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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2018, 3:07 AM
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An American Suburb, 2018

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n 1973, Dolton Mayor Norman MacKay traveled to Capitol Hill to plead for federal aid in fixing a major problem that disturbed the quality of life in his close-knit, blue-collar suburb — a town that was in many ways a model of post-war America.

Dolton, in the shadow of mills and factories that long defined Chicagoland as an industrial powerhouse, offered plentiful nearby jobs, affordable homes, solid schools, reliable services and bustling retail shops. It was, in the words of a Dolton marketing pamphlet of the era, “close enough to the city for industry — far enough away for good clean suburban living.”

But one big downside to life in the 4.5-square mile village just south of the city was freight trains that crawled through day and night. They often came to maddening stops, endlessly blocking crossings and transforming even short hops to the grocery, school or job site into logistical quagmires.

“There is no ‘wrong side of the tracks’ in Dolton, nor is there a right side,” MacKay told the House Committee on Public Works.

“In whatever direction one attempts to travel, nine times out of ten he is halted by a freight train, laboriously pulling up to 200 cars into, or out of, one of the freight yards on the outskirts of the village. … Even more frustrating is having the freight trains stand motionless, across the crossings, while auto traffic piles up at the intersection to a distance that sometimes attains two miles in each direction.”

In the intervening 45 years, almost everything in and around Dolton has changed. The mills are long gone and factories thinned out, an early harbinger of the vulnerabilities of globalization that have become front and center in today’s political debates.

https://projects.bettergov.org/2018/dolton/
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2018, 4:11 PM
IrishIllini IrishIllini is offline
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Interesting article about an unfortunate reality. Not sure what can be done to reverse the decline in these communities. They're the worst combination of suburban and dilapidated. There's no appeal. The history of boom-bust-decline is one I think we'll see repeated in the Dolton's of modern America.
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Old Posted Nov 20, 2018, 4:33 PM
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Consolidation or mass immigration/refugee resettlement are probably the only viable options.
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Old Posted Nov 20, 2018, 5:02 PM
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Im seeing the development of an almost European style urban geography.

Wealthy Center, poor ring of suburbs, wealthy exurban towns beyond.
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  #5  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2018, 5:16 PM
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Both US and Canadian metros follow the same pattern; a dense downtown surrounded by miles of auto centric, low density suburbia. The best route forward for US cities is to mirror what Canadian cities started doing around 20-25 years ago.

To resuscitate these suburbs they need to be connected to the amenities of a downtown and the jobs that exist there. Commuting into these downtowns has become a nightmare and the density is too low to support rail. Canadian metros chose the only option available: build nodes (mini downtowns) throughout the metro. That means selecting areas in these low density suburbs that will be built/re-built as high density nodes with a subway station underneath.

These clusters contain condos towers, office towers, retail, entertainment, etc. Suburbanites can then travel to their own mini-downtown for shopping, work, or they can choose to live in them too. It cuts down on congestion, travel time, and pollution. It also makes these areas more appealing and viable. How to get from the house on a big lot to the node with the subway station? Bus, light rail, or driving to the node with large below ground or above ground parking.

If you look at Canadian metros they are all developing this way. Toronto is furthest along but the same thing is happening in Vancouver and Montreal. Smaller metros are still growing outwards but they too are changing how they grow. New suburbia being built is denser and designed to be conducive to rail. They're also starting to build nodes in their suburbs.
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  #6  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2018, 6:13 PM
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Originally Posted by isaidso View Post
Both US and Canadian metros follow the same pattern; a dense downtown surrounded by miles of auto centric, low density suburbia. The best route forward for US cities is to mirror what Canadian cities started doing around 20-25 years ago.
You mean increase immigration? Immigration would fix this suburb's primary ills.

Canada has no Doltons largely because of massive immigration (and no black-white legacy issues).

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Originally Posted by isaidso View Post
To resuscitate these suburbs they need to be connected to the amenities of a downtown and the jobs that exist there. Commuting into these downtowns has become a nightmare and the density is too low to support rail. Canadian metros chose the only option available: build nodes (mini downtowns) throughout the metro. That means selecting areas in these low density suburbs that will be built/re-built as high density nodes with a subway station underneath.
Ridiculous. Dolton is an older Chicago-area suburb and has frequent rail nearby. Chicagoland has like 10x as many rail lines and suburban downtowns as in the largest Canadian cities.

And Dolton is already pretty dense/walkable (certainly moreso than, say, Mississauga or North York), the problem is that it absolutely sucks.

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These clusters contain condos towers, office towers, retail, entertainment, etc.
The last thing Dolton needs is giant condo towers and more retail, as if property demand and prices aren't quite weak enough. Dolton needs people, not condo boxes (unless those condo boxes come with waves of Chinese investors, as in Canada).
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  #7  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2018, 7:07 PM
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Poor people have to live somewhere. There are going to be and there must be sh*thole suburbs and sh*thole urban 'hoods forever to service the affluent people that today choose to live in urban centers and suburban fringes.
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Old Posted Nov 20, 2018, 7:22 PM
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lol how Randian of you.
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  #9  
Old Posted Nov 20, 2018, 9:50 PM
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Greenwich, ct: an American suburb

Equally representative as dolton
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2018, 4:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishIllini View Post
Interesting article about an unfortunate reality. Not sure what can be done to reverse the decline in these communities. They're the worst combination of suburban and dilapidated. There's no appeal. The history of boom-bust-decline is one I think we'll see repeated in the Dolton's of modern America.
domestic policy can't reverse the decline in places like this. you just have to let them go to seed and start over someplace else. america is full of small town dust bowls. people should just move on if they get the chance.
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  #11  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2018, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Obadno View Post
Im seeing the development of an almost European style urban geography.

