Survival of Suburbia: Can developers revitalize the suburbs?
March 27, 2014
March 27, 2014
For years, the suburb has been the centerpiece of the American Dream.
Americans sought to escape the chaotic and crowded city to settle in the smaller, serene suburb. These communities were complete with single family homes and sizable yards. Suburbs popped up further and further from the urban core, while square footage of these single family homes grew at an unstoppable rate
Now, in 2014, we see a new generation delaying marriage, children, and home ownership all in favor of careers and other personal pursuits. With this, “millennials” are overwhelmingly favoring the bustle of urban living and all of its amenities over a quiet suburban existence. Even empty nesters who have traditionally preferred towns to cities, are now trading their homes and all of that excess square footage for urban townhouses with less room — but also less maintenance.
So how do real estate developers and city planners reconcile city and suburb to ensure satisfaction for all of us?
Executives and officials have offered an array of options in trying to resolve the urban/suburban development divide. In Plainview, NY, a gated community complete with condominiums, houses, and a commercial strip has been proposed to fill the demand of older buyers who don’t exactly seek “walk-able” amenities but desire a compact community and a no-to-low maintenance home. The Riverfront Townhome community in Bethlehem, PA seeks to bring urban style living to a small seaside community by utilizing various architectural styles to create a more city “streetscape”. The community will feature townhomes adjacent to walking trails, the beach and transit access in the form of highways. In Delaware, developers are beginning work on their first of several “New Urbanist” communities which are situated in suburban areas but are essentially “mini-cities” that include residential, office, commercial and retail space all in one walkable “mixed-use” village.
Is one of these the future of the average American community…or will they all fill an emerging share of the real estate development pie? Of course, it remains to be seen if any these new concepts will be successful.