The Lure of Cities – Is It Real?

We’ve often heard new urbanist types claim that young people just starting out prefer to live in cities. Apparently this is just not true statistically.

“In fact, as a new Brookings study shows, millennials are not moving en masse to large, dense cities but away from them. According to demographer Bill Frey, the 2013–17 American Community Survey shows that New York now suffers the largest net annual outmigration of post-college millennials (ages 25–34) of any metro area—some 38,000 annually—followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Diego. New York’s losses are 75 percent higher than during the previous five-year period.”

“In truth, despite a much praised art scene and often gushing media treatment, downtown LA’s revival has done little to improve the overall region. The LA basin has been losing jobs that pay more than $75,000 annually for a decade and now suffers among the high­est levels of housing overcrowding and poverty, the least af­fordable housing, the lowest homeownership rates, and the second-largest concentration of homeless in the nation.”

“Given these realities, it’s not surprising that would-be gentrifiers face increasing and even violent opposition. In Los Angeles, gen­trification efforts have sparked grassroots rebellions in the historically African American Crenshaw district, Chinatown, South Los An­geles, and, most especially, East Los Angeles. In 2015, a real estate firm littered LA’s Arts District with a “Why Rent Downtown When You Could Own in Boyle Heights?” flyer. Realtors promoted a bike tour through the “charming, historic, walkable and bikeable neigh­borhood.” After the realtor received messages like “Stay outta my hood” and “I hope your 60-minute bike ride is a total disaster,” the event was canceled.”

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