The Jack Ford Urban Affairs Center

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UAC Reports: 1990-1992

Samuel Aryeetey-Attoh, and Ronald Randall

April 29-May 2, 1992

Introduction

Like many troubled cities of America, Toledo contains areas of serious deterioration surrounding the central business district. In the periphery of the city, middle-income and some upper-income neighborhoods abound. These areas blend into upper-scale suburbs so subtlety that visitors know that they have left Toledo and entered a suburban community only when they see the sign at the boundary saying "leave Toledo." While anybody can clearly perceive the social, racial, and economic boundaries between the inner city and the rest of the metropolitan area, boundaries between the periphery of the city and the various suburbs seem best know to real estate agents, parents of school-age children, and those interested in buying a house with good resale and appreciation value.

Research at the University of Toledo is belatedly catching up with community knowledge about housing conditions and neighborhood desirability. In a study conducted under contract for the city of Toledo, we developed considerable information about the condition of the City, relative to its suburbs. A housing team documented deteriorating income and housing conditions in the City up to 1990 and projected ominous trends to the year 2000. Conclusion:

It is difficult to be sanguine about the future of central cities like Toledo based on population trends found in census data or from the survey of homesellers we conducted. The movement is outward and reasons are clear.

We found almost a straightline relationship for satisfaction with schools, police and street--the further from the inner city, the greater the satisfaction. For other factors, we found the big difference between the Toledo inner-ring homesellers and the homesellers in the Toledo outer ring and suburbs. Homesellers in the inner-ring expressed much less satisfaction with fire protection, housing values, or appearance of the area than did the homesellers in the other two rings.

When we turned to the actual reasons for moving, inner-ring homesellers expressed a desire for safer neighborhoods as the most significant reason. Wanted a newer, larger and better-styled house and better schools are also factors that motivate large proportions of inner-ring residents to sell and move.

ADVANCING TOLEDO'S NEIGHBORHOOD MOVEMENT THROUGH PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH: INTEGRATING ACTIVIST AND ACADEMIC APPROACHES

Randy Stoecker and David Beckwith

ABSTRACT:

This paper first develops the methodology of participatory action research as a research process originating from community-defined needs, involving community members in conducting the research, and leading to community-based action. Within this research model, we discuss the difficulty of integrating the roles of activist and researcher. Secondly, the paper describes the outcomes of the coordinated efforts of an activist academic and a professional community organizer who have engaged in a series of research projects to increase the organizational effectiveness and urban redevelopment capacity of community-based development organizations in Toledo, Ohio. Thirdly, the paper evaluates our project, discussing how we addressed the problem of integrating activist and researcher roles.

PROJECTING ABANDONMENT: THE PROBLEM OF RESIDENTIAL SPRAWL IN TOLEDO

Samuel Aryeetey-Attoh, Thomas Bier, and Ronald Randall

ABSTRACT:

This paper examines the spatial dynamics of Toledo's metropolitan housing market, focusing on the interaction of change in housing supply and demand and the location of new housing. A model is developed to project the impact of suburban housing construction on movement from the central city to the suburbs and on consequent city housing vacancies. Intergovernmental policies exacerbating the suburban trend are examined along with individual household choices in the central city. The paper concludes with an assessment of opportunities for promoting regional cooperation.

State Policy, Local Leadership, and Economic Development.

Lynn W. Bachelor

November 1991

Introduction:

In the 1980's, as states and cities assumed increased responsibilities for economic development, their policies shifted from an emphasis on using tax abatements to lure major projects to the provision of a wider array of incentives to encourage expansion by existing firms and formation of new ones. Adoption of these new strategies has been found to be influenced by a variety of political and economic characteristics, as well as by the policies, which set the parameters for local activity, by granting discretionary authority to city officials or limiting the policy choices available to them.

As a consequence of these state and local, political and economic influences, several patterns may be found in cities' economic development programs: 1) as a consequence of state policies, cities within a state have some common elements in their programs (e.g., use of enterprise zone incentives established under state legislation); 2) differences in economic and political conditions of cities within a state generate local policy differences, as city officials respond to local needs and exercise the discretion provided by state policies with varying degrees of creativity; 3) to the extent that cities share common economic concerns (e.g., dependency on manufacturing), strategies of cities in different states may exhibit some common elements, as officials respond to common needs. The present paper, using comparative case study material on eight cities, seeks to illuminate how local political characteristics affect the choices made by city officials within the constraints imposed by state policies and local economic structures.

