Survey Suggests Continued Shift Toward Urban Living

Julie C. Nichols General

MBA Newslink – Mike Sorohan

A new Urban Land Institute survey, underscoring the influence of Generation Y roughly–those Americans born between 1983 and 2000–as well as the nation’s growing African-American and Latino populations. According to the results of the study, forget the cul-de-sac in the suburb; the fastest-growing demographic groups in the U.S. want to live compact, mixed-use communities with easy access to transit service. The study, America in 2013, indicated demand will continue to rise for infill residential development that is less car-dependent, while demand could wane for isolated development in outlying suburbs. The survey said among all respondents, 61 percent said they would prefer a smaller home with a shorter commute over a larger home with longer commute. Fifty-three percent want to live close to shopping; 52 percent would prefer to live in mixed-income housing; and 51 percent prefer access to public transportation. The survey noted of the three major generations in the report–Gen Y; Gen X (1964-1982) and Baby Boomers (1946-1964)–Gen Y, defined as the largest generation with 72-78 million members, as well as the most racially and ethnically diverse and the generation not yet fully immersed in the housing and jobs market, will likely have the most profound impact on land use. Fifty-nine percent of Gen Y respondents said they preferred diversity in housing choices; 62 percent preferred developments offering a mix of shopping, dining and office space; and 76 percent place high value on “walkability” in communities.

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