Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Beating a Dead Horse

A popular pastime of Rochesterians has been to take repeated digs at the city of Rochester.  In fairness, the city has provided reasonable fodder for such digs in the form of low graduation rates, crime-ridden neighborhoods, urban blight, etc.  Implied in the criticism of the city are several questionable conclusions, including:

  • Rochester's problem areas are representative of the region.
  • Rochester's problems are unique.
  • Other regions have magically solved problems of undereducation, poverty, addiction, and crime. 

In response to these suspect conclusions, here are a few points (that have probably appeared many times before on this blog):
  • The city of Rochester represents 19% of the metro area's population.  If we can agree that perhaps half of the city's population is living a reasonable life, the region's issues are concentrated in less than 10% of the metro area.
  • At last check, cities that share Rochester's history seem to share some of Rochester's quandaries.  As examples, Baltimore, New Haven, Hartford, St. Louis, Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo are not exactly known for their phenomenal urban school districts.  Nor are these cities crime-free utopias.
  • Better-branded cities can have serious problems.  The cruel reality is that cities are defined by what is occurring in the middle and at the top, understanding that there will always be rough patches at the bottom.  In cities with vibrant downtowns, predicaments are often overshadowed, which is not the same as saying that they do not exist.  For instance:
  1. Chicago: The Magnificent Mile is cool.  Leading the nation with 468 murders in 2015 is not as cool.
  2. Seattle: The home of Amazon is also home to the third most homeless residents of any city in the country.
  3. San Francisco: This model metro area leads the U.S. in most car thefts per capita.
  4. Boston: The mecca of higher education is also a national leader in hate crimes.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to see you do a deep-dive post that takes a realistic, contextual look at the weather here vs. more 'desirable' cities.

    Some examples from personal experience:

    Austin, TX (158 new residents per DAY) likes to boast about 300 sunny days per year. They don't mention what endless weeks of 95-105 degree heat will do to your utility bill, car, or sweat glands. Not to mention the toxic mold that actually grows on trees after heavy rainfall, frequent flooding, and big-ass bugs.

    Salt Lake City claims the 'greatest snow on earth' and pristine mountain views. They're less quick to take responsibility for some of the most polluted air on the planet, wherein the mountains are not actually visible from the valley for a good 6 months out of the year due to a layer of hazy smog. I never knew air could have a distinctive taste before living there.

    ...think I'll take my Rochester winters.