Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

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soulsurfersteph's picture
soulsurfersteph
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Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

Hello! 

I know a lot of people here will say "just say no to cities," but I am curious....if you had to live in a city, which city would you choose? And which cities would you avoid like the plague?

Thank you!

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse
soulsurfersteph wrote:

Hello! 

I know a lot of people here will say "just say no to cities," but I am curious....if you had to live in a city, which city would you choose? And which cities would you avoid like the plague?

Thank you!

If I absolutely had to, I would choose either Nashville Tennessee or Ashville North Carolina. Both are relatively small cities compared to a major metropolis so it would more closely resemble a rural lifestyle.

Tennessee has no state income tax, and low utility rates. It also has abundant rainfall (excessive amounts this year!!) so agriculture would be facilitated. This is huge for me, being as how I'm now raising food/livestock in So. California which is almost a desert.

Ashville just cuz it's beautiful; been there once and regret having to leave so soon.

I would avoid like the plague any large metropolis like New York, L.A., Chicago, etc. as well as any desert city like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Albuquerque etc.

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

If I absolutely had to live in a city....... Nelson NZ

Worst place? Los Angeles. It's awful even when things are good!

Mike

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

Worst Place - Tehran

Best Place - Xanadu

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

Worst Place - Tehran

well, not so sure about now with the upcoming sanctions, but Tehran was a wonderful place to live 30 years ago.

Wonder what cities we'll be saying that about in 30 more years,

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse
Saffron wrote:
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

Worst Place - Tehran

well, not so sure about now with the upcoming sanctions, but Tehran was a wonderful place to live 30 years ago.

Wonder what cities we'll be saying that about in 30 more years,

The reason I put Tehran is because I think it will be ground zero for the upcoming worldwide knock-down-drag-out for control of the remainder of the worlds oil.

 

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse
Johnny Oxygen wrote:
Saffron wrote:
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

Worst Place - Tehran

well, not so sure about now with the upcoming sanctions, but Tehran was a wonderful place to live 30 years ago.

Wonder what cities we'll be saying that about in 30 more years,

The reason I put Tehran is because I think it will be ground zero for the upcoming worldwide knock-down-drag-out for control of the remainder of the worlds oil.

yes, I figured that. One can only pray that a minuscule benefit of the Gulf disaster is the rest of the world decides we cannot be trusted to manage oil and refuses to follow us into that quagmire.

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse
Johnny Oxygen wrote:

Best Place - Xanadu

Hmm, interesting choice.  You're either talking about the old city of Xanadu (Shangdu) which are now just ancient stone ruins in Inner Mongolia, or that movie of the same name by Olivia Newton John.  Me, I think I'll take living a more primitive existence among the stone ruins.... even music by ELO can't make that movie liveable in any conceivable way...

- Nick  (who's very glad he was too young to remember the 70's Laughing)

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

Portland Oregon is nice, if a little kooky.
"Anything goes" in Portland, and it's surrounded by farms, exists on a port to the open ocean and the biggest river in the western CONUS.
Relatively low cost of living too.

Cheers,

Aaron

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

Indianapolis is not too bad.  There's plenty of farmland and rain is pretty abundant most of the year.  The social culture still tends towards helping each other out and knowing your neighbors.  Indiana is pretty gun friendly, so crime is not high and nobody says squat to you when you open carry.

The worst?  Pretty much any large, democratic, densly packed city.  Chicago would be a tough place to be as would the SF Bay Area.

Tim

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse
Damnthematrix wrote:

If I absolutely had to live in a city....... Nelson NZ Worst place? Los Angeles. It's awful even when things are good! Mike

LOL. I live in Los Angeles now and have for a long time. I think it gets an unfair bad rap. The weather is great, there's a lot of nature nearby (ocean, hiking, mountains), lots of flowers blooming and blue skies (usually). There's also an incredible amount of diversity, so if you want to go and eat some sort of quirky foreign food, like Ukrainian, chances are, you can find a place. 

Where LA sucks is in its sprawl and the shallowness by a lot of the people here. There are nice, genuine people here, but you have to find them.

I'm planning on leaving now because unfortunately I do have a bad feeling about it. Forget the collapse...I was in the Northridge Quake and I know there'll be another big one here, and probably due approx. 20 years since the last one, which means in the next 5 years probably. I have no intention of staying here and waiting for the next nasty quake, the last one was bad enough.

Never mind the fiscal problems California has NOW. This place does unfortunately have a large population of welfare-dependent people, some of whom are likely to go postal due to benefits being cut. So forget a worldwide collapse or even a national one, California is collapsing NOW. So I'm planning on leaving. Soon.

BTW, what is everyone's definition of a "large" city? 100,000 or more? 500,000 or more? A million or more? 

 

 

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

PS On any given weekend in LA, I can find an art gallery having a free opening party where you can go look at interesting art and meet interesting people. I don't do that stuff *all* the time, but it's that sort of thing that makes city-dwelling appealing.

I'm just trying to get a sense of which cities might fare better in uncertain times...Los Angeles I am fairly sure will go up in flames but it doesn't need a national collapse to do that, just another big earthquake or a second Rodney King during an economic downturn. But seems like there are a lot of smaller cities in the US that might fare better. 

Thanks for the input.

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

As one who has lived in So Cal for my entire life I can easily state without a doubt that the greater los angeles region will be a no go zone.

LA county population is seriously spread out. LA county has 4000 sq miles of land with a population of 9.8 million= 2462 people per square mile. If you adjust for the fact that LA county has mountains, the population density gets a little higher, say 3000 people per sq mi.

Compared with Athens, Greece:

- Population: 3,130,841
 - Area: 411.717 km2 (159 sq mi)
 - Density: 7,604 /km2 (19,695 /sq mi)

19,695 for athens vs 3000 for LA county.

Berlin,

Population (2009-09-30)[1]
 - City 3,439,100
 Density 3,856.3/km2 (9,987.7/sq mi)

How about Madrid?

 

Population (2009)
 - City 3,255,944
 - Rank 1st
 Density 5,375/km2 (13,921.2/sq mi)

13,900 vs 3000.

Vienna vs LA county..

 - City 1,680,266
 Density 4,049.8/km2 (10,489/sq mi)

How about next door Orange County, home of the OC and Laguna Beach sitcoms?

Population (2008 Est.) 3,010,759
 Density 3,815/sq mi (1,473/km2)

Orange County has a pathetic population density of 3815 per sq mi.

San Bernardino?

Population (2009)
 - City 207,832
 Density 2,611.6/sq mi (1,012.9/km2)

San Diego County,

Population (2010 Est.) 3,222,466
 Density 712/sq mi (274.9/km2)

Based on the numbers above, it is very clear that SOCAL is extremely spread out. With the worst public transportation system in the country, when oil prices start breaking $4 again, the cost of living will be unbearable. In addition, the state and its cities are all broke. God forbid the fate of SOCAL when peak oil once again brings forth its wrath on woefully unprepared SOCAL.

 

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse
soulsurfersteph wrote:

Hello! 

I know a lot of people here will say "just say no to cities," but I am curious....if you had to live in a city, which city would you choose? And which cities would you avoid like the plague?

Thank you!

 

You should look into the writings of Richard Florida.  It would be nice if Dr. Martenson connected some dots with Florida's work, which I believe has quite a bit of value.

http://www.creativeclass.com/

 

 

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

I'm one of the "just say no to cities" kind of guy, however if I had to, I would choose either Vancouver or Victoria in Canada. Relatively low crime rate and fairly good access to farmland capable of producing good quality food. Plenty of good quality water.

Jim

 

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

I'm one of the "just say no to cities" kind of guy, however if I had to, I would choose either Vancouver or Victoria in Canada. Relatively low crime rate and fairly good access to farmland capable of producing good quality food. Plenty of good quality water.

Jim

 

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

I'm one of the "just say no to cities" kind of guy, however if I had to, I would choose either Vancouver or Victoria in Canada. Relatively low crime rate and fairly good access to farmland capable of producing good quality food. Plenty of good quality water.

