'Millennial Livability' Takes Shape in Suburban Inland Empire

The Inland Empire's housing boom and economic growth are attracting plenty of new residents—especially millennials.

2 minute read

November 1, 2017, 9:00 AM PDT

By Elana Eden

Inland Empire

trekandshoot / Shutterstock

By 2046, California's suburban Inland Empire is projected to have two million more residents. Perhaps most interestingly, a large portion of those people are expected to be millennials. 

The Inland Empire has consistently led California's population growth for more than a decade, even during the recession and housing crisisFor Ron Loveridge, director of the Center for Sustainable Suburban Development at UC Riverside, the reasons behind this migration are fairly simple. For one, he tells The Planning Report: "Prices are too high on the coasts." And for another: The Inland Empire is actually building housing.

"Housing development is increasing, and the construction industry has become a major source of employment," Loveridge explains. "If you're looking for large amounts of new housing in the greater Los Angeles area—whether single-family or rental—you have to look east. That means you have to look at San Bernardino County and Riverside County."

Millennials nationwide are choosing to live in suburbs, which in turn are adapting to meet their preferences. Inland cities, Loveridge says, are delivering housing that's bigger and more affordable than what an urban core can offer—plus sustainability initiatives, open space, and "community dynamics". Downtown Riverside, for example, is "beginning to see more coffee shops and small arts groups…—that coveted 'millennial livability' taking shape."

There's more going on in the Inland Empire than housing: The newly rebranded Ontario Airport is on track to be the "single most important driver of the inland economy;" the region's traditional industries, manufacturing and logistics, are both facing major technological disruption. Clean energy policies have also created jobs and economic activity, and Loveridge hopes that UC Riverside—which recently opened new schools of medicine and public policy—will act as an anchor for the growing regional economy.

Thursday, October 26, 2017 in The Planning Report

stack of books

Planetizen’s Top Planning Books of 2023

The world is changing, and planning with it.

November 24, 2023 - Planetizen Team

Close-up of 'Red Line Subway Entry' sign with Braille below and train logo above text in Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago Red Line Extension Could Transform the South Side

The city’s transit agency is undertaking its biggest expansion ever to finally bring rail to the South Side.

November 24, 2023 - The Architect's Newspaper

Row of brick three-story townhomes in Britih Columbia.

More Affordable Housing for People, Less for Cars

Most jurisdictions have off-street parking requirements that increase motorists’ convenience but reduce housing affordability. It’s time to reform these policies for the sake of efficiency and fairness.

November 20, 2023 - Todd Litman

Man with protective mask measures the moisture level on a white wall with green mold in an apartment.

In Rush to Build, Older Housing is Overlooked

Older homes provide an affordable housing lifeline, but poor conditions often lead to serious health impacts for residents.

4 hours ago - Bloomberg CityLab

Aerial view of massive Los Angeles freeway interchange with dense housing and industrial areas around it.

Fire Officials Say More LA Freeway Underpasses at Fire Risk

The city’s fire department is surveying other underpasses for hazardous materials and other code violations that led to the November 11 fire that shut down a key interstate segment.

5 hours ago - Fox 11 Los Angeles

SMall backyard cottage ADU in San Diego, California.

San Diegans at Odds Over ‘Granny Towers’

A provision in the city’s ADU ordinance allows developers to build an essentially unlimited number of units on single-family lots.

6 hours ago - CALmatters

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

"Rethinking Commuter Rail" podcast & Intercity Bus E-News

Chaddick Institute at DePaul University

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.