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Good Food

Oil4AsphaultOnly

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The trend since COVID hit is commercial real estate has been suffering. Companies are discovering that having white collar workers working remote works better in many cases and workers have more time because they aren't stuck in their cars for a couple of hours a day. There are some office jobs that require someone to be there in the office, but quite a few don't need someone there all the time.

In California it's causing a housing boom in places like Bakersfield, as Los Angeles based businesses realize workers don't need to commute, people are moving further out because they can get more house for their money. A 2 hour drive to work is livable when you only need to do it a few times a year.

In the future I think downtowns will become ghost towns as the suburbs become an even bigger thing. Office space in tall buildings will probably be converted to condos for single people and childless couples who want to be within walking distance of downtown activities, but people will leave the city when they have kids.

Less desirable buildings will be abandoned and eventually torn down. In cities where the entertainment is not near downtown might see their former business core go downhill like Detroit's factories did.

Inner cities today have a lot of ethnic poor people and they will probably stay in decayed inner cities, but I suspect robotaxis probably won't serve those areas very well. The poor always get screwed over.

The suburbs might still have high car ownership, but they will be more and more electric as time goes on. The subrubanites will electrify before the poor do. The place where ICE will remain in service will be the poorer areas where people can only afford older cars nobody else wants and are underserved by other forms of transport.

Electric cars are the wave of the future because they are both cheaper to run but also better than ICE in almost every way.



I've seen Tony Seba's work and that of other people predicting future trends. The behavior of corporate and government purchasing can be predicted because they follow cost much more than consumers. They will almost always go with the option that results in the lowest costs over the long haul.

Consumers aren't that way. Look at the fashion industry. People spend thousands on something that should cost less than $50 and many more people want those thousand dollar items. It's driving a big counterfeit market. If the most expensive purse on the market cost less than $100 and there were no strongly desired name brands, there would be no counterfeit market.

Same thing with cars. From a cost point of view a Mercedes is a stupid purchase and a Lambroghini is completely insane. But there is a market for them because people will spend more money for something nicer. Sometimes insane money. If consumers were all rational buyers, all Americans driving Mercedes S class today would be driving a Chevy or Ford that fits their basic needs and nothing more.

When the car was evolving, most American cities had decent public transit systems that most people used. But as people got the extra money to afford a car, they bought one. Part of it was because it was more prestigious to be able to afford a car, but it was also more practical. Driving from point A to B was quicker than going down to the bus or trolley stop and waiting for the transport to come, then transfer a few times and finally get to your destination.

Another thing happened as people got their own cars. They could customize them the way they wanted. In some ways that was a way to show off their interests, humor, style to others, but it also meant a car they owned could be made to fit their needs in ways something that wasn't theirs could never do.

Some people's cars become rolling skips with fast food packaging all over the backseat, while others become offices on wheels, and still others become ultra organized storage mobiles. One of my neighbors is kind of OCD and he has tricked out his Toyota 4Runner with cabinets in the back where he can store anything he might need. He installed an aftermarket roof rack with a ladder mounted to the back hatch as well as a full sized spare on the back hatch.

One thing people like about having their own place is they aren't traveling in someone else's germnasium. Their car may not be pristine or even all that sanitary, but it's their space with their crud and not someone else's.

I do think that people will own fewer cars, but I don't think that car ownership is going to go away to the degree that people like Tony Seba think it will.

There's a limit to the urban exodus, and that's the human stomach. Urban environments brought people and society physically closer, making many different things accessible. And one of the biggest "industry" in urban centers is restaurants/food. People who live in NYC, SF, and LA are always talking about trying out new restaurants/foods. Most people don't want to live too far away from convenient access to grocery stores and restaurants (less than 30 mins?).
 
