But more and more US cities, and citizens, now seem to listen to proponents of so called smart growth as interest for urban living is rising sharply across the country.
Builder magazine, that covers the home building industry in the U.S., reports that residential permits in downtown and close-in suburbs more than doubled since 2000 in 26 of the nations largest metropolitan regions.
The trend is very visible in major cities like New York and Chicago, but also in smaller cities like Portland, Denver and Sacramento, according to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency qouted by Builder magazine.
Many U.S. cities are putting more emphasis on smart growth measures like increased walkability, bicycle paths, investments in public transit and residential developments in attractive locations near city centres.
There is also an increased demand for urban-style neighbourhoods. Changing lifestyles, economic factors and smaller households are some of the factors behind this trend.