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When you don't need to be interdependently wealthy to live downtown, the area will get a lot more foot traffic, and see a lot more money being injected into the retail economy. Stop building ostentatious lofts, and build some apartments/condos that lower middle class can afford.
This boils down once more to the fact that corn and soy are -heavily- subsidized by the US Government. When you can buy a salad for less than you can buy a Baconater, we'll be on the right track.