Cities versus suburbs is the wrong debate

It is undeniable that demand is growing for walkable neighborhoods and communities with access to public transportation, parks and a range of housing choices.

In a blog post on Forbes, Joel Kotkin argues that as young adults — who are currently moving to cities and walkable neighborhoods — get older they will look to live in a car-dependent suburb.

Evidence from the last Census show the opposite [of growing cities]: 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’s argument incorrectly focuses on cities versus suburbs — specifically suburbs that are dominated by “automobiles and single-family houses” — without focusing on the types of communities and neighborhoods where people actually want to live. He also ignores the baby boomers who are beginning to retire and realize a large, suburban, car-dependent lifestyle may no longer be the most appealing option.


White House announces Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative

The White House announced a new program today that will help communities across the country make their smart growth plans a reality. Strong Cities, Strong Communities is a new interagency pilot initiative that aims to strengthen neighborhoods, towns, cities and regions around the country by strengthening the capacity of local governments to develop and execute their economic vision and strategies. Speaking in a video about the new program, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and the Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes explained that Strong Cities, Strong Communities will support local governments by providing necessary technical assistance and access to federal agency expertise, and creating new public and private sector partnerships.