Monday, March 10, 2008

The war on the suburbs

During the recent transit tax debate, some light rail foes argued that CATS and City Hall were assaulting the suburban way of life, engaging in a plan to force folks out of their houses with lawns and into inner-city high-rises. But less ideological observers have noticed that it's not government conspiracies, but market forces themselves that are boosting urban living over the traditional suburban American Dream. On Saturday's Viewpoint page, Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institution cited changing demographics as one of those forces -- new householders and empty-nesters looking for a "walkable urbanism." (Leinberger will speak at the Civic by Design Forum today, Tuesday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m. at the Levin Museum of the New South. Contact Brenda Campbell for more info.)

And John McIlwain, in the latest issue of the Urban Land Institute's Multifamily Trends magazine, says the trends of cost, affordability, energy supply and climate change will radically re-shape America's housing market. He illustrates his arguments with 2 striking graphs, the first showing the energy use by suburban vs. urban homes, the second showing the future demand vs. the supply of housing (with a negative demand for new suburban-type development in 2025):

McIlwain's entire piece can be found here.

What do you think? Just click the "Comments" link below to continue the conversation.


Anonymous said...


Please don't let the Burbanites in on the secret. Then they will all end up in the city. I like it just like it is now. Bustling during the weekdays and evenings and a bit quieter on the weekend day time hours. Let them keep their Suburban traffic all to themselves. I like being able to walk everywhere I need to go without worrying about some mini van running me down.

Anonymous said...

Downtown Charlotte doesn't even begin to compare with urban environs in real cities. Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

It's changed dramatically since I moved uptown five years ago. In the coming months EpiCenter will open bringing movies, bowling, restaurants, retail and a bunch of entertainment choices. Next year Founders will reopen its 2 story retail section on the entire block of college and the Ritz will open as well.

A new city park, baseball, Brevard street turning into a pedestrian retail street, more condo towers opening in 2009, hardcore nightclubs like CrowBar are looking to open (who are currently only in Miami, Chicago, Lebanon and Buenos Aires).

Museums all over S. Tryon within 2 years.

Give it a few years and it will be dramatically better yet again. Give it 10 years and it will be incredible.

I don't remember comparing it to NYC, just way better than Burbia. But then again, that doesn't take much does it ?

........... yeah, I'll just have to get over myself alright. Go mow your lawn.

Anonymous said...

We need a MADAME TUSADES Museum in Charlotte; Washington D.C, just for People who dont know ,this is not an escort house. MADAME TUSADES is a wax museum and the best in the world. They originated in Europe and ar great.

Anonymous said...

Once in France I stayed in a Hotel that had one right next to my room; The extra door led straight into the Museum and was locked from the manufacturing side as well as my side , THANK GOD. I though I heard footsteps that night on the other side but they said " they have a night watchmen".
I went an asked the security guard and they said, " no one is in their and no security gaurd". Anyway I loved the wax figures of the QUEEN ,civil war figures and beatles and much ,many ,many more

Anonymous said...

The elitist attitude of the previous poster that lives "up"town is evident. In reality, there's not physically enough space currently to house all those that live outside the 277 loop, and the idea that climate change is going to somehow force people to all live in vertical boxes is ridiculous. Some of the most polluted countries have huge urban areas (China, India, etc.). Many also can't afford the outragious costs associated tied to condo living.

I'd rather play with my kids in the backyard anyday than go to a "hardcore" nightclub anyway.

Anonymous said...

So explaining why you like it is now considered an
"elitist attitude".

Okay Mr. GOP

Anonymous said...

There are likely more GOP affiliates living uptown than liberals. Think about it.

It's explaining what you like and expecting that everyone else should like it, too. Maybe we can even enact some laws to force people to modify their behavior to fit what you like.

Anonymous said...

I did my urban living in my 20's and 30's, in a REAL city, NY. I've had my fill. Give me the suburbs any day.

btw, that's quite a list of "urban" entertainment options you have coming up. Movies, bowling...all I can say is WOW! ***zzzzz...zzzz....zzzzz...*

Anonymous said...

P.S. I'm a different anonymous than the guy you were sparring with before.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm Mr. Burban B.S.'er

I think I also mentioned clubs, retail, restaurants, parks, museums, sports. What elese could YOU possibly want from an urban life ?

Like I said before, I never said NYC which by the way is were I grew up and spent my early adult life. So don't think you are talking to some local hick who moved uptown and thinks it's "all that".

I frequently go back to NYC to get my dose of real city life. But Charlotte is the perfect mix. Lots to do, cheaper and safer. Safer that is except for out in the burbs. I'll take my well lit, totally secured, video cameras, concierge and police on foot any day of the week over your dimly lit cul-de-sac.


Anonymous said...

I will enjoy. I'll take rural Americana (where I raise free range chicken and organic vegeatbles that you likely pay for in your uptown restaurants), trees, open land, and free flowing streams anyday.

What did Bob Marley mean, anyway, when he referred to the concrete jungle?

Have fun at the tennis court, Biff.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, don't play tennis, Barney.
Say hello to Aunt Bee for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Here at the compound we're more Hunter Thompson than Barny Fife.

Anonymous said...

I'll just go anywhere I can afford. Unfortunately, it seems that I will not be able to afford life in either place with this type of economy. Thanks God Bush is on his last months at the helm.