Say poverty in the Philadelphia area, and it conjures images of North Philadelphia or Kensington, not the suburbs.
But the suburbs on both sides of the Delaware River are becoming steadily poorer, part of a national trend that confounds long-held beliefs that life is always better in greener pastures beyond urban limits.
“People have this cliched notion of poverty being based in the inner city,” said Adele LaTourette, director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, which has offices in Trenton and North Jersey. ”But it’s been moving into suburbia for some time.
“No one wants to think that their neighbors are becoming poor.”
English: Text that accompanies the ULI logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For the past two decades, suburban areas have been making a slow transition from car-dependent to people-oriented design, with more options for walking, cycling or public transportation, according to Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research and education organization.
ULI recently published a report, “Shifting Suburbs: Reinventing Infrastructure for Compact Development,” detailing how this change is mostly driven by generation Y, who favor the convenience of urban-style living in more densely populated areas.
The U.S. population is expected to increase by 95 million in the next 30 years, and most of the growth will occur in suburban towns, which makes smart suburban land use essential to growth. But redeveloping these areas is harder in practice than in theory, according to the report.