Experts examine the future of housing in Georgia
Boomers and Millenials Converge: Opportunities to Retrofit Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities, the half-day seminar sponsored by the Atlanta 50+ Housing Council, was an extraordinary success, attracting attendees from all over who gathered to learn about the future of urban planning and design.
The April 8th half-day seminar addressed the future state of city and community planning, focusing on the implications the aging population and their children will have on the construction, layout and design of both current and future communities.
The Keynote Speaker at the event was Sarah Kirsch, Senior Principal with Robert Charles Lesser & Co., a leading real estate advisory firm.
Kirsch spoke on current market and demographic shifts with Baby Boomers and their direct effect on metro Atlanta and the rest of Georgia. The aging of the Baby Boomers and their children, the generation known as the Millenials, are causing significant demographic shifts that will require a change in lifestyle for those living in and outside of the metro area.
These shifts have significantly impacted the already-constructed environment and experts are anticipating that alterations to the current design will be necessary in order to meets the demands of the aging Baby Boomers. New statistics show that the Boomers are looking to “live green” in all aspects of their lives in order to maintain and improve their health. Continuing in their elder’s footsteps, Generation Y rates walkability as a high priority in deciding where to live. These alterations will likely lead to a change in the future of the trends driving housing construction. Supporting this, Kirsch touched on the fact that “shifting lifestyle preferences call for less large-scale home designs, found in suburban locations, to more, smaller-sized units for 1-2 persons.”
Panelists Michael A. Notartomaso, President of The Hilton Head Group and Dr. Ellen Dunham-Jones, Program Director for the Georgia Tech College of Architecture followed Kirsch, elaborating on her points from the perspective of their respective fields.
Notartomaso is involved with the innovative Moore Station Village community located in Dublin, Ga and spoke on ways to attract buyers through location and amenities.
In addition to amenities located within the community, Notartomaso stated the importance of amenities located outside the community. “Community connectivity via walking to larger community assets like healthcare providers wellness centers and aging care facilities makes a great deal of sense, said Notartomaso.
He also touched on the importance of incorporating “life-stage adaptable designs” and smart technology infrastructure into new homes. The homes in Moore Station Village include both of these features, encouraging and allowing residents the ability to age in place, a big draw for the 50+ buyer.
Dr. Ellen Dunham-Jones, discussed infrastructure innovations and demographic drivers already evident in numerous redeveloped shopping malls, office parks, commercial strip malls and other suburban properties. Drawing information from her recently published book, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs, which she co-authored with June Williamson, Dr. Dunham-Jones relayed the fact that the future of community planning and development will revolve around retrofitting current urban and rural design to lessen consumers’ impact on the environment.
Dr. Dunham-Jones discussed innovative solutions to the dilemma posed by the current layout of most suburbs and the major metropolitan areas they surround. “Isolated, privately owned shopping malls and aging office parks surrounded by asphalt are being torn down and replaced with multi-block, mixed use town centers, many with public squares and greens,” she stated. Dr. Dunham-Jones followed up by adding that many suburban areas around the country are evolving into much more urban and urbane areas.
Following the panel discussion, attendees attended an optional lunch that concluded the half-day seminar.
The Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association’s Atlanta 50+ Housing Council is comprised of housing professionals specializing in the needs of the fast-growing 50+ population and serves as the leading source of research and information concerning the latest trends in the housing market for the 50+ consumer. For more information, visit www.atlantahomebuilders.com/councils/atlanta50main.cfm.