Originally Posted by bunt_q
"...as economic realities boost city living's appeal."
So, as excited as I am about these trends, just like the rest of us... there is something to lament here also. It's not just that preferences are changing, it's that we are now TOO POOR to afford the suburban model.
My preference would be that Americans choose urban living willingly, but remain economically vital (read: richer than everybody else). Not be forced into more-efficient urban living by Brazilian wages...
But hey, whatever.
Price of oil in real dollars, changing job market (ever smaller number of 'decently paying jobs', more temps), experience with doubling up with relatives, 'friends', and even strangers; romanticism of the small square footage movement, etc. Main point, though, as you point out, is most of us are getting poorer.
More will walk further, live closer together, and, eat less because they must to make ends meet, than they want to from any ecletic idealism. Whether this causes a change in the national health profile, the transportation schema, or even the definition of participatory democracy means little.
People will do what they have to do to keep those wide screens and cutie electronic toys...