the American downtown infopost

The American dream has been synonymous for decades with large family houses with gardens and two garages, perfectly aligned in their “suburbs” or peripheral urbanizations, a model that entails dependence on the car as the only means of transportation. However, urban sprawl seems to be in the doldrums. According to a study by Smart Growth America referenced by the BBC, for the first time in 60 years, walkable urban areas are gaining market share over their suburban competitors. The report, which started from the analysis of the 30 most important metropolitan areas in the United States, indicates that those with more pedestrian areas have a 38% higher Gross Domestic Product and have citizens with a higher educational level.

The change in trend reflects the changing priorities of US citizens, especially those in their 20s and 30s (the millennials), who prefer urban centers with “maximization of human interaction and economic and cultural exchanges” and where they do not need to use a car as frequently to get around. According to the study, when millennials settle down and decide to start a family, they still prefer walkable urban areas with good schools.

It is not known which is the chicken and the egg, but the report shows the correlation between this change of priority in society and the commitment of cities to revitalize their centers with large pedestrian areas, and non-motorized transport and public transport.