Moving to a shrinking city?

10th Sep 2017

Moving to a shrinking city? Some suggestive observations on why college-educated professionals came to New Orleans and why they stayed

A new paper by Renia Ehrenfeucht and Marla Nelson is now available online


The 2010 Census showed population increases in urban core neighbourhoods in US shrinking or legacy cities. Influenced by Florida’s creative class theory, municipal leaders in shrinking cities have sought to attract and retain creative and college-educated residents as a revitalisation strategy and implemented amenity-based policy initiatives. Nevertheless, when compared with strong market cities, weak market cities have fewer amenities and less robust job markets. Why college-educated professionals would choose to live in cities with weak job markets and declining services is not well explained. Based on findings from two sets of interviews conducted five years apart with college-educated professionals living and working in New Orleans, we found that a subset of professionals seeking opportunities to assist in the recovery were drawn to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. They subsequently stayed because they valued the pace of their life and the ease at which they could maintain professional and personal networks, more than specific amenities. They stayed even though they found professional opportunities to be limited and considered some amenities and services including parks and transit worse than other cities where they had lived.

You can access and read the full article here

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