Luxury cities and high-end casinos

Does this excerpt from an article at The American about the decline of middle class cities sound like the past few years on the Strip? I think so:

Ultimately, in good times or bad, cities have to want a middle class to have one. And politicians, if asked, will genuflect to the idea of maintaining a middle class, yet their actions—on taxes, regulations, schools, development—suggest otherwise.

Indeed, in reality most urban areas have focused on creating what New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg famously dubbed the “luxury city.” To pay for often inflated public employee costs, the luxury city can only survive off the wealthy and on other groups—empty nesters, singles and students—who demand relatively little in the way of basic services like schools and public health facilities.

Costs, particularly relating to child-raising, are killing the urban middle class.

City planners and urban developers favor the unattached: the “young and restless,” the “creative class,” and the so-called “yuspie”—the young urban single professional. Champions of the unattached suggest that companies and cities should capture this segment, described by one as “the dream demographic,” if they wish to inhabit the top tiers of the economic food chain.

Another key group coveted by cities are the legions of baby boomers who have already raised children. No longer cohabiting with offspring, they are expected to give up their dull family existence and rediscover the allure of a fast-paced, defiantly “youthful” lifestyle. The new retirees, suggests luxury homebuilder Robert Toll, “are more hip-hop and happening than our parents.” They are more interested in indulging “the sophistication and joy and music that comes with city dwelling, and doesn’t come with sitting in the ’burbs watching the day go by.”

The Luxury City vs. the Middle Class — The American, A Magazine of Ideas.

It sounds like the people Bloomberg wants to live in Manhattan are the same patrons that casinos build high-end rooms, restaurants, and theaters for. It’s the same demographic, too: those who don’t have kids yet, and those whose kids have left.

Did the Las Vegas Strip pioneer in offering a “fast-paced, defiantly “youthful” lifestyle?” That’s what I argued in Suburban Xanadu.

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