Publications

- November 1, 2017: Vol. 29, Number 10

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Mixing it up: The suburbs are coming back into favor, with dense, walkable, urban-like nodes

by Loretta Clodfelter

Twenty-five years ago, the central business district was dead, felled by a long-term trend of corporations moving offices to suburban campuses as they followed employees, who were moving out of cities. In the past decade, however, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction. CBD office and apartments came back into favor. City centers were fun, walkable, dense and safer than before. People, especially millennials, wanted to live and work in downtowns, and the real estate industry responded.

But could that pendulum be preparing to swing in the other direction? Or are downtown and suburban real estate entering equilibrium?

Little boxes

The seeds of suburbia’s downfall (and, perhaps, its rebirth) were planted decades ago. The suburbs, embraced by baby boomers as a safe haven to raise families away from the noise and crime of the big city, were viewed by their children as stifling and conformist — ticky-tacky little boxes that all looked the sa

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