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The Age Of The Great Dispersal

Despite "Smart Growth" entreaties, outward migration continues.
April 16, 2004, 2pm PDT | Abhijeet Chavan | @legalaidtech
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The most recent Census Bureau data, documenting demographic trends since the 2000 Census, suggest that the “smart growth” movement is having little influence on reshaping America’s urban landscape. As David Brooks, an astute observer of demographic trends, notes in a recent article “We are living in the age of the great dispersal... From New Hampshire down to Georgia, across Texas to Arizona and up through California, you now have the booming exurban sprawls that have broken free of the gravitational pull of the cities and now float in a new space far beyond them.”

Nor is the exurban dispersal likely to lose strength anytime soon. The biggest factor influencing future population movements is the projected addition of some 64 million people by 2020. It is hard to conceive that this population bulge could be accommodated in existing built-up areas where neighborhood opposition to increasing density through infill development already is fierce. Future historians are likely to view the “smart growth” movement as yet another example of a planning ideology that has foundered for lack of a realistic understanding of the power of demographic pressures, market forces and consumer preferences.

Thanks to C. Kenneth Orski

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Published on Thursday, April 15, 2004 in Innovation Briefs
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