1. The Suburb Of The Future, Almost Here

    The Suburb Of The Future, Almost Here


    SEPT. 15, 2017

    By ALAN M. BERGER

    Read More: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/15/s...llennials.html

    Quote:
    The suburbanization of America marches on. That movement includes millennials, who, as it turns out, are not a monolithic generation of suburb-hating city dwellers. Most of that generation represents a powerful global trend. They may like the city, but they love the suburbs even more.

    - According to the latest Census Bureau statistics, 25- to 29-year-olds are about a quarter more likely to move from the city to the suburbs as vice versa; older millennials are more than twice as likely. Their future — and that of the planet — lies on the urban peripheries. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma made clear that, especially in suburbs, the United States desperately needs better drainage systems to handle the enormous amounts of rainfall expected from climate change. They also made clear that new, sustainable suburbs can offer an advantage by expanding landscapes that can absorb water.

    - Millennial suburbanites want a new kind of landscape. They want breathing room but disdain the energy wastefulness, visual monotony and social conformity of postwar manufactured neighborhoods. If new suburbs can hit the sweet spot that accommodates the priorities of that generation, millennial habitats will redefine everyday life for all suburbanites, which is 70 percent of Americans. --- Climate will determine how environmental goals can be achieved in a given place: solar in the Sunbelt, say, or advanced water management in the rainy regions like the Pacific Northwest. Suburbs of the same age or size don’t share the same potential benefits or needs.

    - In sustainable new suburbs, house and lot sizes are smaller — in part because driveways and garages are eliminated — paving is reduced up to 50 percent and landscapes are more flexible. The plant-to-pavement ratio of today’s suburb is much higher than that of cities, but the next generation of suburbs can be even better at absorbing water. House and open community spaces are set among teardrop-shaped one-way roads, which encourage predictable, safe separation of pedestrians and moving vehicles. New suburban developments will utilize technology like autonomous electric cars and smart street lighting, which minimize energy use and harmful environmental impact.

    - Communities will share neighborhood amenities like public access areas, drone ports for deliveries, car pull overs (a wider shoulder in the road for pickup and drop-off) rather than private driveways and open common spaces. Businesses also like locations on urban peripheries. That dynamic is helping to reshape suburbia’s traffic patterns, since many cars avoid urban centers. As cars move to renewable energy, emissions and road noise will diminish. In the near term, we should hope to see more efficient cars and on ride sharing. --- The use of drones will reduce the need for many car errands — and their emissions: With their unrestricted air space, suburban communities are likely to be first to receive package deliveries from the drones being tested by Amazon.

    - The neighborhoods will be friendlier for pedestrians, with sidewalks and paths that connect to open spaces and communal areas. Before we had fenced-off backyards. In the future we’ll have common recreation spaces or vegetable gardens. Or they can be designed for shared landscape features like forest, vernal ponds or wetlands that help manage storm runoff and control flooding. Climate change has resulted in heavier rainfall when storms do come, and there’s a need to store all of this water to prevent catastrophic urban flooding. Less pavement in suburbia means the ground absorbs more rain and snow and less storm water pours into heavily paved urban areas nearby. Planners need to view cities, suburbs and exurbs not as discrete units but as regions, with one integrated environmental and technological system.

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    The Suburb Of The Future, Almost Here
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