Granted, there are a goodly number of Millennials roaming the streets of our fair city. But a couple recent surveys, cited today on the Atlantic Cities, suggest that the cohort born between 1982 and 2001 want to live in walkable environments, not those crisscrossed every which way by expressways out of town.
Says one of the polls:
They found that 54 percent of Millennials surveyed would consider moving to another city if it had more or better options for getting around, and 66 percent said access to high quality transportation is one of the top three criteria they would weigh when deciding where to live. Nearly half of those who owned a car said they would consider giving it up if they could count on public transportation options. Up to 86 percent said it was important for their city to offer opportunities to live and work without relying on a car.
And the other, which had a respondent group half of which were Millennials and half of which were Baby Boomers:
That poll, conducted by Harris, found that 68 percent of respondents believe the U.S. economy is fundamentally flawed, and that the path to prosperity lies in building up local communities—not through recruiting companies but by concentrating on these same basic elements of desirable places to live.
Whether the community is a small town, suburban or urban location, 49 percent of respondents said they someday want to live in a walkable community, while only seven percent want to live where they have to drive to most places. Over three-quarters noted the importance of affordable and convenient transportation options other than cars in deciding where to live and work; nearly two-thirds said the so-called “shared” economy, meaning companies like Car2Go or Airbnb, was at least somewhat important to them.
There are reasons to be skeptical of these results. Atlantic Cities points out that one of the questions, for instance, is framed as whether the respondent would prefer “living in a suburb requiring driving to most places.” It seems logical that if it were asked instead as living in a place with “the freedom to drive to most places,” the results would be quite different. Plus, the survey respondents were already living in cities, which means there’s self-selection involved.
But what I find most interesting about these results is that notion that we’re not necessarily talking about a city vs. suburbs distinction. Even when Millennials and the Boomers are happy in the ‘burbs, they’re wanting those places to be walkable too.