"Is it really possible that the new American Dream will no longer come with a house and two cars?" architect Blaine Weber asks in an opinion piece in the Daily Journal of Commerce, a Seattle area business newspaper.
Yes, it is, says Weber, a founding partner of Weber Thompson, a Seattle-based design firm specializing in housing, hospitality, commercial, and retail. "The more vital urban centers of the United States are about to experience cultural shifts that will shake the country like a 9.0 earthquake — in a good way."
What will the housing of the future look like, and where will people want to live? Most people, particularly our younger generations, will want to live in dense, walkable, 24-7 urban neighborhoods filled with apartments. ...
For a new generation that thrives around flexibility and mobility, a house is perceived to be an economic trap, preventing people from the freedom to move to new opportunities. ...
Generation Y is comprised of 85 million people in their late teens to early 30s. The Great Recession and almost cataclysmic melt-down of the housing industry had a significant impact on how Generation Y perceives the idea of homeownership, and they are asking “why”? ...
There is a move to simplify life, to free up space, budget and time. People are seeking a new way to live that is less stressful, and for many, that means owning less “big stuff” like houses and cars. Gen Y is watching suburban life choke itself to death with congested traffic and tortuous commutes. They are looking for a new lifestyle, where the action is.
He presents Colman Tower, a downtown Seattle project that his firm designed for John Goodman and Fred Grimm of the development firm GRE, as having characteristics that will appeal to young people. He says:
Colman Tower has units that are smaller but are designed to live large — with floor-to-ceiling glass and industrial-chic loft finishes such as exposed concrete ceilings, wood floors and stone counters. The parking ratio is low, but electric Zip Cars will be provided for renters who want to drive occasionally without the expense of owning a gas hog.
There are no private decks in the project, but the entire rooftop is devoted to a garden terrace with views of the bay, and a veritable play land which will be open 24-7 to residents. Amenities include a game room, business center, X-Box room, fitness center, yoga room, and a wrap-around garden terrace with private dining, barbecues, a soaking pool/water feature, the requisite doggie play area/piddle patch, and a lounge (where dog owners can relax while their puppies play).
Turner Construction is on target to deliver this project to its first batch of Gen Y’s in May of 2013.