Monday, April 20, 2009

Iglesias on Walkable Urbanism

Gaining Momentum. Link here at Think Progress: The Declining Demographics of Suburbia.

Given that in 1950 there were very few existing communities oriented around the goal of drivable suburbanism, and most families had young children at home, and the proportion of families with children at home was on the rise, you can see the logic of the built environment shifting in a suburbanist direction. Now, though, our existing environment has been shaped by decades of suburbanist development and the number of people who fit the suburbanist core demographic is a minority and on the decline. That suggests the need for some rebalancing.

One should also recall that a large proportion of these families with children are quite poor, and auto-dependent lifestyles are very bad for poor people given that cars are expensive.

* In particular, I think walkable urbanism becomes a clearly superior choice for teenagers and their parents.

I think the appropriate terminology is OVERSHOOT. I discuss changing demographics and the inherent preferences of one retiring population bubble and one maturing population bubble here:

Millennials grew up in suburbia; bland environments dependent on others for mobility. They are entering the adulthood seeking lifestyle: vitality, diversity, and community. But, Millennials are not the only ones who will be driving this sea change from suburban to high quality urban environments. Baby Boomers will be retiring by the boat load. Retirement communities in their current form resemble warehouses more than they do the most desirable of retirement “villages”: real communities where retirees can be independent and empowered, such as the Upper East Side and Key West.