The past decade has seen a gusher of books arguing for and detailing the supposed ascendency of dense urban cores, like the inimitable Edward Glaeser’s influential Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, and about the ‘burbs as the slums of the future, abandoned by businesses and young people, like Leigh Gallagher’s The Death of Suburbia: Where the American Dream Is Moving.
But as we show in Infinite Suburbia, the new book we co-edited, the vast majority of American economic and demographic growth continues to take place there.
Let’s start with people.
Cities are about people. Where they move suggests their reasonable aspirations.
Even when Levittown was being built 70 years ago, there has always been a portion of the population — particularly the young, well-educated, affluent and often childless — that craves the density and excitement of downtown (CBD) life. But this group — heavy with members of the media — consequently attracts vastly outsized attention.
In fact, 151 million people live in America’s suburbs and exurbs, more than six