A new report from the Urban Land Institute highlights the influence that growing demographic groups in the U.S. (in particular Millenials) will have on reshaping urban growth patterns. The America in 2013 report found that housing, transportation, and community preferences among growing demographic groups will likely spur more development of compact, mixed-use communities with good transit service. The report is based on a nationwide survey of 1,200 adults.
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. 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 a longer commute. Of the three major generations in the report, Millenials (or Gen Y) – the largest generation and the most diverse – is the generation that is likely to have the most profound impact on land use. Numbering 80 million and generally not yet fully immersed in the housing and jobs markets, Millenials have yet to fully make their mark on the urban landscape through their preferences for things such as mixed-use development, proximity to shopping and dining, and walkability.
Sixty-three percent of Millenials said they plan to move in the next five years, along with 63 percent of African Americans, 54 percent of Latinos, and 56 percent of those currently living in a large city. The survey found that these groups prefer good transit, short commutes, diversity in housing choices, and mixed-use communities. According to ULI, these different demographic cohorts are all growing in number, and together are creating a significant market shift toward compact, mixed-use development that is different than the types of land uses that were built to meet the demands of previous generations.
Other key survey findings noted by ULI:
- The appeal of homeownership remains strong: Seventy-one percent of all respondents said buying a home is a good investment, despite the recent housing crisis and associated decline in home values.
- Half of those with no access to buses and trains were dissatisfied by this situation. Fifty-two percent of the population said that convenient public transportation was important.
- Safety and high-quality schools are the most sought-after community attributes: Ninety-two percent of respondents ranked neighborhood safety as the most important attribute; good schools ranked as the second highest at 79 percent.
- Having space and proximity are equally important: 72 percent of the survey participants said having space between neighbors is a priority; yet (somewhat contradictorily) 71 percent placed a high value on being close to employment , schools, and healthcare facilities.
Check out the full report here.