A new survey conducted for the Rouse Forum shows that America’s downtowns are experiencing an unexpected kind of resurgence: There is a population boom happening in many downtowns across the country.
The preliminary survey—conducted by The Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy and the Fannie Mae Foundation—looked at 24 cities around the nation and found that all of them expect the number of their downtown residents to grow by 2010. For example, the city of Houston expects its downtown population to quadruple; Memphis and Seattle anticipate twice as many downtown residents in the next 12 years, while overall population loss continues in many cities. The downtown trend holds for northeastern and midwestern cities with well-established downtown residential districts and for Sunbelt central business districts that have not traditionally supported much housing. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people are living downtown because they want to be near their work places and cultural amenities, and because they enjoy a bustling urban environment.