From time to time, this blog considers ideas about "downtown" and "urban," how we define such terms and how they are related. But this blog is not alone, of course. To wit, the Brookings Institution is coming out with a new book that looks pretty intriguing. It's called Boomburgs: The Rise of America's Accidental Cities. Here are some details from the link. (There is also a sample chapter available. Check it out:
A glance at a list of America's fastest growing "cities" reveals quite a surprise: most are really overgrown suburbs. Places such as Anaheim, California, Coral Springs, Florida, Naperville, Illinois, North Las Vegas, Nevada, and Plano, Texas, have swelled to big-city size with few people really noticing—including many of their ten million residents. These "boomburbs" are large, rapidly growing, incorporated communities of more than 100,000 residents that are not the biggest city in their region. Here, Robert E. Lang and Jennifer B. LeFurgy explain who lives in them, what they look like, how they are governed, and why their rise calls into question the definition of urban.
Located in over twenty-five major metro areas throughout the United States, numerous boomburbs have doubled, tripled, even quadrupled in size between census reports. Some are now more populated than traditional big cities. The population of the biggest boomburb-Mesa, Arizona-recently surpassed that of Minneapolis and Miami.
Typically large and sprawling, boomburbs are "accidental cities," but not because they lack planning. Many are made up of master-planned communities that have grown into one another. Few anticipated becoming big cities and unintentionally arrived at their status. Although boomburbs possess elements found in cities such as housing, retailing, offices, and entertainment, they lack large downtowns.
There is talk of automobiles. Of single-family homes as the American Dream. Etc. Etc. Etc.
I am not really sure in what sense these "Boomburgs" are related to "edge cities" and a host of other definitions. But it seems like an interesting thing to consider. Check out the chapter.