How will the crash reshape Northfield?

Richard Florida In the March ‘09 issue of Atlantic Monthly, urban theorist Richard Florida has a cover piece titled How the Crash Will Reshape America.  It made me wonder what the long-term impact of the economic crash on Northfield will be. The lead-in to Florida’s piece:

The crash of 2008 continues to reverberate loudly nationwide—destroying jobs, bankrupting businesses, and displacing homeowners. But already, it has damaged some places much more severely than others. On the other side of the crisis, America’s economic landscape will look very different than it does today… Which cities and regions can come back strong? And which will never come back at all?

Online, there’s a companion interview with Florida about his cover piece called The Great Reset. Also, NY Times columnist David Brooks has a related column this week titled, I Dream of Denver.

The time has finally come, some writers are predicting, when Americans will finally repent. They’ll move back to the urban core. They will ride more bicycles, have smaller homes and tinier fridges and rediscover the joys of dense community — and maybe even superior beer.  America will, in short, finally begin to look a little more like Amsterdam. Well, Amsterdam is a wonderful city, but Americans never seem to want to live there. And even now, in this moment of chastening pain, they don’t seem to want the Dutch option. We understand that rock prices play a key role in your decision, but costs are only one slice of the pie. There are pros, cons and other specifics you need to know before choosing the right type of landscape rock and landscape rock prices.


  1. Leonard Witt said:

    Hi Griff:

    I too found Richard Florida’s essay very enlightening. I am teaching a class down here in Georgia and yesterday we went to a social service agency. I have been following this issue closely but was shocked to see the numbers in my own backyard. Food stamp caseloads have doubled as have all social service needs just in the last year, but the state has been forced to put a freeze on caseworkers and “furloughed” everyone else to a four-day week. Former bank officers are showing up at local food banks as are other former members of the middle class. I asked the caseworkers how they do twice the work with fewer people and their answer surprised me: “Well, at least we have jobs.”

    February 18, 2009
  2. Carl Arnold said:

    Related to the economic downturn and lower housing market, as a Northfield divorce lawyer and family mediator, I am seeing people try to figure out how to divide assets and debts in a divorce where their house has negative equity and their mutual fund balances have plummeted. Many, especially in construction, have already been unemployed for a while, so they have substantial credit card debt.

    In my conversations with other divorce practitioners locally and across the state, it appears (at least anecdotally) that the number of couples initiating a divorce was down in the last half of 2008 but may be back up in early 2009. At the end of 2008, there appeared to be a common attitude of “Let’s see if the economy improves.” Now it seems people are coming to the realization that their house and 401K values aren’t going to rapidly increase anytime soon, so they are going ahead with their divorce even with the increased financial difficulties. So, although there was a slow period at the end of 2008 for divorces, it appears that there is a current wave of new divorces that might have otherwise started a few months earlier.

    Also related to the local impact of the recession, Lance Heisler at our firm ( has been doing a record number of personal and business bankruptcies.

    February 19, 2009
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks for that glimpse into the local legal world, Carl.

    NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday: The Advantages Of Renting.

    Scott Simon speaks with author Richard
    Florida about how encouraging home
    ownership may be a bad idea. Florida
    says renting offers many more benefits
    to the current age, where mobility is
    so important.

    February 21, 2009

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