chapter  7
Metropolitan Growth Patterns and Inner-Ring Suburban Decline: A Longitudinal Analysis of the 100 Largest U.S. Metropolitan Areas
Pages 22

In the past several decades, U.S. metropolitan areas have experienced rapid decentralization patterns as population and employment shifted from central cities to the suburbs. This outward migration of typically middle-and upperincome households led to an acceleration of mostly uncontrolled suburban development. The loss of middle-and high-earning households played a crucial role in the decline of central cities and inner-ring suburbs. Many urban scholars and policymakers have already documented the negative consequences of uncontrolled suburban development. These include increased traffic congestion, decreased air quality, accelerated land consumption, reduced open space, and greater socioeconomic disparity (Newman and Kenworthy 1989, Bullard, Johnson and Torres 1999, Ewing, Pendall and Chen 2002). Concern for these negative impacts led to the creation of the smart growth movement and an attendant focus on regional growth management policies, which include the reuse of existing resources and the redirection of population, jobs, and investment from the suburban fringe back into urbanized areas. Previous studies found a positive relationship between metropolitan regions with growth management policies and central-city revitalization (Dawkins and Nelson 2003, Nelson et al. 2004). But few studies have considered the impact of growth management policies on inner-ring suburban communities, which have often experienced patterns of decline similar to central cities. This study examines patterns of inner-ring suburban change of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, focusing on metropolitan growth patterns and urban containment policies.