Sprawl or Urban? Market Shows Mixed Signals

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March 11, 2015

A sustainable planning expert looks through recent headlines about how cities and developments are planned, and found mixed signals.

On one hand, many big companies are moving closer to urban cores to attract a younger, talented crowd. On the other, builders report that larger lot sizes in sprawling neighborhoods are still high on demand.

But one distinction that expert Kaid Benfield is confident of is a shift in how the “suburbs” and “urban core” are defined.

“The distinction between cities and suburbs is eroding,” Benfield writes. “The real distinction that matters for the 21st century is between more walkable, diverse and healthy places, on the one hand, and more automobile-dependent, monolithic, and unhealthy ones, on the other.”

According to Benfield, both cities and suburbs are in fact becoming more walkable and environmentally sustainable.

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