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  #21  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2022, 12:54 AM
FromSD FromSD is offline
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Whoever was writing headlines in LA Times on 25 March needs to take a long vacation. Population loss is transforming LA and SF? If only. Where are the empty freeways in LA or the urban prairies of the Sunset District of SF? When those things start happening I'll worry about population loss in California.

After 2000 the tech bubble burst, state tax revenues cratered, and there was much talk of California as a failed state. The state budget again took a hit following the 2007/8 real estate bubble, and again more talk in places like the New York Times of the failed state of California. Now we're seeing an explosion in property prices--but also healthy job growth and a massive state budget surplus--and again, California is doomed.

It's true that California isn't the population growth juggernaut that it was in the first 80 years of the 20th century. It turns out that California's population growth started to decelerate just about the time that easily developable land ran out in the urban coastal parts of the state. And not coincidentally housing prices in California started to go out of whack at that time also. Of course, housing prices were always relatively expensive in LA and SF, but the difference wasn't the magnitude that it is today. So the slowdown in population growth isn't surprising.

LA in particular doesn't appear to be a city in decline. Despite the apparent population loss, there are construction projects all over the city. The downtown skyline is booming. There is no abandonment. In the 1980s LAs population grew by 17% even though greenfield residential development was pretty much at an end. The city grew more crowded as newly arrived immigrant families doubled up in houses and apartments and converted garages. Schools on the east and south sides were bursting at the seams and the school district resorted to year round school to accommodate the growing numbers of students. School enrollments have now subsided and the schools that got built to handle the explosion in student population have excess capacity. I suspect that the pendulum is swinging back as the people in LA's overcrowded neighborhoods leave the city in search of lower housing costs--first to Inland Empire and High Desert, and then to other states.

Long story short, there will always be a cottage industry of headline writers signaling California's impending doom. The state has had such an important place in the nation's psyche, that it is just too tempting a target. I also think that as Texas and Florida continue to grow, they will find themselves victims of the same phenomenon.
     
     
  #22  
Old Posted Apr 13, 2022, 5:05 AM
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It's true that California isn't the population growth juggernaut that it was in the first 80 years of the 20th century. It turns out that California's population growth started to decelerate just about the time that easily developable land ran out in the urban coastal parts of the state. And not coincidentally housing prices in California started to go out of whack at that time also. Of course, housing prices were always relatively expensive in LA and SF, but the difference wasn't the magnitude that it is today. So the slowdown in population growth isn't surprising.
This is a good point. At least here in the Bay Area, there was still a large portion of the inner core Bay Area (East and South Bay) that was former ranch lands and orchards up until the 70s, 80s, and even the 90s. These parts resemble typical Sunbelt sprawl.

If you've ever been to the Bay Area or checked out a topo map, there's actually a nearly continuous ring of mountain ridges surrounding the inner core. And obviously there's a very large and wide bay, with protected wetlands as well. The only truly large, flat expanse is in the South Bay, in Santa Clara Valley. That's probably why this part of the Bay Area most resembles SoCal. Right now there's still room to sprawl in the outer Bay Area (Dublin/Pleasanton and beyond) out to Tracy, Stockton, and the Central Valley, but there's no more room left in the inner Bay Area so we're finally truly beginning to go vertical.



     
     
  #23  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 12:38 AM
jd3189 jd3189 is offline
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Would be cool to see how the Bay Area increase its density in this century. With the landscape that exists there and in SoCal, the cityscape in both places could start to look like American versions of Tokyo or Mexico City. Just by rezoning Silicon Valley to allow duplexes and small apartment buildings like in SF and Oakland would do wonders to make that place slightly less expensive.

Also, that map shows how fucking stupid urban sprawl was. Large swaths of developable land in most of our metros are filled with surface parking, strip malls, and SFHs that are now filled with people who have a strong attachment to their low-density living.

Nothing is inherently wrong with that, people ( even NIMBYs) deserve to own and protect their real estate properties and communities. However, if a place is growing rapidly with jobs and others moving in to work those jobs aren’t able to simply afford a studio apartment or closet to live in because the existing residents are unwilling to allow even a duplex to be constructed, that’s messed up. Or maybe it’s not. It’s just the new normal people in Silicon Valley and other desirable metros have to deal with.
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  #24  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 2:06 PM
DCReid DCReid is offline
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Would be cool to see how the Bay Area increase its density in this century. With the landscape that exists there and in SoCal, the cityscape in both places could start to look like American versions of Tokyo or Mexico City. Just by rezoning Silicon Valley to allow duplexes and small apartment buildings like in SF and Oakland would do wonders to make that place slightly less expensive.

