City centres and suburbs have been subject to both centripetal and centrifugal forces in modern times. During the first four decades after World War II, rapidly growing middle-class incomes in the Western world translated into expanding city suburbs. This trend peaked in the early 1990s. Suburbia, with its carefully manicured single-family homes, was seen as the place to be. Who would’ve wanted to invest in decaying inner cities with no-go zones like the ones portrayed in the Michael Jackson videos of the time? While this phenomenon was most prominent in the US, many European cities – such as London, Frankfurt and Zurich – also experienced similar shifts, albeit to a lesser degree.
Over the past three decades, however, this trend has reversed sharply. Rapid globalisation fuelled the development of urban centres, which came hand in hand with declining crime rates in inner cities. And the diverse mix of people moving into these urban centres has broadened the range of cultural influences. Today, a multi-ethnic choice of restaurants can introduce us to flavours from all over the world, and dance clubs and movie theatres bring us globalised entertainment options.