Saturday, November 27, 2004

sex makes the city

Steve Sailer talks about how reproduction patterns drive urban geography in Chicago:

In 1982, when I moved to Chicago as a young single man, I sought out detailed advice on where the greatest density of pretty girls lived, and there rented a 21st floor apartment with a stunning view of Lake Michigan. I became engaged three years later, and so, mission accomplished, I moved to a less chic neighborhood with more affordable rents. Two years later, when my bride became pregnant, we relocated to an even more unfashionable spot where we could buy ample square footage. (To my satisfaction, [U. of Chicago sociologist Edward O.] Laumann's team just this year published a categorization of Chicago's neighborhoods entitled The Sexual Organization of the City.) Read it all.
Greensboro's sexual geography is a little different. Since we have relatively little truly urban real estate, our young, single hipsters tend to be scattered through neighborhoods like Glenwood, Fisher Park, College Hill, Westerwood, Lindley Park, and my own neighborhood, where cheap rental housing is still available mixed in with single-family homes.

Although these "ring" neighborhoods have quite a few families with children, the baby quotient definitely keeps rising as you move away from the center, through College Park, Sunset Hills, Hamilton Lakes, etc. By the time you get out to Adams Farm or Lake Jeanette, kids are swarming the cul-de-sacs like gnats on a warm summer night.

The people at Action Greensboro, Downtown Greensboro, Inc., et al. have been working really, really hard to develop an urban geography that's fashionable enough to attract the young Steve Sailers of the world, and then to integrate them into our professional-reproductive-real-estate life cycle.

But I wonder whether these young fashionistas can afford to live in our new urban enclaves like Southside, Governor's Court, or Smothers Place. And I wonder whether they're going to like Ken Mayer's elegant new ballpark, or the Center City Park as much as I do.

After all -- if I like it, can it be that hip? A lot of these places have the feeling of what a weathly suburbanite would like in a downtown. Do young singles go to minor-league ballgames to conduct their mating rituals? All of the 20-somethings I see downtown seem always to be at Natty Greene's or at Joey Medaloni's places on South Elm, rather than in the Center City Park.

At any rate, I hope that some of those hipsters will keep coming to live in my neighborhood. I like to think that their coolness will ward off my creeping fogey-ness.

1 comment:

Billy Jones said...

Me Too!