By Conor Dougherty, New York Times
BOULDER, Colo. — The small city of Boulder, home to the University of Colorado’s flagship campus, has a booming local economy and a pleasantly compact downtown with mountain views. Not surprisingly, a lot of people want to move here.
Something else is also not surprising: Many of the people who already live in Boulder would prefer that the newcomers settle somewhere else.
“The quality of the experience of being in Boulder, part of it has to do with being able to go to this meadow and it isn’t just littered with human beings,” said Steve Pomerance, a former city councilman who moved here from Connecticut in the 1960s.
All of Boulder’s charms are under threat, Pomerance said as he concluded an hour-long tour. Rush-hour traffic has become horrendous. Quaint, two-story storefronts are being dwarfed by glass and steel. Cars park along the road to the meadow.
These days, you can find a Steve Pomerance in cities across the country — people who moved somewhere before it exploded and now worry that growth is killing the place they love.
But a growing body of economic literature suggests that anti-growth sentiment, when multiplied across countless unheralded local development battles, is a major factor in creating a stagnant and less equal U.S. economy.
It has even to some extent changed how Americans of different incomes view opportunity. Unlike past decades, when people of different socioeconomic backgrounds tended to move to similar areas, today, less-skilled workers often…