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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 3:34 PM
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New Study Says Young People Want Apartments, Not Houses; iPhones, Not Cars

New Study Says Young People Want Apartments, Not Houses; iPhones, Not Cars


10.19.10

By Lloyd Alter

Read More: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010...ments-cars.php

DRIVERS OF APARTMENT LIVING IN CANADA FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: http://www.gwlrealtyadvisors.com/gwl...ing%5B1%5D.pdf

Quote:
It is a theme on TreeHugger that living walkable communities and dense cities use less energy per capita, and that the auto-centric suburb is perhaps the worst of all planning models if we want to reduce our energy and particularly our oil consumption. But do people really want to live in high density apartments if they have the choice? A new Canadian study indicates that for a number of reasons, more and more people do.

Density can inspire innovation

Workers value the ability to discuss ideas over coffee at a hip café or lunch at a sushi bar. Evidence increasingly shows that fresh, ground-breaking ideas tend to emerge from spending time outside of an office in a multi-faceted urban milieu. Suburban isolation does not fit many knowledge economy sectors' location needs nor those of the talent they wish to attract.

Apartment dwelling suits the experience economy

Unlike in a consumer-goods fueled economy, in the growing "experience economy" people spend their time and money on experiences. Twenty years ago only the wealthy had regular spa treatments, manicures, and enjoyed frequent fine-dining. Today, individuals of much more modest incomes frequent such places. Other experiences in demand from nearly all income groups range from recreation--such as cycling, skiing, hiking--to travel to simply the daily indulgence of a Starbucks coffee.

Apartment living suits the relationship between many twenty-first century women and families and the economy

The shift to a knowledge and experience based economy that has been happening over the past few decades is also connected to the growth of women in the workforce and the more gender-neutral nature of today's jobs. Apartment living is a natural evolution of this shift.

Younger generations' lifestyles do not suit driving

There is also growing research that younger generations do not relate to the automobile as enabling "freedom." Instead, their electronic and social media devices--whether a smart phone, small lap top computer, music player, etc.--provide an alternate means for self expression and being free to do what they want. In the United States, kilometers driven by 18-34 year olds is declining, and this is likely the case in Canada as well (Neff, 2010). Younger generations seem to have less interest in automotive use, making apartment living in dense, walkable and transit-oriented urban areas a more natural fit for their lifestyles.



The study by GWL Realty Advisors comes to some interesting conclusions about how trends are changing regarding home ownership vs renting, apartment vs house. Although the data are Canadian, where there has not been a real estate meltdown as there has in the USA, it seems likely that the trends are similar south of the border. GWL used a mix of census data and polling to reach their conclusions:












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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 4:23 PM
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^conclusion: most people commute by car.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 4:39 PM
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A new Canadian study indicates
At least it sort of makes sense now.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 5:11 PM
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I still don't get this "facebook has replaced needing to do something fun with friends" meme that's going around. Because I mean, social networking was designed for making "hey I'm playing minecraft and eating taco bell" comments nobody reads, right?

Although I know people who do nothing but play video games, talk to people on facebook, then come over to my apartment and make enormous messes in the kitchen and dump pizza and leave beer bottles everywhere

I'm 22 but hey I must be old school if I like getting out of my place and exploring and doing things.

Still, I can imagine how being able to live in a city without a car could be as liberating as being tethered to one in the suburbs, given that most people who go to work every day and have limited money don't go on random roadtrips in their car, but taking the light rail to some interesting thing in the city can be as much fun.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 5:38 PM
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The issues raised here go way beyond ecology, energy, etc. (and the embarrassing idea that more innovation goes on at a hip cafe than a conference room lunch from McDonald's).

It is typical for the urban/suburban preference to be cyclical. It is also typical for people to react to hard-times by denying the value of material goods. When the baby boom was hitting and there were way to many people for the existing well-paying jobs, the hippie-zen-commune mentality exploded. A few years later when the economy was strong and jobs available, many of the same folks cut their hair and became deal makers and entrepreneurs with BMW's and 2nd homes.

