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Four Ways to Urbanize America

Trading Spaces: 4 Changes For US Economic Landscape

If there's one thing we can agree on (or not!) is that innovation is needed to lead America out of its economic mess. Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, tackles how the greatest recession will reshape America in March's Atlantic.

If Florida's right, city living may be the future. He argues that the US needs to move away from its postindustrial setup (suburban sprawl) to denser megaregions (systems of multiple cities and their surrounding suburbs). While the Internet may have brought us together (aww), the world's 40 largest megaregions produce two-thirds of the global economic output and nearly 9 in 10 new patented inventions. Proximity, he says, will allow ideas to move freely in areas where college graduates and entrepreneurial spirits congregate.

So what has to change? To find out,


  1. Knock home ownership off its pedestal: What could possibly be its cons? Areas with high home ownership have higher unemployment rates; people tend to stay put when better opportunities could be elsewhere. The tax breaks for low-interest loans could be invested in technology or alternative energy, important sectors for economic growth.
  2. Stimulate growth in regions poised for it: Ensure America's top megaregions, and the smaller cities inside them, succeed. Make housing affordable to all classes and address congestion issues.
  3. Let dying cities go: Bailouts are only Band-Aids for areas built on dying industries. Demand for today's products should let a new order reign.
  4. Reinvent urban and suburban space: Find ways for people to live more densely while improving quality of life. Cities should increase residential development, and mixed-use development should be utilized in both the suburbs and cities. Since cities will never be for everyone, suburbs should be better connected to each other. (Maybe Obama is on the right track?)

Ready to put on your walkin' shoes, or are you running for the hills?

Image courtesy of Friends of the High Line

Join The Conversation
tiabia tiabia 8 years
I agree with this. City living does have it's positive (if you live and work in a general vicinity, that makes life extremely easier), but then city living has it's drawbacks...affordability. Until that occurs, I don't see suburban sprawl stopping.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
I wouldn't mind this either but I'd like to have housing big enough for our family of 6 (that doesn't cost a fortune, like mydiadem said).
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
I agree with this, as someone that moved from the suburbs to the city my life is much better. I don't drive, I take public transport, and I have walking access to tons of great ammenities. Its a happier more sustainable way to live. The biggest issue is creating affordable housing for all classes I think.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
i agree with this. It shouldn't be forced, but I think people will find it more appealing to live closer to where everything happens. If markets stopped expecting people to drive to them, instead they drive to the people, our whole landscape would change dramatically. People are drawn to locations where they can get everything they need all in 1 trip.
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