Targeting the suburban urbanites: Marketing central city housing

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This article explores target marketing as a means to identify which middle-income suburbanites may relocate to central cities. The most targetable populations reside near central cities and lead urban lifestyles. We term such people “suburban urbanites.” Geodemography, a method combining population and location, is used to classify suburban urbanites using data from Claritas Inc., a target marketer. Claritas divides the nation's neighborhoods into lifestyle clusters by linking population density to demographic and consumptive patterns.

A case study of metropolitan Washington, DC, illustrates how target marketing works. We find that more than half the region's middle-class, Claritas-defined urbanites live outside the District of Columbia. Thus, a large market of potential city dwellers lives in Washington's suburbs. Target marketing enhances the statistical approaches traditionally used in policy making and may help cities understand and develop their comparative advantages.


City and town life; Demographics; Gentrification; Housing; Marketing; Suburbs; Sustainable urban development; Target marketing; Urban renewal; Washington (D.C.)


Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning


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