Kids and Families in the City

KC topics that don't fit anywhere else.
Denver Josh
Strip mall
Strip mall
Posts: 203
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2005 4:05 pm
Location: Denver, CO (formerly the Lee's Summit)
Contact:

Kids and Families in the City

Post by Denver Josh »

I pose the question - Does KC need kids and families to further the Downtown revitalization?

-----
Child Population Dwindles in San Francisco

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer Tue May 24, 2:16 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO - Anne Bakstad and Ed Cohen are starting to feel as if their family of four is an endangered species in San Francisco.

Since the couple bought a house five years ago, more than a dozen families in their social circle have left the city for cheaper housing, better schools or both.

The goodbyes are so frequent that Carina, age 4 1/2, wants to know when she is going to move, too. Eric, 2 1/2, misses Gus, his playmate from across the street.

"When we get to know people through our kids, we think to ourselves, `Are they renters or owners? Where do they work?' You have to figure out how much time to invest in people," Bakstad said. "It makes you feel like, `Where is everyone going? Stay with us!'"

A similar lament is being heard in San Francisco's half-empty classrooms, in parks where parents are losing ground to dog owners, and in the corridors of City Hall.

San Francisco has the smallest share of small-fry of any major U.S. city. Just 14.5 percent of the city's population is 18 and under.

It is no mystery why U.S. cities are losing children. The promise of safer streets, better schools and more space has drawn young families away from cities for as long as America has had suburbs.

But kids are even more scarce in San Francisco than in expensive New York (24 percent) or in retirement havens such as Palm Beach, Fla., (19 percent), according to Census estimates.

San Francisco's large gay population — estimated at 20 percent by the city Public Health Department — is thought to be one factor, though gays and lesbians in the city are increasingly raising families.

Another reason San Francisco's children are disappearing: Family housing in the city is especially scarce and expensive. A two-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot starter home is considered a bargain at $760,000.

A recent survey by the city controller found 40 percent of parents said they were considering pulling up stakes within the next year.

Determined to change things, Mayor Gavin Newsom has put the kid crisis near the top of his agenda, appointing a 27-member policy council to develop plans for keeping families in the city.

"It goes to the heart and soul of what I think a city is about — it's about generations, it's about renewal and it's about aspirations," said Newsom, 37. "To me, that's what children represent and that's what families represent and we just can't sit back idly and let it go away."

Newsom has expanded health insurance for the poor to cover more people under 25, and created a tax credit for working families. And voters have approved measures to patch up San Francisco's public schools, which have seen enrollment drop from about 62,000 to 59,000 since 2000.

One voter initiative approved up to $60 million annually to restore public school arts, physical education and other extras that state spending no longer covers. Another expanded the city's Children's Fund, guaranteeing about $30 million a year for after-school activities, child care subsidies and other programs.

"We are at a crossroads here," said N'Tanya Lee, executive director of the nonprofit Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth. "We are moving toward a place where we could have an infrastructure of children's services and no children."

Other cities are trying similar strategies. Seattle has created a children's fund, like the one in San Francisco. Leaders in Portland, Ore., are pushing developers to build affordable housing for families, a move Newsom has also tried.

For families choosing to stay in San Francisco, life remains a series of trade-offs. They can enjoy world-class museums, natural beauty and an energy they say they cannot find in the suburbs.

But most families need two or more incomes to keep their homes, and their children spend most of their days being cared for by others.

"We have so many friends who are moving out and say how much easier life has been for them," Bakstad said. "If we can make it work in the city, we would love to stay. In a way, the jury is out."

-----
On one hand I say, "Screw the kids and families who want 4 children!  Put birth control in the water!"  Affordable family housing is such an issue in KC as it is in San Fran - but can or should the pattern of flight to the 'burbs after family development be addressed?
"My ego's like my stomach, it keeps...shitting what I feed it."  Tim Kasher   / www.joshoakhurst.com

nota
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5725
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:48 am
Location: Northland (Parkville)

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by nota »

Denver Josh wrote: I pose the question - Does KC need kids and families to further the Downtown revitalization?
"It goes to the heart and soul of what I think a city is about — it's about generations, it's about renewal and it's about aspirations," said Newsom, 37. "To me, that's what children represent and that's what families represent and we just can't sit back idly and let it go away."
Yes and no. The most important paragraph in the article. But there are so many roadblocks against growth by families right now that not too many families are choosing DT.
Last edited by nota on Wed May 25, 2005 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
KCMax
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 24051
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 3:31 pm
Location: The basement of a Ross Dress for Less
Contact:

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by KCMax »

Kids that grow up in the suburbs far away from downtown tend not to visit downtown.