Conclusions:

Local policy variations in these eight cities are only partially accounted for by the preceding hypotheses. While similarities in the number of incentives offered by cities in the same state are indicative of the constraints imposed by state policies, intrastate differences in the types of incentives available provide evidence of the exercise of discretion by local officials. These variations also support the view that cities compete with each other to attract development by offering different forms of assistance to businesses; because cities operate within limits set by state policies, this competition may be more intense within than between states. The evidence reviewed here also provides partial support for the hypothesized impact of state policy climates, in the form of similar numbers of programs in cities in the same state, but the effect of these climates is not in the direction hypothesized: Michigan cities, instead of offering more incentives than those in other states (to counteract the state's less desirable policy climate), operated fewer programs than cities in Indiana or Ohio. Likewise, the hypothesized relationship between higher levels of "economic distress" and higher levels of development incentives was only partially confirmed: one of the three "most distressed" cities had the fewest development programs. The results also provided contradictory evidence on the impact of centralization in development administration: three of the more centralized cities, as predicted, offered more incentives, but the most centralized city (Grand Rapids), offered the smallest number of incentives. The hypothesis of intercity competition, as noted above, received the strongest support, in the form of intrastate variations in types of local development programs. This finding is consistent with the view that local public officials have the capacity to exercise "creative bounded choice" within the parameters of state policies and local economic conditions, and suggests that the initiative of individual public officials is an important independent influence on local programs. Such innovative approaches as Akron's use of land banking and annexation and Saginaw's use of tax increment financing are indicative of the impact of local leadership. Within the constraints imposed by state policies and economic conditions, local leaders made important choices relative to how state programs are implemented, and what additional local incentives are offered, resulting in different development strategies.

Applied Geography Conferences

J.W. Frazier, B.J. Epstein, F.A. Schoolmaster III, and H.E. Moon

1991

Introduction:

The interaction between metropolitan construction activity, household growth and population change is ominous for Toledo. Toledo metropolitan construction activity is 2.7 times greater than the area's household growth. Since the 1950s, a diminishing rate of household growth coupled with an increasing proportion of suburban housing construction occurring in the Toledo MSA has been leading inevitably to excess housing units in the city and consequent decay of large sections of the city. In a recent housing report for the City of Toledo, a model developed by a network of housing researchers in Ohio (including associates of the Urban Affairs Center at the University of Toledo) was employed to project the impact of suburban housing construction on redundant or vacant housing in Toledo's central city. If the city of Toledo's share of metropolitan construction remains close to 30 percent, 24, 978 excess units will result by the year 2000.(7) This assumes a normal vacancy rate of 5.1% of existing units. Normal vacancies occur when there are short periods between occupancy. Excess units is the difference between total vacant units and normal vacancies.

The study also projected a loss of 60,177 people in Toledo between 1980 and 2000 as a result of suburban housing construction. The figure is surprising to Toledo citizens, but it should not be, given the fact that metropolitan housing construction is 2.7 times higher than the rate of household growth.

Conclusion:

Many housing-related decisions and actions of the city of Toledo tent to accelerate rather than retard the deleterious long-run trends we project in our housing study. Given the degree to which capital and wealth have already migrated from the central city to the suburbs, it is expecting too much from central-city councils in Ohio to retard or reverse the trends. Their authority is limited, and when they try to exercise it in the interests of the central city at the expense of suburban growth, they generate powerful opposition form numerous quarters, including developers who find easier profits in the suburbs, and even from the affluent in their own central city who wish to escape central-city problems.

Specific steps should be taken to manage growth in unincorporated areas. Positive incentives are needed to promote economic growth and population retention in the central cities. Developing the policy at the state or federal level is easy. Given the low repute of central cities, the problem is to overcome the political obstacles to its acceptance.

Central cities in Ohio have very little control over the variables that affect their future. Without major intervention from the state and federal level, their rapid deterioration (other than Columbus) will continue.

Consumer Perceptions Of The Lucas County Mental Health System

Urban Affairs Center, The University of Toledo

November 18, 1991

Introduction:

The Lucas County Mental Health Board Contracted with the Urban Affairs Center of the University of Toledo to develop better information for the Board on the perception of consumers toward its services.

In a series of five meetings with invited consumers from the mental health system, the Urban Affairs Center elicited an extensive range of information on levels of satisfaction with mental health services and on types of services that consumers would like to receive. We describe the information in this report.