With the economy weak again, you can expect people to say they just want a little apartment and an iphone and they'll be happy. The issue now is when will the economy turn around. If it doesn't, then we really are looking at a future trapped in our one-room apartments without cars or energy. Basically a return to the 19th century but with phones and video replacing reading and musical skills.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 5:53 PM
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Hmmm...

The cost of an apartment: a few hundred a month, no long term commitment
The cost of an iPhone: a few hundred bucks

The cost of a car: at least 20k (usually much more if you want a nice one)
The cost of a house: at least a grand (usually much more) per month in a monthly mortgage that goes on for decades, not including your down payment

Conclusion:

Young people have less money, thus want cheaper things, and they are less committed to their location.

No, the next generation's preferences at this particular age do not herald a revolutionary move towards city and mass transit use, no matter how much we wish for it. Once these kids get older, have children, and make more money they will skidaddle to the suburbs and settle into a vinyl box with a 2 car garage just like the many generations before them did.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 5:56 PM
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I suppose bad economic times wouldn't do it either, or people getting married and having kids later.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 6:48 PM
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If you read more studies, the takeaway isn't that the young behave differently than the old, or that there's been a sudden economy-related shift in how the young think, or that the majority of people now think like urbanites. The point is that there's a significant increase in the number of people who want to live in certain urbanistic ways, and this has been occurring over a fairly long period.

Personally I find this a very encouraging trend both for our cities and for the health of this country and world.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 7:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llamaorama View Post
I still don't get this "facebook has replaced needing to do something fun with friends" meme that's going around. Because I mean, social networking was designed for making "hey I'm playing minecraft and eating taco bell" comments nobody reads, right?

Although I know people who do nothing but play video games, talk to people on facebook, then come over to my apartment and make enormous messes in the kitchen and dump pizza and leave beer bottles everywhere

I'm 22 but hey I must be old school if I like getting out of my place and exploring and doing things.

Still, I can imagine how being able to live in a city without a car could be as liberating as being tethered to one in the suburbs, given that most people who go to work every day and have limited money don't go on random roadtrips in their car, but taking the light rail to some interesting thing in the city can be as much fun.
Not sure if I can still claim "young" as I'm nearing 29 now, but...

I think the rise in car-sharing programs is going to be key to a new pattern of thinking for the younger generation. Ideally, the car should be an option, and not a necessity for the true city dweller. But in order for this to happen, we have to grow the car-share business. This is a market that I hope will really allow electric cars to take off. They are going to be a tough sell to most Americans right now until we put in place the proper infrastructure of charging stations. But for car-sharing in/near inner cities, they make perfect sense.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 8:08 PM
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Keep in mind too that there is less pressure to "grow up" and stop having fun these days than there used to be. Most people my age I know view themselves as young (despite some being in their 30s) and have no desire to settle down, have kids, buy a house, be a loser like on some sit-com like King of Queens or Everybody Loves Raymond or some such crap.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Hmmm...

The cost of an apartment: a few hundred a month, no long term commitment
The cost of an iPhone: a few hundred bucks

The cost of a car: at least 20k (usually much more if you want a nice one)
The cost of a house: at least a grand (usually much more) per month in a monthly mortgage that goes on for decades, not including your down payment

Conclusion:

Young people have less money, thus want cheaper things, and they are less committed to their location.

No, the next generation's preferences at this particular age do not herald a revolutionary move towards city and mass transit use, no matter how much we wish for it. Once these kids get older, have children, and make more money they will skidaddle to the suburbs and settle into a vinyl box with a 2 car garage just like the many generations before them did.
Conclusion:

You have no idea how much an apartment is, Urban Politician. A few hundred bucks a month? Where? Perhaps in Tulsa? Maybe in Cleveland? Sure as hell isn't most places, though. Oh yes, and you want that few hundred bucks a month apartment to be in the middle of town, easily accessible by bus and rail? So, will you be sharing that 500 square foot studio apartment with a kitchenette and a tiny bathroom with one roommate? Or two?

