Death of the fringe suburbs?  Something has been happening in America, “a profound structural shift — a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered.”

Most of us have noticed resurgence of city centers and the inner ring suburbs.  People now want to live in the city, or at least in certain parts of the city.   Chicago?  Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Wicker Park, Bucktown, Lincoln Square …  It’s also happening in Kansas City, Milwaukee, St Louis and other Midwestern cities.

Christopher Leinberger writes in the NY Times that “it is time to instead build what the market wants: mixed-income, walkable cities and suburbs that will support the knowledge economy, promote environmental sustainability and create jobs.”

If this kind of change is taking place in the cities, then what are the challenges for urban mission?  Finding ways to build bridges between the less-than affluent with their newly arriving middle class neighbors.  Serving as a voice for marginalized city dwellers often living in areas of the city coveted by the aforementioned middle class.  Changing the mindset of urban congregations/corps as their neighborhoods change …

Here’s an interesting discussion on Leinburger’s op-ed piece found at DetroitYES!  One of the participants pointed to a subdivision begun, yet now languising.

There seems to be a growing case that reversal is taking place in America’s cities and suburbs.