08
Jan
09

demographic inversion

This is the generation that grew up watching “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” and “Sex and the City,” mostly from the comfort of suburban sofas. We have gone from a sitcom world defined by “Leave It to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best” to one that offers a whole range of urban experiences and enticements.

They are drawn to the densely packed urban life that they saw on television and found vastly more interesting than the cul-de-sac world they grew up in. And, by and large, I believe central cities will give it to them.

We will never return–nor would most of us want to return–to the close-knit but frequently constricting form of community life that prevailed 50 years ago. But, as we rearrange ourselves in and around many of our big cities, we are groping toward the new communities of the twenty-first century.

Deindustrialization, lower crime rates, higher gas prices, and a young population adopting different lifestyles than their parents have contributed to the general flight from today’s car-dependent surbia and into urban environments. Very similar comparisons can be made today that parallel the demographic inversion of European cities of the mid-19th century. Continue reading Alan Ehrenhalt’s piece on Urban Inversion.

Alan Ehrenhalt is executive editor of Governing Magazine and author of The United States of Ambition and The Lost City.

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