The ongoing slumification of America's suburbs is a slow motion train wreck that it is preferable to observe far away from the slumburbs themselves. Good, because people are moving back to cities now. Goodbye, The Age of Suburbs! And good riddance.
For all 51 metro areas with a million or more people, cities as a whole grew by 1.1% from 2010 to 2011, while suburbs increased 0.9%. That's a big change from the last decade, in which suburbs expanded at triple the rate of cities.
The difference between city and suburb growth is small, but it's clearly heading in the direction of cities. Analysts say the housing bust effectively ended the last decade's trend of people buying cookie-cutter houses they couldn't really afford in far-flung suburban developments with cheap loans; and the overall economic crash has lured job-seekers into the cities, much like rural Indians leaving their hopeless villages (the suburbs) for hope of perhaps eking out a living scouring the urban landscape of Mumbai for scraps to resell (working at Starbucks).
Goodbye, backyards, barbecue, baseball, and suburban anomie. Hello, courtyards, takeout, streetball, and urban angst! It's a great time to be living in the city. Assuming, as always, that you're not poor.
[Photo of 1948 Levittown, the Long Island crapfest that started it all: AP]