Is Newark a City?
Evans sees Cox's recent article as an attempt to "muddy the waters" that demonstrate increased interest in urban living, and struggling far-flung exurbs.
Evans argues that for urban commentators who feel "threatened" by these trends, Wendell Cox and Joel Kotkin among them, "The 'problem'... (and this is only a problem if you're seeking to discredit the notion that there might be people out there who don't want to live in spread-out, single-use, cul-de-sac suburbia) is that people moving back into denser, downtown-style small towns and older suburbs supports the idea of a return to a pre-Interstate Highway-era settlement pattern."
Which brings Evans to Newark. In their efforts to disprove the rise in urban living, "sprawl apologists" define "suburb and exurb" so broadly that it includes everything but the biggest cities. "By doing so, you are effectively taking data that contradicts your preferred narrative and using it instead to bolster that narrative. That's what Joel Kotkin has been doing, and it's what Wendell Cox is doing in this more recent New Geography article. Cox's concept of a 'suburb' is even more inclusive than Kotkin's, capturing not just Jersey City (among others) but Newark, New Jersey's largest city."