The article goes on to note that "the mental line between city and suburb no longer makes much sense; policies need to treat metropolitan areas as a whole." I've argued for some time that we need not pit cities against suburbs, but rather that we should seek the welfare of the whole metropolis. Urban issues are suburban issues, and vice versa. As new suburbs and exurbs become the new cities, old suburbs become old cities, with all the same kinds of challenges and issues. The article concludes:
Suburbs now provide more jobs than cities. Only about 22 percent of jobs in major metropolitan areas are located within three miles of a traditional downtown; twice as many are more than 10 miles out. Suburbs also host more immigrants: in the largest metropolitan areas, nearly six in 10 foreign-born residents now live in the suburbs. In places like Charlotte, N.C., Minneapolis, Sacramento, Calif., and Washington, the first address of many new Americans is most likely down a suburban lane.
Then there are the downsides. Nationwide, a million more suburbanites are living below the poverty line than city dwellers. Suburban St. Louis County, Mo., has 50 percent more working-poor families than the city of St. Louis itself. The mortgage crisis only adds to the problems. The foreclosure rate in Clayton County, which encompasses many of Atlanta's southern suburbs, is twice as high as that in Atlanta. Homes in neighborhoods close to downtown Chicago, Pittsburgh and Portland, Ore., have held their value, while prices for homes far from those urban cores have plummeted, according to new research by Joe Cortright, an economist at Impresa Consulting.
The end of the (traditional) suburbs was inevitable. Hopeful, mobile Americans may once have thought they could leave behind the pressures, demands and compromises of city life. But social concerns inexorably follow society. Our leaders, starting with a metro-minded president, now have to make the mental jump across the urban-suburban boundary, and catch up.