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Cities Suburbanize While Suburbs Urbanize

As the internet makes retail more widely accessible, and poverty and density move to suburbs, the difference between cities and suburbs is shrinking, narrowing lifestyle choices.
October 26, 2017, 1pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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In a wide-ranging piece that explores changing cities, Tyler Cowen writes that the difference between cities and suburbs is under siege from scores of different adversaries. Factors as diverse as young people's supposed lack of interest in booze and sex, NIMBYism, and the wide availability of shopping. "Twenty years ago, D.C. residents would drive to the suburbs for retail shopping. The chaining of urban America, plus the ascent of Amazon, has made this largely unnecessary," Cowen writes.

But shopping is just part of the trend, as NIMBYs make cities less dense and push poor people out of cities, "Poverty, which used to be a problem of cities and rural areas, is an increasingly suburban phenomenon, with municipalities and counties unprepared for their new burdens," Cowen opines. Cowen argues that cities were destinations for those seeking alcohol and sex, and he cites a study that indicates a trend toward less premarital sex and less drinking among young people as another engine for the change in cities. If you don't find that convincing, your humble author didn't either.

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Published on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 in Bloomberg
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