A study of Philadelphia's "inner-ring" suburbs -- communities between the city itself and more open, affluent outer suburbs -- finds them "increasingly vulnerable to economic decline."
The research, by Nancey Green Leigh and Sugie Lee at the Georgia Instiute of Technology, concludes that Philadelphia itself saw a reduction in poverty and the exurbs attracted new population and housing growth. But communities in between "are declining overall [and showing] early signs of blight."
Conclusion: "There is a need to stem the deterioration of the inner-ring suburbs, documented in our case study of Philadelphia, as well as to stem further sprawl-contributing greenfield development on the metropolitan fringe. This suggests that strategic policy approaches should favor the revitalization and enhancement of existing, inner-ring physical infrastructure over new infrastructure creation in the outer-ring suburbs."
Boston isn't Philadelphia, but planners in suburbs within Rte. 495 -- particularly those less affluent than their neighbors -- need to be paying attention here.