Cover image for Hot towns : the future of the fastest growing communities in America
Hot towns : the future of the fastest growing communities in America
Wolf, Peter M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xi, 283 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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HT381 .W65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Hot Towns is about the vast, current national relocation of one million Americans a year. Successful, accomplished, and well-financed people of all ages are moving to communities they view as choice--places distinguished by fine climate, physical beauty, abundant natural recreation resources, and minimal social problems and low crime. Towns in this elite roster include Santa Fe, Aspen, Boulder, Bozeman, Chapel Hill, East Hampton, and many others.

These American boom towns, Peter Wolf writes, have grown in jobs and population at two to three times the national average. But warning signs of deterioration are already evident: overbuilding, failing natural resources, rising taxes, and traffic congestion are all taking a toll on these communities. Rapid migration can enhance or swamp America's fastest growing and most desirable communities

Wolf examines the choices that people in these areas can make to both effectively accommodate growth and yet ensure their economic futures. A wise town undergoing growth will realize that what must be preserved is not the growth in-and-for itself, but the qualities which attract people in the first place. Wolf demonstrates how it is possible--even during a town's rapid expansion--to enhance the quality of residents' lives, to incorporate aesthetics and design into town evolution, to protect what is precious in nature, and to preserve the best that has already been built.

Wolf concludes with a practical checklist for the residents of hot towns, allowing them to evaluate how their communities are coping with growth.

Author Notes

Peter Wolf is a nationally recognized land planning, asset management, and urban policy authority, and manages his own investment advisory firm. He is chairman of the board of trustees of the Van Alen Institute and the author of The Future of the City and Land in America.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Wolf combines a study of short-term trends over the past 20 years with skilled analysis to project a credible outcome for American society in the coming 20 years. Much more than a gloss on the current trend to move into the micropolitan areas (small cities) or cultivate nostalgic ties with rural America, Wolf's insights build on the premise that this latest migration is different from previous migrations in US history. This "fifth wave" carries highly skilled, educated, and affluent workers to locales chosen to improve the quality of their lives. The highly decentralized "cybernation" and globalized economy (courtesy of the Internet and telecommunications) now permits a select minority to take their jobs with them wherever they want to go. Beyond this, Wolf observes an important demographic element that changes the impact of this "fifth migration." If these highly skilled migrants are truly the new economic future, then the places they leave behind become as important as the places they choose to settle. Their political and economic clout will continue to expand through a focus on environmental preservation, controlled residential growth, and greater emphasis on economic stability. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. Kleiman; University of Wisconsin Colleges

Table of Contents

List of Tablesp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
The New Migration: Perils and Promisesp. 1
Part I The Fifth Migration
1. The Fifth Migration Beginsp. 9
2. Forces Driving the Fifth Migrationp. 35
3. Where the Fifth Wave Is Goingp. 53
Part II Growth Towns at the Crossroads
4. Causes and Consequences of Community Decayp. 85
5. The Whiff of Self-Destruction in Particular Growth Areasp. 106
Part III Wise Future Growth
6. What Is Wise Growth?p. 119
7. Planning, Zoning, and Land Usep. 131
8. Resource Preservation and Enhancementp. 159
9. Smart Public Policyp. 182
10. Private and Nonprofit Initiativesp. 209
Part IV A Resident's Guide
11. How to Evaluate a Growth Townp. 229
12. The Benefits of Wise Growthp. 243
Notesp. 257
Indexp. 263