Rising energy prices and falling home values are bringing many exurban dwellers closer to the city core. In this commentary, Keith Schneider argues that central cities and inner-ring suburbs need to work with each other to stay afloat.
"If the half century after World War II was the great age of the suburb, the first half of the 21st century is unfolding as the era of a stronger, more cohesive American citistate of combined center city and much more urban suburbs. Today's economy, politics, and culture mirror that shift. The nation's survival - our sustainability - will depend on it."
"But even as downtown, neighborhoods and smart suburbs start to coalesce, they need to move - quickly and courageously - to assure they'll become success points of a new American Dream."
"More than $200 billion in private and public capital needs to be invested over the next decade to build rapid transit for our metro regions, plus regional high-speed rail lines to connect them. Maximizing energy efficiency in community design, and in buildings and homes, is essential to cope with the energy crisis and address global warming. And we need new zoning to locate people and businesses and shopping and schools alongside each other, something that's now actually illegal in many American communities (and critical if we're to promote biking and walking and combat our alarming obesity epidemic)."