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Are America's suburbs going to fall into dis-repair?
Oil is set to hit eclipse $150 a barrel. The New York Times reported yesterday that Natural Gas is set for a 40% spike. How will this affect where we live and how we live?


Often dismissed as a feasible in the United States the concept of  "walkable urbanism" – for both small communities and big cities as characterized by efficient mass transit systems and high density developments enabling residents to walk virtually everywhere for everything -- from home to work to restaurants to movie theaters.
This trend, according to Christopher Leinberger, an urban planning professor at the University of Michigan stems not only from changing demographics but also from a major shift in the way an increasing number of Americans -- especially younger generations -- want to live and work.
But as the market catches up to the demand for more mixed use communities, the United States could see a notable structural transformation in the way its population lives -- Arthur C. Nelson, director of Virginia Tech's Metropolitan Institute, estimates, for example, that half of the real-estate development built by 2025 will not have existed in 2000.
Yet Nelson also estimates that in 2025 there will be a surplus of 22 million large-lot homes that will not be left vacant in a suburban wasteland but instead occupied by lower classes who have been driven out of their once affordable inner-city apartments and houses.
Are the suburbs where you live changing? Would you trade your suburban home for a place in a more walkable community? Do you think the suburbs in America will really become a trend of the past?
Nic Stover
Rubicon Construction

Posted by Nic Stover at 7/3/2008 4:42:00 PM
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Comments (2)
Re:Are America's suburbs going to fall into dis-repair?
I don't see things chaging in the immediate future or even mid range, say 8 to 10 years. We may be driving less but we are still addicted to gas. I talked to a car dealer in Twin Falls and he says the hottest seller is a jacked up truck with big tires and a big engine. We have many lessons to learn before we are willing to "sacrfice." By the way it is going be 106 degrees today and we will probably have aire quality in the red zone!
Posted by on 7/3/2008 11:44 AM
Re:Are America's suburbs going to fall into dis-repair?

I believe it is inevitable that suburbs as we have been developing them for the past 60 years will become a trend of the past. Actually, some industry experts believe that the existing supply of suburban large-lot homes may already be sufficient to meet the needs for the next twenty years in many markets. As I noted in an article I wrote recently for NAHB's Sales and Marketing Ideas magazine, the U.S. population is undergoing some profound changes which will impact home buyers preferences, their home buying and their home selling habits. In addition to the new generations mentioned in Professor Leinberger Generation X and Generation Y entering their prime home buying years, these demographic trends include a large number of Baby Boomers entering retirement age, more women as heads of households, increases in immigration, and large regional migrations.

The change will be driven by changing demographics. Homebuyer's will begin to demand change and market-driven Builders and Developers will respond. But the reality of the market is that there will always be a vocal opposition to the change. We see it here in the Treasure Valley as forward thinking Builders and Developers propose new high-density, pedestrian-friendly, walkable communities and meet with opposition from neighborhood groups and adjacent property owners who cannot envision a life without their SUV's and mini-vans and refuse to believe the studies put forth by experts that show these new development will result in reduced vehicle trips per household.

The change will have to driven by those same home buyers, most if not all of whom are also voters, becoming vocal and demanding that their elected representatives support options like mass-transit.

A full discussion of this issue is probably beyond the scope of this blog, but if you or anyone else reading this would like to discuss this further, please don't hesitate to contact me.

President / Builder Chuck Miller Construction Inc.
(208) 229-2553
[email protected]
Posted by on 7/3/2008 2:17 PM
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