Today’s suburbs aren’t what they used to be. And they’re only just beginning to show signs of what they will be tomorrow.
Motown is a city with soul, but it’s short on people.
The end of World War II brought the start of the baby boom and the beginning of a housing pattern that is burned as deeply into the American psyche as baseball and apple pie. “When I grew up, there was no question that when people had a family, they moved to the suburbs,” says Arthur C. Nelson, director of the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah.
Millennials own fewer cars and drive less than their predecessors. They’d rather walk, bike, car-share, and use public transportation — and want to live where that’s all easy.
Chuck Gehring — who runs the Life-Care Alliance in central Ohio — calls it the “pig in the python” phenomenon, a not-so-flattering reference to the 60-million-plus, post-WWII baby boomers who will soon be turning 65. Their needs, as they continue to age, will be enormous, he says.
And in order for them to stay in their homes — as nearly all older Americans say they want to do — transportation options for them need to be improved. Especially since surveys show 600,000 drivers are now hanging up their keys each year after hitting age 70.
To hear demographers and journalists talk, the rapidly rising tide of retiring baby boomers is akin to a natural disaster of oceanic proportions: look out for The Age Wave!