Back to the burbs

I usually leave the demographic articles to Brian, but one of my Brooklyn-dwelling friends (and a new father) pointed me to Joel Kotkin’s post at Forbes making the case that “America’s young and restless will abandon cities for suburbs”:

Some demographers claim that “white flight” from the city is declining, replaced by a “bright flight” to the urban core from the suburbs. “Suburbs lose young whites to cities,” crowed one Associated Press headline last year.

Yet evidence from the last Census show the opposite: a marked acceleration of movement not into cities but toward suburban and exurban locations. The simple, usually inexorable effects of maturation may be one reason for this surprising result. Simply put, when 20-somethings get older, they do things like marry, start businesses, settle down and maybe start having kids.

Kotkin also doesn’t think there’s much chance of substantially increasing suburban density (for reasons that long time readers of Legally Sociable have heard before):

[T]he notion of mass suburban densification is likely to meet strong resistance from local residents. This will be particularly marked in attractive, affluent “progressive” areas like the Bay Area’s Marin County, Chicago’s North Shore suburbs and New York’s Hudson Valley. People who move to these places are attracted by their leafy, single-family-home-dominated neighborhoods and village-like shopping streets. Nothing short of economic catastrophe or government diktat would make them accept any intense program of densification.

0 thoughts on “Back to the burbs

  1. Two quick thoughts in response:

    1. There is some finer distinctions one can make about this move to the suburbs: inner-ring suburbs, whose conditions are more like that of central cities, vs. outer-ring suburbs.

    2. I wonder if several circumstances might aid the construction of denser housing:
    a. Affluent but not top-end affluent communities building luxury high-rises.
    b. Built out communities that still want to grow. (See future Naperville.)
    c. Communities that want to provide cheaper but still relatively expensive housing for college graduates and senior citizens so that they can stay in the community.

    Like

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