Jim

 

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

Judging by the situations that developed in New Orleans during Katrina, I would avoid any place with a large population of social dependancy. People who are chronically on some sort of aid, be it welfare, food stamps or other, tend to be unable to do for themselves as a result of having their needs met without obligation. I would gauge that population breakdown in terms of pre recession/ depression populations.

My .02

 

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

I'm in the process of moving from a city of 50,000+ to a town of 7,000. So there's my upfront opinion, and bias, on where to live!

BUT, since you asked - I would definitely avoid any cities where it can be hot for days on end. See Current Heat Wave, East Coast.

Possible city to live - Montreal. I know Mike/DTM will yell at me, but the province of Quebec has a massive hydroelectric infrastructure. My relatives tell me they pay very little for electric heat in the winters, which are brutally cold. I wish I remember what their cost was, but I was floored by how inexpensive heating was for them. It seems as if there is a park in every neighborhood, which is great for turning into gardens if need be. And once you get outside the city, there is loads of farmland.

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

Think Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  Water and food are the most important

I grew up in southern California in Riverside.  If you live there, nows a good time to get out.  it is a desert and there are way too many people.   By the turn of the 20th century, the water table in LA was tapped out.  Only after LA took/stole the water rights to the tributaries feeding Mono Lake and the Colorado River, could it grow to the monstrosity that it is. 

In the LA area finding a 1/2 acre of decent land is difficult and you still pay an arm and a leg for it.  Will the water infrastructure  be reliable when peak oil rears it's ugly head?  How will you irrigate that land?  I dont know but i'd be concerned.

Now live in the Albany NY area.  Lots of water, lots of surrounding farmland.  long winter and short growing season.  all in all, not too bad.

 

Brian

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

In Alaska, I don't see the largest city Anchorage (280K+ people) being a good prospect.  Far from the worst, but not great either.  Pro's include a population that is slightly less of a socially dependent mess than the average city (though much more so than most of the rest of AK), access to plentiful water, low taxes (no income or sales tax though sorta high property tax), and continued access to energy (though it's expensive here) provided the pipeline keeps flowing.  Cons include heavy reliance on food and many goods imported from far away (typically the lower 48), being a spread out city with sub-par mass transit options, somewhat high crime, and higher cost of living (partly goes hand in hand with reliance on imports).  I see food as the biggest issue.  It's quite common for people in the area to be experienced with hunting/fishing and fish and game are relatively abundant, but most do it occasionally for leisure and supplemental food and not as a direct means of support.  I can't imagine the fish and wildlife populations holding up in the face of everyone there hunting/fishing on a subsistence basis.  The closest agricultural area is 45 miles away in the Palmer area (where I live), and it can't produce near enough food for all of Anchorage.  Anchorage would likely do okay in a slow collapse/decline situation (money from state oil, gas, and coal development helps), but in a hard and sudden collapse or disaster it would not be good.  For that matter Palmer may not be either... it could conceivably do well enough on its own but its proximity to Anchorage could be a problem. 

I guess it all depends how fast and far things decline and if there is still a means of transport for people to migrate back to the lower 48 states.  I can easily envision a situation around here where food gets more scarce due to erratic and infrequent shipments but gas is still locally available (if expensive); perhaps as a result we may see vast convoys of cars, trucks, and campers loaded with spare gas cans making their way down through Canada on the Alaska Highway, hoping to make it to places in the US or Canada where food and other basics are consistently available. 

Fairbanks has most of the same problems, but it is much smaller and I'd argue the population is on average more self-reliant than their neighbors in Anchorage.  I think it could fare better.

- Nick

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse
earthwise wrote:
soulsurfersteph wrote:

Hello! 

I know a lot of people here will say "just say no to cities," but I am curious....if you had to live in a city, which city would you choose? And which cities would you avoid like the plague?

Thank you!

If I absolutely had to, I would choose either Nashville Tennessee or Ashville North Carolina. Both are relatively small cities compared to a major metropolis so it would more closely resemble a rural lifestyle.

