What Happened When My Small-Town, 50-Something Parents Moved to the City

My parents, who had spent much of their adult life in relatively rural and exurban landscapes, adapted quickly. […]

“Maybe after years in the exurbs or a small town you get tired of it. To be able to walk to three or four restaurants and two or three basic amenities like grocery stores instead of having to get in your car all the time. Well, that sounds pretty good to people.”

Target Tests Small Store for Urban Shoppers as Young People Pick Cities Over Suburbs

The discount retailer, which has long focused on large stores in suburban markets, completed a lease last week on its smallest store yet, a 20,000-square-foot location in Minneapolis, a test store for a new format called TargetExpress. […]

John D. Griffith, executive vice president for property development at Target, said that as more people, and especially young people, opted to live in cities rather than suburbs, Target wanted to remain convenient.

“Many of them grew up with a Target experience,” Mr. Griffith said. “Now, they show up at their cool little bungalow they’re redoing, they’re five miles from downtown, and yet, Target is a little bit of an effort to get to.”

With the kids gone, aging Baby Boomers opt for city life

“The millennials and the boomers are looking for the same thing,” said Amy Levner, manager of AARP’s Livable Communities. […]

“The spirit on the streets, there’s a kind of vitality, a regeneration,” Harold Closter said, adding that most people in their building are younger than they are. “We’ve made a lot of new friends, and we’ve found that it’s a lot easier for our friends to get to us, because we’re right on the Metro. . . . Our (adult) son and his friends think this is pretty cool as well.” […]

“I don’t have to spend my time taking care of the house, replacing the gutter, sealing the driveway,” he said. “After you make the move, it’s like a big rock lifted off the back of your neck.”

Millennial Cohort Will Have Oversized Impact on Retail, Real Estate

This is a really good article explaining how the U.S. will be impacted as Millennials gain influence.

A few quotes that might pique your interest:

  • “[Millennials] are far less skeptical of government programs. In fact, many echo boomers believe government should do more to solve their problems.”
  • “The internet is drawing echo boomers away from television—particularly costly cable subscriptions.”
  • “The automobile thrills echo boomers much less than it did—and still does—their parents. One reason is that many of the young who can afford an automobile prefer to live in cities or mixed-use suburban locations.”
  • “Many higher-income/highly educated echo boomers grew up in the suburbs, but have happily abandoned life there for life in the cities.”
  • “Target, Walmart, and Best Buy already have developed smaller prototypes and are locating them in cities and larger suburban agglomerations, while at the same time closing some of their suburban and exurban stores.”
  • “During the 1980s and 1990s, business owners and managers were usually in the driver’s seat of the labor market, and thus were able to locate their offices in suburban locations close to their homes. But the shortage of creative talent with tech skills has made it much more important to locate the offices of startup companies and the businesses that need to interact with them where the talent they seek wants to live.”

But you should read the whole thing.

Craft Brews Create Urban Revival

Enter Great Lakes Brewing, which opened in 1988 [in Cleveland]. Over the years, it’s built a brewery and a brewpub from structures that once housed a feed store, a saloon and a livery stable.

What’s going on in Cleveland is happening across the country. Trendy small businesses like breweries and younger residents have been returning to downtown neighborhoods in many cities across the U.S. The biggest cities are growing faster than the suburbs around them, according to Census data.

It’s awesome that this article came out the same week as the last episode of The UrbanCincy Podcast, where we discussed craft beer in relation to Cincinnati’s urban revitalization.

580 Building to be converted to apartments by end of year

The 17-story office building will be converted into 179 apartments that are due to start opening by the end of this year, Birkla said. Thirteen two-story penthouses will have 20-foot, floor-to-ceiling views and private terraces. They will each be about 1,600 square feet with two bedrooms and a den.

Between the 580 Building, Phase Two of The Banks, and the new Fourth and Race tower, that’s almost 800 new housing units (and a long-needed downtown grocery store).

Throw in the proposals for Fountain Place (Fifth & Vine) and Seventh & Broadway, and you’ve got over 1,000 new housing units in the Central Business District alone — not even counting all of the development occurring in Over-the-Rhine.

The demand for living in Downtown Cincinnati hasn’t been this high in decades, and this is just the beginning of property developers addressing that demand.

Survey finds locals feel really good about downtown, Over-the-Rhine

Local residents are feeling better than ever about downtown Cincinnati, according to a recent survey by booster group Downtown Cincinnati Inc., with 90 percent of those polled saying their overall impression of downtown was either extremely or somewhat positive.

Those are the best results DCI has ever received for its Downtown Perceptions Survey, said Mindy Rosen, senior vice president of communications and marketing at DCI.

Visitors also said that parks were one of their top reasons for coming downtown, thanks to the brand new Smale Riverfront Park and revamped Washington Park. That’s in addition to the other top reasons, which include restaurants and bars, Fountain Square, and Findlay Market.

We can thank Mayor Mallory and 3CDC for having the vision to transform Cincinnati’s urban core from a place that shuts down at 5 p.m. to a place that people want to live and spend time.

Back to the City

Moreover, [author Alan Ehrenhalt] notes, “the [millennial] generation is simply so large—by one conventional measure, sixty to seventy million people—that even a respectable minority of this cohort seeking an urban life is bound to change American metropolitan areas dramatically.” In other words, the inversion, to the extent it is occurring, is the product of real preferences, not an urban-planning straitjacket imposed by those who disdain suburban sprawl.

As much as I link to articles about the upcoming generation preferring urban life, I understand that different people want to live in different environments and cities aren’t for everyone. The great point being made here is that even a moderate shift toward urban living is going to have a huge overall impact.

Americans Want More City Planning

A recent survey of 1,300 Americans—including people of all political persuasions living in cities, suburbs, and small towns—had some interesting results.

Respondents were also asked to rank the top five factors that make up an “ideal community.” The results:

  1. Locally owned businesses nearby
  2. Being able to stay in the same neighborhood while aging
  3. Availability of sidewalks
  4. Energy-efficient homes
  5. Availability of transit

More people are realizing that shopping at big box stores and having to drive everywhere is not what they want out of life.