Urban Delusion

The folks over at the Center for an Urban Future aren’t going to like this, but Joel Kotkin has a new article arguing fairly persuasively that the future is actually suburban. Planners, architects, and environmentalists, he says, should get used to it.

Kotkin offers some data to back up the claim that “the notions of suburban decline or a big-time downtown revival are delusional.

“All the growth predicted recently for the 30 top U.S. downtowns through 2010 turns out to be less than half the suburban growth of greater Seattle during the 1990s,” he writes. “Many cities that are seen as harbingers of a dense urban future—San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis—have actually lost population since the millennium, following some gains in the 1990s. “

Kotkin doesn’t mention New York, and his piece is another mark of how anomalous the city we’re living in now really is, floating on a flood of immigration and a real estate boom that’s touching the South Bronx and Bed-Stuy.

(Jarringly, the Economist just ratified the Brooklyn boom with a piece calling the borough “Manhattan’s Left Bank.” Here come the limeys!)