Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Death Of The Fringe Suburb

"DRIVE through any number of outer-ring suburbs in America, and you’ll see boarded-up and vacant strip malls, surrounded by vast seas of empty parking spaces. These forlorn monuments to the real estate crash are not going to come back to life, even when the economy recovers. And that’s because the demand for the housing that once supported commercial activity in many exurbs isn’t coming back, either.

By now, nearly five years after the housing crash, most Americans understand that a mortgage meltdown was the catalyst for the Great Recession, facilitated by underregulation of finance and reckless risk-taking. Less understood is the divergence between center cities and inner-ring suburbs on one hand, and the suburban fringe on the other.

It was predominantly the collapse of the car-dependent suburban fringe that caused the mortgage collapse.

In the late 1990s, high-end outer suburbs contained most of the expensive housing in the United States, as measured by price per square foot, according to data I analyzed from the Zillow real estate database. Today, the most expensive housing is in the high-density, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods of the center city and inner suburbs. Some of the most expensive neighborhoods in their metropolitan areas are Capitol Hill in Seattle; Virginia Highland in Atlanta; German Village in Columbus, Ohio, and Logan Circle in Washington. Considered slums as recently as 30 years ago, they have been transformed by gentrification.

Simply put, there has been a profound structural shift — a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered."

Whole article here by CHRISTOPHER B. LEINBERGER.


mister anchovy said...

This article makes it seem simpler than what perhaps the reality is, although around some American cities this appears to be the case.

Greg S. said...

Here in Germany the trend also is back to the cities. Even smaller cities have experienced real estate price increases, whereas rural areas have been emptied out by lack of jobs and bad demographics. There are lots of families with young children in our inner-city neighborhood, and several kindergartens have opened nearby in the past few years.

Candy Minx said...

Mister Anchovy, I thought it seemed like the article encapsulated many things we've talked about over 30 years like Jane Jacobs. The stuff about the emptying out and changes of the suburbs has been fairly accepted for ages. Things are probably slightly different i Canada and States....because the housing market is a little different. If the U.S. Recession ever effects the Canadian economy then it will trickle over. With someone like Ford in office as a mayor...Toronto will be missing the boat on "alternative transportation" longer than big US. cities. Which is a crime...I wish Toronto and Canadians to be ahead of the curve not out-of-it.

Greg S. I think the phase of some ideal rural lifestyle for everyone is long past....but what do I know?