The suburbs are coming back, and not necessarily because of COVD-19. The resurgence is founded in a confluence of economics, demographics, and to a lesser degree, pandemic driven work environment changes. The high cost of living in cities, lack of open space to rear children, and safety issues eventually make the suburbs attractive to new generations, just like it did for their parents.
However, suburbia will start to take on a different look (and vibe) as younger generations replace the older ones. We have recently created a blueprint of how suburbia could change over the course of the next two decades as Millennials and Gen Z infiltrate them.
We have identified three types of suburbs: high, medium, and low density. Most of the changes will occur in medium and low-density suburbs with high density suburbs experiencing minimal change. Medium density suburbs will likely experience significant redevelopment in commercial corridors like dated shopping centers, office parks, and industrial sites. For example, struggling Class B and C shopping centers will likely be redeveloped into suburban downtowns where people live, work, shop, dine, worship, and entertain themselves all within a walkable area.
More dramatic change will occur in low density suburbs that comprise a significant amount of open space for new development. A series of micro-communities will make up these suburbs and will generally be self-contained and walkable. While these micro-communities will include a variety of apartments and condominiums, primary domiciles will be single family residences. These homes will reside on smaller lots, have two stories, and maintain dramatically different floorplans that reflect the lifestyles of Millennials and Gen Z. For example, a multi-configurable office will be the norm in place of more bedrooms and other traditional rooms replaced by flexible and transitional activity rooms and spas. Kitchens will also become more of a central point in the home. Lastly, these new homes will be wired for the latest technology as well as run exclusively on clean energy and include multiple vehicle-charging points.
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