Sixty-four percent of college-educated millennials choose first where they want to live, and only then do they look for a job. Fully 77 percent of them plan to live in America’s urban cores. (Jeff Speck in Walkable City)
Cities that were established before the auto-age (and not steamrolled by suburbia) very likely have a walkable layout like downtown Fredericton. This is what we call 'good bones' in the planning world, or pure potential. Old cities are also likely to have a decent main street even if it's in need of some TLC. These places were built at a time when you couldn't borrow billions of dollars to build roads and boxes that will never return their cost. Instead, they had to grow at the pace of their pocketbooks and build only the stuff that they knew would generate value. The main street model is iconic of that era and has resulted in cities all over the place with design that feels human-scaled and sensible.
You've probably come across some underrated old cities yourself so I'm taking bets here. What are some places that you think could have a great future if a few more people decided to take some risks and invest their energy there? The goal is not to turn small cities into big cities, just to ensure that great places are meeting their potential - maturity, not monstrosity. What do you think?