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JRP3

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There's a limit to the urban exodus, and that's the human stomach. Urban environments brought people and society physically closer, making many different things accessible. And one of the biggest "industry" in urban centers is restaurants/food. People who live in NYC, SF, and LA are always talking about trying out new restaurants/foods. Most people don't want to live too far away from convenient access to grocery stores and restaurants (less than 30 mins?).
I live in the woods with a 150 acre farm across the street from me. I'm 5 minutes away from a grocery store and three restaurant/bars. I'm 15 minutes away from 3 malls, 20 minutes from a small city. You seem to have an unrealistic view of rural living.
 

wdolson

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Jul 24, 2015
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This worries me. A lot.

We're having this discussion because we're taking climate change seriously. Tesla is becoming a giant because the world is finally switching the energy source of terrestrial transportation from fossil fuels to renewable. We can finally envision a world where mankind can move around without destroying its habitat.

But we're probably making a huge mistake by only thinking about the air part of the environment. Just as IPCC's findings gain acceptance, we're ignoring the catastrophe that IPBES has been warning us about for a while: the global ecological collapse caused by the degradation and over-exploitation of natural resources and the degradation, fragmentation and loss of natural habitat for the living ecosystems that threatens mankind's chances of survival: https://ipbes.net/sites/default/fil...ssessment_report_summary_for_policymakers.pdf

If we take advantage of EV to leave the cities for the suburbs, we're ****ed.

I've been concerned for a long time that the human population is currently more than the carrying capacity of the planet can handle. The rain forests are disappearing, the oceans are getting over fished, and the oceans are all filling up with plastic garbage because of population pressure in Asia, Africa, and South America.

Develop world desires have not helped as these places make a lot of the cheap goods we buy, but a lot of it is self destruction on their part too.

How densely Europeans and Americans choose to live is, at worst, only a small part of the problem.

There's a limit to the urban exodus, and that's the human stomach. Urban environments brought people and society physically closer, making many different things accessible. And one of the biggest "industry" in urban centers is restaurants/food. People who live in NYC, SF, and LA are always talking about trying out new restaurants/foods. Most people don't want to live too far away from convenient access to grocery stores and restaurants (less than 30 mins?).

I live in the outer suburbs of Portland. A giant swath of National Forest starts about 1 mile east of me and to the north is a small mountain covered with multi-acre parcels. The nearest strip mall is 0.8 miles away and it has a large grocery store and 5 restaurants.

There are better restaurants and several more markets a bit closer in (about a 15 minute drive), but we make the trek at least once a week. There are some quite good restaurants in this town and the next one over.

If you go to the most remote parts of Montana you're going to have a hard time finding food for sale without a long drive, but except for some places where nobody lives (like National Parks and other federal land set aside) there are probably few small towns in Washington State where there isn't at least one food market. Sekiu (pronounced "C-Q"), which is the most Northwestern town in Washington (other than the Reservation) only had a small market the size of a 7-11 the last time I was there, but the next town over, less than 1 mile away had a full super market. Sekiu had at least one restaurant, though it was a greasy spoon.

Most of the fanciest restaurants are in downtown Portland and there are cultural and professional sports that you have to go into town to see, but as time goes on we have less and less reason to go into downtown Portland. I've been to Portland many times in the last year, but it's probably been over a year since I was downtown.

Portland does have a number of desirable neighborhoods close in that people still want to live in. These are mostly single family homes on small lots, some dating back 100 years or more. For people who like to be walking distance from all sorts of activities, it's a very popular place to live. They will probably remain popular, though there is a lot of pressure in some of these neighborhoods for EV chargers. There aren't a lot of garages or driveways and people park on the street. People want EVs (Portland in general is very eco conscious), but it isn't very practical because you don't even know if you're going to be parking in front of your house when you return.

We have a friend who lives in one of these neighborhoods. When she needs something she can't get in her local neighborhood or on Amazon she drives out to the suburbs where the stores are large and well stocked.

In western US cities few people have lived in the downtown core for over 70 years. A few have moved back in as trendy luxury condos were built, but it's not that many people. Most of downtown is office space and some commercial space as well as cultural spaces. Western US cities also all have homeless problems. Unused office space could be converted to housing the homeless, but that would be expensive to implement and the property owners downtown would not like it.
 

