Will Compact Development Define America's Next Era of Land Use?

'America 2013', a report released this week by the Urban Land Institute, presents the results of a nationwide survey on housing, transportation, and community preferences. Demographic trends indicate a continued demand for city living.

While some have expressed uncertainty about future trends in land use in the United States, if the current preferences of the Millennial Generation are a guide, compact development patterns are poised to lead the foreseeable future.   

"A new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) underscores the influence that growing demographic groups in the U.S. – in particular Generation Y, African Americans, and Latinos – will have on reshaping urban growth patterns by spurring more development of compact, mixed-use communities with reliable, convenient transit service," writes Robert Krueger in a ULI press release announcing the findings of a recent nationwide survey.  

"On the whole, the survey suggests that demand will continue to rise for infill residential development that is less car-dependent, while demand could wane for isolated development in outlying suburbs," he continues. "The survey found that 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 want to live close to shopping; 52 percent would prefer to live in mixed-income housing and 51 percent prefer access to public transportation."

However, a post on The Wall Street Journal's "Developments" blog throws water on the study's findings. "Not everyone agrees with that theory," writes Kris Hudson. "Wendell Cox, a transportation consultant and demographer based in Belleville, Ill., says his analysis of census data shows that 76% of the growth in residents from 20 to 34 years of age from 2000 to 2010 came in low-density, often suburban counties."

Hudson also uses the opinions of two "random" Generation Y members to refute the report's findings. 

 

Full Story: Where Americans Want To Live

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