Ideally, you have good family neighborhoods with in the city proper, but not necessarily downtown. I'd love to see more Quality Hill/Union Hill type developments within the city limits, but a good ten minutes away from downtown. When I raise kids, I want a nice neighborhood, but I want my kids to be exposed to an urban atmosphere.
SAVE THE PLAZA - FROM ZOMBIES! Find out how at:

http://twitter.com/TheKCRag

ignatius
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 4633
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2003 2:42 pm
Location: Midtown/Downtown
Contact:

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by ignatius »

There is a proposal to put a high end private shool in the old Fed Court building downtown.  That would not only attract high income families downtown, but suburbanites working downtown would have a private shool option near work.  While some might see it as encroachment of the rich, it is necessary to have the balance of all income levels downtown for it to succeed.

The Plaza has Pembroke and does attract high income families.  This could work for downtown too.

City cores obviously can succeed with small child populations.  I don't see the SF child issue as a real problem to the success of the city.  The issue with SF city is that it's unreasonably expensive for any mid-income person.  It's unbalanced.  Like Manhattan, it's becoming a playground for high income people and mid income people are pushed outwards.  Downtown KC has a long way to go to become unbalanced with too much wealth. 

LenexatoKCMO
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 14667
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 3:34 pm
Location: Valentine

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by LenexatoKCMO »

I think it will be fascinating to see what effect the increasing inflow of upper middle class white folks to the central core of the city will have on the central KCMO public schools.  I can see it going eiter two ways: 1) finally giving the schools the push needed to improve and shake off their crappy image; or 2) only worsening the racial strife that has plagued the district and hampered improvement for the last 50 years.  Frankly I think its a coin toss at this point. 

nota
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5725
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:48 am
Location: Northland (Parkville)

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by nota »

LenexatoKCMO wrote: I think it will be fascinating to see what effect the increasing inflow of upper middle class white folks to the central core of the city will have on the central KCMO public schools.  I can see it going eiter two ways: 1) finally giving the schools the push needed to improve and shake off their crappy image; or 2) only worsening the racial strife that has plagued the district and hampered improvement for the last 50 years.  Frankly I think its a coin toss at this point. 
I don't think the inflow of upper middle class white kids will increase. Those people will send their kids to private even if they choose to live in the city.

User avatar
Thrillcekr
Penntower
Penntower
Posts: 2161
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 8:14 am
Location: Kansas City, Mo
Contact:

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by Thrillcekr »

nota wrote: I don't think the inflow of upper middle class white kids will increase. Those people will send their kids to private even if they choose to live in the city.
I believe you're right Nota.  Not too many people are willing to volunteer their kids as guinea pigs in such an experiment.

LenexatoKCMO
City Center Square
City Center Square
Posts: 14667
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 3:34 pm
Location: Valentine

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by LenexatoKCMO »

I agree, most of the new arrivals probably won't even have kids.  But they will vote. 

nota
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5725
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:48 am
Location: Northland (Parkville)

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by nota »

LenexatoKCMO wrote: I agree, most of the new arrivals probably won't even have kids.  But they will vote. 
They may vote for sure, but they won't replace themselves as voters if families aren't attracted to the city too. That is the problem with not attracting families-people always would have to be "attracted" to the city rather than some natural replacement.

User avatar
KCK
Bryant Building
Bryant Building
Posts: 3561
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:40 am
Location: Kansas City, Kansas
Contact:

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by KCK »

I believe families are important to a city, but I do not know how to attract middle class families to an urban city. Schools are a factor, but there is no easy way to fix schools. Another big factor is housing. Many middle class families need much more space than what is available in many homes in the inner city. Also people desire more personal space (yards) than many homes in the inner city offer. Personally I don't blame them, you work hard to make it through college, and get a good job so you can have nice things for your family. One of those things is a nice large house. There is the argument for houses in parts of town like Brookside, but there are far fewer houses there for sale than out in the suburbs, and homes in Brookside are more costly (generally).

I would like to see KCMO develop it's northland in a quasi-suburban/urban fashion that has almost never been attempted. Imagine huge areas of new housing, in grid patterns. Imagine high density housing being placed along transit routes exclusively to help promote ridership. Imagine every street having sidewalks, every intersection having crosswalks. Imagine slightly smaller yards to promote desnity and walkability. Of course these homes would be inexpensive enough so that families would move into them, yet urban enough so that KC could actually increase the size of it's urban core.

I wonder why the city stopped developing in grid patterns. It seems to have been the easiest way to ensure land was used to it's capacity.
New Body, New Job, New SOUL!!!!

KCK IS BACK!!!!

nota
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5725
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:48 am
Location: Northland (Parkville)

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by nota »

KCK wrote:
I wonder why the city stopped developing in grid patterns. It seems to have been the easiest way to ensure land was used to it's capacity.
Well, let's see-maybe it is because that is what the people wanted?

