Most businesses can't or won't pay the costs of expensive city locations, and many of them have no need for walkability - they're offices, not retail stores. As long as people can get lunch nearby, they're fine with it. And as long as Metro Transit refuses to acknowledge that people work hours other than 9-5 M-F, they'll have to keep driving to them.

Just because some of the tech giants have made a move into the city doesn't mean office parks are doomed. I expect that eventually they'll undergo some transformations but that's still down the road a while.

I've also never run into an office park that wouldn't subdivide a space to suit a tenant.
the growing awareness of the serious health consequences of car dependence
There's also something to be said for the --perhaps less widespread-- knowledge that suburban "perfect house" cul-de-sac living has negative psychological impacts on children. Kids that grow up in the dirty city have a much more happy, hopeful demeanor, while suburban kids draw pictures of being "trapped". This may have actually led to some of the MRA sociopathologies, and mass-shooting mentalities we're dealing with today, as those suburban children finally crack. I'm sure there are a number of other factors, but it's known that suburban living isn't good for children's outlooks on life.

RE: suburbia vs. city center
I found it interesting that European cities have largely placed the wealthy people in the city center, and the poor in the banlieues outside of the city limits, while American cities it has been quite the reverse. The city center always seems to be where the good shit is going down... art, clubs, nightlife, shows, salons, etc. Suburbia in Europe is a type of class exile, where the poor are forced to bus in to their cleaning or retail jobs, while the rich walk to work, or hop on the Métro. Not exclusively, of course, a number of lower-class people still do live in the cities in Europe, just not nearly as many as live outside. (Paris ~= 2M, banlieue ~= 10M)
Seems like things are finally shifting back to that model here in the US. If only the politicos can make sure to maintain enough 'fringe' spaces for artists and the lower-classes to remain in the city, a good solid transit, we'll be able to manage and maintain a vibrant city life.
Otherwise we'll end up with bunch of classist, drunken rich, Uber-riding, techno-idiots roaming the streets pissing on everything.
@3 Consider: Lack of savings and/or steady income, redlining, and that some black people actually did buy real estate in the cities... as unwitting participants in blockbusting.

And even if their purchase wasn't blockbusting and they weren't redlined and they bought happily ever after... Consider predatory loans and/or refinances that walloped them if a job was lost, or that things got even worse through the 1970s and 1980s, particularly when crack took over the streets. Who'd want to live there? And don't forget you'd be putting your kids into "inner-city schools." Remember when all the future's problems, when every source of societal ill, was coming from inner-city schools?

As the 1990s improved things, and rents, consider that some black owners probably sold when they noticed their friends/jobs/churches/etc had to move out of the city because they couldn't afford ever increasing rent.

And then consider that some black owners stuck it out, saw their housing values rise, sold out, and did well for themselves. But I don't think there's anything easy about having made it this far; there would have been a lot of sacrifices along the way.
No, white middle-class people were not socialized to blame anyone in the 1960s. They moved to the suburbs mainly to raise families and enjoy the countryside, have gardens and swimming pools, and happened to be white. Yes, some were getting away from the influx of poorer blacks coming into the city, but your heavily generalized rewriting of history is so sophomoric to get your contorted points across, Charles.
@2, I've been to Europe pretty extensively, and found the opposite of your assertion to be true. Large, European cities tend to be devoid of life, more a museum than a vibrant, world class city. Once you enter the suburbs and rural divides, you enter the areas where people laugh, smile, and live. You can learn more about Britain in Chew Stoke than you can learn from ten times the length of your given stay in Bristol.
@5 -- Oh, come on. They called it "White Flight", for heaven's sake; of course there was a racial element.

As to suburban office parks, Charles is right again, and this trend has been going on for a long time. Almost as soon as they were built it became obvious that it was a very bad idea. The main reason is that it is hard to get to. If you locate downtown (any downtown) then you can get there from anywhere. But if you locate in the suburbs, you better be in that suburb. You can drive to that suburb from the city, but only as long as that place is small. This means you are basically limiting yourself. Like every business, you don't want to pay for the infrastructure, you want the state to pay for it. So Microsoft will not expand 520, yet they lose plenty of workers every year because those workers don't want to slog through traffic to get there (or wait forever for the bus). It gets worse, too. If you live in another suburb, then you're screwed. Getting from the southern or northern suburb to the east side is terrible. But getting to those places to downtown (via a bus) is just fine. Of course it is. More people are headed that way.

The suburban office park -- like all suburbia all over the world -- has one advantage: it is cheap. But the tech world took that cheapness, added a few nice sculptures and grass and called it a "campus". Fair enough. But unlike a college campus, most people don't live there. They don't want to live there. They have lives outside of work, and at some point probably includes a significant other. It should be no surprise that the suburban office park reached its zenith in the throwback, reactionary era of the 1980s. The progressive feminist era of the 1970s was dead, and many were comfortable with the "Dad is the breadwinner, mom is the housewife (sorry, stay at home mom)" model.

The thing is, that era is dead now too. You just can't make it anymore on one salary. So even if you want to live in the suburbs and work there, you have to find someone who wants to do the same, otherwise you are screwed. Fewer and fewer people want to do that, which is why we are quickly abandoning the suburban office model. People want to work downtown (because it is convenient).

The only other trend that is going on with office buildings is that they are spreading around the city. Manhattan is booming, but so too is Brooklyn (and now) Queens. These are old cities, with plenty of existing infrastructure, not suburban areas. But they aren't downtown. In Seattle downtown is stretching outward (to South Lake Union) but there are new office buildings sprouting up in Fremont, Wallingford, the UW and Ballard. These aren't necessarily that convenient (not as convenient as downtown) but should be convenient if we built an actual urban transit system (instead of one focused on connecting suburbs).
If there was a Slog contest for dumbest commenter, the winner would be Raindrop, who consistently types up gratuitously contrarian and aggressively ignorant comments that refuse to contribute anything like insight.
Were any of you you actually adults in the 60, to experience what you are theorizing? And Charles, did you live in the US in the 60s, or are you just taking your knowledge from books, as usual?
Because we want suburbanites to struggle with a commute to and from the city and add to pollution and congestion.
Hmm. Tell it to the horsepeople still mourning the loss of Longacres in Tukwila #ThanksBoeingNoThanks A historic local gem ripped down. You can still see the ruins and the old stretch run...
@7: You are entitled to your opinion, but not your own facts. I acknowledge the 'white flight' aspect in my comment - but the fact remains that the baby boomers had money to spend - a lot from the GI bill. Just because you want a bigger house and land does not make one a racist.

Charles has yet to address pre-natal racism and how it affects demographics and politics, but I'm sure it's coming. I'm sure john t. will lap it up.
In addition, there wasn't much black for white to flee in the bigger western cities back in the 60's. Also, the interstate highway was completed so the ease of suburban and rural living was facilitated.
I think younger people today forget how bad the violence was getting in cities in the 80s and early 90s.

There were horrible waves of crime and violence that showed no signs of ebbing in those eras (caused by the increased drug trade), causing professionals who had lived in the city for years to flee to the safety of the suburbs.

It still happens today. My sister is a young professional who has been living in Baltimore for years. She loves the city, but now in her mid thirties is tired of having the car windows broken, tired of having her home broken into, her trash searched through and thrown around the alley, and tired of worrying about the people gathering in the alley/on the stoop after dark.

At some point, you just get to tired of it all. It is as simple as that.
Charles raise good questions but get answers, much less nuance wrong.

You called it correctly: their history is from a cartoon.


Seattle white-guilt Sloggers like to patronize others.

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