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