As Young Adults Mature, Cities Struggle to Retain Them

Joel Kotkin analyzes the migrations of America’s young adults in a recent post on New Some excerpts:

[Wendell] Cox looked at where 25- to 34-year-olds were living in 2000 and compared this to where they were living by 2010, now aged 35 to 44. The results were surprising: In the past 10 years, this cohort’s presence grew 12% in suburban areas while dropping 22.7% in the core cities…

[Adults 35-44] constitute the essential social ballast for any community, city or suburb.

Losing this population represents a great, if rarely perceived, threat to many regions, particular older core cities…

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…

Our findings may also give pause to those developers who often buy at face value the urbanist narrative about an city-centric real estate future. In the last decade, many developers have anticipated a continuing tsunami of wealthy young professionals, as well as legions of “empty-nesters”, flowing into the urban cores. This led to a rash of high-end condominium developments. Yet in the end, the condo market turned out far less appealing than advertised…

…the notion of mass suburban densification is likely to meet strong resistance from local residents… People who move to these places are attracted by their leafy, single-family-home-dominated neighborhoods and village-like shopping streets…

Click for the full article

See also:

Clarifying Our Position on Smart Growth
By definition, most members of NSNA live in the North Street neighborhood, an urban district that is an exemplar of Smart Growth living. We’re interested in preserving what we like about our neighborhood. We’re not trying to promote a ‘suburban sprawl’ lifestyle, although we do want people to understand why many find suburban living and the use of a car attractive.

New York Times: “Vibrant Cities Find One Thing Missing: Children”

Hanging on to Our Families with Young Children – Implications for Urban Design

The New Draft Sustainable Northampton Plan: Balancing Compact Growth Against Taxes, Urban Greenspace, Homeowner Preferences
J. Terrence Farris, “The Barriers to Using Urban Infill Development to Achieve Smart Growth”, 2001:

“…smart growth advocates should be realistic about the amount of development that will occur in built-up areas versus outlying open land as various stakeholders consider future policies. The U.S. population is expected to double in this century. It is hard to imagine that a large percentage of that growth will occur in existing built-up areas.

“Smart growth advocates should focus especially on encouraging higher-density quality development on open peripheral land. The discussion in this article suggests that this is where most development will occur. Perhaps up to 20 percent can be infill in cities and the older suburbs (this would be a big increase from present patterns). The density of most cities is 5 to 10 times that of their suburbs (Downs 1994)…”