Intown Living: A Different American Dream

Intown Living: A Different American Dream

Intown Living: A Different American Dream

Intown Living: A Different American Dream

Synopsis

The American dream of a single family home on its own lot is still strong, but a different dream of living and prospering in a major city is beginning to take hold. After decades of abandonment by the middle class, a detectable number of people are moving into urban downtown areas. The Intown Living phenomenon is generally powered by people under the age of 40 who are seeking more stimulation than offered in the typical subdivision lifestyle. This book encourages cities and the private development community to team up and expand central city housing opportunities and illustrates the upside of Intown Living to those considering moving to a city.

Excerpt

We have long believed that if the city could once again be seen as an attractive place to live—if we as a nation could repopulate our center cities where needed infrastructure is already in place—it would help curb sprawl and stem the loss of valuable open space at the edges of our metropolitan areas and produce a healthier, more energetic, and better connected population.

About our title, Intown Living: A Different American Dream. Originally we were going to concentrate strictly on downtowns. But definitions of downtown vary and are sometimes difficult to pin down. Further, some cities take a very expansive view of “downtown” to the point of being misleading. In our first case study, Atlanta, we discovered the Midtown neighborhood there had more of the urban characteristics we sought than the core downtown as of 2003. And when we next visited Houston and Dallas and found that they too had near-downtown neighborhoods where Intown Living was flourishing more than in their traditional downtowns, despite pretty heroic efforts, we changed the title to reflect this fact.

The idea for this book occurred during back-to-back community consulting assignments in Dallas and Houston in the late 1990s. In each of these quintessentially suburban, sprawling metropolises noted for deadly downtowns, we found to our surprise and delight a nascent center city residential population. Not huge in numbers, but clearly not just a few cranks and bohemians. In fact, more than a few pillars of the establishment were included.

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