Oil4AsphaultOnly

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I live in the woods with a 150 acre farm across the street from me. I'm 5 minutes away from a grocery store and three restaurant/bars. I'm 15 minutes away from 3 malls, 20 minutes from a small city. You seem to have an unrealistic view of rural living.

I'd like to think that I simply have higher expectations of "good" food. I've been through various states and all the "good" food have been in major metropolitan areas. Small towns can't provide you with good Thai food one day, sushi the next, and then italian on another.

Edit: Maybe that just makes me a food snob, but that's one of the key factors that drive urban (or suburban but near major cities) dwellers.

Edit2: Upon re-reading your reference to the small city, perhaps my idea of rural needs to be adjusted, but there aren't any rural areas within 30 mins of where I live.
 

ohmman

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Feb 13, 2014
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Can't say I could even imagine making a housing choice based on available food options. I cook most of my food anyway, even more so this year. The internet allows access to world class recipes of any type. I've had sushi, Italian food, and Thai without going to a restaurant since March.
As someone who has traveled the US to some extent and who cooks almost all of my own food (and grows a good amount of it), I can disagree with this statement wholeheartedly. Local grocery is paramount to being able to eat well, even if you're a gardener. I've encountered grocery stores straight out of "The Deer Hunter," but in 2020. I recently returned from some rural Utah towns where the fresh produce section was a 4' long case. I get it; the market might be slim enough that they cannot keep the kinds of produce that big cities keep. But for someone who cares about food, living in a place without access to good produce would be a recipe for sadness.
 
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Oil4AsphaultOnly

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Can't say I could even imagine making a housing choice based on available food options. I cook most of my food anyway, even more so this year. The internet allows access to world class recipes of any type. I've had sushi, Italian food, and Thai without going to a restaurant since March.

I'm not a bad cook, but my skills aren't up to snuff.
 

wdolson

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Jul 24, 2015
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Clark Co, WA
I'd like to think that I simply have higher expectations of "good" food. I've been through various states and all the "good" food have been in major metropolitan areas. Small towns can't provide you with good Thai food one day, sushi the next, and then italian on another.

Edit: Maybe that just makes me a food snob, but that's one of the key factors that drive urban (or suburban but near major cities) dwellers.

Edit2: Upon re-reading your reference to the small city, perhaps my idea of rural needs to be adjusted, but there aren't any rural areas within 30 mins of where I live.

I see you live in Arcadia. I grew up in Monterey Park and I did get spoiled with good Asian food.

I now live in a small town of about 10,000 and the next nearest town is about 12,000. Most cuisines are available here. The Chinese options aren't stellar, but go a little further and there are several very good Chinese restaurants.

Right here in town we used to have an excellent barbecue place. A friend from Alabama who is a truck driver and has sampled a lot of barbecue declared it the best barbecue he's ever had. Unfortunately the restaurant closed just before COVID hit. It was a family owned restaurant with a few different restaurants in the area serving different cuisines and the family member who managed this restaurant died suddenly. They couldn't keep it open.

Having lived in the heart of LA's urban sprawl and now live semi-rural (our worst garden pest are deer), I prefer semi-rural. It's a bit further to go to get some things, but life is a lot less stressful. I can get just about everything I want and need within a 20 minute drive. With a car as pleasant to drive as my Model S, and as cheap to run, it's usually not a chore to run errands.
 

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

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Jul 12, 2012
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Maine
As someone who has traveled the US to some extent and who cooks almost all of my own food (and grows a good amount of it), I can disagree with this statement wholeheartedly. Local grocery is paramount to being able to eat well, even if you're a gardener. I've encountered grocery stores straight out of "The Deer Hunter," but in 2020. I recently returned from some rural Utah towns where the fresh produce section was a 4' long case. I get it; the market might be slim enough that they cannot keep the kinds of produce that big cities keep. But for someone who cares about food, living in a place without access to good produce would be a recipe for sadness.

Will drive for food.

