Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If you could live where you wanted …

    This week I’ll write about the growing number of assertions that the collapse of the housing boom and the American economy spells the end of sprawl and the revival of the dense city –- an assertion that runs counter to many of the ideas that I typically post in this blog.  First, the Pew Research Center published a report recently of a survey about where Americans want to live.  Metro areas that topped the list were Denver, San Diego, Seattle, Orlando, and Tampa (Who says that hosting both the World Series and Super Bowl does nothing for civic fame?). 
Nycsidewalk      But in what sort of environment do people wish to live?  Interestingly, just about as many people said they would prefer to live in a suburb as do currently live there.  But fewer wish to live in a city, and more want to live in a small town or rural area.  From these and other stats, New York Times columnist David Brooks concluded that Americans don’t want to live in Amsterdam-like density.  This might be a bit of an overstatement.  Not surprisingly, young people tended to prefer a city, whereas older people tended to prefer a suburb or small town.  But more than 71 percent said that they preferred a place with a slower pace of life.  And (“just for fun,” the Pew report stated), somewhat more Americans wanted a McDonald’s in their community than a Starbucks ….

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