The best recent changes in American Cities

11 Apr
Light Rail in Phoenix, AZ

Light Rail in Phoenix, AZ

Though economic inequality, racism, and polarization continue in America today, there’s no doubt that there’s at least one great aspect of American society that has made a comeback: the cities. Long victims of the white flight that lasted from the 1950s until the late 1990s, US cities’ downtowns are now becoming vibrant, walkable, and full of life again. Though this brings its issues, such as the debate over gentrification, there’s no doubt that for the traveler, the positive change in US cities is something to be celebrated.

Walkability and Light Rail

It’s no secret that US cities are becoming more walkable. According to WalkScore, a group that studies the walkability trends in US cities, Miami and Detroit (yes, Miami and Detroit) advanced in their walkability scores. These aren’t the only cities where positive change is happening though. Many, many US cities, including ones outside the Northeast, are making huge strides toward being more walkable. Bigger sidewalks aren’t the only positive trend though. Light rail systems, though not being built as fast as transit-backers would like, are popping up all over US cities that were once strictly car-only, such as Houston and Phoenix.

Food Trucks

Food trucks are great because they allow aspiring chefs to operate more cheaply than they would at a traditional restaurant. Many US cities, such as Washington DC, have a burgeoning food truck scene. Food Trucks are bringing more life into the food scenes of various cities. It’s a welcome trend, especially when set against the backdrop of Walmarts and chain restaurants that has encroached across the US in the last few decades.

Less Crime

The US still has a uniquely high crime rate among developed nations, but violent crime is now down to 1970s/1960s levels nationwide. In some of the country’s big cities, most notably New York, the trend has been even more pronounced. There’s debate as to why this is happening. Theories range from video games, to, the smaller amount of lead in gasoline, to the Broken Windows Theory. Whatever the reason is, its a great thing for travelers and for ordinary Americans.

Diversity

America has always been more of a tossed salad than a melting pot, but, regardless of how people segregate themselves, there’s no doubt that US cities (especially the once-lily white suburbs) are becoming more and more diverse. Whites are expected to be a minority in 2050. Every US city has its own unique demographic pie, and many have one or two lesser-known immigrant groups that have settled there more than other cities. Washington DC has attracted countless Ethiopians and El-Salvadorians lately, and in Minneapolis, a major Hmong community has formed. There are countless other examples too. With this wave of immigration that has been ongoing since the 1970s, there has been a wider variety of food options and cultural ideas brought into our cities. It’s great for the traveler.

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