There’s been a big revival downtown. Angelenos know all about it, having seen or read the many stories of it.

Yet somehow, the revitalization story is usually told in such a way as to smear the suburbs. And that, to me, has always seemed unjust. After all, L.A.’s suburbs appear to be thriving, for the most part. Businesses seem to open in the suburbs as readily as in the city, and the housing market is doing just fine in such distant places as the northern San Fernando Valley and the Conejo Valley of Ventura County.

This all came to mind because of a report recently produced by the Brookings Institution that said commute times nationwide have increased. Why? Mainly because jobs have moved out. The introduction of that report said, in part: “Almost every major metro area saw jobs shift away from the urban core during the 2000s. As jobs suburbanized, so did people.”

According to a chart in that report, the number of jobs that are within the median commute time for residents in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area declined 7.4 percent from 2000 through 2012. But the number of jobs for those in the Thousand Oaks area increased by 9.5 percent in that span.

In other words, the suburbs are thriving. That goes a long way toward explaining why we’ve seen something of a contra-commute develop in parts of Los Angeles. It has long been the case that during the morning rush hour you see more motorists going into Santa Monica, and other points on the Westside, than going out. Now, if you drive the 101 freeway in the morning, you’ll see a surprising number of cars going into Thousand Oaks and elsewhere in the Conejo Valley in the morning.

Of course, the fact that the suburbs are doing well is often skipped over or even denied when the urban renaissance story is told. In an interesting article in Forbes a few months ago, writer and demographer (and Angeleno) Joel Kotkin noted that the conventional telling of the story is that increasing numbers of people not only reject the suburbs but despise them. He pointed out that such writers as Leigh Gallagher, author of the book “The Death of Suburbs,” declared that “millennials hate the suburbs” and prefer more eco-friendly urban environments. And the environmental magazine Grist envisions “a hero generation” that will escape the material trap of suburban living that engulfed their parents.

But, Kotkin wrote, reality is a little a more complex.

“The millennial flight from suburbia has not only been vastly over-exaggerated, it fails to deal with what may best be seen as differences in preferences correlated with life stages.

“The telling evidence: The first group of millennials are now entering their 30s, and it turns out that they are beginning, like preceding generations, to move to the suburbs.”

It’s like that TV commercial in which the young man says he’ll never have a child, then has two; he’ll never move to the suburbs, then does; he’ll never get a minivan, then gets one. One’s preferences change with one’s life stages.

All this is to make a simple point: DTLA has come back in a big and exciting way, and that’s great. But it’s thriving not at the expense of suburbs but in addition to them.

Charles Crumpley is editor of the Business Journal. He can be reached at