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Emily Badger has an interesting article in the New York Times:
Happy New Year! May Your City Never Become San Francisco, New York or Seattle...Or Portland, Denver, Boston, Dallas, Houston or Los Angeles.
These are all prosperous high growth cities, but the price of that growth has meant a changing demographics of richer and poorer. "San Francisco has come to stand for the most specific set of horrors. It is the place where extreme poverty and tech wealth occupy the same block, while the schoolteachers and firefighters all live two hours away."
"In Portland, Oakland and Sacramento, residents and pundits have voiced dread at becoming The Next San Francisco, where the middle class is disappearing."
"Our deepest anxieties about the future of where we live are embodied in other cities — in Portlandification, Brooklynification, Manhattanization. The comparison is seldom a compliment. You don’t want to become Manhattan (too dense), Portland (too twee), Boston (too expensive), Seattle (too tech-y), Houston (too sprawling), Los Angeles (too congested), Las Vegas (too speculative), Chicago (too indebted)."
The problem is not confined to the USA. Major cities round the globe have become victims of their own prosperity --manifesting itself in higher rents, longer commutes, and just a lower quality of life for those who do not share directly in the prosperity of their downtown areas.
In Cape Town where I spent two months this fall, the major highways into the city are gridlocked every morning and afternoon. The solution for Cape Town (in part) though is office blocks going up in the suburbs where many of the employees live. However, these middle class suburbs are also unaffordable to the many manual laborers and others who still have to commute everyday into their places of work.