Is Birmingham destined to become a suburb of Atlanta?

The Southeast in 2060

The Southeast in 2060

Folks in Birmingham squabble a lot, but there’s one thing we agree on —none of us want Birmingham to become another Atlanta.

Because the growth of metropolitan Birmingham has been so slow, I haven’t spent much time worrying about Birmingham getting too big.  In fact, I’ve been much more concerned about Birmingham staying the size of Birmingham.

Then I read that researchers from North Carolina State project that the South’s explosive growth rate for the past 60 years will continue and metropolitan Birmingham could be part of an “urban megalopolis” by 2060. Continue reading

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4 Reasons Birmingham may be the Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden

Garden of Eden

My daughter, Melanie, and I finished lunch at Niki’s West and drove onto I-65 from Finley Avenue towards downtown.

Suddenly the car ahead started swerving side to side.  Then it veered to the left, hit the concrete barricade, and reversed direction hitting us head on.  By the time we made impact both cars were moving slowly and fortunately no one was hurt.

But what happened next was truly remarkable. Continue reading

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What Birmingham can learn from Ferguson Missouri

St. Louis

St. Louis

In September of 2002 Dave Adkisson, the then President of our Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce (now BBA), and I got up for an early morning jog.  We were two of approximately one hundred Birmingham political and community leaders who had traveled to St. Louis to learn about the city and the Edward Jones Dome—home of the St. Louis Rams.

It was really dark and foggy that morning and we got lost.  When we asked some local joggers for directions, they were curious  as to why we were in St. Louis.

When we told them we came to learn about their city, they responded with an incredulous, “You want to learn about St. Louis?” Continue reading

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Did I make a mistake by moving back to Birmingham?

Javacia Harris Bowser

Javacia Harris Bowser

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Javacia Harris Bowser.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

“I dwell in Possibility.” – Emily Dickinson

What made you want to come back to Birmingham?

A few months ago someone asked me that question and I realized I didn’t know how to answer it.

I’m a Birmingham native who first left the city just to travel about 45 minutes up the road to Tuscaloosa where I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Alabama. But for graduate school I went nearly 3,000 miles away from home to the University of California at Berkeley. I spent a bit of time in Seattle, Washington, and then I got married and settled down in Louisville, Kentucky for several years.

But Birmingham always brings you back. Continue reading

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Can Birmingham survive without Uber?

UberI’ve never seen anything like this Uber thing.

People regularly challenge me to write about specific topics relating to Birmingham, but the interest in Uber is beyond insane.

I’ve been bombarded by e-mails from folks supporting Uber and describing Birmingham City Councilor Kim Rafferty as the Evil Witch of the West.

I believe many folks have determined the Uber decision will define the future of Birmingham.

Under great pressure, I write about Uber knowing that many of you may be unhappy with my perspective.

Continue reading

Posted in David Sher posts, Government structure | Tagged , | 6 Comments

WOW! The response took my breath away

Lee Thuston

Lee Thuston, Managing Partner, Burr & Forman

Ty Dodge

Ty Dodge, President & CEO, RealtySouth

I never could have predicted this would happen.

When we started talking about a better metropolitan Birmingham with an emphasis on government structure, no one took us seriously.

Now in a short 30 months, dialogue about government structure and particularly government consolidation has moved to the top of the list.

The Birmingham Business Journal (BBJ) recently unveiled its list of Birmingham’s most influential executives and ran the following poll, “Which issue should Birmingham’s Most Influential Executives address? Continue reading

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The worst thing to happen to America and Birmingham

Alabama's 6th Congressional District

Alabama’s 6th Congressional District

I attended Gary Palmer’s victory celebration at the Birmingham Marriott and I was blinded by the “white.”  There may have been an African-American there, but I didn’t see one.  This should not be a surprise since Alabama’s 6th Congressional District is 88.8% white and 7.7% African-American. Continue reading

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Birmingham: much richer than you think

Rotary Trail

Rotary Trail

Have you ever heard someone say, “Birmingham’s limited because we don’t have the wealth of other cities?”

That’s just not true.

Many of us think of Birmingham as this impoverished town with low wages and a poor standard of living.  But the facts and actions of our citizens tell another story.

I first got a hint of Birmingham’s wealth when the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) hired Market Street Services to prepare its strategic plan.  One of the statistics presented was income per capita—a number I expected to be low–but I was wrong. Continue reading

Posted in David Sher posts, What's great about Birmingham | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Is David Sher a nincompoop?

Nincompoor t-shirt

Nincompoop t-shirt–zazzle.com

I don’t know if I was prepared for what was in store for me when I began publishing ComebackTown 2 1/2 years ago.  I had a simple goal to provide a forum to begin a conversation about a better Birmingham.

Who could possibly be against a better Birmingham?

And why would strangers personally attack me and my guest bloggers for trying to make things better?   It’s perfectly fine to disagree–but why the personal attacks?

I’ve had more than one guest blogger beg me to remove their blog because they were embarrassed by the comments posted on al.com. As I told them, you could find a cure for cancer and some folks on al.com would still call you the devil.

Continue reading

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Young professional: How to make it in Birmingham

Taylor Peake Wyatt

Taylor Peake Wyatt, co-founder of MotionMobs and President of Kiosk Evolution

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Taylor Peake Wyatt .  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

When I recently read the guest blog on ComebackTown, A 4 letter word: Why young professionals leave Birmingham, I had to respond.

I’m eager to give Birmingham’s business community the credit it deserves and to explain why I enjoy growing my career here.

I would like to answer the question how a small but vibrant city is keeping talented young professionals inspired and growing.

Being a young professional has a lot of challenges and being a young female entrepreneur has even more. There’s a lot of pressure in being independent and starting your career – especially if you’re dealing with student loans, a lack of available jobs, and wanting to support a family of your own.  It takes balance, passion, and perseverance. Continue reading

Posted in Corporate community, Guest blogger, What's great about Birmingham | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments