The latest challenge for developers? Creating affordable, attractive neighbourhoods for Generation Y. And now.
Developers need to be committed to careful planning to develop new mixed-income housing in mixed-use neighbourhoods. If we want to see the return of a first-time homebuying market, and ensure that our metropolitan centres—not to mention our workforces— are thriving with a group of young, vibrant and innovative thinkers, it’s a must.
’Cause guess what? If they can’t find it in the city they’re in now, these Gen-Yers are perfectly comfortable packing up and moving elsewhere.
The loss of youth is no small issue when it comes to planning for an attractive city core. There are the practicalities: younger folks are required for all sectors of the economy as workers and consumers, and if you remove one entire age bracket from any social biosphere you are going to run into trouble making the system work for those who remain. But perhaps more importantly it’s the younger demographic that take risks and start the kooky cafes and bistros and shops and galleries that make a neighbourhood into a community that is attractive for all walks of life. They are the artists and the entrepreneurs. We need them.
As John McIlwain points out in his insightful piece, Housing Gen Y: The Next Challenge for Cities, “Generation Y is the most mobile generation ever; its members can look for jobs anywhere in the country and the world by simply clicking on the internet.”
And they will.
So let’s, as McIlwain suggests, combat the problem of housing for Gen Y before it gets out control. Let’s give them something feasible to strive for while they’re still stuck living at home because they can’t afford to do anything else. Let’s partner with banks to see how we can negotiate reasonable down payment options. Let’s work to stimulate housing production and help restore housing market stability. And let’s make sure we’re keeping our feelers out for articles like McIlwain’s, so that we can keep the doors open for discussion about how to move the industry forward.