A post on New Urban Network confirms a suspicion I had after reading about population decline in Chicago: though some cities are seeing an overall decline in population, those same places are seeing dramatic population growth in their most dense, walkable urban zones:
Bad news for cities, good news for urban centers
This is good news for urban livability in both Chicago and St Louis. I’m particularly glad to see that downtown St Louis has made big gains in population after the good investments they’ve made in their downtown public parks.
To sum up: cities owe it to their long-term health to invest in developing more livable urban centers versus suburban-type sprawl within their limits. People who want to live in sprawlburbs are moving out of cities and people who want urban walkability are moving in. The proof is in the census numbers.
As we continue to debate smart growth & densification efforts in Atlanta, let’s keep these trends in mind. Maintaining Atlanta’s suburbs-in-the-city elements may not be worth the effort. Walkable urban density is the way of the future for cities.