The last century of population growth across the country was marked by streams of people moving away from urban centers and into the once-bucolic towns just outside big city limits. That stream is reversing in places like Memphis, where leaders are pushing more centralized growth. New apartments can barely keep up with demand, and density is changing both the economies and reputations of Downtown areas.
But the Shelby County suburbs still beckon to those who desire suburban amenities. Upscale shopping centers, safer streets and better public schools remain a strong attraction. Municipalities such as Germantown, however, are running low on real estate for new single-family homes.
Developers are now looking to build more apartments to handle an influx of people who either can't afford or don't necessarily want to buy a house. But suburban city planners, unlike urban ones, aren't sold on the new "build up, not out" mantra. Can city services handle the population growth? Will apartments change the residental feel of Germantown? What about safety concerns?
As Commercial Appeal reporter Corinne Kennedy discusses with us, these questions have divided alderman as they consider the future of growth in Germantown. A recent study to offer guidance in the matter hardly settled the dispute.