average 35 minutes.

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/o...0,1038461.story

Personally, I think he's being short-sighted. He doesn't address the impact of high oil prices on the farming and food transportation, as well as the maintenance of the existing transportation infrastructure.

 

Basically too focussed on merely commuting, and many of the jobs people go to will be gone anyway.

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