Yup. Every ten years we get pretty good data and a reality check. The story cites Joel Kotkin noting that for the greater-than-one-million-population metros, less than ten percent of 2000-2010 growth had been in the traditional core cities. The renaissance/revival/regeneration fantasies will have to be placed on hold one more time.
The International Council of Shopping Centers reports that there are more than 100,000 “shopping centers” (including many “Lifestyle Centers”) which account for about 50 percent of all U.S. retail gross leasable area. Whereas some of the centers are Edge Cities which include many of the functions once associated with downtowns, many others are developed at low densities that are seemingly under the radar (as in Edgeless Cities). So, rather, than downtown and the ‘burbs, it is an extremely complex arrangement. The many small “centers” are spatially distributed so that the average shopping trip by central city vs. suburban residents in the U.S. were of similar duration, near 15 minutes, no matter where people live (2009 NHTS data).
Yes, there is considerable life outside Manhattan and, yes, shoppers and sellers find ways to co-locate so that they can do business with each other.