Tuesday, February 26, 2013


"Hipturbia." It's a term coined by Alex Williams in his February 15, 2013 article for the fashion and style section of the New York Time titled "Creating Hipsturbia." It is a references to the creeping Manhattaninzation of the formerly bohemian borough of Brooklyn, New York creating a more slick cosmopolitan version. The driving force behind this trend is a group of young professional creative singles and couples seeking an alternative to the move to the suburbs like their parents and grandparents. These individuals, die-hard urban dwellers such as myself, are looking for a more palatable alternative to the typical New York suburban enclaves of Westchester and bring with them all the trappings of their urban lifestyle, combining them with suburbia to create a hybrid of sorts. This hybrid lifestyle is the result of a combination of urban tropes like baristas and artisanal boutiques with mom and pop stores of Main Street. So what is the origins of this new flight from urbia to suburbia? Too much affluence. Specifically, the boho enclave of Brooklyn has become too affluent, in some cases pricing said singles and families out of the market. A quick check of rents in the borough of Brooklyn revealed that at-market rents are quite astronomical. For example, the rent for a typical studio apartment can go for about $2,200. Not exactly affordable when you're a struggle artist or a young professional starting out. For a young family, paying $2,000-3,000 a month for rent is tough when you've got child-care expenses. In all fairness, there are affordable housing unit available in the borough. However, most people want to live in the trendier parts of Brooklyn for the cachet. Thus, it sometimes mean having to compete with bankers and lawyers who are willing to pay seven figures for prime real estate. So where does this leave the barista and bass player? Following in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents moving to the suburbs. This migration, still in the nascent stage, comes with a twist. Instead of leaving all the trappings of urban culture behind, they bring it with them. In addition to the corner coffee shop on Main Street Hastings-on-Hudson you now have a vegan bakery or an artisanal home decor shop. Other than more affordable housing what's the attraction. Less sprawl for one. For another, it's all the amenities brought by the boho colonists. It would be interesting to see what the long-time older residents think about their new neighbors. Do they take advantage of the yoga studio on Main Street or not? It's kind of interesting in a way. The very people who swore up and down that they would never, ever become their parents, get a minivan and move to the suburbs, have become their parents. Ironic don't you think? Two questions come to mind, first, what happens when "hipsturbia" becomes too affluent? Second, what does this bode for Downtown Los Angeles? As to the first question, one possibility is the nouveau suburbanites move to greener pastures. As to the second, Downtown Los Angeles is already become a version of Manhattan. The surrounding suburban neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silverlake, Atwater Village, and now Highland Park have or are becoming hipster enclaves. Move to the San Fernando Valley? Maybe? At least if that happened, the urbanized residents would make the "country" a bit more interesting. The ongoing new construction in the area, aimed at attracting the more affluent, as well as the proposed project for Jordan Downs could have the same effect only to a lesser degree. The current, more moderate income residents would be forced to move further out into suburban area. This could possibly mean bringing all the issues and challenges that come with it. It would also mean that municipalities absorbing the new residents would see less revenue generated in local businesses. In short, there is no easy answer here. Cater to one group at the expense of another or something else. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/fashion/creating-hipsturbia-in-the-suburbs-of-new-york.html?smid=fb-nytimes&_r=0)

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