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More New Jobs Are in City Centers, While Employment Growth Shrinks in the Suburbs

There is a clear trend these days: jobs are moving out of the suburbs and into city centers. San Diego is going to experience this trend very soon. The I.D.E.A. District will be a hub for these jobs and the young, educated, creative class that will work and play in the city’s center. Check out this excellent article from the UpShot blog in the New York Times.


The vast majority of jobs are still outside city centers, the result of a retreat from America’s cities that has been going on for decades. At the beginning of the 20th century, people lived and worked in high-density areas and walked where they needed to go. By the 1950s, most lived in suburbs and commuted to work in cities. In the decades that followed, employers decamped to the suburbs, too. By 1996, only 16 percent of metro area jobs were within a three-mile radius of downtowns, according to the economists Edward Glaeser and Matthew Kahn.

But the data indicate that more lasting forces are at work. People increasingly desire to live, work, shop and play in the same place, and to commute shorter distances — particularly the young and educated, who are the most coveted employees. So in many cities, both policy makers and employers have been trying to make living and working there more attractive.