For the last several decades, North American cities have used growth as a primary economic engine. Increasingly less dense new growth is subsidized by the more dense core, but requires a growth rate that is not supportable by the market cycle in most places today. As growth rates stalled, decreased, or went negative, city budget deficits have escalated despite cutting key city services.
Particularly in Sunburnt Cities and Rust Belt Cities, Smart Decline is replacing Smart Growth. Cities face a new imperative of behaving more like businesses, and less like ponzi schemes.