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Millennials, Gen Y, The Suburbs and The National Housing Crisis

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Millennials, Gen Y, The Suburbs and The National Housing Crisis

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 198 total)
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  • #453325
    Tom Over
    Tom Over
    Participant

    cc said:
    I think Laura Ingalls lived in a suburb. Her pops planted a lot of what they ate.

    I’ll give you credit and assume you’re joking about the Ingalls having lived in a suburb.

    But anyway, driving on our interstates, you’ll notice an abundance of open land, but how many of the millennials and the gen y folk( or any of us for that matter) have the skills of the Ingalls ?

    #453326

    gramarye
    Participant

    manticore33 said:
    I am still wondering the impact of telework and remote work opportunities when companies finally “lighten up” about it. For instance, I could technically do me complete job at home with access through a VPN and a secondary phone line. Fortunately, I work relatively close (11 miles) to home and car-pool with three other people. This would break down the importance of geographical location for work.

    Living urban, suburban, and rural lifestyles have benefits and disadvantages. No one single living experience has it all. As a semi-millennial (born in 1981), I venture more towards a hybrid small town/rural lifestyle. However, I tend to be abnormal in that regard and have strong urges to take even more control of the foods I eat by going into my own food production which needs land (I so want to plant an orchard and keep physically fit through agricultural work :D ).

    From the food and energy perspective, how are we going to serve and feed these great, great dense cities? Especially in the South and Southwest which imports a tremendous amount of water and electricity to fight the natural climate.

    Some industries are more intrinsically able to embrace telecommuting than others. Others are more culturally able. In my profession (law), for example, I could do all my routine office work at home (drafting, e-mails, phone calls, etc.), but it’s a very social profession. People want more than just electronic contact with one another.

    As for providing food and energy to dense cities: I actually believe that it is easier to service compact areas than massive, sprawling ones. It may well get even easier in the future, too, if microgeneration takes off in the power industry, for example (reducing the need for massive power plants out in the wilderness and long transmission lines to get power from there to populated areas).

    #453327
    Tom Over
    Tom Over
    Participant

    jpizzow said:
    Have you read “$20 a gallon”? The guy makes some really good arguments. The higher price of oil will dictate almost every facet of life in the next few decades. I have a feeling it’s going to be a rough ride.

    I haven’t read the book you mention, but thanks for suggesting it. According to the title and some of the reviews on Amazon, Steiner, the author, might be emphasizing we avoid a gloom-and-doom approach.

    As for a face-to-face interaction in Columbus last night about ‘energy descent’, here is an idea expressed by someone working with Transition Central Ohio, which is part of the international Transition Town movement.

    “Fear is not a good motivator. It may have a quick effect on some people. But I know w/ me, it almost makes me feel immobilized. If you’re going to scare the hell out of me, it’s not going to lead me to action.” —Debbie Crawford, Clintonville

    The audio for the rest of the 4-minute talk is available at the website of WCRS

    #453328

    manticore33
    Participant

    Gramarye: I wrestle quite a bit with centralized production and distributed production. If powerful production can be located near the big-dense city it would supply it efficiently. However, I still wonder if would it be better to have a string of smaller decentralized complete communities (as in you don’t need to leave the community for much of anything besides novelty) that are semi-nearby. Or possible establish distributed backyard agriculture (where everyone shared a bit of land to plant a community garden or take). It is sort of like Linux versus Microsoft; which is really a better model in terms of O/S development.

    Next, I question the overall quality of life. Does a big-dense city improve or degrade the quality of life? Dense areas generate a lot of pollution and waste and depend on massively integrated systems to function. However, efficiency rewards massive and highly repeatable efforts. Whereas a country home could need relatively little if you can be self-sufficient. However, its production and efficiency is not as high. Not saying one is better than the other, but questions I ponder.

    In addition, I question the viability of large cities in in a geographical areas where it takes a tremendous amount of resources for production and livability. For instance, the South has grown by leaps and bounds since the 1950s because of air conditioning. However, the more dry areas are starting to run into water supply problems because of droughts. Could an area like this maintain an every increasing population and supply food from the local region? Or will it rely on old supply methods?

    I have noticed that more and more younger people are interested in taking control of different aspects of their lives. For instance the massive movement towards “urban homesteading.” My wife and I are included in that group. I never grew up with a garden or even canned. Now we do both and are contemplating backyard chickens and we have already planted two apple trees and several blueberry bushes. This type of movement could push back to on dense urban dwellings in favor of older city neighborhoods/suburbs opposed to tract home. However, I still think perception of affordability is a significant factor.

    Thankfully Ohio has very good access to resources. And, my personal garden needs very little intervention to grow and produce good yields.

