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Hans Hansson | June 2, 2008

Prior to the introduction of the automobile most people either lived in large urban areas or small town farming communities. Starting after World War II, cheap gas sent families out of the urban areas into the suburbs. Throughout the sixties and seventies many major cities throughout the United States saw a steep reduction of total population in their cities. Detroit and Philadelphia were examples that were ranked top in population and over a short period of time saw a dramatic fall as large influential suburban hubs attracted the population. Cities began to stabilize and in some cases grow over the last ten years as they began to transform themselves as new urban living opportunities including live-work type homes, new condos and attractive apartment living with amentias opened up. A younger population along with baby boomers ready to experience a new life after kids has found urban living attractive once again.

So how will gas prices affect urban living? Will families find it too expensive to live in the suburbs and consider coming back to the city regardless of the higher housing costs? Will businesses re-consider office space in suburbs in favor of urban markets that offer better mass transportation opportunities to get their employees to and from work? Will people accept living closer together in more high-density living units as developers squeeze more and more units in less and less available land?

Signs say yes. San Francisco continues to see higher housing prices in the face of a continued downward trend in housing throughout most suburban markets close to it. Philadelphia has seen an increase in its population for the first time in over 25 years.

Los Angeles, a city that had virtually no downtown residential community for over 60 years, now sees an explosion of condos, live work units and high-density apartments built in the core downtown area.

Cities of course have to plan for this potential growth now. Mass transportation, public parks and recreation areas will be keys to welcome families back to urban markets. Suburbs to survive will have to find new and innovative ways to keep families in their areas by providing better mass transportation opportunities while also finding ways to create incentives for companies to continue to consider urban markets for their businesses.
Posted 11 years, 6 months ago on June 2, 2008
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Re: How Gas Prices Could Effect Urban Markets
This is a great post - and I concur 100%.

The trend back towards urban living is a very exciting development. I am hoping for a future of vibrant and cohesive cites where jobs, entertainment and essential supplies are all within easy walking distance.

This trend also creates opportunities for infill development as inefficiently utilized inner city parcels get redeveloped into denser housing and economic centers.

I'm looking forward to it.

2008/06/05 by David Kendall wwwReply
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Re: How Gas Prices Could Effect Urban Markets
IN filling is also going to pose a challenge as cities look to preserve neighborhoods and old serviced related areas. In San Francisco for instance the Board of Supervisors down zoned a very important new residential opportunity in favor of insuring that old warehouse and manufacturing buildings are preserved even though it is not highest and best use.

2008/06/06 by Anonymous • • Reply
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