Why smarter land use can help cities attract and retain young adultsPosted: February 5, 2013
By Kaid Benfield
Published: February 5, 2013
Better! Cities & Towns
Here’s the nutshell: 20th-century land use won’t help your city attract and retain 21st-century people. It just won’t. This is because the lifestyle values of the Millennial generation, sometimes called GenY, are markedly different from those of previous generations when they were the same age as the Millennials are now (roughly 18 to 34).
The prolific urban observer Richard Florida has been telling us this in various ways for years, as he researches and charts the shifting economic geography of the US. (I’ve gotten to know Rich over the last year and consider him a kindred spirit on these issues.) Rich believes that the housing and finance industry collapse of the last few years signals the end of one economic era and the beginning of another, though I’m sure he would be the first to tell us that we’re in a messy and hard-to-pin-down transition. But he is clear that the new economy – based less on manufacturing and established institutions, more on creativity, entrepreneurship, connectedness and interaction – will prosper best in places suited to a new kind of lifestyle, one that has already emerged in leading cities.