(This image found in the online article, "Declining suburbs: Twin-Cities area project focuses on how to revitalize communities" in MinnPost. An article related to this blog topic.)
In several previous blog entries in The Chaotic, Fractal and Complex City, I focused on the coming decline of the big box stores (see “The coming collapse of 'Big Box' and department stores and their urban impact” and follow-up entries), and a criticism of the concepts of Dr. Richard Florida, who proposes that the urban young professional creative class will be the primary vehicle for the revitalization of cities (see "It's alive.. It's alive" or another resurrection of the central city. A review of "The Next Major Real Estate Cycle: Walkable Urbanism" in Atlantic Cities .) Although seemingly disparate topics, they have one commonality that links them together, the reorienting of urban areas due to emerging structural forces (such as the growth of Internet shopping, increasing petroleum costs, the loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs, growing service sector, the global economy, decline of the purchasing power of the middle class and changing demographics.) Some of these structural forces have been prevalent for a considerable time period, others such as the growth of Internet shopping, have recently emerged. The suburbs as their core cities are confronting the same issues, but from a different perspective. However, suburbs cannot bemoan their fate and rely on the ‘usual suspects’-local, state and Federal funding for their ‘salvation.’ They must innovate, adapt and form cooperative endeavors to transform themselves. Although the stagnating economy in the U.S can be attributed to some of their problems, the structural changes confronting suburbs will remain to be a factor after the economy begins to improve and unresolved will lead to their transformation through market forces, which may not bode well for them or the overall metropolitan area.
…a light bulb clicked on in metro Detroit. These leaders realized that as diverse as their cities were, they shared important characteristics. They were older, located in close proximity to a major city and had little to no undeveloped land. Many of these cities identified as "inner-ring" or "built-out" suburbs. More importantly, these leaders saw they were all struggling with losing residents to newer subdivisions in younger suburbs, developers that were passing them over because they did not want to deal with the complications of "redeveloping" already existing infrastructure and a deficient state finance system that was disproportionately hurting their aging communities. Working together - to share resources when providing services, to voice their collective concerns and to craft a survival strategy - was the answer to overcoming their challenges.