So says Christopher B. Leinberger, an urban land use expert, in a recent essay in The Atlantic Monthly. While that dark vision is not shared by all observers, it's clear to most that "change or die" is still the operative phrase.
Outlying suburban homes in many parts of the U.S. are now worth less than the materials that went into building them. The cycle is that homeowners have no incentive to invest in their homes and banks won’t finance renovations anyway. Homeowners with a choice move away, leaving behind those who can’t afford to live anywhere else. Crime and decay isn’t far behind.
The answer: Make communities, not subdivisions. Create walkable cities, which appeal to up-and-coming homebuyers:
On the flip side, the trend to walkable urbanism is driven by those in their 20s and 30s, who don’t want to spend their disposable income on cars and crave high-density and fast-paced downtown living. A whole lot of experts — perhaps Richard Florida best known among them — say for cities to thrive, they have to cater to young, creative workers who are sought after by the employees of the knowledge economy.
But baby boomers, singles, childless couples and empty nesters are also looking for interesting urban living in droves. And their proportion of the population is rising.
This is the challenge that the city of Franklin faces right now. How will local leadership respond?
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