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Suburbs dying or just changing?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis November 1, 2013 09:15 AM

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Another day, another prediction of suburban demise.

Warnings of suburban decline have been around for years, but really took off after the real estate market imploded and Great Recession kicked in.

After all, with foreclosures invading once immune suburban neighborhoods, it was hard to escape what were once were mainly urban problems.

The End of the Suburbs is the latest book to predict big trouble ahead for the suburbs.

For a quick take on the latest tome on the issue, check out this Forbes interview with the author, Leigh Gallagher.

She forecasts lots of bad things for the outer burbs - in the Boston area the rough equivalent would be the towns along the 495 belt and beyond.

I have a hard time envisioning any scenario where Franklin, Millis or Milford suddenly becomes the new ghetto.

Still, I think Gallagher is right on the market when it comes to her prediction that the inner suburbs are going to be the place to be in the years and decades ahead.

These were typically blue collar towns and neighborhoods that fell out of favor in the 60s and 70s but have found favor among Millennials and Gen Xers for that matter, she writes.

Certainly we can see that trend well underway in towns like Arlington and Watertown and in once lunch bucket neighborhoods like Davis Square and Central Square,

Yet our inner suburbs, while not dying, actually are disappearing - they are becoming urbanized as the region's Boston/Cambridge core expands outward.

For that matter, you can see urbanization at work in a myriad of Boston area suburbs within the 495 corridor, with town centers sprouting restaurants and shops and home prices rising in neighborhoods close to the action.

With their increasingly lively village and town centers, Newton, Wellesley, Winchester and even Natick and Medford come to mind.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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