Slowly but surely, and often without notice, America has been nearing the cusp of a major shift in housing demand over the last 10 years. Countless Americans are abandoning the suburban exodus of the last 70 years or so, and moving back into cities.
Though it could seem counterintuitive at first, most Americans can probably understand the logic behind this shift from suburbia on a local level. Millions of young people entering the workforce want to be where the action is and where the jobs are. Folks starting families are growing tired of spending more time in the car than with their kids. For retiring baby boomers and empty-nesters, the two hour drives to get to the city aren’t as romantic as they used to be.
Developers are starting to recognize this trend, with urban building in high demand. The challenge is to get policymakers, especially on the Federal level, ahead of the game on a housing tide that will change the flow of our national landscape for decades to come.
Last week, NHC brought our Board of Trustees together to strategize on driving political movement on this issue, focused on developing a forward-looking affordable housing vision for cities on the move. NHC’s research affiliate, the Center for Housing Policy, is finding ways to make sure that as urban areas restructure, affordable housing opportunities aren’t left in the dust. From preserving affordable rental opportunities to promoting affordablility within transit-oriented development, and even considering broader lifestyle issues in our cities like education and public health, this will be a long term but important challenge for cities and the nation.
By the way, we could use your help! Consider joining one of NHC’s Policy Task Forces and Working Groups.