Our longest regular (ie pre-COVID) journey is a bi-weekly 105 mile round trip to go eat at one of a number of restaurants in another town. There are also some coastal towns to which we drive to eat as well.
We occasionally go farther to eat in Portland, but the extra time and parking hassle of Portland just isn't worth it. Also occasionally go to a franchise chain that is only in Bangor and South Portland, which we're between.

Not that local options are terrible, but those other options are better.

People who care about food will drive for it.
 

JRP3

Hyperactive Member
Aug 20, 2007
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Central New York
As someone who has traveled the US to some extent and who cooks almost all of my own food (and grows a good amount of it), I can disagree with this statement wholeheartedly. Local grocery is paramount to being able to eat well, even if you're a gardener. I've encountered grocery stores straight out of "The Deer Hunter," but in 2020. I recently returned from some rural Utah towns where the fresh produce section was a 4' long case. I get it; the market might be slim enough that they cannot keep the kinds of produce that big cities keep. But for someone who cares about food, living in a place without access to good produce would be a recipe for sadness.
Fair points, but were those areas also more than 30 minutes away from better choices? A weekly trip to the "big city" to stock up would not be a hardship for most.
 

mikevbf

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Living rurally (less than 2000 pop in my town) in southern Vermont, I am blessed with some of the highest quality produce from local farms. During early days of covid, I joined several CSAs all within a 15 minute drive from me and only had to go to the grocery store about twice a month (coop 8 minutes away) starting in June when farms started really producing. My point, cities are not always the attraction for getting good quality produce, and if you cook yourself, you can eat unbelievably well in southern Vermont. In non covid times, there is a very good farm to table restaurant very close to the coop 8 minutes away. So food wise I am well set even though I live rurally. Are we off topic enough yet?
 
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ohmman

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Fair points, but were those areas also more than 30 minutes away from better choices? A weekly trip to the "big city" to stock up would not be a hardship for most.
Some of them were. East Glacier, for instance, is not close to anything. That's where my wife sent me to the grocery store to pick up "a few avocados." When I arrived, I laughed out loud. No chance.

I am fortunate to live in a rural area with excellent grocery, but to the original point - I moved here because of the access to good food. That's why I responded initially. I made a housing choice based off of available ingredients. We eat out rarely, even pre-COVID, so it's not about restaurants, it's about the quality of fresh ingredients.

Also, moderator note, I split this discussion to its own thread since it had gotten off topic.
 

Oil4AsphaultOnly

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Some of them were. East Glacier, for instance, is not close to anything. That's where my wife sent me to the grocery store to pick up "a few avocados." When I arrived, I laughed out loud. No chance.

I am fortunate to live in a rural area with excellent grocery, but to the original point - I moved here because of the access to good food. That's why I responded initially. I made a housing choice based off of available ingredients. We eat out rarely, even pre-COVID, so it's not about restaurants, it's about the quality of fresh ingredients.

Also, moderator note, I split this discussion to its own thread since it had gotten off topic.

Thanks for that! Now I can expand on my short blurbs.

Many have cited how things are "conveniently" within 30 mins drive away, but as stated earlier, we have a difference of opinion on "good" food. Having access to "chinese" food, is not the same as having access to all the asian, latin, mediterranean, and fusion cuisines that are available in an urban city.

I like food and will drive for it, but I prefer takeout over dine-in (regardless of covid due to parking), so anything over 30 mins away means cold food that just doesn't taste the same after it's cooled down or been microwaved. Foodies choose their homes with access to food as a serious factor (after schools and work options as primary considerations). And I know I'm not alone.

So there will be those who can make the transition to more rural living (and thus won't reduce the demand for personal vehicles - was that the original point of wdolson's post?), but to my original point, the urban environment, although smaller, will not go away, because of access to cuisine (to distinguish . So there will be a market for robotaxis and the personal-vehicle-demand-destruction that goes with it.

Oh, and California produce will spoil you. I was in a farmer's market in Hawaii and I lamented how the local mangoes, papayas, and bananas couldn't compare to what we can get in the california markets! And don't even get me started on the vegetables! But yes, this can be addressed by weekly road-trips, but only if you're along the west coast.
 

