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How Will Suburbs Compete with Live/Work/Play Amenities?

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The era of “The Suburbs” is upon us. The rising home prices around suburban areas and the greater interest that investors and developers are showing in these outlying areas are evidence of this trend. In order for these suburban developments to grow, however, they will need to have certain amenities to build the same level of attraction that urban living currently provides to millennials and other prospective buyers.

Here are a few ways that the suburbs are upping their game to stay relevant:

  1. Mass Transit

When it comes to living in the suburbs, getting around is one of the major issues residents face. As the suburbs expand—especially right outside of big cities—the demand and construction of rail and bus lines are increasing rapidly. You can now live outside of the city and take a train or bus to get to work, nixing the frustration of bumper-to-bumper traffic. This allows people to feel like they are still connected to the greater city and not so isolated.

Robert Cervero, Professor and Chair of City and Regional Planning at the University of California Berkeley reminds us that “profit-seeking entrepreneurs and community-minded governments are in a position to create the kinds of transit services and built environments that within a decade could allow transit to compete successfully in suburbia with the automobile.”

  1. Restaurants

One of the major benefits of living in a city is the endless number restaurants to choose from. Many restaurant owners are bringing this benefit to the suburbs, so that a favorite restaurant is now just a few minutes away. Having your choice of restaurants all around the suburban areas makes going to the city to fight for a spot in your favorite restaurant much less appealing.

  1. Bars and Nightlife

Suburban bars are growing strong. Many residents want a “trendy” place to go and have a drink after work; by creating a neighborhood bar, they can have this place close to their own homes without the need of the city.

  1. Retail Stores

While many brick and mortar stores are closing shop around the country, they’re still being used to draw residents to suburban areas. For example, suburban centers are adding thoughtfully designed shopping centers amidst beautiful gardens and play areas. These “lifestyle centers” are exactly what suburban neighborhoods need to capture that “live, work, play” lifestyle that is so popular for urban dwellers.

The Cannery, a planned community in Davis, California, for example, has created a suburban “live, work, play” center—complete with 10-miles of bike baths, a spa, a community barn, office space, and coffee shops. Could this be the new face of suburbia?

  1. Updating the Past

Suburban treasures—like town halls and historical buildings—offer a special sense of “place” to each suburban core. While these unique buildings often give the community a certain “vibe," they are also being updated to the latest standards—and to offer the latest amenities and services—in order to attract residents to the area.

Getting to know the suburbs

There is a great strategic opportunity for investors to focus on the suburbs, especially those growing around trendy cities. Residents want the amenities and the feeling of community the suburbs provide. With these newly added features, the future looks bright for suburban investment.



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