The article below in TheAtlanticCities.com illustrates a growing trend where the heart of the retail shopping district is shifting away from the suburbs and back to downtowns. Good news for cities, and more bad news for suburban malls.
After years of neglect, decline, and abandonment, downtowns across the United States are poised to come back—and not just as redoubts for hipsters, artisanal food, indie music, and trendy boutiques, but as major shopping destinations.
The past decade has seen a shift to downtown living. For the first time in 20 years, the annual rate of growth in American cities and their immediate surroundings has surpassed that of exurbs, according to projections from the U.S. Census released in July 2011. This is not just the case in cities of talent and advantages, like New York, San Francisco, and Boston, but in older industrial cities like Cleveland and Detroit.
Downtowns have become veritable “entertainment machines,” in University of Chicago sociologist Terry Clark’s words, with an influx of restaurants, bars, cafes, clubs, and other venues catering to urban dwellers and suburbanites seeking something new and different.
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