JRP3

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Oh, and California produce will spoil you. I was in a farmer's market in Hawaii and I lamented how the local mangoes, papayas, and bananas couldn't compare to what we can get in the california markets! And don't even get me started on the vegetables! But yes, this can be addressed by weekly road-trips, but only if you're along the west coast.
I'd say for most people that would be a case of literally not knowing what they are missing, so it's not even a factor. Everyone living outside of the west coast is obviously not concerned about getting fresh California produce. Also since most people are basically living paycheck to paycheck I think it's safe to say access to exotic food choices is quite low on their list of priorities. Give them access to a half way decent pizza joint and a diner or two along with a small market with reasonably good produce and they'll be fine. I think your extreme foodieness is clouding your thinking.
 

Oil4AsphaultOnly

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I'd say for most people that would be a case of literally not knowing what they are missing, so it's not even a factor. Everyone living outside of the west coast is obviously not concerned about getting fresh California produce. Also since most people are basically living paycheck to paycheck I think it's safe to say access to exotic food choices is quite low on their list of priorities. Give them access to a half way decent pizza joint and a diner or two along with a small market with reasonably good produce and they'll be fine. I think your extreme foodieness is clouding your thinking.

I've always wondered if I've gone too far on one end of the spectrum? But I disagree, my thinking isn't clouded (affecting my ability to see the other viewpoint). It's simply biased (thinking that I'm more right or at least less wrong).

Besides, I thought the thesis was urban exodus? How would these people not know what they're missing if we're talking about them _leaving_ urban areas? Could we not say that you're biased towards your preferences as well? As for being paycheck-to-paycheck, that simply limits their choices, not affect their preferences. Maybe they can't afford that SFR in Beverly Hills, but they can afford to share a room in a downtown apartment? Do these people choose to buy/rent a home out in the woods/desert or stay in their cramped apartment? I'd say that I'm less wrong than you think.
 

ReddyLeaf

Vision without execution is hallucination
Mar 19, 2014
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I’m having a hard time understanding this thread. What’s a restaurant? Haven’t been to one since March. Good food? I dread traveling away from home because of the lousy food everywhere, large cities included.

Just had freshly harvested potatoes and green beans for dinner. Arugula and tomatoes for lunch. Yesterday was sweet potato soup with mint. Almost every meal is 4-5 veggies from the garden, some less than an hour old. I rotate crops and eat what is fresh out of the garden. I usually give away all of the excess, but this year I’ve actually canned some green beans so hopefully I don’t let them go to waste. Harvested 125 lbs of sweet potatoes, 50 lbs regular potatoes, 35 spaghetti squash, boxes of green peppers, and uncountable tomatoes all before the freeze. Now harvesting fresh greens, lettuce, kale and carrots.

That’s what good food is all about. Italian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, whatever. Those are just names and the best food is homegrown, no matter how you spice it.
 

Oil4AsphaultOnly

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Mar 14, 2015
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Arcadia, CA
I’m having a hard time understanding this thread. What’s a restaurant? Haven’t been to one since March. Good food? I dread traveling away from home because of the lousy food everywhere, large cities included.

Just had freshly harvested potatoes and green beans for dinner. Arugula and tomatoes for lunch. Yesterday was sweet potato soup with mint. Almost every meal is 4-5 veggies from the garden, some less than an hour old. I rotate crops and eat what is fresh out of the garden. I usually give away all of the excess, but this year I’ve actually canned some green beans so hopefully I don’t let them go to waste. Harvested 125 lbs of sweet potatoes, 50 lbs regular potatoes, 35 spaghetti squash, boxes of green peppers, and uncountable tomatoes all before the freeze. Now harvesting fresh greens, lettuce, kale and carrots.

That’s what good food is all about. Italian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, whatever. Those are just names and the best food is homegrown, no matter how you spice it.

Your opinion might be right for most people, but you do know that your opinion isn't going to sway the urban dwellers that I'm referring to right?
 

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