The Death of The Suburbs Has Been Greatly Exaggerated. Again.


Every time gas prices tick up or there’s some horribly written feature about how cool urban life is becoming in Dallas, the urban yokels crow about the death of the suburbs and how everyone — everyone! — will soon be living in prole-style density and walking to their creative, carbon-neutral jobs. The McMansions will be sitting empty and it’s DART cards for everyone.

The suburbanites are giving up their quiet streets and cookie-cutter houses and functioning schools and marching like war refugees back to the city center to enjoy overpriced bridges by overhyped architects, People’s Hotels, and loft living like we’re all back in college. Hallelujah, praise the Prius, and pass the Hope and Change bumper stickers!

The only problem? It’s not true.

510q7emw6pl_sl500Despite the gleeful yokel wishes, the people of The DFW are not, in fact, moving back to the city core and away from the safe, quiet, people-stay-off-my-lawns suburbs. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Have a look yourself.

  • From 2007 to 2008, the city of Dallas lost 18,847 people.
  • From 2007 to 2008, the ‘Burbs gained 62,022 people.
  • From 2000 to 2008, Dallas lost about 250,000 people, while the ‘Burbs gained more than 500,000.

Bottom line:

Spin can change perceptions, but not reality. People are not moving from the suburbs to the core cities. The reverse continues to be true, even in the worst of times.

I love Dallas — Dallas itself, not just The DFW — but propaganda about the death of the suburbs isn’t going to fix what’s wrong with it.