The Future of American Cities, Part 2

From: Redeemer City to City

American cities saw twenty years of decline (1970-1990) and twenty years of resurgence (1990-2010). But the economic bubbles that largely fueled the growth of cities are over. Almost certainly, the renaissance of American cities over the past 20 years has come to an end. But what is the future?

There are a number of trends that will continue, and some will be in cities’ favor. First, American cities will continue to globalize. That is, they will continue to increase international connections and influence, which will help to keep real estate values up, provide more jobs, and bring increased prominence and status. As a result, American cities will become more like other world cities and less like their own regions, culturally speaking. Second, urban planning will continue to create compact, transit-oriented, walkable mixed use developments (with residences, business, retail, education, cultural institutions, and entertainment all located in close proximity.) The emphasis will be on neighborhood schools, streets with sidewalks for pedestrians, lanes for bicyclists, and so on. This is sometimes called “the New Urbanism” or “Smart Growth.” There are many factors driving this, including environmental concerns, and so cities will continue to develop as a desirable alternative to suburbs as a human social arrangement. Third, since immigration laws have not significantly changed at this point, there will continue to be immigration from around the world to the U.S. (There is always some place in the world where the economy is worse than ours!) The cities that receive immigration will benefit from the influx of both working class and professional energy and ideas. Fourth, as far as I can see, the postmodernism that leads young adults to prefer city life to suburban life is continuing. These trends are pretty well established, and they will sustain the growth and continued rise of cities….

Read the rest at Redeemer City to City.

Topics: The City
Church: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City

About the Author

Dr. Timothy Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, Chairman of Redeemer City to City, and author of numerous bestselling books.