The cost of living in America's big name cities isn't getting any cheaper. Here in New York, everyone under the age of 97 has moved to Brooklyn, and everyone else is moving out altogether. This causes some problems.
Today, Aaron Foley had a great piece on the people who realize they could live a more lavish life in Detroit for what they pay in America's more popular cities. That's where reader 55_mercury explained that problem with people like this isn't that they're moving to places like Detroit, it's just that they don't have the right expectations. They don't realize that there's a difference in culture, not just in rent.
my Aunt lives in Memphis TN where she's been for 45 years. I always had a hell of a good time visiting her and the best food we had was always at some weird place like a gas station or something. Most people who I've run into who mention Memphis talk about what a hole it is. I know most of them have probably never been there.
But if I were to guesstimate why Detroit attracts certain entrepreneurs is much the same reason as the Southeast where I grew up seems to attract families from the Northeast ( NY, MA, NJ etc). Its because its a sort of knee-jerk contrast to wherever they are from and the situation that place has. Let's face it: NYC, SF, LA, and a lot of NJ are so expensive at this point that when someone reads a story that they can buy a house in say- TN for $100,000 or buy a old building in Detroit for $10,000, I imagine they go through a scenario in their mind where " Golly gee-wiz! I could buy something there and everything would be grrrreat!"
What's missing in that equation is the emphasis on the area's culture and character. The Southeast, Detroit, and every other city is going to have a totally different culture. Its interesting that many who move to NYC, SF, and so on do so specifically FOR the culture. Yet when its a move to say- Raleigh NC, its more about how cheap of a McMansion can they get. In fact what's interesting to me is that as someone who grew up in the deep rural South, the questions and comments I hear a lot from people seems to be along the lines of how accepting people from such and such rural place will be, or how "Open-minded" are they. Its never about what the culture is like.
I actually visited Detroit 3-4 years ago. I'd never been there before. I had a great time and met some great people, but man- the pictures do not do it justice. I could not believe how many abandoned houses and buildings there were. You sort of got a sad sense of nostalgia and melancholy of the place, where at one point the place was buzzing with business and so on. Now that seems to be in the rear view mirror. So yes- I too would really like to see Detroit turn over a new leaf.
Lastly, while I have said what I mentioned above, I hate to say it, but once Hipsters get the idea that such and such place is "cool" whether that be Austin, SF, or Detroit, that usually means big businesses and people with money are likely to follow. I doubt that means manufacturing will return. But it could be a good thing. Then again what do I know?
So how should hipsters get into their old Volvos and head out of their high-rent cities? How the hell should they move into your neighborhood?
Photo Credit: New Girl