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Monday, July 10, 2006

Why You'd Want to Live Here

When I first moved into the place I'm living in now, I noticed some urban renewal was going on around this part of town. Old apartments, restaurants and other businesses were slowly being torn down and posh condo/townhomes/apartments were built in their place. Now this development has reached a point where it's not just in our neighborhood, but almost the entire area slightly north and east of downtown. While I think it's great to clean up certain parts of town, Jason and I are wondering: where are all these new residents coming from? Are the suburbs that bad?

I have yet to meet anyone who has moved or is about to move to one of these new digs. These places are posh, but they are also super-expensive. I do not have the kind of money to live in one of these places nor do I really want to (apartment life just isn't the same as living in a house or duplex). But the average profile of people moving into these places are in their mid-20s to mid-30s. In other words, this is yuppie central.

Still, the crazy thing is that there seems to be millions of people coming out of nowhere that are moving to the uptown/downtown/Lakewood area. A lot of them are married, but not the typical suburban-like couple. I don't think a square high-rise apartment near downtown is the best place to raise a family, but that's just me. Maybe these people don't want kids and just want to live the wild and crazy nightlife 'til old age. Well, in Dallas, the suburbs are not that far away from downtown. If you lived in Plano and wanted to see a band play in Lower Greenville, the commute isn't bad at all. But for some, a 25-minute drive might as well be a day-and-a-half drive.

The strangest thing about urban renewal is what gets changed and what stays the same and rots. A perfect example is a relatively-new apartment/condo complex on one side of the street and a run-down pawn shop with weeds growing around it on the other side. As much as they develop around this place, the more I see spots of unchanged stuff. They stick out like sore thumbs and I'm curious if anyone else notices.

Thankfully, there are plenty of places around here that are protected from this renewal as they are marked as "historical" spots. For me, I like being around homes, businesses and churches that have stuck around for decades and still look really nice. I'm not sure if I could say the same about all these new high-rises. Their designs are very "now" but aspects that are too "now" are often doomed in the long term. Just look at designs from the '70s and '80s now and you may often see stuff that has not aged well at all.

Parts of me think that these new residents have found the suburbs too crowded and too suburban. The suburbs keep developing further north, which is not that different from most places. Maybe a lot of these people come from the Highland Park/University Park area, which is a super-rich area but rather crowded at the same time. Wherever they're coming from, they're not going away anytime soon. I don't think this is a bad thing as I'd rather live next door to straight-laced yuppies than crack dealers.

4 comments:

Amy said...

guess it's time we get dallas and naperville together for a drink. we have the same situation around here.

where are these people coming from and what is their profession to be able to afford a condo that costs about $300k???

where do i send my resume?

Jackye Chan said...

That part of town you're in is marketing for a yuppie invasion. Just look at all those CVS and Walgreen's popping up on every corner. The old eyesores may still be there, but they will be demolished soon. It's just a matter of time.

Sebastian and I recently talked about the new high rises being built near uptown and how Dallas is becoming the next New York. Now, if only they'd finish putting in the DART rails.

jonofdeath said...

Dallas the new New York?! HAHAHHAHA!

jonofdeath said...

I'm sorry. I had to make that a seperate post from this one. I'll call it the snake post, and the hitchin' post. I don't know which is which, you decide.

Man, you guys need to look around. Urban renewal is happening everywhere. From Dallas to Addison to Southlake to Denton to Fort Worth (however, Arlington is being skipped over for now, because they 25 years behind the rest of the area. And the rest of civilation).
The Tower just recently opened up in downtown Ft. Worth a little more than a year ago. I talked to the manager of the building to find out where the residents were coming from. She told me that several people were moving out of the suburbs into the "cultural" downtown area. She said that people wanted to "live where they play."
This is a new phenomenon to me as well as many other people. Because the mentality that most people have is, "live where you work." That way it is more economical for you.
However, with the advent of the suburbs, this idea has gone out. Because people are willing to drive farther, sit in traffic longer, and spend more money and time to get to work.
So, many of these people living in the new high rise apartments, where there is so much going on(shopping, movie theaters, dining)...don't even work there. They only live and play there. They still drive 30-60 minutes to get to work though.
They've taken the idea of economical living and twisted it to fit into their lifestyle. It's the new suburbs. That is why these places are so expensive.
I would more say that Dallas is the next L.A.