Looks like something more than just a hipster shoot-out developing, finally!
Craig at North Coast first posted, Bill Gates Doesn't Live in Buffalo. He presented an academic article by Edward Glaeser and Joseph Gyourko and linked to a post by a former Buffalonian, (must see) and now in exile. He helps us answer that question, "Should I stay (in Buffalo) or should I go now..."
Then, Figmo at that way too cool Buffalo Rising Blog responded.
Craig shot back right back.
- I'm a believer in "classical" economic principles. I think the Wharton paper relied too heavily on the Creative Class writings of Richard Florida. Florida, an economics professor, developed his now-stylish theories during the tech-bubble of the late 90s. His theory attempted to explain the "new economy." Remember that? High-tech businesses were exploding and they did'nt follow the old rules.
The dynamic is difficult to understand if you haven't lived here and heard the first-hand accounts of people not being able to sell their houses for what they originally paid for them. (See.. "black" housing values vs. "white" housing values.) On my block, there are 14 houses. I know two people who have completly abandonded their property because they couldn't sell it or even give it away. Many seniors feel trapped in other parts of the 'hood and lead very quiet, desperate lives just trying to feel even a semblance of security. Not a good thing.
Of course this dynamic is made more difficult by layers of neglect. I mean the city hasn't even boarded up and properly secured the Woodlawn Row Houses, an historic property and "local-landmark." A neighbor is so concerned about vandalism and security. There were two small fires last year and evidence of forced entry again. Her house is just 4 feet away! I've been documenting this mess for 17 months. Remember these row houses are less than 100 feet away from the "new" home of Performing Arts High School.
The fact is that 15/day are leaving Buffalo. (Simple math...take the 2000 and 2003 census numbers for Buffalo...divide by 3 and then again by 365...) If 1000 people move downtown and 10,000 people leave Buffalo...Where's the trend?
Figmo referred to Joel Kotkin's piece that I mentioned last month. A close reading of Kotkin reveals a warning against relying on just the creative class for the revitalization of places like Buffalo.
- Perhaps most important, an economy oriented to entertainment, tourism, and "creative" functions is ill-suited to provide opportunities for more than a small slice of its population. Following such a course, it is likely to evolve ever more into a city composed of cosmopolitan elites, a large group of low-income service workers, and a permanent underclass--or into what San Francisco is already becoming, what historian Kevin Starr describes as "a cross between Carmel and Calcutta."
And to answer the question "Why would we want him, Bill Gates, here anyway?" We should be welcoming anyone who wants to start and develop a business...