Urban-studies theorist Richard Florida has a few ideas about what this economic downturn could mean and is exploring them in an eight-part video series about the future of American cities on The Atlantic website. Florida's views mirror the ideas in his new book, The Great Reset. (The theorist's articles and videos are a small portion of the Atlantic's mini-site called The Future of the City.)
He writes in Atlantic's "Path to Recovery":
Does this prediction sound like the renter lifestyle, or what? We sure think so.We're still very early on in the current economic Reset, so it's difficult to fully grasp how it will ultimately play out. But we can all sense that our way of life is changing and our economic landscape is too. This emerging new way of life will be less oriented around cars, houses, and suburbs. [emphasis added]
Specifically, dear renters, Florida adds:
Renters, obviously, are all over this trend.Owning your own home made sense when people could hope to hold a job for most or all of their lives. But in an economy that revolves around mobility and flexibility, a house that can't be sold becomes an economic trap, preventing people from moving freely to economic opportunity.
Remember how we said there were more than a few reasons why young people view home ownership differently than their elders? Or, even, how it can actually be cheaper to live in the city, too, because cheaper rents are linked to greater commuting costs. Or that, yes, some people who could afford to buy but choose to rent instead.
Here are some of the predictions Rented Spaces has been making about the future of the rental lifestyle. Similarly to Florida, we predict:
- Fewer cars owned and more cars shared.
- A return to living in downtown cores to avoid commutes.
- An escalating premium paid for locations with high walkability, particularly ample food accessibility.
- A departure from the suburbs for healthier neighborhoods.
In short, we predict that our lifestyle choices will differ in many ways from what our parents and grandparents considered the American Dream or "good living" (i.e, the suburbs and two cars). Walkable, urban life and renting are the future.