Home Social Issues Generation Y Hates Loudoun County

Generation Y Hates Loudoun County


drive-by sprawlAt last week’s National Association of Home Builders conference, panelists presented research showing the Millenials despise McMansions:

A key finding: They want to walk everywhere. Surveys show that 13% carpool to work, while 7% walk, said Melina Duggal, a principal with Orlando-based real estate adviser RCLCO. A whopping 88% want to be in an urban setting, but since cities themselves can be so expensive, places with shopping, dining and transit such as Bethesda and Arlington in the Washington suburbs will do just fine.

“One-third are willing to pay for the ability to walk,” Ms. Duggal said. “They don’t want to be in a cookie-cutter type of development. …The suburbs will need to evolve to be attractive to Gen Y.”

Outdoor space is important-but please, just a place to put the grill and have some friends over. Lawn-mowing not desired.

Makes you wonder. Who’s going to live in all those McMansions when the baby boomers no longer need or want them? Will those areas redevelop sustainably? Become a new kind of outer suburban blight? Or revert to forest, The World Without Us-style?

Update 1/20: A follow-up on what Generation Y’s love of Arlington means for some of Arlington’s traditionally-quieter neighborhoods.

  • With all the maintenance, expense, and time (and pollution) that go into it, you’d think it actually was useful for something, like growing food or shading your house or providing beauty or wildlife habitat or whatever. But nooooooo.  As someone who spent countless hours mowing my parents’ lawn as a kid in Connecticut, I cannot for the life of me understand why the model of a detached home with a 1/3 or 1/4 acre lawn in a place where you have to drive everywhere is desirable in any way, shape or form. Also, if you really want that lifestyle, you should pay all the “externalities” that it entails. The fact is, high density/smart growth is by far more efficient, far more sustainable, far healthier, and far less stressful than the exurban/sprawl model.  I’m glad to hear that Gen Y “gets it.”

  • blue bronc

    This is a highly edited and condensed version of something I wrote earlier and deleted.

    A long time ago, back when we were leaving our hide covered pole tents, I took a few urban planning courses.  One of the concepts in urban planning is how population centers move away to rural, return to urban, out to rural in a cycle.  The old neighborhood grows, than is stable, ages and declines.  The reasons are manifold, but it is a constant throughout much of western civilizations, I did not study Asian urban planning.  

    The article is just pointing out the gentrification that has been occurring in cities for the last fifteen or so years.  Most likely the next generation will have had it’s fill of listening to the couple in the next apartment over banging away all night on their drums and look at a McMansion with thoughts of all the wide open space and painting the living room a shade of orange that has not been seen since the 60’s, the 1960’s.  The price will be right.  The promise of light rail will be touted and their children will go to “good” schools.

  • fuzed
  • Paradox13VA

    With all due respect. Bashing us here in Loudoun County, where the President held one of his critical events at the end of the 2008 campaign, and where Warner, Kaine and Webb all found the margin of their statewide victories, isn’t going to help the Democrats win any elections.

    I live in Loudoun County. And while I’m smack dab between Gen X and Gen Y (as they’re traditionally calculated) my wife is most definitely Gen Y. And we love it here, as to many of our Gen Y friends. We live in the Town of Leesburg, where I have a townhouse with a respectable but small lawn, and I can WALK to my bank, food store and local brew pub. Heck, when my car needs work, I drop it off at the dealer in town and WALK HOME.

    Similarly, my wife works 1.5 miles from our house. In the summer she will bike to work. My neighbors walk to their local schools, from elementary to high school. Our Gen Y friends work at AOL and Verizon, commutes of 15 miles or less and businesses that do not HAVE options for mass transit access.

    Sure there are parts of Loudoun where walking doesn’t work, but to say “Gen Y” hates Loudoun is as facile as saying “Democrats hate Virginia” because the R’s won in 2010. It’s little more than attention-grabbing sensationalism.

    So for those living in Arlington, the preponderance of Virginia bloggers, please walk back your criticism of other localities. I respect critiques of growth policies, Democrats here in Loudoun RUN ON managing growth better than developer-beholden Republicans, but criticizing and entire county, itself, in the title of a post is quite frankly petty and beneath the level of analysis I expect of Blue Virginia.

  • I don’t live in a McMansion, and I don’t have a lawn — I have a wooded lot that must be good for wildlife because we have everything from wild turkeys to deer running through my (very) suburban neighborhood.

    But I’m old enough now to wait and see if this holds.  Most of my GenX peers felt the same way when we were 30.  I didn’t buy my first house until 30, and bought it in an inner ring suburb of Cleveland that was a lot like Arlington.  Two years after that, we were living in an townhome in urber-exurb of Gainesville.  Life sort of happens and you make the most of it as you can.

    Now at 40, the way my generation lives (at least those that I keep tabs of) is pretty spread out.  Some are in cities, some are in exurbs, some are in rural areas, but well, most are in suburbs.

    Maybe GenY will be different, but I’m not putting any money on it!

  • leftspace13

    and now a word from loudoun native patton oswalt…