Wealthy Center, poor ring of suburbs, wealthy exurban towns beyond.
Except in Europe it’s really wealthy villages, but yeah.
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Old Posted Nov 23, 2018, 2:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
And Dolton is already pretty dense/walkable (certainly moreso than, say, Mississauga or North York), the problem is that it absolutely sucks.
In terms of population density, Mississauga is a fair bit more dense than Dolton (even with a huge airport and massive industrial parks within its borders) and North York is almost twice as dense.
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Old Posted Nov 23, 2018, 7:28 AM
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In USA, everyone is left to fend for themselves. Even grade-separating the rail crossings cannot be done when people often have to wait 2 hours just to cross the tracks.

There are 1550 municipalities in the Chicago metropolitan area. Compare that to 23 municipalities for the Toronto metropolitan area. When there is so much political fragmentation at a local level combined with lack of support and services from higher levels of government, it is no wonder some communities become isolated and left behind.

Dolton reminds me of the older parts of Mississauga. Bungalows with parking behind the house instead of the front. But Mississauga is 30 times larger. Whereas Dolton is 1 of 135 municipalities in Cook County, Mississauga is 1 of 3 municipalities in Peel Region. Mississauga is large enough that it can have its own bus system, which gets more riders than all of Pace. It gets more support from higher levels of government, but it's also large enough to be able to provide its own services more effectively without relying on outside help, including services to connect people to their jobs. There are fewer boundaries, they are easier to overcome, and there is more help to overcome them.
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  #14  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2018, 2:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxtex View Post
domestic policy can't reverse the decline in places like this. you just have to let them go to seed and start over someplace else. america is full of small town dust bowls. people should just move on if they get the chance.
The problem is these are not rural ghost towns that died because of an agricultural disaster, they're man made ghettos in the heart of major metropolitan areas. Domestic policy is the ONLY thing that can save these places. Giving regional governments more authority to distribute services in a more equitable manner and changing immigration policies so that more points are given to people willing to invest in poorer regions have been mentioned in the past.
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Old Posted Nov 23, 2018, 3:22 PM
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Dolton doesn't look too bad!
https://goo.gl/maps/QuzF52pqnGy

Last edited by Sun Belt; Nov 23, 2018 at 4:13 PM.
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Old Posted Nov 23, 2018, 3:35 PM
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^ I assume that’s sarcasm.

I’m from Chicago and I’ve never heard of this place.
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  #17  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2018, 4:10 PM
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^ I assume that’s sarcasm.

I’m from Chicago and I’ve never heard of this place.
It was a picture of Dominos in Dolton, so yeah it was a bit of sarcasm. But actually, I was fooling around with GoogleMaps/images and Dolton does have a nice street grid in the residential areas.

Back to the RR track topic from the article, It's a tiny geographical area of less than 5 sq. miles. The rail yards are on the westside of town and their main E/W thoroughfare [Sibley Ave] is elevated over the tracks and 162nd goes under the tracks.. On the east side of town, there is freeway connectivity. I seriously doubt people that live there can't figure out how to cross the tracks to go to the grocery store.
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Old Posted Nov 23, 2018, 4:32 PM
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Originally Posted by softee View Post
In terms of population density, Mississauga is a fair bit more dense than Dolton (even with a huge airport and massive industrial parks within its borders) and North York is almost twice as dense.
OK? Has nothing to do with anything.

Dolton is a prewar, (theoretically) walkable suburb, and North York (and especially Mississauga) are postwar, auto-oriented suburbs. Dolton offers a much more urban environment, it's just crap.
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  #19  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2018, 4:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Obadno View Post
Im seeing the development of an almost European style urban geography.

Wealthy Center, poor ring of suburbs, wealthy exurban towns beyond.
This has literally been the status quo for all of human history. You didn't see Roman slums on the Palatine hill in ancient Rome, they were on the fringes of the city with wealthy villas beyond.

Here's a phrase to remember: "Reversion to the Mean"
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  #20  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2018, 5:11 PM
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This has literally been the status quo for all of human history. You didn't see Roman slums on the Palatine hill in ancient Rome, they were on the fringes of the city with wealthy villas beyond.

Here's a phrase to remember: "Reversion to the Mean"
You see this Mayan ruins too. The riff raff existed outside of the walls of the 'city'.

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Tulum was protected on one side by steep sea cliffs and on the landward side by a 26 feet (8 m) thick wall that averaged about 3 to 5 meters (16 ft) in height. The west side measures approximately 1250 feet (380 m) and 560 feet (170 m) along its other sides. There are five narrow gateways in the wall with two each on the north and south sides and one on the west. The vast majority of the city’s residents lived outside the walls, leaving the interior for the residences of the ruling class and ceremonial structures. A small cenote near the northern side of the wall provided the city with fresh water.
http://mayanruins.info/mexico/tulum-mexico/
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