More Evidence of Virginia’s Urban Renaissance


Urban geographer Richard Florida has published a map comparing population growth of “primary cities” (core jurisdictions) with growth in outlying localities in the United States’ 51 largest metropolitan regions. The map at left, extracted from Florida’s map published in CityLab, hones in on the metropolitan regions in the northeastern quadrant of the country. The Washington and Richmond metros were among the 19 where primary cities grew faster than their suburbs between 2012 and 2013. (To see the national map, click here.)


While Hampton Roads did not number among the metros showing stronger city growth, city growth fall short of suburban growth by a narrow margin. Without doubt, 2013 was the year of the city for Virginia’s major metros.

 — JAB

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3 responses to “More Evidence of Virginia’s Urban Renaissance”

  1. The Richmond result is very significant and easy to see on other charts. There’s less evidence that an urban renaissance is happening in Norfolk, but who knows…

    I am a little suspicious of the North Carolina results. While it is true that Charlotte is building light rail and experiencing a boom downtown – and Raleigh is seeing similar trends – my suspicion is that this rather simplistic analysis doesn’t take into account North Carolina’s much more open annexation laws. Charlotte and Raleigh have both been able to capture far more of the growth of their urban areas than Virginia cities, which are largely stuck inside their 1980’s boundaries. You can see this pretty easily if you search “Charlotte, NC” on google maps and zoom out a bit – it will show you the jurisdiction boundaries.

  2. larryg Avatar

    I think New Virginian has hit on an important point that is overlooked and may be “polluting” the data although the study talks about MSA boundaries – but interestingly enough MSA boundaries – which are just arbitrary lines on a map with no legal jurisdictional implications, i.e. an MSA – can include the counties or parts of them.. but it’s important to know if the MSA changed between the years used in the study.

    A GOOD STUDY .. IS scrupulous about addressing that issue -in my view – to establish credibility beyond a “puff” study by an organization to essentially promote it’s own beliefs.

    The curse of the internet these days is that anyone can publish anything – which is fine – as long as they are not purporting to be anything beyond one’s own opinion piece by calling it a “study” –

    in this case, I (like NV) would consider it important for the study to address the issue of changes in the boundaries… both jurisdictional and census MSA.

  3. DJRippert Avatar

    “In 19 of the 51 largest U.S. metros, including knowledge centers like New York and Austin, the city grew faster than the suburbs last year.”

    Should I assume that in 32 of the 51 largest U.S. metros the suburbs grew faster?

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