Photo by Christopher Schoenbohm.

Hold the phone. The Census Bureau has just released new numbers suggesting that America’s largest cities surged past the suburbs in 2011, growing at a faster rate than the ’burbs for the first time since Henry Ford started rolling out the cars that would fuel almost a century of sprawl.

If the numbers hold up (these are between-year estimates, not full-blown census counts) they represent a dramatic shift, and one that fits nicely into our favorite narrative about cities rising from rust while suburbs languish in big-box obsolescence.