Using land to capacity is in the eye of the beholder only.

User avatar
KCK
Bryant Building
Bryant Building
Posts: 3561
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:40 am
Location: Kansas City, Kansas
Contact:

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by KCK »

nota, are you sure that all people wanted to live in cul-de-sacs? They don't develop in grid patterns at all anymore, don't you think it's possible that some people might prefer the grid to the cul-de-sac. Since no development follows the grid anymore, its not like you have a choice.
New Body, New Job, New SOUL!!!!

KCK IS BACK!!!!

KC0KEK
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 4855
Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2002 6:23 pm
Location: Neither here nor there

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by KC0KEK »

I thought that cul-de-sacs became common because home buyers -- particularly families -- favored homes on low-traffic streets. If that's correct, then it's no surprise that developers would respond with designs heavy on cul-de-saces. Just a guess.

User avatar
KCK
Bryant Building
Bryant Building
Posts: 3561
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 10:40 am
Location: Kansas City, Kansas
Contact:

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by KCK »

That may be true, but the end to all grid patterned development? That seems odd to me. I could see if some developments were cul-de-sac while others were grid, but not all cul-de-sac.

I have spent a great deal of time reading the zoning codes for Kansas City, Kansas and there are actually provisions in the zoning codes that practically require cul-de-sacs. That seems to be an odd position for a city to take considering that many cul-de-sacs require much more infrastructure than a grid would.
New Body, New Job, New SOUL!!!!

KCK IS BACK!!!!

nota
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5725
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:48 am
Location: Northland (Parkville)

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by nota »

KCK wrote: nota, are you sure that all people wanted to live in cul-de-sacs? They don't develop in grid patterns at all anymore, don't you think it's possible that some people might prefer the grid to the cul-de-sac. Since no development follows the grid anymore, its not like you have a choice.
Get out and drive around-cul de sac is not the norm. At least not of late. Very few cul de sacs in newer developments, just friendly curving streets. At least in the last 10 or 15 years. But good stereotype.

nota
Oak Tower
Oak Tower
Posts: 5725
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2003 6:48 am
Location: Northland (Parkville)

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by nota »

KCK wrote: That may be true, but the end to all grid patterned development? That seems odd to me. I could see if some developments were cul-de-sac while others were grid, but not all cul-de-sac.
Maybe it's a quality of life issue.

zlohban
Western Auto Lofts
Western Auto Lofts
Posts: 660
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2004 11:31 pm

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by zlohban »

KCK wrote: I would like to see KCMO develop it's northland in a quasi-suburban/urban fashion that has almost never been attempted. Imagine huge areas of new housing, in grid patterns. Imagine high density housing being placed along transit routes exclusively to help promote ridership. Imagine every street having sidewalks, every intersection having crosswalks. Imagine slightly smaller yards to promote desnity and walkability. Of course these homes would be inexpensive enough so that families would move into them, yet urban enough so that KC could actually increase the size of it's urban core.

I wonder why the city stopped developing in grid patterns. It seems to have been the easiest way to ensure land was used to it's capacity.
Right On, KCK, right on.

I like the Northland but I really like walking to the store, library, cafe, etc.. without walking out on a busy road with a ditch or  walking along a busy 4 lane with the sidewalk next to the curb and signs poles and phone poles stuck in the middle of the walks, does anyone else try to walk?

zlohban
Western Auto Lofts
Western Auto Lofts
Posts: 660
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2004 11:31 pm

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by zlohban »

KC0KEK wrote: I thought that cul-de-sacs became common because home buyers -- particularly families -- favored homes on low-traffic streets. If that's correct, then it's no surprise that developers would respond with designs heavy on cul-de-saces. Just a guess.
Sure, safety, so their kids can play in the street all day and night, I hate cute-e-sacks!

zlohban
Western Auto Lofts
Western Auto Lofts
Posts: 660
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2004 11:31 pm

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by zlohban »

By the way, the best plan is a larger grid of arterial streets, with curving residential streets and a few cute-e-sacks in between, I studied this modified grid in college and even wrote an article of our past (present) suburban mistakes.....the biggest mistake that we still allow is having too few entrances into a residential development thus forcing everyone to enter the arterial streets at the same busy time.

Crime is not prevented by having only one entrance, traffic is a better deterrent.

User avatar
DanCa
Valencia Place
Valencia Place
Posts: 1614
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2002 12:11 pm
Location: Denver, CO (Stapleton)

Re: Kids and Families in the City

Post by DanCa »

My new neighborhood in Denver has no cul-de-sacs and is built on a grid system.  But I believe the idea was to make it fit into surrounding, older neighborhoods that are also grids.  My personal preference is the grid system.  Or then there's the European system, which I call "spaghetti".  I drove around Frankfurt for three years and still got lost!

Post Reply