Also, that map shows how fucking stupid urban sprawl was. Large swaths of developable land in most of our metros are filled with surface parking, strip malls, and SFHs that are now filled with people who have a strong attachment to their low-density living.

Nothing is inherently wrong with that, people ( even NIMBYs) deserve to own and protect their real estate properties and communities. However, if a place is growing rapidly with jobs and others moving in to work those jobs aren’t able to simply afford a studio apartment or closet to live in because the existing residents are unwilling to allow even a duplex to be constructed, that’s messed up. Or maybe it’s not. It’s just the new normal people in Silicon Valley and other desirable metros have to deal with.
Although I don't live there, it seems that the Bay Area is already fairly dense already, especially SF and Oakland. However, I am confused why south of Market street in SF has not developed with high rise offices and residential, since it was mostly flat. Also, in Silicon Valley, I don't understand
why San Jose does not have a dense cluster of high-rises or is not booming with highrise construction like Austin, TX. I think one of LA and the Bay Area problems (and part of the problem of the US in general) is people prefer single family houses and sprawl.
     
     
  #25  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 2:16 PM
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Although I don't live there, it seems that the Bay Area is already fairly dense already, especially SF and Oakland. However, I am confused why south of Market street in SF has not developed with high rise offices and residential, since it was mostly flat. Also, in Silicon Valley, I don't understand
why San Jose does not have a dense cluster of high-rises or is not booming with highrise construction like Austin, TX. I think one of LA and the Bay Area problems (and part of the problem of the US in general) is people prefer single family houses and sprawl.
As I understand, those areas south of Market are landfill that were previous wetlands, or bay water. In a seismically active area those high rises would have to be anchored in bedrock? San Jose's airport is next to downtown San Jose, that would explain why they have a short skyline. Don't bring up the airport to San Diegans, it's a sore subject to urban enthusiasts down here.

     
     
  #26  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 2:27 PM
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Originally Posted by DCReid View Post
Also, in Silicon Valley, I don't understand
why San Jose does not have a dense cluster of high-rises or is not booming with highrise construction like Austin, TX.
Have you been to Silicon Valley? It's all sprawl. No need for density or highrises. Also, it's ultra-NIMBY. And ringed by mountains.

Austin is pretty much all sprawl too. TX barely has zoning and is super pro-development, but I doubt Austin will see many highrises in the future. It's probably a momentary burst, like when Houston and Dallas came on the scene in the 1980's.
     
     
  #27  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 2:32 PM
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Originally Posted by DCReid View Post
Although I don't live there, it seems that the Bay Area is already fairly dense already, especially SF and Oakland. However, I am confused why south of Market street in SF has not developed with high rise offices and residential, since it was mostly flat. Also, in Silicon Valley, I don't understand
why San Jose does not have a dense cluster of high-rises or is not booming with highrise construction like Austin, TX. I think one of LA and the Bay Area problems (and part of the problem of the US in general) is people prefer single family houses and sprawl.
The northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula is dense by American standards. Everything else in the Bay Area is fairly standard density for a major American metro. Santa Clara County, home of Silicon Valley, is roughly the same density as Oakland County, MI, home of the American auto industry.
     
     
  #28  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 2:40 PM
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The northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula is dense by American standards. Everything else in the Bay Area is fairly standard density for a major American metro. Santa Clara County, home of Silicon Valley, is roughly the same density as Oakland County, MI, home of the American auto industry.
Though Santa Clara County doesn't really feel like Oakland County, MI. It's structurally denser, in a Sunbelt sort of way. It looks like Orange County, CA. Much of Santa Clara County is protected land.

Oakland County, MI is structurally semi-dense (streetcar suburbia) along the Woodward corridor, but it's mostly newer suburban and exurban sprawl.
     
     
  #29  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 3:16 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
The northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula is dense by American standards. Everything else in the Bay Area is fairly standard density for a major American metro. Santa Clara County, home of Silicon Valley, is roughly the same density as Oakland County, MI, home of the American auto industry.
Most of the land in Santa Clara County is too rugged for development.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sa...4d-121.8907041

The weighted density is high.
     