Aaron (Glowrock)
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 10:39 PM
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^ Glowrock, in most of America an apartment is still several hundred bucks a month.

Most "young people" don't live in San Francisco or Manhattan. Most "young people" live in the rest of America, where a studio or a 1 bedroom is easily less than $1000 per month.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 10:53 PM
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It's not about finances but rather the younger generations are eschewing adult responsibilities.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowrock View Post
Conclusion:

You have no idea how much an apartment is, Urban Politician. A few hundred bucks a month? Where? Perhaps in Tulsa? Maybe in Cleveland? Sure as hell isn't most places, though. Oh yes, and you want that few hundred bucks a month apartment to be in the middle of town, easily accessible by bus and rail? So, will you be sharing that 500 square foot studio apartment with a kitchenette and a tiny bathroom with one roommate? Or two?

Aaron (Glowrock)
You can find an apartment for a couple hundred bucks a month...in the ghetto. For a decent apartment (1 bd/1 ba) in a nice area you are looking at $700 minimum and for a nice urban apartment closer to $1000 or more if new (bills included). And yes Tulsa is one of the cheaper mid-sized cities.

I bought a 2 bd/2 ba bungalow in an urban neighborhood 1 mile from downtown Tulsa. It had been updated with new roof, wiring, HVAC but needed some cosmetic improvements in the kitchens/bathrooms that I've been working on. My mortgage with property tax/insurance/bills included is just over $1,100/month. I would be paying nearly that for an apartment as close to downtown and in the nice neighborhood that I am but now I actually own the house (or will) and can sell and either make my money back or even make a small profit from the improvements I've made.
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 11:18 PM
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Kind of weird that in their report the researchers use to term "condo" to refer to condominium apartments, and the term "apartment" to refer to rental apartments. If they don't know the difference between housing tenure and housing structure, it is hard to take their study seriously...
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Old Posted Oct 26, 2010, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brickell View Post
At least it sort of makes sense now.
Yeah, I was going to say, "really? that doesn't sound like the country I live in."
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2010, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doady View Post
Kind of weird that in their report the researchers use to term "condo" to refer to condominium apartments, and the term "apartment" to refer to rental apartments. If they don't know the difference between housing tenure and housing structure, it is hard to take their study seriously...
Outside of New York, most of the country uses the terms they did.
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2010, 3:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strange Meat View Post
Keep in mind too that there is less pressure to "grow up" and stop having fun these days than there used to be. Most people my age I know view themselves as young (despite some being in their 30s) and have no desire to settle down, have kids, buy a house, be a loser like on some sit-com like King of Queens or Everybody Loves Raymond or some such crap.
That was about a couple which was both childless and childish. I'll never understand how it gets lumped in with bullshit man-of-the-house sitcoms.
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2010, 5:52 AM
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Can this really be called a "study"? They don't really seem to have much to back up their claims, it seems to be a bunch of Richard Florida concepts with some cherry picked stats to back up the concepts they've selected.

The big claim seems to be "A new Canadian study indicates that for a number of reasons, more and more people do.". I can't find ANYTHING in there that shows historical data to indicate a trend or any change in what people want. It basically shows that people who live in multi-story and multi-unit buildings are less likely to drive. Unless they live in Halifax, which I assume doesn't have public transit that is comparable to Toronto.

(I don't have any issues with the concepts they seem to be supporting, I just don't think they have anything to back up their conclusions)
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Old Posted Oct 27, 2010, 6:54 AM
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
^ Glowrock, in most of America an apartment is still several hundred bucks a month.

Most "young people" don't live in San Francisco or Manhattan. Most "young people" live in the rest of America, where a studio or a 1 bedroom is easily less than $1000 per month.
I doubt it is "several hundred bucks a month". I know people who lived in "sh*thole, small Texas towns, and still paid ~$400/month to live in a run down apt complex that probably had rodents running through the asbestos.

Granted, it is possible to live in an apartment for several hundred a month, but I doubt most of American is doing. Prove me wrong, as I haven;t bothered to look at any sort data.
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