Thursday, July 02, 2009

Population numbers bounce back in cities -

Population numbers bounce back in cities - "The housing crisis and economic downturn that have forced many Americans to stay put are boosting older cities where population had been shrinking or was stagnant, according to Census estimates out Wednesday.

Last year, Los Angeles recorded its biggest annual increase since 2002 and New York its second largest this decade. Chicago, where population had declined for five years this decade, grew by 0.73%.

The article offers two explanations. The lefty urban planners who think we should all abandon the suburbs and our SUVs for tiny urban condos and walking to work are convinced that this is The Sign that their apocalyptic warnings have been heeded. But the other explanation is :"Cities' rebound may be a result of people not being able to sell their homes or condos or not having jobs to allow them to leave cities."

Can't get out is quite a bit different than can't wait to get in.


Fred Pilot said...

Good point. Residential settlement patterns cannot be discerned in the relatively brief context of the economic cycle. Plus it's counter intuitive that people would prefer higher cost urban areas during an economic downturn.

DBX said...

What about "can't afford to get out?" Otherwise known as "truly and genuinely leaving it to the market?"

Left to our own devices, without artificial constructs like zoning or massive government spending on highways and sewage lines, and without massive self-serving bureaucracies that drive people away from affordable high-density living with their shoddy services, we would live far closer together than we do. Strip government down to the basic duties of defense, security and poor relief, and the McBurbs will gradually empty out and the cities will densify. Even simply breaking our central cities up into smaller, more manageable, more Tieboutian units would probably have a similar effects -- after all, the 20 future boroughs of Chicago couldn't ALL do such a bad job of running schools, could they?