America is heading back to the ‘burbs. The Brookings Institute, which has been steadily and consistently producing better analyses of urban trends than most urban design-focused institutions I know, notes the following in a recent report about the 2017-18 Census Bureau estimates:
“[F]or the first time this decade, the nation’s three largest metropolitan areas—New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago—all lost population. At the same time, outer suburban, exurban, and non-metropolitan counties nationwide registered renewed growth. Although there are some exceptions in growing parts of the country, the latest data reveal that broad-based population ‘concentration’ toward large urban areas in the early 2010s was an aberration related to the post-recession economy and housing crunch.”
Part of the issue no doubt is that the quality of life in many American cities is declining as infrastructure groans under decades of under-investment and privatization, and as a nest of regulations and economic forces help drive the less affluent into the fringes of downtown cores.
The problems aren’t confined to first-tier cities. In another report