Central Cities

Close-up of blue sign with white text reading PARKING CLOSED with urban glass buildings in background.

Opinion: Cities Must Take Action on Blighted Downtown Parking Lots

Surface parking lots take up as much as a third of downtown land in some cities, dragging down tax revenue and redevelopment prospects.

March 31, 2024 - The Washington Post

Aerial Philadelphia cityscape by night with the City Hall tower in the foreground and Ben Franklin bridge spanning Delaware river in the back

Report: American Downtowns Safer Than You Think

A Brookings Institution study reveals that crime rates in major cities have risen, but downtown districts account for a negligible part of the growth.

April 12, 2023 - The Philadelphia Inquirer


Comparing Downtown Recovery Across U.S. Cities

The Downtown Vitality Index measures how central cities are adjusting to post-pandemic conditions.

April 3, 2023 - Washington Business Journal

Houston Sprawl

Houston Area's Center of Gravity Shifts Outside the Loop

The population center of Harris County is now outside central Houston, a shift that occurred over the last two decades as the region's suburbs blossomed.

January 21, 2022 - Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research


Study: Without Fewer Cars, Cities Will be 'Overrun by Gridlock'

Local leaders must invest in public transit and other incentives to reduce the number of private vehicles and congestion in cities.

July 15, 2021 - Gizmodo

Portland Green Loop

Portland Residents Participate in Design of 'Green Loop'

Community input is crucial to a plan that would wrap Portland in a ring of greenery and pathways.

August 25, 2016 - Next City

British Rowhouses

Report: Britain's Suburbs on the Decline

London's central core never experienced the deterioration many American downtowns lived through, but the inner city/suburb dynamic was still at play. Now poverty is moving outward.

July 29, 2016 - The Telegraph

Busy Downtown

New Data on the Shift to Cities

It's no secret that urban centers are doing better today than they were 30 years ago. New FHFA data on housing prices confirms the trend and suggests that a changing environment (as opposed to changing preferences) account for it.

July 6, 2016 - The Washington Post

Study: Affordable Housing Policy Increases Segregation in the Twin Cities

A new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota identifies the consequences of Twin Cities affordable housing policy: deepening racial and economic segregation.

March 7, 2015 - MinnPost

Gentrification, Shmentrification

Despite media commentary about urban gentrification and the decline of suburbia, suburbs still have far less than a proportionate share of regional poverty.

October 1, 2013 - Michael Lewyn

"No Net Loss" for Third Places?

Amid the dissolution of Borders bookstores in urban centers, Chuck Wolfe urges policymakers and the private market to assure "no let loss" in the spirit of natural resource protection to assure third places remain available in American cities.

July 25, 2011 - Sustainable Cities Collective

Why Were Census Estimates So Different From The Census?

Why did the Census estimate Atlanta's population as 541,000 in 2009 and count only 420,000 people in 2010?

April 28, 2011 - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The City/Suburb Income Gap- Bigger or Smaller?

The Brookings Institution's "State of Metropolitan America" database (at http://www.brookings.edu/metro/StateOfMetroAmerica/Map.aspx#/?subject=7&ind=70&dist=0&data=Number&year=2009&geo=metro&zoom=0&x=0&y=0 ) contains a wealth of information both on central cities and their metropolitan areas.  One issue I was curious about was the economic gap (or lack thereof) between cities and their suburbs.

April 22, 2011 - Michael Lewyn

Shopping Mall Sprawl Hurting City Businesses in Israel

Historic downtowns in Israel are struggling against the growing tide of suburban American-style shopping malls that are developing on the outskirts of town.

August 26, 2009 - Tablet

Suburbs and City Cores Need Cohesion

Rising energy prices and falling home values are bringing many exurban dwellers closer to the city core. In this commentary, Keith Schneider argues that central cities and inner-ring suburbs need to work with each other to stay afloat.

July 31, 2008 - Citiwire

The Myth of the Urban Core

Question: What do Keybank Tower in Cleveland, the Kettering Tower in Dayton, and One Seagate in Toledo have in common? Answer: They are their respective city’s tallest buildings, and they were built after their city’s population peaked.

December 18, 2007 - Samuel Staley

Boomer Megacities: Tokyo As a Barometer for the Developed World?

I had heard stories about this the last time I visited Japan in 2004, but this month's Tokyo city briefing from The Economist brought this trend back to my attention. It seems retiring boomers are abandoning their suburban bedroom communities to return to the metropolitan core - presumably to be near friends, cultural attractions, and other amenities (health care? education?). I've seen rumblings of this as well in the New York metro area.

April 17, 2007 - Anthony Townsend

Central Cities Are Nothing Special

Hi - I'm excited about the start of this blog! I am the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Next American City, where we promote socially and environmentally sustainable economic growth for American cities and suburbs in our magazine, events, and op-eds. Looking forward to the conversations over the coming months and years on this site, and I'm always open to ideas for what I should discuss here, or what our team at TNAC, including our President Seth Brown, Publisher Michelle Kuly, Editor Jess McCuan, and everyone else that makes TNAC happen, should cover. The national media is obsessed with the story of central cities coming back. Let's put aside whether this story is real or not (one on hand, I could show you similar clippings from any of the last five decades and suburban growth rates are still much higher; on the other hand, there does seem to be a slight resurgence in many cities lately that goes beyond what we've seen in the past). My question - from a planning standpoint - is - who cares?

February 23, 2007 - Anonymous

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