Shifting Demands: Trends in Land and Living‏

Shifting Demands: Trends in Land and Living
Featuring Anthony Flint, author of the book This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America, the first forum focused on land use and America’s insatiable appetite for eating up land.

Flint suggested that the fundamental question is how we desire to arrange ourselves on the land and in general, over the last 25 years the desire has been to create un-tethered communities that have no connection to urban centers. Flint calls this phenomenon “Ex-urban Sprawl.” He added that one reason for this trend is that people move further away from the urban core because the housing tends to be more affordable, leading people to “drive to qualify.”

He also pointed to the pattern of separated use as a major reason for increased land consumption. Over the last three decades, most development has separated living, working and shopping in different locations. Since 1982, 25 million acres of rural land has been converted to development in the United States with the nation adding 43,000 new shopping centers.

Flint did provide some hope for the future as he said there is a “perfect storm for change” revolving around three factors: Environment, Economics and Equitability. He said that factors including global warming, shifts in consumer demographics and the high cost for infrastructure will help reduce the appetite for developing land.

In the future, he expects significant recycling of land through redevelopment. He pointed to Baldwin Park as an example of land reuse and said that redeveloping old airfields, military facilities, industrial sites and shopping centers will continue to be a popular trend.

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