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Biggest Generations Will Redefine Cities and Suburbs

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By Steve Cook

RISMedia, June 22, 2011— The largest generations in the nation’s history, Baby Boomers and their children, will be hugely influential in redefining living and working environments for decades to come.

Downtown cores and outlying suburbs will bear the brunt of the new pressure for growth, says Patrick Phillips, CEO of the Urban Land Institute at the annual conference of the National l Association of Real Estate Editors in San Antonio.

In addition to housing Boomers who will live longer than their parents and Echo Boomers, who will form more but smaller households, America will have to add 150 million more people over the next 40 years.

They want to live in pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented mixed-use environments that de-emphasize auto dependency,” Phillips says.

As urban areas have become more congested, the convenient location of first-tier suburbs is increasingly appealing to consumers seeking to rent as well as buy, he says. “The disconnect between housing and jobs is evident in long daily commutes, time wasted in traffic, and an overall lower quality of life. This is not a sustainable growth model.”

Population growth will put pressure on the existing shortage of rentals in many markets and mandate compact, downtown development and better coordination of land use planning.

Together, all of this will cause a lasting change in what and where we build. Piece-meal, poorly connected development will become a thing of the past. We can expect better coordination of land use planning and transportation planning so that more development is oriented to transit options.

The Urban Land Institute provides leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

For more information, visit www.realestateeconomywatch.com.

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