A nation of suburbs

Suburbs,_Virginia_(6045440309)Big cities seem to get most of the attention.  People debate their merits compared with small towns and the rural life.  Suburbs don’t get the same respect.

But according to a report from the Urban Land Institute, 79% of the American population live in suburbs.  That includes 85% of the nation’s children and 75% of Millennials.

Contrary to the stereotypes about “white flight,” suburbs are racially and ethnically diverse, with 76% of the minority population living in suburbs.  And suburbs are where most of the nation’s jobs, businesses, and economic vitality can be found.

After the jump, Richard Mize summarizes the report.

Why do you think so many people live in suburbia?  A lot of people criticize the suburbs.  Can you defend them?

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The friendliest and unfriendliest cities

Conde Nast Traveler has conducted a survey to find the friendliest and the unfriendliest cities in the world and in the United States.  See the lists after the jump.  Sound about right?  What does this tell us about the various cultures represented? [Read more…]

City vs. Suburbs

Retiring baby-boomers are increasingly moving away from their houses in the suburbs to condos in the city.  This makes sense.  Single and just-married adults living in small apartments when just starting out, then moving to larger homes, more space, and better schools in the suburbs when their family grows.  Then, when the nest is empty, moving back to smaller, lower-maintenance apartments when they reach retirement age.  With both the young and the old liking a stimulating environment close at hand with less driving.

But this hasn’t happened all that much until lately, and it goes along with some interesting demographic changes.  Poverty is up 64% in suburbs, twice the rate as in cities.  And the crime rate is falling in cities and rising in the suburbs.

Why do you think that is?  What can be done to improve suburbs?  Or make cities habitable for families?  And where do small towns fit into all of this? [Read more…]