Experiences Designed Into Suburban Developments

Live music, skating rinks, and artificial beaches are now part of developments that want to go beyond just simple shopping and dining.
January 9, 2019, 8am PST | Camille Fink
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Payton Chung

Katherine Shaver reports that developers are focusing on "experience" as a draw for residents and visitors. "It’s the latest buzzword among developers seeking to transform automobile-centric inner suburbs into walkable urban hubs."

Developers say they also want to encourage environments that help people interact offline, where they can connect while also supporting brick-and-mortar retail establishments, says Shaver:

It’s why you’re seeing so many more restaurants, food halls, cooking demonstrations, outdoor yoga classes, smaller concert venues, bars and lounges, farmers markets, tot lots, fire pits, splashable fountains, restaurant-like bowling alleys, and cocktail-serving movie theaters — anything that helps people interact in a way they can’t online.

These experiences, however, are not completely disconnected from the digital world. "The most successful offerings, developers say, are ready-made for Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat," adds Shaver.

Shaver notes that not all efforts have proven successful. Some developments have competed with other projects, struggled with commercial vacancies, and faced the effects of growths in online shopping.

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Published on Thursday, January 3, 2019 in The Washington Post
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