hollow city, empty suburbs

Over at the Atlantic Monthly, Christopher B. Leinberger suggests that suburbs are "the next slum." In his article for the March issue, he observes a massive oversupply in housing and suggests that Americans are moving, en masse, back to the city. The result, he concludes, is that the suburbs will be as eviscerated as cities were in the 1950s. 

Not so fast. Suburbs may have an oversupply of housing and older, inner ring suburbs are increasingly the first destination for immigrants, but cities have their own problems, not the least of which is a huge amount of purchasing by investors and global travelers who want an pied-à-terre in every major city.

See this harrowing article from the New York Times on life at the Plaza Hotel, recently converted to condos. In this scenario, reminiscent of Hollow City, the history of late 1990s San Francisco by Rebecca Solnit, cities become impossibly expensive playgrounds for a global élite with more ordinary individuals such as cooks, nurses, lawyers, dentists, doctors living on the periphery wearing T-shirts that say "Bring Back the Real NY."

 

Over at the Atlantic Monthly, Christopher B. Leinberger suggests that suburbs are "the next slum." In his article for the March issue, he observes a massive oversupply in housing and suggests that Americans are moving, en masse, back to the city. The result, he concludes, is that the suburbs will be as eviscerated as cities were in the 1950s. 

Not so fast. Suburbs may have an oversupply of housing and older, inner ring suburbs are increasingly the first destination for immigrants, but cities have their own problems, not the least of which is a huge amount of purchasing by investors and global travelers who want an pied-à-terre in every major city.

See this harrowing article from the New York Times on life at the Plaza Hotel, recently converted to condos. In this scenario, reminiscent of Hollow City, the history of late 1990s San Francisco by Rebecca Solnit, cities become impossibly expensive playgrounds for a global élite with more ordinary individuals such as cooks, nurses, lawyers, dentists, doctors living on the periphery wearing T-shirts that say "Bring Back the Real NY."

 

One thought on “hollow city, empty suburbs

  1. You write: “Not so fast.” I
    You write: “Not so fast.” I say: Good point. Leinberger points to “lifestyle centers” as the suburban/urban mash on the periphery that will sort the McMansion issue out…something the NYT alluded to a long time ago in this article: http://tinyurl.com/2v26vl.

    It annoys me you know, this reverse fortune narrative of “prosperous neighborhoods turn poor”. Forgive my urbanist sincerities but most of the planet works on less than a $1 a day and the next slum we should be worrying about is Bangladesh after the catastrophic flood, not isolated homesteads in the United States, bought and enjoyed on fictive values.

    🙁

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