A Changing Paradigm? Measuring Urban Decentralization through the Great Recession
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In the early 2000’s leading up to the Great Recession of 2007, many in‐town and urban neighborhoods across the United States began to experience somewhat of a renaissance. Residential development in central cities and core suburbs as a share of regional construction had been greater than previous decades (EPA, 2010). With the onset of the recession, residential building and settling trends were turned upside down. The purpose of this research is to examine the residential development trends during and after the economic recession (mid‐ 2007 until early 2010) in order to understand if development centralized, decentralized, or remained the same. Specifically, the research measures how population, housing, vacancy, and occupancy rates have fared within the core and beyond the core of Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) across the U.S. To have a better understanding of how this development has changed over time, data was obtained for three points in time: 2000, mid‐2007, and 2010. The following cities were analyzed: Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, Birmingham, AL, Baltimore, MD, Minneapolis, MN, Seattle, WA, Sacramento, CA, Los Angeles, CA, New York, NY, Miami, FL, Philadelphia, PA, and Kansas City, MO. This study finds that during the recession all cities decentralized. For New York and Birmingham, there was an overall reversal in trends from centralization to decentralization. Five cities continued to decentralize as before, but this rate slowed from the previous period. These cities included Baltimore, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Lastly, the five remaining cities continued to decentralize but experienced accelerated decentralization through the recession. This included Miami, Dallas, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. The findings of this research go against the claims of many commentators.