Yesterday, I wrote that Provo needs to add more housing for young professionals. But adding housing for younger people also means adding housing for young families, and according to Kaid Benfield it’s important to be realistic about what the families of the future will look like:
As it turns out, the way households are going to be evolving over the next few decades is toward more singles, empty-nesters, and city-lovers, none of whom particularly want the big yards and long commutes they may have grown up with as kids. There will still be a significant market for those things (for example, my in-laws), but it will be a smaller portion of overall housing demand than it used to be. This means that the communities and businesses that take account of these emerging preferences for smaller, more walkable homes will be the ones that are most successful.
Benfield goes on to mention that people are marrying later, living alone longer, and having two parents in the workforce, when they have two parents at all. These changes will certainly dismay some people — in Provo and elsewhere — but they are a reality that needs to be addressed intelligently.
But the underlying assumption of Benfield’s article seems to be that cities can be great places for families, even those with kids. That’s also something I argued yesterday. The key to making cities work for families, however, is actually building places to accommodate them. In other words, build dense, walkable housing but do it in a way that accommodates families’ sizes and budgets.