Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Are suburbs and urban sprawl roaring back to life and the great migration to cities only temporary?

Josh Stevens at Planetizen has this article titled, "Suburbs Come Roaring Back". Here is the banner line for the article:
For nearly a decade, the narrative of the move back to the city has held sway in American life. But newly analyzed Census data indicate that the presumed death of the suburbs may have been premature.
If the census data and Josh Stevens' analysis is correct this could have a tremendous effect on policy making and planning for future population growth. Especially in places such as southeast Florida and Palm Beach County where western sprawl is such an issue. The "trend" of people moving back to the cities may have been a temporary solution to the Great Recession, a temporary solution for many people who would prefer the suburban life. More from the article by Josh Stevens:
     After a century of suburbanization, it seemed that urban trends in the United States had reversed themselves. Center cities were getting denser, nicer, and more vibrant. No one in their right mind would live in a suburb any more. Millenials cared more about urban amenities and living close to one another than they did about yards and personal space. Center cities, for the first time in decades, grew faster than did suburbs. Entire subdivisions, their residents ravaged by mortgage debt, turned into ghost towns.
     Newly analyzed Census data says, not so fast. The outer suburban and exurban areas that suffered mightily during the Great Recession are showing signs of life. Growth on the urban edges is now occurring at higher rates than it is in center cities, according to the Brookings Institution. [emphasis added] Center cities aren't shrinking—far from it—but the suburban dream appears healthy. The economy may have inspired the suburban exodus more so than cultural shifts did.
     "The fledgling trend, captured in data through 2014, raises questions about whether American preferences for where and how to live truly changed much during the housing bust, or if we simply put our exurban aspirations on hold. At the same time, the shift calls into question a parallel and popular narrative: that Americans who once preferred the suburbs would now rather move into the city."