Tennessee has no state income tax, and low utility rates. It also has abundant rainfall (excessive amounts this year!!) so agriculture would be facilitated. This is huge for me, being as how I'm now raising food/livestock in So. California which is almost a desert.

Ashville just cuz it's beautiful; been there once and regret having to leave so soon.

I would avoid like the plague any large metropolis like New York, L.A., Chicago, etc. as well as any desert city like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Albuquerque etc.

Asheville is nice. I've been here since '95.  I'm not actually in the city anymore, but just North a bit. There is plenty of water and good soil. Stop by and say hi next time you're out this way.

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse
bearmarkettrader wrote:

Based on the numbers above, it is very clear that SOCAL is extremely spread out. With the worst public transportation system in the country, when oil prices start breaking $4 again, the cost of living will be unbearable. In addition, the state and its cities are all broke. God forbid the fate of SOCAL when peak oil once again brings forth its wrath on woefully unprepared SOCAL.

I think LA's public transit system gets an unfair bad rap. I use it all the time. Sometimes easier and cheaper than driving. The problem with it is just that the city is so spread out...but in terms of availability and accessibility, public transit is totally doable in LA. You can get busses everywhere and trains (light rail/subways) have been added, rounding it out quite a bit. There are a LOT of people in LA who don't have cars...it's just considered to be for "poor" people here, which is changing somewhat with the environmental mindset.

The other thing is, people forget that SoCal is a series of *smaller* communities. So I live in the Culver City area, and there's a cute downtown within walking distance to me. There are also plenty of other communities within the greater community - Venice, Santa Monica, Burbank, Beverly Hills. I would suspect that people would just stick to their locales more. LA is only so big to get around in because we tend to go from Burbank to Santa Monica regularly for meetings and whatnot...but in a peak oil situation, that would be lessened.

And it's great weather to walk and bike in.

So that's not my concern. It's as someone else said in the thread, the high number of welfare dependent people and those who are disempowered and stuck in a poverty mindset will make LA difficult for the rest of the people. Plus the water issues. And the earthquakes.

It's one of the reasons why, e.g., I don't think a place like Baltimore is appealing. Could be a really nice city but so much of it is burned out rowhomes and has been for years. Too many disempowered poor.

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

Some folks like colder weather, others like it hot  like me *smile*. I think an area that is warmer will be more sustainable. Here in South Carolina you can double and even triple-crop for the year. Lots of good water and folks are friendly. We're near the capitol city, Columbia. It's a sustainable city because it is small and surrounded by farmland. Any city up to 1  million people has been sustainable since Rome in ancient times, as long as you can cart in food. You should avoid any city  of over 1 million people, and that includes the suburbs that are really extensions of it. NYC is part of a huge Megalopolis that stretches along the coast from Boston to Washington, DC. I'd avoid that whole area like a plague.

SC also has hydropower in most places. We get nuclear, too, but that will probably fade as Dr. Chris we are also hitting peak unranium. So part of your prepping in a warm area is to forget about air conditioning. Cheap screens on your windows are the way to go, good screen doors, extra screening material to fix em if they tear, and an outdoor cooking and eating area are easy to do.

That being said, if I REALLY wanted to be safe I'd move to some little town in the midwest, but this is where my husband is.

 

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

I live in Ottawa, Canada.  James Howard Kunstler wrote "The Long Emergency" the idea is that collapse is not necessary sudden that it can take a long time - like years.  Anyways I'm  where I should be.

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse
joemanc wrote:

I know Mike/DTM will yell at me, but the province of Quebec has a massive hydroelectric infrastructure.

Really....? Why? Been to Quebec, and loved it. But it is too cold in winter to my liking, and WTSHTF, there's no guarantee electricity, no matter how it's generated, will arrive at your power sockets.... I'd be very careful about living ANTWHERE that makes you rely on the complexities of "modern life"...

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse
Damnthematrix wrote:
joemanc wrote:

I know Mike/DTM will yell at me, but the province of Quebec has a massive hydroelectric infrastructure.

Really....? Why? Been to Quebec, and loved it. But it is too cold in winter to my liking, and WTSHTF, there's no guarantee electricity, no matter how it's generated, will arrive at your power sockets.... I'd be very careful about living ANTWHERE that makes you rely on the complexities of "modern life"...

I was getting at the using electricity to heat your home/cooking. I'm an optimist and would like to think that anywhere that has an ability to generate power will continue to do so as long as humanly possible.

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

Joemanc, I agree that there is tremendous potential in hydroelectric (look at the vast capacity that Lower Churchill is poised to bring online) but I think the 'weak link' is the grid itself, and the remoteness of the power source from the power consumers.  Between the source and the end user lie miles and miles of power lines.  Currently, we can fly folks in to fix them when they need fixing, send folks in to use chainsaws to clear the powerlines as needed, and build the infrastructure needed to expand capacity to meet ever growing need.  I believe that, as you say, we'll maintain it all for as long as we can but we will reach a point that maintaining the grid itself - all of those remote power lines running through the Canadian wilderness - will become impossible.  Smaller scale hydroelectric located closer to the end consumer may be more sustainable in the long run. 

I don't think that a moderately cold climate will be unmanageable, but it will depend upon your preferences.  In my part of Nova Scotia, we're halfway between the equator and the North Pole.  We have cold winters, but not brutal ones, and a decent gowing season that lends itself to grain, vegetables, berries, apples, pears, plums and grapes (much like southern Quebec).  I'd love to see my town further develop its geothermal resources (old mine water, kept at a constant 25 degrees celsius), but at least there are enough public buildings hooked into geothermal that we could provide temporary shelter in an emergency.  We had an ice storm in 2009 that knocked out power for several days, and our community rink easily converted into an emergency shelter with geothermal heating - of course, you do need back-up power to run the heat pumps. 

Ultimately, if all the renewables prove to be unsustainable in the long run (geothermal, tidal in-stream electrical generation from the Bay of Fundy,  wind turbines, etc) then we're back to heating with wood.  The key is sustainable forest management practices - not just planting softwood to replace each tree that's cut down, but maintaining diverse, healthy woodlots through selective cutting and replanting strategies.  And maybe horse logging.  When my brother completed his program of studies at the Maritime Forest Ranger College in the 1990's he had a unique opportunity to do a work placement with a gentleman who still logged with horses; it lends itself naturally to selective cutting and is far less damaging and invasive than modern logging equipment. 

We did maintain a productive agricultural society in this neck of the woods for three centuries prior to electricifcation.  Its not a foregone conclusion that people in more northerly climates will freeze to death in the dark. 

Bluenoser

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

I'm with you...I'd rather deal with oppressive heat in the summer than really cold winters. Though lately, even if you are in the north, you are dealing with oppressive heat in the summer *and* nasty winters. 100 degrees in the northeast! What's the benefit of being north now? You have heat and humidity and then rotten miserable weather in the winter too? Lovely.

One of the reasons I stayed in Los Angeles for so long was the weather. If it were not for the water issues and the crazy people here, this would not be a bad place to be because you really don't need a/c in the summer if you live on the westside, and you could get by without heat in the winter. 

safewrite wrote:

Some folks like colder weather, others like it hot  like me *smile*. I think an area that is warmer will be more sustainable. Here in South Carolina you can double and even triple-crop for the year. Lots of good water and folks are friendly. We're near the capitol city, Columbia. It's a sustainable city because it is small and surrounded by farmland. Any city up to 1  million people has been sustainable since Rome in ancient times, as long as you can cart in food. You should avoid any city  of over 1 million people, and that includes the suburbs that are really extensions of it. NYC is part of a huge Megalopolis that stretches along the coast from Boston to Washington, DC. I'd avoid that whole area like a plague.

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Re: Best and Worst Cities for Collapse

I don't know if living in a city wth a huge population is more dangerous than in rural areas. Living out in the wilderness where there's less people may pose to be more dangerous. The reason being that if gangs form and roam the wilderness, you are not gonna be able to defend yourself against 50 people no matter how well you're prepared. Ultimately, surrounding yourself with a trustworthy community that is self sustaining is best.

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