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America's uneven urban renaissance

Downtown Indianapolis. Darron Cummings / AP

Corporate America has fallen back in love with big cities, where a growing list of name firms like GE and McDonald's have announced they are moving their headquarters from the burbs.

  • Large companies want to be downtown because that's where the most talented younger workers want to be, making corporate, urban migration another auspicious trend for America's big cities, along with falling crime rates and expanding tax bases.
  • But according to the Manhattan Institute's Aaron Renn, the benefits of corporate America's rekindled urban interest is going by and large to just a few of America's most powerful economic centers, like New York, Boston, and Chicago, while the attempted comebacks of St. Louis and Cincinnati are much more precarious. Indianapolis (see after the jump) may be an exception for the second-tier cities.
  • Why it matters: Renn points to data showing that just six cities grabbed three-fourths of all U.S. downtown job growth between 2010 and 2013, suggesting that the go-urban strategy to attract the best talent is appealing in only certain cities and for certain businesses.