News Update: A Brookings Report on the Evolving Landscape of Suburbia

  • A Brookings Institute conference looks at the evolving landscape of American suburbia. The 2010 U.S. Census reveals that both cities and suburbs are growing at a smaller rate than in the 1990s. The relationship between city and suburban growth within a metropolitan area remains correlated. In other words, the “metropolitan-wide population change—increase, decrease, or stagnation—continue[s] to set the stage for both city and suburban growth patterns. With regards to employment, traditional downtowns account for merely 1 in 5 jobs in the entire metro area. Over 45 percent of jobs now lie 10 miles or farther from the city center, as decentralization—including a significant amount of immigrant groups—continues to blur traditional demographics on the periphery. Many lower-income immigrants skip the city life altogether, as suburban housing is becoming increasingly more affordable. The number of suburbanites in poverty is relatedly on the rise—now at 20% of the total suburban population. While crime has dropped in both city and suburb, actual violent crime rates show that the once idyllic suburban zones suffer as much crime as their neighboring city centers. The cities and suburbs are sharing more and more attributes and characteristics, leading to a similar set of challenges for the upcoming decade and beyond.

also:

  • Between 1996 and 2010, apartment construction in downtown Seattle accounted for only 43% of the region’s total new apartments—as the surrounding suburbs received the brunt of attention. Today—in a complete turnaround—the city accounts for 85% of construction projects, with over 3,000 apartment units in development. Developers are bypassing the suburbs as the apartment industry rebounds from the recession, leading to decreasing vacancy rates and an upswing in rental prices. A growing number of recent homeowners are searching for apartments and analysts estimate a 25% increases in rents, which is largely responsible for stimulating the surge in new construction. Apartments can typically fetch more rent in the immediate downtown area, and—coupled with friendly zoning laws—the downtown area of Seattle is ripe for an apartment boom unlike any in recent decades.
  • When comparing cities, suburbia, and rural areas—the suburbs come out on top with regards to healthy lives. Suburbanites in the United States rate their own health the highest and typically have less premature deaths. Homicides and sexually transmitted diseases are also much lower.  While anomalies exist around the country, the pervading trends are a significant glimpse into the lives of Americans. Higher wages and easier access to health care are certainly contributors, as suburban dwellers make $7,000 more per year than their urban counterparts and a whopping $21,000 more than people living in rural America. Yet people in suburbia are happier (by their account, anyway), which may ultimately be the determining factor.
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One Comment on “News Update: A Brookings Report on the Evolving Landscape of Suburbia”

  1. Ramona
    August 17, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    I’ve been doing quite a bit of apartment research and Beaumont seems like great apartments in Seattle. The images of them are stunning and they seem to have some awesome amenities for the price.

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