Are Cities like Chicago Toast? Or will they bounce back.
READER WARNING: I'm in doom and gloom mode this am. Proceed at your own risk.
In 1979 I graduated from College and made $16,000 working as a trainee at American National Bank (commercial lending). I had two roommates and we paid $400/month for a 3-bedroom place in Depaul. My rent was $133/month.
I didn't make much money back then, but my cost of living was dirt cheap and I lived high on the hog. Is that the case today? Nope. Rents have risen faster than salaries (which are being eroded by sky high inflation).
Today Chicago's municipal finances are near insolvency, crime's bad, and it's no longer an inexpensive place to live. The City is forced to charge sky-high taxes to stay afloat, chasing businesses elsewhere. At the same time, the city is hemorrhaging residents at the fastest rate of any American city (along with LA and NYC). Physical office occupancy is barely 50%, and ridership on public transit is running about the same.
As a result, transit is experiencing a funding crisis and not providing dependable service. Getting to work (for most) on time just became an existential crisis?
Cities like Chicago were already in decline, but the pandemic has accelerated this disturbing trend. If more rats desert this sinking ship...well you can guess the results. Detroit anyone?
PS. Many will point out that our city is along the lake, has great architecture, great neighborhoods and such. That's important but sadly not enough. People want safe streets, a reasonable cost of living & the ability to find good work opportunities. Without those, the other stuff isn't sufficient?