The suburbs may be headed for significant changes in the next decade. Read this article to learn more about the key to creating an urban lifestyle in the suburbs.
As millennials age into parenthood, their desire to maintain a lifestyle of living, working, and playing all within the confines of a suburban neighborhood may be difficult to achieve. But it could also be the blueprint for the next great wave of suburban construction.
As V20 Group expands its commercial and residential footprint in Darien and Fairfield County, Vaccaro is one developer who thinks the suburbs will see sweeping changes in the way their residential communities are built in the coming years.
Suburbs Will See Sweeping Changes
Millennials have populated urban areas because of the proximity to on-demand amenities: Businesses and restaurants that cater to flexible lifestyles, friends and acquaintances that are nearby and available, and other services such as gyms, spas, and salons that are open for longer periods. All of these amenities have made urban cities a hotbed for young professionals.
With millennials having overtaken baby boomers as the nation’s largest generation, where will millennials decide to live once they begin to have children? It’s a question that developers like V20 Group, as well as investors and local governments, are trying to determine.
Combining Residential and Retail
In some larger Connecticut cities, projects have already been completed that combine residential living with retail offerings such as restaurants, health clubs, shops, and other services. One such example is Urby in Stamford. The recently completed project offers apartment living with eating options and retail within the development and is within walking distance of downtown nightlife and the train station.
Although some young families may be tenants at Urby, the development is not the type of suburban project that would attract the stereotypical young family. That’s one of the hurdles that need to be cleared. How does one create housing communities where young families will live while enjoying the benefits of restaurants, retail shops, and other amenities within easy walking distance, especially in an era where car ownership is no longer a priority and ride-hailing services such as Lyft and Uber are so readily available?
There are other factors at work too
More companies are willing to grant employees flexible work hours, and there are a greater number of freelance, independent, or contract workers who don’t require a desk in an office to complete their work. As evidenced during the continuing COVID-19 health crisis, many businesses saw no reduction in employee work output when forced to close for 2 to 3 months, and in many cases, have embraced the idea of having more employees work from home rather than come to the office, even as many areas of the country have attempted to slowly re-open.
Flexible Office Spaces
Another recent phenomenon is the creation of coworking or shared office space businesses. In Darien, there already are two coworking enterprises where workers can rent desks, private offices, or meeting rooms for hours, days, weeks, or months depending on their needs. If this trend continues, more and more people will stay closer to home while they work, or in some cases, work from home full-time.
The only remaining piece to create suburbs that function as self-contained communities is entertainment. That will require creative thinking from developers, builders, planners, and local governments to accomplish but may certainly be how new suburban areas are visualized. It could lead to the reduction of traditional, single-family neighborhoods that currently serve as bedroom communities for larger, nearby cities.
Vaccaro says schools will also be a consideration. Many young professionals move into the suburbs so their children can attend better schools. Vaccaro says that won’t change, nor will the desire to remain close to a large metropolitan area.
“Suburban living is about better schools; always has been,” Vaccaro says. “But people also don’t want to feel disconnected from urbanization.”
Creating an Urban Lifestyle in the Suburbs
That’s what may create a need for communities and towns that serve as the suburbs for larger cities to re-think the way communities are planned, how mass transit is used, and how new homes are built.