Business Week’s Venessa Wong has written an article about a new study that shows that Texas leads in number of high-growth cities, those places that are seeing population increases and rising prices for houses.
Here are the leading high-growth areas across the country, according to this new piece of research:
- Braselton, Georgia (Atlanta suburb)
- Atascocita, Texas (Houston suburb)
- Spring Hill, Tennessee (Nashville suburb)
- Lincoln, California (Sacramento suburb)
- Katy, Texas (Houston suburb)
- Wake Forest, North Carolina (in the Raleigh-Durham triangle)
- Mansfield, Texas (Dallas suburb)
- Wylie, Texas (Dallas suburb)
- Buckeye, Arizona (Phoenix suburb)
Note that in all cases, these high-growth areas are all the newest furthest upscale suburbs of fairly new cities in the south and west. Atascocita is 20 miles from Houston, Wake Forrest is 23 miles from Durham and 10 miles from Raleigh—you get the idea.
Now what is this survey supposed to prove exactly? All it does is measure a thing that proves itself. In good times and bad, what area should show the most household income growth and real estate price growth other than the very newest area for the wealthiest among us? In Latin, it’s res ipso loquitor, which means “a thing that proves itself.” Maybe some readers will prefer a translation into American slang, “Duh, no-brainer!”
But what the survey, the news release by the company that conducted it, Gadberry Group and the Business Week coverage all do is use the survey as proof of the superiority of a way of life that depends upon driving great distances on a daily basis to conduct most commercial activity in enclosed, privatized places and which the only people you encounter are all upscale like you and overwhelmingly white. In short, the way of life that has helped us choke the environment, the way of life has led to the misallocation of resources away from mass transit and already developed areas, the way of life built firmly on the politics of selfishness.
And what is the Gadberry Group exactly. Here is its description via mission statement on the homepage of this Little Rock, Arkansas research firm’s website: “The Gadberry Group provides location-based services and information data products, for clients who demand the most current, accurate, and precise household and population data for their site location analysis.”
Translated into English, that means Gadberry provides research to the real estate industry. The best thing for the real estate industry, of course, is for people to want to move to new areas (thus creating high growth) where property recently purchased cheaply suddenly becomes much more expensive. Those areas by definition are in these distant suburbs that come out on top in Gadberry’s study.
I’m not saying that Gadberry fixed the survey. What I’m saying is that it doesn’t tell us anything that we don’t already know, while it helps to provide intellectual support for a debatable point about where people can achieve the highest quality of life. The survey and others like it through the decades have created a body of knowledge that overtly, or in the ideological subtext behind the facts and figures, supports the suburban lifestyle. Supporting this lifestyle, which helps the automobile and real estate industries, has been one of the basic tenets of the U.S. mass media for more than a century.