Biggest Generations will Redefine Cities and Suburbs

Written by: Steve Cook   Fri, June 17, 2011 Beyond Today’s News

The largest generations in the nation’s history, Baby Boomers and their children, will be hugely influential in redefining living and working environments for decades to come.

Downtown cores and outlying suburbs will bear the brunt of the new pressure for growth, said Patrick Phillips, CEO of the Urban Land Institute at the annual conference of the National l Association of Real Estate Editors in San Antonio.

In addition to housing Boomers who will live longer than their parents and Echo Boomers, who wil form more but smaller households,  America will have to add 150 million more people over the next  40 years.

They want to live in pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented mixed-use environments that de-emphasize auto dependency,” Phillips said.

As urban areas have become more congested, the convenient location of first-tier suburbs is increasingly appealing to consumers seeking to rent as well as buy, he said.  “The disconnect between housing and jobs is evident in long daily commutes, time wasted in traffic, and an overall lower quality of life.  This is not a sustainable growth model.”

Population growth will put pressure on the existing shortage of rentals in many markets and mandate compact, downtown development and better coordination of land use planning.

“Together, all of this will cause a lasting change in what and where we build.  Piece-meal, pooly connected development will become a thing of the past.  We can expect be tter coordination of land use planning and transportation planning so that more development is oriented to transit options.

The Urban Land Institute provides  leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. John Murphy Says:

    Good commentary. I agree with you that future development will move more towards walkable communities and they will be closer in to the center cities. Long commutes and paying for expensive gas is not something that I can see echo boomers dealing with very well. The big question is, who will buy, and what will become of the hundreds of thousands of McMansions in the suburbs. Today’s buyer generally isn’t interested in a 4000-5000 SF house that has a big yard and needs lots of updating.

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