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What's the future of the 'burbs?


Two recent articles from Twin Cities-based news site MinnPost have focused on the future of the urban landscape — on the suburban one, too.

The first viewpoint comes from Richard Florida, author of the book “The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity.” In a nutshell, he believes that when the economy recovers, it “will demand cleaner, more efficient ways of living, traveling, working and arranging our communities if we hope to climb out of our hole and catch the next wave of prosperity.”

Smaller homes and better, more efficient public transportation seem to be two of his main viewpoints. And this idea of transforming the way we live is important and valid and may come to pass.

But MinnPost also featured the viewpoint of author Joel Kotkin (“The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050”). His view is that the new green urbanism is a bit of a pipe dream. Partly this has to do with psychology: a large number of Americans will always prefer single family suburban homes to multi-family urban living.

But isn’t the problem of urban sprawl something cities are racing to fix? Kotkin believes that cities will decline in importance. Jobs and services will keep moving outwards to where people live, hopefully cutting down on time spent in the car.

What do you think? Which vision will take hold after the recovery? Will you find yourself building urban mixed-used developments or suburban homes with picket fences? Or will some third building trend drive the recovery?