Californians ponder how to remake aging suburbs
Bay Area communities look at how to shift from the industrial era to an atmosphere that appeals to “millennials.”
Future urban planning should focus on altering industrial zones and business parks — turning them into workplaces attractive and lively enough to appeal to the rising tide of workers born in the 1980s and early 1990s.
That was the message delivered by Greg Tung of the San Francisco urban design firm Freedman Tung + Sasaki and Rod Stevens of Spinnaker Strategies business consultants in a seminar on “Re-working Suburbia” Sept. 14 in San Leandro, California.
Stevens, based on Bainbridge Island, Washington, sees many of the suburbs that developed over the past several decades — particularly suburbs that have had manufacturing as a principal employer — as threatened by current economic trends. “The Third World is now doing to the US what suburbs did to cities over the last 50 years” — taking many of their routine, repetitive jobs, Stevens told New Urban Network.
Many suburbs used to compete on the basis of being a relatively cheap places for employers to set up operations, Stevens said. Now, with intense global competition, the economic foundations of suburbs like San Leandro, an 83,000-person municipality