    I used to work in child support enforcement and spent many-a-days at the court house and the need for face-to-face time and court appearances. However, a combination work at home and work onsite might become more attractive options, especially when you start considering motivation, flow, peak creativity hours, and the fact eight hours onsite does not equate to eight hours of great accomplishments.

    #453329

    The Millennials moving back to the inner cities generally aren’t quite yet at the age when their children are beginning school. We have yet to see what the currently-competing desires of good schools for their children and walkable urban lifestyles will lead them to do at that time. Of course, those two desires are not fundamentally at odds; they’re just at odds given the current lay of the land. Many suburbs are aware of this, and are beginning to plan “town center” type developments that aim to offer Millennials at least a small area of a given suburb (and one good thing about high-density development is that it doesn’t require a huge area) with a dense, walkable lifestyle, while still offering good, established school districts.

    Good points. It seems that Dublin, Hilliard and Grove City for example are each at varying stages of implementing “town center” style developments. My question is though, how much good can a “town center” really do for attracting density-seeking millenials/Gen-Y to a suburb where A) the town center is immediately surrounded by oodles of car-dependent sprawl and B) finding a place to live in or near these centers is typically impossible for most twentysomethings due to pricing? They may need to do a lot more retrofitting than perhaps they realize in order for these plans to come off looking like something more than pizza being used as a gimmick to draw the kiddies into Sunday School.

    In contrast, I do think Grandview has a decent grip on both of these items. Whether by chance, careful planning or some combination of the two, some suburbs do seem to get what makes a genuinely walkable community work without trying too hard for it.

    Speaking of Dublin, Hillard and Grove City, they might as well be developing their town centers for aging Boomers who have no problem driving their SUVs five minutes for ice cream and a walk in the park.

    #453330

    gramarye
    Participant

    Grandview is older and its streets were originally laid out in a density-friendly grid pattern rather than the rabbit-warren development style of later suburbs.

    As for the new town center developments in newer suburbs like Dublin and Grove City, I think it’s too early to pass judgment. I wouldn’t expect them to suddenly rebuild a few thousand acres at a time. The Short North didn’t come back as a dense, livable white collar community in a single year, after all. However, I do hope to see those town centers keep growing, incrementally but steadily. I’d also like to see the zoning codes of those municipalities changed so that mixed use, high density, walkable developments do not need special permission from a board (or two, or three) before development can begin–no more than new greenfield developments would require, anyway.

    #453331
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    manticore33 said:
    Next, I question the overall quality of life. Does a big-dense city improve or degrade the quality of life? Dense areas generate a lot of pollution and waste and depend on massively integrated systems to function. However, efficiency rewards massive and highly repeatable efforts. Whereas a country home could need relatively little if you can be self-sufficient. However, its production and efficiency is not as high. Not saying one is better than the other, but questions I ponder.

    Big city = pollution and waste? Is this 1911 or 2011? ;)

    Seriously though, the quality of life question is an interesting one, but I think it has more to do with personal values rather than having some sort of ideal space that provides a universal ideal “quality of life” for everyone. To me, my life quality is enhanced in an urban environment because that is where I can find the people, places and things I value.

    To get back to the pollution and waste issue though, I think a lot could be said for the efficiency of certain types of systems that come with denser living patterns. If you have a higher number of people living within a tighter radius, it means that a higher population can be served with fewer miles of public utility infrastructure, fewer roads, fewer public service stations (fire, police, etc). A less dense arrangement means that you need more services and infrastructure to serve fewer people. Obviously, that’s an extreme generalization of a very complicated topic, but something I often ponder when it comes to living density pattens and how we use (and pay for) public services and utilities.

    Related reading / good case study: http://joeplanner.blogspot.com/2010/02/sprawl-and-r-word-buffalo-niagara-case.html

    “Same number of people, three times the stuff”

    #453332

    manticore33
    Participant

    Walker: Oh, I completely agree that quality of life is how you define it. In terms of pollution, our cities are getting better and better. However, I find country air quite refreshing too!

    Thank you for sharing the article. I agree that consolidated government would be a huge benefit to most areas and can create the critical mass for a region to move forward as a whole. Infrastructure is extremely expensive and difficult to maintain without the compounding costs of supporting a larger land area. Although, in more rural settings you are not as “connected to the grid.” And, if you can make the investment in solar, geothermal, and other technologies it is possible to go off of the grid and have a relatively self-sustaining home not dependent on the too many larger systems as a whole.

    For me, I keep having this feeling that I need to be more connected to nature and my own basic humanity. There is simplicity and beauty of watching life’s nourishment growing before your eyes. It is absolutely amazing to how life wants to live. For instance, we started some tomato plants from suckers that were pruned off. Simply put in water and within a week the suckers started rooting and you had a new tomato plant. It is not easy work, but I find it extremely rewarding and feel less need to fill voids with life’s distractions (TV, internet, etc, etc).

