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Kotkin on Cities: What the Hipsters Want is Not What the People Want

Joel Kotkin checks in with a dissenting take on the politics and demographics behind the urban revival.
nobody 99 / Flickr

Joel Kotkin takes on the "current convention wisdom" about cities and urbanism: "Overlooked, or even disdained, is what most middle-class residents of the metropolis actually want: home ownership, rapid access to employment throughout the metropolitan area, good schools and 'human scale' neighborhoods."

According to Kotkin, "[a] vast majority of people — roughly 8o percent — prefer a single-family home, whether in the city or surrounding communities. And they may not get “creative” gigs at ad agencies or writers collectives, but look instead for decent-paying opportunities in fields such as construction, manufacturing or logistics." At the time of Planetizen's writing, the link to the reported 80 percent preference was down.

According to Kotkin, cities like Houston, Austin, Nashville and Salt Lake City are actually giving the people what they want, not "luxury cities" like Los Angeles or New York City.

Full Story: The people designing your cities don’t care what you want. They’re planning for hipsters.

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