Downtown Renaissance

June 23, 2006 • Volume 16, Issue 24
Are center cities finally returning to health?
By Alan Greenblatt

Introduction

A renovated penthouse condominium overlooks Nashville's vibrant downtown. The $1.2 million, 23rd-floor duplex was featured in the city's 2006 downtown home tour.  (Nashville Downtown Partnership)
A renovated penthouse condominium overlooks Nashville's vibrant downtown. The $1.2 million, 23rd-floor duplex was featured in the city's 2006 downtown home tour. (Nashville Downtown Partnership)

After World War II, suburban job and population growth in the United States far outstripped that of cities, leading many to worry that downtowns were doomed. In recent years, however, many cities have revived their fortunes by fashioning downtowns that are attractive and — for the first time in decades — drawing in new residents. Once-forlorn urban centers from San Diego to Philadelphia are now busy construction zones that are filling up with trendy shops and restaurants. But despite the good news, downtowns are still grabbing only a tiny fraction of metropolitan growth. Some skeptics worry that the downtown renaissance is fragile, largely built on upscale shopping and entertainment — relatively new trends that could easily change. But others believe downtowns, having once again become the most vital parts of many cities, will provide a model for future development — even in the suburbs.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Urban Planning
Jul. 27, 2012  Smart Cities
Apr. 09, 2010  Earthquake Threat
Apr. 2009  Rapid Urbanization
Jun. 23, 2006  Downtown Renaissance Updated
May 28, 2004  Smart Growth
Oct. 03, 1997  Urban Sprawl in the West
Mar. 21, 1997  Civic Renewal
Oct. 13, 1995  Revitalizing the Cities
Jun. 09, 1989  Not in My Back Yard!
Apr. 28, 1989  Do Enterprise Zones Work?
Nov. 22, 1985  Supercities: Problems of Urban Growth
Jul. 23, 1982  Reagan and the Cities
Nov. 18, 1977  Saving America's Cities
Oct. 31, 1975  Neighborhood Control
Nov. 21, 1973  Future of the City
Feb. 07, 1973  Restrictions on Urban Growth
May 20, 1970  Urbanization of the Earth
Nov. 06, 1968  New Towns
Oct. 04, 1967  Private Enterprise in City Rebuilding
Feb. 10, 1965  Megalopolis: Promise and Problems
Mar. 04, 1964  City Beautiful
Aug. 21, 1963  Urban Renewal Under Fire
Jan. 21, 1959  Metropolitan Areas and the Federal Government
Jul. 30, 1958  Persistence of Slums
Dec. 09, 1953  Outspreading Cities
Nov. 22, 1952  Slum Clearance: 1932–1952
Jan. 14, 1937  Zoning of Urban and Rural Areas
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Regional Planning and Urbanization