Conclusion:

Before making any specific conclusions or recommendations we would like to state that there appears to be a rather high level of satisfaction with the mental health system in Lucas County. The consumer participants use and depend upon the LCMHB agency services. No one in these groups indicated enough dissatisfaction with any program to cause him or her to drop out. The prevailing attitude was that in the main they had been adequately served, but 'let us help in making things better'. This is important to say, because it would be most unfair to lift out individual statements are perceptions of a representative group of consumers. Some are issues related to the obvious financial stress suffered by the respondent. Some issues are undoubtedly based on misunderstanding of program and policy. Obviously, many statements are wise interpretations of the way the system affects these particular consumers, and therefore deserve response in policy and program.

MAJOR FACTORS IN THE DEPOPULATION OF TOLEDO

Samuel Aryeetey-Attoh, and Ronald Randall

October 2-4, 1991

INTRODUCTION:

Our research out of the UT Urban Affairs Center has developed a great deal of information about the condition of the City of Toledo, relative to its suburbs. A housing team documented deteriorating income and housing conditions in the City up to 1990 and projected ominous trends to the year 2000.

The interaction between metropolitan construction activity, household growth and population change has resulted in metropolitan construction activity that is 2.7 times greater than the area's household growth. Since the 1950s a diminishing rate of household growth coupled with an increasing proportion of suburban housing construction has been leading inevitably to excess housing units in the city and consequent decay of large sections of the city. With a model developed by a network of housing researchers in Ohio (including associates of the Urban Affairs Center at the University of Toledo), we projected the impact of suburban housing construction on redundant or vacant housing in Toledo's central city. If the city of Toledo's share of metropolitan construction remains close to 30 percent, 24,978 excess units will result by the year 2000 (12).

We also project a loss of 60,177 people in Toledo between 1980 and 2000 as a result of suburban housing construction.

Detailed figures are beginning to come from the 1990 Census that confirm the serious population loss for the City of Toledo projected in the UAC study as well as indicate an increasing racial and economic segregation in the Toledo metropolitan area. The official 1990 count of the Toledo population is 332,943, a loss of more than 22,000 people in 10 years.

The greatest population growth in the metropolitan area occurred in unincorporated areas. Two townships in eastern Fulton county, two townships in northern Wood county and the unincorporated areas of Lucas county showed a population increase from 1980 [65,859] to 1990 [79,313] of 13,454, or 20.4 percent. Sylvania, Waterville, Whitehouse, Perrysburg, and Ottawa Hills, collectively, accounted for an additional 5612 between 1980 and 1990, or 15.7 percent increase.

Our census analysis reveals that these population changes are leading to increased segregation of the area by race and income. Between 1980 and 1990, Toledo's white population dropped by 27,681 while the black population increased by 3848. In the remainder of Lucas county, the white population increased by 10,972 w3hle the black population increased by 707.

The growing segregation of the population by income is revealed in the Urban Affairs Center's analysis of housing values. the Center compared the number of higher priced homes in 1980 ($80,000 or more) and 1990 ($100,000 or more). While the city of Toledo showed a modest 8.9 percent increase in higher priced homes over the ten-year period, much larger gains were seen in Perrysburg (90.0 percent), Sylvania (66.2 percent), Oregon (57.3 percent) and Maumee (40.9 percent).

The aggregate census data show that the affluent are leaving the city of Toledo for the more expensive homes in the suburbs. It is important from an urban policy standpoint to develop a better understanding of who is moving out.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although the process is not as advanced as in some cities, clearly a vicious circle of urban mobility prevails in Toledo. As some affluent families leave the city, those remaining are pressed more sharply for taxes to cover the social costs of any metropolitan area, which are concentrated in the central city. Those leaving the central city are insulated from fiscal responsibility for most of the metropolitan area's social problems, a fact that is increasingly apparent to the affluent remaining in the central city. As more leave, the vicious circle only worsens.

The growth in the unincorporated areas is particularly troubling. that growth came at the expense of the city of Toledo. In fact, we can develop a very simple model for predicting population loss in Toledo. If a home is built in the suburbs, there is a family in Toledo ready to move out. When those homes are built in unincorporated areas, taxpayers must duplicate expensive infrastructure that is increasingly underutilized in the city.

This first cut of our survey suggests that there is some push from the city as well as a considerable pull from the suburbs. From a policy point of view, the meaning is that even if the worst problems in the city that push people to the suburbs were somehow eliminated, the pull from the suburbs (for bigger, newer, and more expensive homes) would remain.

Last Updated: 6/13/16