The urban renaissance that isn’t (yet)

Chicago sprawl.Chicago’s in it for the long sprawl. Photo: Scorpions and CentaursWhen the final 2010 Census came in, it made clear that the renaissance had not arrived yet — at least not in any statistically meaningful way. An analysis of eight metro areas, including Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Austin, revealed that in the past decade, 96 percent of the population growth occurred in the suburbs. Some took great exception to this number crunching, arguing that it lumped a number of full-fledged cities in with the ‘burbs. But while the Census, stripped of much of the nuance that it had contained in previous years, painted a rather fuzzy picture, there was little to suggest any inmigraiton into urban centers. The will was there, it seemed, but with suburban home prices in the toilet and the job market in the tank, Americans just weren’t finding a way to extract themselves from the ‘burbs and make the leap back to the city. Back in the car, kids. Looks like this is going to be a longer haul than we’d hoped …