SMU hosts program on how minorities, immigrants and millennials are changing America’s urban landscape

SMU hosted “Cities, Suburbs and the New America,” a symposium on trends in urban and suburban migration, with a focus on people.

Mike Rawlings

DALLAS (SMU) – The SMU Cox School of Business Folsom Center for Real Estate, the SMU Economic Center and the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism cohosted “Cities, Suburbs and the New America,” a symposium on trends in urban and suburban migration, with a focus on minorities, immigrants and millennials at SMU on Oct. 28.

Video of "Cities, Suburbs, and the New America"

Henry Cisneros, former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, as well as Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings were included in the program,

The United States is rapidly becoming a very different country than a lot of people have known, and changing cities are a big reason why, said SMU Economics Center Director Cullum Clark.

“As metro areas grow more ethnically diverse, they’re drifting to the left, politically, while rural and small town areas become ever more rock-solid red,” Clark said “Traditionally, people lived in city centers because they were close to work and urban amenities, but as those are replicated on city outskirts in places like Legacy West in Plano, you start to ask – what is the attraction of the central city?”

Cities will have to continue to reinvent themselves to account for these and other changes, Clark explained, and a preeminent list of guest speakers at “Cities, Suburbs and the New America” forecasted what those changes will look like and what they will mean.

Featured speakers at the event included:

  • Henry Cisneros became the first Hispanic-American mayor of a major U.S. city, San Antonio, Texas, in 1981. He was subsequently elected to four terms. He served as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1993 to 1997 under President Bill Clinton.
  • Joel Kotkin, a leading author on American cities as well as on national demographic, social, and political trends, has been described by the New York Times as “America’s uber-geographer.” His books include The Human City: Urbanism for the Rest of Us and The City: A Global History. He also serves as Executive Director of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism in Houston.
  • Alan Berger is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design and Director of the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His forthcoming anthology Infinite Suburbia, co-edited with Joel Kotkin and Celina Balderas Guzman, will be released in October 2017.
  • Ali Modarres is Director of Urban Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma and a widely cited authority on urban planning and policy.
  • Anne Snyder is a fellow at the Center for Opportunity Urbanism in Houston and a writer on issues within the vortex of immigration, social class, and values.
  • Luis Torres is an economist at Texas A&M University’s Real Estate Center and a leading authority on real estate trends in the state of Texas.
  • Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas, is a special guest.


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