The mid-size city?

Jackson, Mississippi is one of the fastest shrinking cities in the United States, having seen a reduction in population in every decade since 1970. The city lost an additional five percent of its population since 2000 while the adjacent suburbs grew by nearly 25%. Deteriorating urban cores surrounded by “healthy” suburban growth is common in most metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) throughout the country, but this is not a model that can be sustained. It can be argued that the ways in which a city deals with the problem of sprawl depends on its size. Demographics and density limit or enable development and cultural shifts. With the majority of research in sustainable development addressing large metropolises, advancement in technology, and self-sufficient rural developments, the Jackson Community Design Center (JCDC) believes that research into mid-size cities is a crucial missing component in developing a broad understanding of sustainable development.
For our purpose, a mid-size city is defined as a MSA of up to 1,000,000 with a principal city of at least 100,000. These cities, which house approximately 20% of the U.S. population, share comparable opportunities and face similar challenges regarding the implementation ofsustainable urban systems. The JCDC focuses on filling this void by conducting research and service projects in Jackson, MS as our primary focus area; and seeks opportunities to share these efforts with an international audience – via publications, lectures, and symposia – in order to foster a dialogue between mid-size cities seeking a sustainable future.

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