After a long period of decentralization away from city centers and into suburban and exurban settings in the United States, several key factors contributed to a reversal of this trend. While all the variables are far too diverse to cover, the generational shifts occuring in the United States population were a significant contributor to this trend. Benjamin Ross writes, “A decade into the new millennium, waves of upscale newcomers had washed across the entire island of Manhattan; reached through San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon; and touched nearly every corner of Washington, DC."Benjamin Ross, Dead End: Suburban Sprawl and the Rebirth of American Urbanism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 127. The trend is evident in many urban centers across America.
Pro-urban millennials moved into the city as a reaction to the suburban ideal, preferencing walkable, mixed-use spaces over strip malls and sprawl. Source this point.
In addition, as the boomer generation shifted into the empty next phase of life, many decided an urban environment provided levesl of convenience in retirement. Source this point.
Rapid shifts in urban demographics present both unqiue challenges and opportunities for Urban Missions, and underscore the significance of Great Commission ministry in city centers and their surrounding metros.