David Brooks gets confused about the concept of popularity. Hilarity ensues.
Meanwhile, predictions of the revitalization of urban cores are less about taste than necessity. I don't think that far-flung exurbanites in 4,000 sq. ft. McHouses particularly want to move to nearer communities; I just suspect that economic circumstances will eventually give them no choice. Gas prices are already inching back up, despite the continued decline of the broader economy. The financing options that allowed so many white-collar workers of moderate income to buy too-large, too-expensive homes are dead. Also, the white-collar workers are all going to lose their jobs. Meanwhile, Denver, one of Brooks' exemplar Western pseudo-cities, has the seventh (or so) highest foreclosure rate in the nation. Orlando, Tampa, San Diego, Austin, Phoenix . . . all within the top (bottom) twenty-five or so metro areas by this measure. The only city mentioned without a major problem is Seattle, whose presence in Brooks' list is almost inexplicable, since Seattle is a more traditional Eastern-European city with a strong, populated urban core, mass transit, and so on . . . a city that along with its dyke sister Portland is perhaps as close as America gets to reviled Amsterdam.