Tanya Snyder wades into the ongoing discussion over whether America's urban revival can be sustained, a question that essentially hinges on whether cities are creating an attractive alternative to the suburbs for raising children.
As Snyder points out, with cultural amenities, walkable environments, diversity, and a host of other "child-friendly urban amenities," cities are becoming a more attractive alternative for parents with young children. But as Snyder's anecdotes, and a recent article titled "The Childless City" by Joel Kotkin and Ali Modarres, attest, the allure of the suburbs is still strong.
Kotkin and Modarres point out that, "In cities with populations greater than 500,000, the population of children aged 14 and younger actually declined between 2000 and 2010, according to U.S. Census data, with New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Detroit experiencing the largest numerical drop." Snyder doesn't quibble with the numbers, but instead focuses on her positive (but subjective) experience of raising a child in Washington D.C.
"As Vancouver planner Brent Toderian wrote recently (and others have said before), 'Kids are the indicator species of a great neighborhood,'” she notes. There's no question that city leaders that want to sustain their recent revivals would be wise to heed his, and Snyder's, advice.
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Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
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