     
  #30  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 3:20 PM
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Have you been to Silicon Valley? It's all sprawl. No need for density or highrises. Also, it's ultra-NIMBY. And ringed by mountains.

Austin is pretty much all sprawl too. TX barely has zoning and is super pro-development, but I doubt Austin will see many highrises in the future. It's probably a momentary burst, like when Houston and Dallas came on the scene in the 1980's.
I'm not sure how you base this claim. First, Texas doesn't handle zoning or development, the cities do. And second, all the cities are densifying and that's only going to continue with the rise in property values and changes in living preferences. Houston is the only city without zoning, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Ft. Worth, etc. all do. Austin is building residential while Dallas and Houston built a ton of office towers during the oil boom. It's totally different ball game now.
     
     
  #31  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 3:23 PM
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I'm not sure how you base this claim. First, Texas doesn't handle zoning or development, the cities do. And second, all the cities are densifying and that's only going to continue with the rise in property values and changes in living preferences. Houston is the only city without zoning, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Ft. Worth, etc. all do. And Houston is building tall as well.
TX is extremely pro development relative to CA. The state basically is totally hands-off, while states like CA, NY, etc. have extensive state level environmental rules that totally change the development equation. It takes years, and multiple layers of approvals, to build almost anything. In TX you basically built what you want, when you want, even when there's zoning.

Dallas and Houston had enormous 1980's highrise booms. Since then, very few highrises have been built. Austin currently has an enormous highrise boom, very similar to the 1980's Dallas/Houston scenarios.
     
     
  #32  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 3:27 PM
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Though Santa Clara County doesn't really feel like Oakland County, MI. It's structurally denser, in a Sunbelt sort of way. It looks like Orange County, CA. Much of Santa Clara County is protected land.
This is actually intentional. In the 50s-60s, there was a city manager by the name of A.P. “Dutch” Hamann who grew up in Orange County and wanted a more suburban feel for SJ. He is on the record as being inspired by LA, and rather than concentrating economic development in downtown SJ, he annexed unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County on the outskirts of the city, and heavily developed those farmland areas. He also rejected BART in favor of a series of freeways and expressways. Suburban sprawl became the preferred method of development. And now we are left with the chaotic sprawly mess that we see today.
     
     
  #33  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 3:32 PM
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Though Santa Clara County doesn't really feel like Oakland County, MI. It's structurally denser, in a Sunbelt sort of way. It looks like Orange County, CA. Much of Santa Clara County is protected land.

Oakland County, MI is structurally semi-dense (streetcar suburbia) along the Woodward corridor, but it's mostly newer suburban and exurban sprawl.
Perhaps. Macomb County is also more dense than Santa Clara County on average, though.

When you look at the weighted density by municipality, Santa Clara (5,629 ppsm) does come out somewhat ahead of both Oakland (2,446 ppsm) and Macomb (3,249 ppsm). But these are not extraordinarily different numbers, IMO. Especially when you consider that one of the largest municipalities in the country is located in Santa Clara County.
     
     
  #34  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 3:55 PM
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Also, in Silicon Valley, I don't understand why San Jose does not have a dense cluster of high-rises or is not booming with highrise construction like Austin, TX. I think one of LA and the Bay Area problems (and part of the problem of the US in general) is people prefer single family houses and sprawl.
I think tech HQs traditionally have tended to be low-rise sprawly campuses. Even though they have urban office presence in SF (Salesforce, Facebook, Google), the newer tech HQ developments in Silicon Valley itself for some reason insist on remaining very sprawly (Apple Park, Facebook's MPK 21, Google's Charleston East).

And then there's also the airport location.





     
     
  #35  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 3:59 PM
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Perhaps. Macomb County is also more dense than Santa Clara County on average, though.

When you look at the weighted density by municipality, Santa Clara (5,629 ppsm) does come out somewhat ahead of both Oakland (2,446 ppsm) and Macomb (3,249 ppsm). But these are not extraordinarily different numbers, IMO. Especially when you consider that one of the largest municipalities in the country is located in Santa Clara County.
Santa Clara County's weighted density is more than double Oakland County's. The look and feel is going to be a stark contrast between the two. That's similar to the difference between Orange County and Atlanta.
     
