With some fanfare, the Metropolitan Council issued its predictions on where within the Twin Cities metropolitan area population growth will occur between now and 2040. Not surprisingly, the Met Council predicts that almost all future population growth will occur in the core cities of the metro area, with little growth occurring in the suburbs and outlying areas.
This prediction is not surprising, because it’s increasingly clear that growth in the urban core will be the only growth that the Met Council will allow to occur in the next 30 years. The prediction will be self-fulfilling, based on the Met Council’s policy preferences.
For its part, the Met Council claims that it’s just responding to market forces. The St. Paul Pioneer Press begins its reporting on the Met Council’s 2040 predictions with this paragraph,
Unfortunately for the Met Council’s plans, the data on the ground indicate the exact opposite. Demographer Wendell Cox has studied actual census data on where baby boomers live and discovered that urban core boomer populations dropped by 1 million people from 2000 to 2010. Cox writes at New Geography that,
Likewise, Cox’s colleagues at New Geography looked at the housing preferences of millennials back in 2008 and discovered that millennials are just like the rest of us, even more so,
Young millennials may want an urban, transit-oriented life style, but so did I when I was 22 (Arlington, VA, Court House Metro Station.) However, as this next generation marries and has kids, they too will move to those dreaded, single-family homes in the soulless suburbs.
The Met Council has based its entire planning scenario for the next 30 years on two premises that are demonstrably false. Frankly, it doesn’t care about real data; it wants a dense urban core for a host of ideological and partisan political reasons.
Instead, the Met Council’s transit-oriented development policy is an exercise in wishful thinking: it seeks to create brave new world rather than merely accommodate the one the rest of us actually live in.
Cross-posted and comments welcome at Bill Glahn.