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Downtown Houston, Texas (photo: Vlad Busuioc/Unsplash)
Downtown Houston, Texas (photo: Vlad Busuioc/Unsplash)
Article Published: 15 Sep 2023

Downtown Dilemma: How is urban fear impacting opera attendance?

No two downtowns of major U.S. cities are alike, but since the pandemic, most could offer some broad variation of the same sentiment: The American downtown is experiencing an identity crisis. The tempos of these finance districts have slowed dramatically since in-person work interruptions, with fewer commuters and diminished office occupancy. Some urbanists warn that decreases in downtown foot traffic, driven by this white-collar set, are the first sign of what’s called an “urban doom loop:” fewer eyes on the street means more crime, and fewer feet frequenting downtown businesses leads to closures and empty storefronts.

This article was published in the Fall 2023 issue of Opera America Magazine.

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