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Conor Sen

Why Invest in Cities? There's Always Another Boise

Urbanists hoped for greater density and transit. Instead people are fleeing to midsize metros.
Photographer: Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Urbanists thought their moment had finally arrived. Those who favor increased urban density and transit options believed the housing bust and the great recession could end decades of development centered on automobiles and suburban sprawl, shifting planners' focus more to cities, density and transit.

The advocates for this model point to California as the inevitable result of inaction. If you try to grow without increased density and transit you'll end up with the traffic of Los Angeles and the home prices of San Francisco. Yet the negative effects of political inaction do not make political action inevitable. Another possibility is … Boise.