This Week’s News Spotlight | 

The Rising Demand for Walkable Neighborhoods

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+ “A Move Toward Three Bedrooms and Two Baths”, Marketplace, Feb. 25th, 2016

With all the talk of the millennial generation – folks in their 20s and early 30s – dominating the rental market in cities across the country, it might come as a surprise that they also make up the nation’s largest segment of home buyers. According to National Public Radio’s Marketplace, as millennials grow up and start families, many, 49 percent, are reassessing their housing choices. For those looking for their first house, they’re starting to look toward the suburbs – but just not their parents’ ‘burb.

“While many of them are buying very traditional homes, [writes author Nova Safo] millennial suburban home buyers want walkability, convenient access to public transportation, good schools within a short distance.”

This is triggering changes in some suburbs, with increased investment in public transportation, bicycle infrastructure, pedestrian malls, and mixed use development, among others. Millennial suburban homebuyers want to bring the best of urban living – amenities at their fingertips – to the suburbs. And with millennials making up a third of home buyers and two-thirds of first time home buyers, these housing preferences may be putting pressure on suburbs rethink their walkability, accessibility, and density.

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+ “The Unintended Consequences of Housing Finance”Regional Plan Association, Feb. 2016

However, demand for dense, walkable, mixed use development is growing faster than supply. According to a new report released by the Regional Plan Association, 56 percent of millennials and 46 percent of baby-boomers prefer walkable, mixed use neighborhoods. And while there is a shortage of multi-family housing, supply of single family homes is estimated to exceed demand for the next 25 years. The report asserts that federal housing policy should actively support this demand, as it does currently for single-family housing.

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+ READ MORE: An article in Grist, titled “Want to Encourage the Development of Walkable Neighborhoods? Fix This,” also details the impact federal loan policies have had on shaping the financing and construction of new housing in walkable, multi-family neighborhoods.

This new section selects provides thoughtful insights from today’s top journalists and writers about pressing topics that impact bicycle and pedestrian planning and policy. Learn the issues, get the facts, and invest in planning for New Jersey’s tomorrow.