Monday, April 12, 2010

The Heartland & Sacramento

Sacramentans have long understood that a central element of living here is that Sacramento is imbued with a subtle mid-western sensibility that creates a very family-friendly environment which is a large part—including the delightful climate—that attracts people to our region.

This article from New Geography, is about the Midwest and that sensibility.

An excerpt.

“One of the least anticipated developments in the nation’s 21st-century geography will be the resurgence of the American Heartland, often dismissed by coastal dwellers as “flyover country.”

“Yet in the coming 40 years, as America’s population reaches 400 million, the American Heartland particularly the vast region between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi will gain in importance.

“To fully appreciate this opportunity, Americans need to see the Heartland as far more than a rural or an agricultural zone. Although food production will remain a crucial component of its economy, high-tech services, communications, energy production, manufacturing and warehouses will serve as the critical levers for new employment and wealth creation.

“This contradicts the common media portrayal of the Great Plains as a kind of Mad Max environment a postmodern, desiccated, lost world of emptying towns, meth labs and militant Native Americans about to reclaim a place best left to the forces of nature.

“Some environmentalists and academics even have embraced the idea, popularized by New Jersey academics Frank J. Popper and Deborah Popper, that Washington, D.C., accelerate the depopulation of the Plains and create “the ultimate national park.” Their suggestion is that the government return the land and communities to a “buffalo commons.”

“Yet ironically, the future of the Heartland particularly its cities will be tied, in part, to growing migration from the expensive, crowded coasts. Already, the growth capacity for “mega- cities” like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles may be approaching their limits as the urban megalopolis of cities, suburbs and exurbs become more crowded and expensive.

“As huge urbanized regions become less desirable or unaffordable for many businesses and middle-class families, more and more Americans will find their best future in the wide-open spaces that, even in 2050, will still exist across the continent. The beneficiaries will include places as diverse as Fargo and Sioux Falls in the Dakotas to Des Moines, Oklahoma City, Omaha and Kansas City.

“Many of these areas are now enjoying both population growth and net domestic in-migration even as the nation’s most ballyhooed “hip cool” regions like the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago experience slower growth. Fargo, N.D., Sioux Falls, S.D., Des Moines and Bismarck, N.D., for example, all grew well faster than the national average throughout the past decade.”