    #453333

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    manticore33 said:
    I am still wondering the impact of telework and remote work opportunities when companies finally “lighten up” about it. For instance, I could technically do me complete job at home with access through a VPN and a secondary phone line. Fortunately, I work relatively close (11 miles) to home and car-pool with three other people. This would break down the importance of geographical location for work.

    Living urban, suburban, and rural lifestyles have benefits and disadvantages. No one single living experience has it all. As a semi-millennial (born in 1981), I venture more towards a hybrid small town/rural lifestyle. However, I tend to be abnormal in that regard and have strong urges to take even more control of the foods I eat by going into my own food production which needs land (I so want to plant an orchard and keep physically fit through agricultural work :D ).

    Frankly, I am scared of high, high oil prices. Not just in the cost of gasoline, but in the perverse use of plastic in everything (which does not recycle as well as metals and glass and plastic degrades in quality each time you recycle it). In addition to the impacts on agriculture since most agriculture is intimately tied with oil from petrochemicals to transportation costs.

    From the food and energy perspective, how are we going to serve and feed these great, great dense cities? Especially in the South and Southwest which imports a tremendous amount of water and electricity to fight the natural climate.

    Don’t worry so much about the price of food (at least not due to oil, maybe due to overpopulation), but you can worry about the affordability of beef if you want.
    http://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/quick-note-on-food-transportation/

    #453334
    rus
    rus
    Participant
    #453335

    johnwirtz
    Participant

    ^From that article:

    Losing this population represents a great, if rarely perceived, threat to many regions, particular older core cities. Rust Belt centers such as Cleveland and Detroit have lost over 30% of this age group over the decade.

    This makes me wonder what kind of suburbs they are choosing. If it’s Lakewood and Cleveland Heights, then it’s still pretty urban. If it’s Solon and Avon, that’s a different story.

    #453336
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    johnwirtz said:
    ^From that article:

    Losing this population represents a great, if rarely perceived, threat to many regions, particular older core cities. Rust Belt centers such as Cleveland and Detroit have lost over 30% of this age group over the decade.

    This makes me wonder what kind of suburbs they are choosing. If it’s Lakewood and Cleveland Heights, then it’s still pretty urban. If it’s Solon and Avon, that’s a different story.

    That touches on “what is a suburb”. Technically, Grandview is an inner ring suburb but as discussed it’s hardly cul-de-sac country.

    This, from the linked article, caught my eye:

    Rather than place all their bets on attracting 20-somethings cities must focus on why early middle-age couples are leaving. Some good candidates include weak job creation, poor schools, high taxes and suffocating regulatory environments. Addressing these issues won’t keep all young adults in urban settings, but it might improve the chances of keeping a larger number.

    Reminded me of comments regarding the public service department, pearl alley vendors, columbus public schools, etc.

    #453337
    Josh Lapp
    Josh Lapp
    Participant

    rus said:
    http://blogs.forbes.com/joelkotkin/2011/07/20/why-americas-young-and-restless-will-abandon-cities-for-suburbs/

    This is coming from a person whose Manifesto include the heading “The Triumph of Suburbia.”

    While he made so very valid points he jumps to many conclusions from the data. His answer is that 25-34 year olds are leaving the urban areas because they dislike the urban landscape and prefer a less dense area. I think there are probably many more likely answers (Schools!!!!!!!!!) then the conclusion that all of a sudden people grow to hate density and re-embrace suburbia.

    #453338
    rus
    rus
    Participant

    joshlapp said:
    His answer is that 25-34 year olds are leaving the urban areas because they dislike the urban landscape and prefer a less dense area. I think there are probably many more likely answers (Schools!!!!!!!!!) then the conclusion that all of a sudden people grow to hate density and re-embrace suburbia.

    I’m not sure that he’s saying density per se is the cause of people moving out from cities into suburbs; note some of the suggestions he cites above, which tally with your observation on schools.

    #453339
    Josh Lapp
    Josh Lapp
    Participant

    rus said:
    I’m not sure that he’s saying density per se is the cause of people moving out from cities into suburbs; note some of the suggestions he cites above, which tally with your observation on schools.

    Although he doesn’t explicitly state that’s what he is thinking in the article he eludes to it with statements like this “Unless there has been a mind-numbing change in attitude or an unexpected return to good governance in cities, young adults entering middle age will continue their shift toward suburban and lower-density areas in the decade ahead, upending the predictions of most pundits, planners and development experts.”

    From his manifesto though we can gauge his true opinion:
    “Instead of clinging to the idea that density and concentration are best, planners, architects and developers would do better to focus what appeals to the vast majority of the population, particularly the middle and working classes. Nurturing smaller, more efficient cities, as well as expansive suburbs and revived small towns, may prove far more practical and beneficial to society than imposing the manic agenda among planners, pundits and urban land speculators for relentless centralization.”

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