To Thrive, Suburbs Might Become More Urban
The piece, by Haya el Nasser, starts out talking about how population is falling in many of the suburbs that grew most quickly over the last few decades -- places like Bellevue, Washington. These communities have become known as "boomburbs." But their boom days are past -- for now. Some have begun losing population.
Robert Lang, a professor of sociology at the University of Nevada, Las
Vegas who coined the term "boomburbs," put it this way: "The irony is
that if they want to keep growing, they must grow as cities, which is
diametrically opposite of how they got so big in the first place."
And transit will be key to that transformation:
Population has declined since 2006 in Irving, Texas, but the city is prepared for healthy growth as soon as a light-rail line to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is completed. "Eventually, you have to shift your focus to not just booming growth but redevelopment," Mayor Herbert Gears says. "That (rail) line is what's given us the opportunity to create an urban center."
Condominiums, apartments and retail are planned along the transit line. The city projects a 240,000 population by 2015, an 11% jump.
Growth in Henderson, Nev., near Las Vegas, has slowed but not stopped. "With the slowdown we've seen, it gives us an opportunity to take a breath," says city spokesman Bud Cranor. Henderson is focused on creating "green" jobs and a more sustainable urban environment, he says.
The article highlights what is emerging as a powerful unifying argument for smarter development: economics. It's an approach that could bring conservatives and liberals together. And it will certainly be part of Transportation for America's upcoming discussion on conservatives and public transportation.More from the network: Bike Portland on results from an ad campaign that asked, "Should cyclists pay road tax?" Dotage St. Louis on an attractive replacement for a parking lot. And Rights of Way in Portland, Maine, on what a difference a four-foot narrowing of a street can make.