New urbanism should be part of a new ‘grand strategy’ for US

New urbanism should be part of a new ‘grand strategy’ for US

Patrick Doherty, director of the Smart Strategy Initiative at the New America Foundation explains in a Foreign Policy Magazine article that our country’s economic engine is “misaligned to the threats and opportunities of the 21st century,” arguing that many of our current policies outlived their usefulness after the Cold War. Transforming our housing and transportation policies are one piece of Doherty’s “grand strategy” for our country. The author goes on to explain:

“American tastes have changed from the splendid isolation of the suburbs to what advocates are calling the “five-minute lifestyle” — work, school, transit, doctors, dining, playgrounds, entertainment all within a five-minute walk of the front door. From 2014 to 2029, baby boomers and their children, the millennial generation, will converge in the housing marketplace — seeking smaller homes in walkable, service-rich, transit-oriented communities. Already, 56 percent of Americans seek this lifestyle in their next housing purchase. That’s roughly three times the demand for such housing after World War II.”

“The motivations are common across the country. Boomers are downsizing and working longer, and they fear losing their keys in the car-dependent suburbs. Millennials were raised in the isolated suburbs of the 1980s and 1990s, and 77 percent never want to go back. Prices have already flipped, with exurban property values dropping while those in walkable neighborhoods are spiking. Yet legacy federal policies — from transportation funding to housing subsidies — remain geared toward the Cold War imperative of population dispersion and exploitation of the housing shortage, and they are stifling that demand.”

Read Doherty’s entire article in Foreign Policy Magazine here, and learn more about his grand strategy here. You can also check out Better! Cities & Towns’ piece on Doherty’s article here.

Amy Donin


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