How big is too big?
For better or worse, I live in one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country. I say "for better or worse" because for years now I've been looking for that sweet spot that's big enough to have everything I need/want, but not too big to be overwhelmingly congested. Everywhere I look these days all I see is more construction. I'm losing ground to "overwhelmingly congested"!
Smaller towns love growth. More people means more grocery stores, and retailers, and more tax revenue to support filling potholes and building new, state-of-the-art schools. More restaurants and theaters and maybe a few more doctors and even a new hospital, too. The improving "quality of life" in turn entices companies looking to relocate or expand to move in, and the cycle repeats itself.
My DF/W Metroplex is now pushing 7.2 million residents. Houston has 6.7M, Chicago has 9.5M, LA has 13M, NY has 20M, London has 18M, and Tokyo has 38M (metropolitan areas in total). Which begs the question: How big is TOO big?
At what point does growth stop being a positive and become a negative? How many steak houses or burger joints do you need? Or pediatricians and 24-hour corner urgent care clinics? Or AMC theaters? However many you might think appropriate, ask yourself if it's worth the traffic congestion, and road rage, and crime, and the daily frustrations that tie us in knots? At some point are we really just taking one step forward and two steps backward?
Who benefits, really, from all this growth? The landowners and developers, for sure. And the select few contractors who can build all those highways and mid-high rise buildings. And of course the bureaucracy. More people means more tax revenues, and higher salaries for those who hustle new businesses and make more rules for the rest of us to follow.
It seems like it's all just a giant ego trip. "My city is bigger than yours. My airport handles more flights. My skyline is more dramatic." Virtually everyone benefits a little I suppose, but IMO most of us are just treading water at best.
My fear now is that someday I might actually be able to move to my dream destination, some comfortable mid-size town in Colorado, only to be run over by a stampede of people fleeing Dallas and LA and Chicago who are following my lead.
Umm, now that I think about it....I didn't write this. You never read this. Nice not talking to you. Bye-bye. ;)