General Question

JohnRobert's avatar

Why is the South and West side of town generally more run down and depressed than the North and East?

Asked by JohnRobert (490points) April 28th, 2009

OK… I know that broad generalizations aren’t the best way to communicate and there are good and bad people in all areas. I’m just wondering how, in general this pattern emerged in so many major cities.

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20 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

The North part of my town is the most depressed. Next is Southwest. Then lower NorthEast. The pattern you suggest doesn’t seem to apply to NYC, either. In Washington, DC, I think it’s the Southeast side. I’m not sure about that. So, truly, I can’t think of a place that fits your description.

I don’t think you’ve got a relationship here. So there’s no explaining something that doesn’t exist.

lukiarobecheck's avatar

The west side of Austin, Tx is actually the most upscale part of Austin. That is where all the rich people live here in Austin, Tx.

Les's avatar

For the most part, parts of the Chicago West and South sides fit your description. I think it has to do with where people congregate. Sort of for the same reason there are Polish, Mexican, Black, White, Asian, etc. parts of town. I don’t know that it necessarily has anything to do with the compass, but people with similar economic statuses will congregate together. Rich people don’t want to live in the projects, and people who live in the projects can’t afford the prices of renting or buying in the “rich” neighborhoods.

JohnRobert's avatar

Ok, I wasn’t sure if it was just the few cities I’ve been to or a true pattern. You’ve shown that it is not always the case. A friend and I were having that conversation and he made that observation. I didn’t have anything to counter with. Thanks all!

JohnRobert's avatar

My friend was from Chicago… Trouble is, East of Chicago is a big lake.

Aethelwine's avatar

@JohnRobert It may not always be the case, but that’s how it is in the largest city that I live near. The south and west sides of Peoria, IL are the most run down and depressed parts of the city.

Les's avatar

@JohnRobert : But the East side of Chicago includes downtown. I wouldn’t call that run down.

Damn. I forgot that’s how people refer to cities. I’ve been out of the city for so long Were you referring to places outside of the city? Like the suburbs? When I hear “what side of town are you from”, I think of the city, divided into sections.

JohnRobert's avatar

@Les: I was referring to the suburbs. I guess I don’t get out much;) I always thought there was “downtown” and then the suburbs on either side. I should have paid attention in Geography!

crisw's avatar

The pattern doesn’t apply to San Diego, either, where the poorest sections are in the south and east. The west is the ritzy part; it’s on the ocean! :>)

jrpowell's avatar

Portland is the opposite. The rich folks live on the west and in southeast.

I live in northeast. I am poor.

tonedef's avatar

In Gainesville, FL, the northeast is the poorer side of town. There’s some more data. All the wealthy people live on the West and South, and especially the SW side.

Les's avatar

This is Chicago See that little speck near the lake called “The Loop”? That’s downtown. All the rest is still inside Chicago city limits, those are just neighborhood names.

AstroChuck's avatar

In Oakland it’s the east and west parts that are really depressed.
Especially the west.

flameboi's avatar

I’ve read that it comes back to ancient Greece and Rome, where the aristocrats used to live in the north side of the cities, and scholars, poets and all those known as men of science used to live in the east, specially in the hills overlooking the city, to let the others know that they were above the mass, and politicians used to live near the government buldings to be close to where they power resided while they had their country retreats outside the city to rest, after thousands of years, nothing has changed…

wundayatta's avatar

In the US, if there is high ground, then those are often the ritzy areas. In South America, the poor people live high up and farther from central city (think Rio de Janiero, and Quito, I think).

YARNLADY's avatar

Here, it has to do with where the original settlers lived, and the layout of the two rivers. The swampy south land was drained and the older, poorer houses are there. The nicest houses are upland from the rivers, but still close to the center of town.

The suburbs are working out the same way, the lower, floodplain is where the poor people live, and the cliff banks of the river or the lake are where the rich people live.

Bluefreedom's avatar

@JohnRobert. Your generalization is certainly true here in the city of Phoenix and surrounding communities. South and West Phoenix have always been known for higher crime rates, gang activity, and depressed conditions. North Phoenix is relatively affluent with low crime rates. East Phoenix is bordered by the city of Scottsdale which is where many upper class, wealthy, affluent, and properous families and individuals live.

amoreno06's avatar

i’m at joliet, il.
the south side is the worst(never want to have your car die on that part of town)
then it’s the east side. i’ve lived here my whole life. only twice i remember there being shootings around my house.
the north side…there really isn’t one.
but the “best” part of joliet would have to be the west side.

The_Idler's avatar

In the UK, generally the reverse is (or was) true.

The prevailing wind is from the West, meaning the rich people lived in the West, so their coal smoke and all the factory smoke blew over to where the poor people lived, in the East, whilst the rich got fresh air.

lookingfortruth's avatar

In such an ever changing society one constant seems to remain the same; minorities continue to find themselves caught in a never ending battle with discrimination, in one form or another.If not redlining then reverse redlining; when this form of action occurs minorities find themselves more often then not confined to either the south or west sides of town

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