Saturday, July 18th, 2009
In the Midwest Milwaukee was #1 (#13 nationally) and Cincinnati was #2 (#15 nationally). It’s interesting to contrast this performance versus the metro areas that are normally top ranked.
City Population Estimates
The Census Bureau recently released city population estimates. Here is how my core cities stacked up in terms of core cities gaining population, and core cities losing population. The change data is year over year, 2008 vs. 2007.
Gaining Population (by greatest percentage gain):
- Columbus (+8,024; +1.1%)
- Minneapolis (+2,989; +0.8%)
- Chicago (+20,606; +0.7%)
- Indianapolis (+3,517; +0.4%)
- Kansas City (+1,888; +0.4%)
- Milwaukee (+1,836; +0.3%)
Cincinnati and Louisville each changed by less than 100 people
Losing Population (by greatest percentage loss):
- Cleveland (-4,265; -1.0%)
- Detroit (-4,878; -0.5%)
- Pittsburgh (-1,668; -0.6%)
- St. Louis (-1,302; -0.4%)
Indianapolis, Columbus, and Louisville all have annexed large “suburban” areas so it isn’t an apples to apples comparison. The fact that Louisville as a city was flat despite it being a consolidated city-county government is troubling.
For Indianapolis, we can use the population of Center Township as a proxy for the old city. Center Township gained 403 people last year, marking the third consecutive year of growth and accelerating growth. Could this indicate an inflection point for the core city? Time will tell.
I consider core city population growth a key measure of civic health, particularly in underpopulated places like Midwest cities. It’s great to see so many Midwest cities actually growing, even if it is not at a rate that would repopulate their cores any time soon.
Top States for Business
- #11 – Indiana
- #19 – Iowa
- #23 – Kentucky
- #26 – Missouri
- #29 – Pennsylvania (welcome Pittsburgh)
- #32 – Minnesota
- #43 – Wisconsin
- #45 – Ohio
- #46 – Illinois
- #49 – Michigan
Not an inspiring finish to say the least. California and New York were the two worst states. The best was Texas, followed by North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. Given the economic performance we’ve in fact seen in these states, it’s hard to argue with the rankings.
Vanishing Fort Wayne
Vanishing St. Louis is one of the best blogs out there, chronicling the decay and demolition of the unique and historic urban fabric of St. Louis that is going on right before our eyes. Well, the author took a road trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana and produced stunning imagery that I hope he won’t mind my reproducing here. Please visit the main article on the lesson of Ft. Wayne.
Picture of downtown Ft. Wayne in 1960:
Downtown Ft. Wayne today, with all parking lots and garages, vacant lots, and empty lawn area shaded in red.
Indiana Government Center “Landscaping”
A reader sent in this photo he took of a man spraying what appears to be herbicide into concrete planters at the Indiana Government Center:
Here’s a shot of the results:
And what this looks like in context:
Think about how much more inviting this space would be if they actually planted things instead.
National and International Roundup
A major article in the Toronto Star suggests the bloom is off the rose for Richard Florida and his tenure there.
Even posh Mayfair in London has problems with vacant homes.
Planetizen also weighs in on shrinking cities with a piece called “Don’t Fear the ‘Dozer“
I may have mentioned this previously, but the National Trust for Historic Preservation is conducting a survey of mid-century modern homes in New Canaan, CT. It is great to see modern architecture getting increasing recognition as historically worthy.
Daniel Burnham Memorial: Design stirs spirits, but location stirs questions (Blair Kamin @ Chicago Tribune)
Architect Daniel Burnham’s vision still offers lessons (David Roeder @ Sun-Times)
The Second City is Becoming Second Home City (NYT)
36 Hours in Cincinnati (NYT Travel Section)
Second Ambassador span no longer needed (Detroit News)
City abandoned home plan: Fix it up or we tear it down (Indy Star)