Suburban Sprawl Redux
How long until we have a redux of suburban sprawl? The Wall Street Journal had an article today discussing a trend in Germany of migration to cities (http://on.wsj.com/ksOW3K). Migration to cities has been a common trend and will continue for some time as the living standards have improved and additionally it provides an opportunity to decouple reliance on automobiles. Although these may seem like the primary factors for the global trend; however each market has to be analyzed separately to determine the attraction of a city. I try to analyze a situation by examining historical precedents while considering modern externalities. At the turn of the 20th century there was a desire for populations to migrate to cities due to the abundance of factories which provided jobs; however suburbs evolved as factories moved out of the city core and automobiles provided commuting opportunities. Factories first found success in cities due to concentration of human capital and an ability to connect and network to innovate, but cities became unattractive due to the pollution factories generated. Once factories left the city they become attractive to inhabit and as witnessed through history, cities provided jobs and a higher standard of living due to the division of labor. We are seeing history repeat itself as populations migrate back towards cities which provide social benefits and jobs. Migration towards cities will drain the suburbs of a tax base and population to support infrastructure and the standard we created. Will there be redux of the flight from the city core? I believe as a larger part of our population moves into cities they will be chased by corporations and commercialize the city and the corporatized cities will be equivalent of the factory pollution which will cause a flight from cities and back towards the suburbs to escape pollution.