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The Trend Towards Walkable Suburbs

Kaid Benfield has a great article over on Better Cities and Towns about the changing living preferences towards downtown and walkable suburbs. He has also written a great book called People Habitat that I highly recommend. As I've said before, I think Mountlake Terrace is going to be in a great position to attract people who prefer the compact, urban environment and easy access to transit that larger cities provide, but may also prefer a little more space.

Here are a couple of great quotes from the article:

I don’t see the fundamental future choice as between city and suburb but between more walkable, diverse and healthy places, on the one hand, and more automobile-dependent, monolithic, and unhealthy ones, on the other.  As I also write in People Habitat, whether those places are within or outside city limits is of most relevance to cartographers and candidates for city office; the environment, economy and, increasingly, our social fabric don’t care.  What matters in the 21st century is not so much “cities” in the traditional jurisdictional sense, but metropolitan regions and neighborhoods.  Both are changing for the better, and in a lasting way, in my humble opinion.

The way households are going to be evolving over the next few decades is toward more singles, empty-nesters, and city-lovers, none of whom particularly want the big yards and long commutes they may have grown up with as kids.  A significant market for those things will still exist, but it will be a smaller portion of overall housing demand than it used to be.  This new reality means that the communities and businesses that take account of these emerging preferences for smaller homes and lots and more walkable neighborhoods will be the ones that are most successful.

Read the entire article here.

Photo courtesy Alexis Fam.

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