A reader writes:
As a native New Yorker, I agree with many of your points; as a Philadelphia resident whose job it is to mine urban issues for trends, I think there's a major change underway where a lot of young people are returning to the cities they grew up in -- because they want to or have to for financial reasons. Next American City, the organization I run, gathers these folks in an effort to build viable alternatives to living in NYC -- and frankly, alternatives to what New York stands for these days (see here). The renaissance underway in places like Philly, St.Louis, Detroit and elsewhere will really pick up steam in this coming decade.
That said, New York City is a global city, and its needs and desires are completely different from those of domestic ones. Comparing Allentown or even Phoenix to New York City makes as much sense as comparing them to London. What I mean is that there's a global city tyranny over domestic cities, and the gap between what these cities look like and how they function is only getting bigger. So long as globalization continues, I don't see that changing any time soon. What might happen is that there will no longer be a country mouse vs. city mouse dichotomy -- we'll all be living in cities. Global cities will cater to a fast-paced, wealthy global elite whereas domestic cities will have regional, distinct flavors, a slower pace and a less expensive lifestyle -- if both provide opportunities for prosperity and sustainability, it might not be such a bad thing.
Insightful feedback. And by the way, while I encourage comments, I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone prefers private correspondence.