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Generational divide factor in economic development
Sep 01, 2013 | 903 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BOUNTIFUL’S MAIN STREET, above. Commercial areas such as this accomodate members of Generation Y who walk and Boomers who prefer to drive. 
Photo by Tom Busselberg | Davis Clipper
BOUNTIFUL’S MAIN STREET, above. Commercial areas such as this accomodate members of Generation Y who walk and Boomers who prefer to drive. Photo by Tom Busselberg | Davis Clipper
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BY TOM BUSSELBERG

Associate Editor

BOUNTIFUL — More than half of the population falls within the combined  Generation Y and Baby Boomer categories, and that means future housing, transportation, parks and more should reflect the needs and desires of those groups, said Ted Knowlton, deputy director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council.

Generation Y includes the early 30s group, while Baby Boomers are those born after World War II until about 1964. The two groups combined make up about 54 percent of the population, Knowlton told the Davis Chamber of Commerce last week.

 Many Baby Boomers have retired or are approaching that phase in life, he said. They often downsize, going from large, multi-story family homes to one-level condominiums or a smaller town houses.

“About 60 percent of the new housing demand is driven by senior growth,” the North Salt Lake resident said.

Meanwhile, only 75 percent of Generation Y drive, per capita, meaning many rely on public transportation, bicycles or walking, Knowlton said.

In Utah, people from that generation often want to live in downtown areas, but they also like living in suburban areas and want them to be “more lively,” he said.

 Those changing demographics must be considered as a longer-term view is taken, even to 2030 and beyond to 2040, Knowlton said.

Population along the Wasatch Front is projected to jump by 65 percent during that time, he said.

Beth Holbrook, a Bountiful mayoral candidate combines real estate experience with planning commission and city council experience, and said builders have changed how they do things.

“Now when you look at housing design it encompasses elevators for three-story developments — so different than 10 years ago,” she said. “They’re using a more pro-active approach.”

Davis County’s growth is constrained by mountains and the Great Salt Lake, Knowlton said. That means more new construction is taking place in between existing structures rather than open land.

Examples of that in Davis County include Bountiful, Clearfield and Layton downtown areas.

Transportation costs must be factored into new development, Knowlton said, and energy sources should also be considered.

An increasing number of higher-density housing options are likely, he said, but are often strongly opposed by neighbors and discouraged by current zoning.

Designs that include trees and landscaping on public-facing parts of multi-family buildings could make such projects more acceptable to neighbors and city officials, he said.

Nationally, single-family housing held steady while multifamily production followed a 28.2 percent leap with a drop of 26.2 percent, the National Association of Home Builders was reported as saying in ForConstruction Pros.com.

The chamber held its meeting at The Wight House Reception Center.

editor@utahislander.com
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