     
  #36  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 4:27 PM
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I think tech HQs traditionally have tended to be low-rise sprawly campuses. Even though they have urban office presence in SF (Salesforce, Facebook, Google), the newer tech HQ developments in Silicon Valley itself for some reason insist on remaining very sprawly (Apple Park, Facebook's MPK 21, Google's Charleston East).
I work in one of those buildings. Tech does love office parks though (huge work forces and back office stuff) though all of them have a presence in urban downtown areas; NYC, SF, etc.

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TX is extremely pro development relative to CA. The state basically is totally hands-off, while states like CA, NY, etc. have extensive state level environmental rules that totally change the development equation. It takes years, and multiple layers of approvals, to build almost anything. In TX you basically built what you want, when you want, even when there's zoning.

Dallas and Houston had enormous 1980's highrise booms. Since then, very few highrises have been built. Austin currently has an enormous highrise boom, very similar to the 1980's Dallas/Houston scenarios.
Very different scenarios. Houston and Dallas were flush with oil cash and built trophy towers like crazy during the 70's and early 80's with little regard to cost overruns. It was highly unsustainable and were left with a massive office glut. Austin today is mainly building residential and modest office space leased by tech companies. The impression I get with Austin is that despite the rapid development, it's smarter and more pragmatic. Very different.
     
     
  #37  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 4:42 PM
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Santa Clara County's weighted density is more than double Oakland County's. The look and feel is going to be a stark contrast between the two. That's similar to the difference between Orange County and Atlanta.
It's not a stark contrast. Both are auto-oriented suburbia. Yes, wider roads and larger lots in Oakland County, but the lifestyles are largely the same. They also have a lot of communities within the same density range.
     
     
  #38  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 5:05 PM
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It's not a stark contrast. Both are auto-oriented suburbia. Yes, wider roads and larger lots in Oakland County, but the lifestyles are largely the same. They also have a lot of communities within the same density range.
I'm not familiar with Oakland County, but yeah, Santa Clara County is basically dense suburbia. Lots of tract homes, wide streets, strip malls and plazas. Very autocentric. It's virtually identical to Orange County.
     
     
  #39  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 5:45 PM
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It looks like Orange County, CA. Much of Santa Clara County is protected land.
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This is actually intentional. In the 50s-60s, there was a city manager by the name of A.P. “Dutch” Hamann who grew up in Orange County and wanted a more suburban feel for SJ. He is on the record as being inspired by LA, and rather than concentrating economic development in downtown SJ, he annexed unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County on the outskirts of the city, and heavily developed those farmland areas. He also rejected BART in favor of a series of freeways and expressways. Suburban sprawl became the preferred method of development. And now we are left with the chaotic sprawly mess that we see today.
I'm comforted by not being the only person who felt this way.

I went up to San Jose for a job offer in 2013. Ten minutes of driving on the 880 (yes, I lived in SoCal...) and the cost to rent a bedroom in a suburban SJ house (between $900 and $1100 at the time) were enough to dissuade me from relocating, but the entire time I was there I couldn't shake the feeling that San Jose (which I thought had a very nice downtown, fwiw) and Silicon Valley in general felt and looked like an upscale Orange County, as absurd as that may sound. There's so much money, power and influence flowing through that valley that for someone like me who wasn't looking to relocate for a tech job (the job offer was for a probation officer position at Santa Clara County), it was hard not to feel out of place.
     
     
  #40  
Old Posted Apr 14, 2022, 5:51 PM
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I'm comforted by not being the only person who felt this way.

I went up to San Jose for a job offer in 2013. Ten minutes of driving on the 880 (yes, I lived in SoCal...) and the cost to rent a bedroom in a suburban SJ house (between $900 and $1100 at the time) were enough to dissuade me from relocating, but the entire time I was there I couldn't shake the feeling that San Jose (which I thought had a very nice downtown, fwiw) and Silicon Valley in general felt and looked like an upscale (as absurd as that may seem) Orange County.
To me, OC feels more upscale overall, bc its so blingy and into flashy wealth. Coastal OC is like the anti-Connecticut.

But, yeah, they look and feel very similar. Of course, OC has the coast, home prices that are maybe half that of Santa Clara, and is much less Asian. Santa Clara is probably majority or at least plurality Asian. OC doesn't feel that Asian for CA standards, outside of the northern end of the county around Garden Grove, and obviously Irvine.
     
     
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