doughnut pattern
n. An urban development pattern in which businesses and affluent residents migrate to surrounding suburbs and edge cities, resulting in a "hollowed out" downtown core consisting of mostly poorer residents.
The type of development described here is sometimes called a "doughnut" pattern, characterized by an empty center surrounded by a ring of growth. The pattern is now found not only in older manufacturing centers like Chicago and Detroit, but also in rapidly growing metro areas like Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis. There is no consensus of opinion on the effects of doughnut-style development or suburban sprawl. Some analysts bemoan the high cost of new infrastructure and inefficient allocation of resources, while others cite the free-market benefits of consumers choosing where they want to live. But the movement of population away from large urbanized counties to outlying suburban counties is not subject to debate.
—John Besl, “Suburban sprawl advances,” Indiana Business Review, June 01, 2000
This difference is one of the factors that has contributed to the movement of businesses out of Toronto to suburban communities — the so-called doughnut pattern of development in which city cores are hollowed out.
—James Rusk, “Tories confront tough choice on education tax for business,” The Globe and Mail, November 24, 1997
1992 (earliest)
The numbers are new, but the story remains the same. Growth in income, population and jobs in the Chicago area continues to follow a doughnut pattern, with the central city coming up empty.
—Tom Andreoli, “Chicago continues to lag suburbs on income growth,” Crain's Chicago Business, July 06, 1992
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