The Neighborhood of the Future

What will our neighborhoods look like 30 years from now?

America’s future neighborhoods might actually wind up looking a lot like our historic ones if Andres Duany’s predications in USA Today are accurate. Photo Credit: Paul W. Locke, Flickr

According to renowned architect and city planner Andres Duany, that future will look a lot like smart growth. In an interview with USA Today, Duany — who designed the now famous Seaside community in Florida as a kind of walkable paradise — tells national correspondent Rick Hampson that in only a few decades, based on current market trends, demographic changes and economic realities, the town of the future will be a place where people “will walk and ride more and drive less. And they will like it.”

In the next American metropolis, people will live in smaller homes, relax in smaller yards, park their smaller cars in smaller spots. They will be closer to work, to play and, above all, to one another.

That doesn’t mean “conventional suburbia” will disappear. If anything, far from it. Duany estimates that at least 40 percent of homebuyers will still favor big houses on big lots with room for a few cars. But as the millennial generation comes of age and demographic changes continue across the country, the market demand for walkable communities will only continue to escalate. And with that rise in demand, Duany notes, a wide range of housing choices will emerge. America 30 years from now will be a place with a diversity of housing and building types.

In Duany’s vision, that actually resembles America before the dawn of rampant sprawl and highway building — a place of tight-knit communities, easy access to amenities and bustling economic development along Main Street corridors.

Homes and yards will be smaller. Townhouses, walk-up apartment houses and cottages will be more common, detached single-family houses less common. Government taxes and subsidies, which once favored highways and bridges, will go toward projects such as converting a shopping mall and its parking lot to a town center surrounded by housing.

To read more about USA Today’s full interview with Duany, click here.