Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

Professor Cameron Shelton

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The American suburbs became entrenched following the end of the Second World War and endured throughout the volatile global markets and burgeoning alternative urban philosophies in the 1970s and 80s. This paper identifies the underlying factors that produced both of those outcomes, and then explores how the Great Recession, technology, and millennials’ preferences have shaped urban and suburban trends witnessed in the United States in the past ten years. Ultimately, this thesis explains how the urban renaissance seen from 2010-2015 is attributable to conditions present in the wake of the financial crisis, and through those conditions changing in the past few years, millennials - like prior generations - have continued and will continue to choose the suburbs over cities. However, despite millennials sharing this preference of suburbia, I argue that certain preferences of the generation will make the ideal suburban community of tomorrow unlike the ones witnessed in the past. Finally, I show why the Sunbelt will continue to reap the rewards of these suburban trends, but also argue that certain aspects of millennials present a unique opportunity for long neglected corners of America: older industrial cities.