Most modern cities such as Atlanta and Phoenix have become industrial shelters with large buildings and fast freeways to remote suburbs. Older cities are making a comeback. Population density seems to increase a city’s popularity as a go-to destination (think NYC, SF, Tokyo, etc.). Interesting things are happening in places like St. Louis and Detroit.
Social media technologies and the Millennial movement have urbanized lifestyles. Cities are becoming gentrified because of the human need to experience life with increased intensity. This intensity just doesn’t happen in the suburbs because large-scale planning doesn’t account for making ‘people’ places closer.
This great talk by architect Jan Gehl provides a blueprint for civic and business leaders to create ‘people’ spaces and foster an urban culture, even in the suburbs. There’s a reason why people would pay much more to live in a cramped city space versus an expansive suburb. Culture is everything when the community forms naturally around you.
Some emerging cities like Portland and Austin understand Jan’s thinking by allowing ‘tribes (link)‘ to form in these spaces. Urban planning should be people-centric. Sustainable development would naturally happen if people stayed in closer quarters.