What will be the Future of Cities?

The Future of Cities

Whatever the future holds for humanity, it is likely to take place in an urban context. Yet, there are many, and sometimes divergent, urban futures. This book is being published as a series, with permission of the American Enterprise Institute. Please return weekly to read each chapter as it is published.
Small businesses on street in small town

The Lifeblood of America

by Aaron M. Renn — Shutdowns mandated by the coronavirus are a pending apocalypse for small businesses, which employ 48 percent of American workers. Businesses that either can’t reopen or are suffering a big drop in revenue will soon be insolvent. Some have already announced that they will be shutting down.
Illustration of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19

The Coronavirus is Changing the Future of Home, Work, and Life

The COVID-19 pandemic will be shaping how we live, work and learn about the world long after the last lockdown ends and toilet paper hoarding is done, accelerating shifts that were already underway including the dispersion of population out of the nation’s densest urban areas and the long-standing trend away from mass transit and office concentration towards flatter and often home-based employment.

Midwest Success Stories

by Aaron M. Renn — My latest report has just been released by the Manhattan Institute. It’s called, “Midwest Success Stories: These 10 Cities Are Blooming, Not Rusting.” It’s a look at 10 cities in nine states in the greater Midwest that are doing well economically and demographically.
Chicago’s Gold Coast, by Roman Boed

New York, Los Angeles and Chicago Metro Areas All Lose Population

by Wendell Cox — There was big news in the 2018 population estimates just released on metropolitan areas in the United States. For the first time all three of the largest metropolitan areas – New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago – lost population.
Millennials in Downtown Houston

Where Millennials Really Go For Jobs

by Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox — Contrary to media hype, young workers aren't flocking to "superstar" cities. In fact, a new Brookings study shows millennials are moving away from metros with dense big cities.
The Big Promise of Our Midsize Metros

“Middle America” in America’s Urban Century

by Jayson White — Many cities, most notably a dozen or two forgotten, flyover cities in middle America are reinvigorating and reinventing themselves in the blink of an eye. In what is sure to be America’s “urban century” this is one of the most important trends to never hit the headlines.
Millennials Community Search

Millennials Reinvent Localism in Their Search for Community

by Anne Snyder — It’s common knowledge that millennials long for "community." What’s less understood is the concrete expression of that longing in cities and suburbs across America...
Happy Labor Day, America (2016)

The Localist Revolution

by David Brooks — Localism is the belief that power should be wielded as much as possible at the neighborhood, city and state levels. Localism is thriving — as a philosophy and a way of doing things — because the national government is dysfunctional while many towns are reviving.
Downtown Provo, Utah

Growth in America is Tilting Toward Smaller Cities

by Joel Kotkin and Michael Shires — We are often told that America’s future lies in our big cities; yet the strongest job creation and population growth is now occurring in smaller cities.
Suburb of Des Moines

Suburbs Could End Up On The Cutting Edge of Urban Change

by Joel Kotkin — Overwhelmingly, suburbs are where most growth is happening. Since 2010 suburbs and exurbs have produced roughly 80 percent of all new jobs. Even tech growth is shifting...