3. Urbanization, meh
For years, an unwavering certitude of industry, think tanks, demographers, policy-makers and city planners everywhere has been that humanity, led by millennials, is moving to the city: We just needed to figure out how to house, employ and feed everyone in a condensed space.
Yes, but: As more and more millennials marry and have children, that presumption is coming under scrutiny.
What's happening: The forecast of global massive urbanization was important since it suggested that vast swaths of countryside would empty out, and we would adopt entirely new lifestyles.
- But, in a mea culpa at Brookings, William Frey, a demographer and believer in the trend, said that, based on new census data, he has changed his mind. He still thinks that cities will attract "young people — especially well-off, affluent millennials and post-millennials."
- "But this won't be most cities," he tells Axios. "And, for this younger generation, what I see is more clustered developments within the suburbs, and smaller metros, greater reliance on public transportation and perhaps ride-hailing and self-driving cars."
What happened: Frey said it might be "just a 'return to normal' of the suburbanization we saw prior to the Great Recession." But Karen Harris, managing director at Bain Macro Trends, tells Axios that, for one thing, it's probably time for millennials — given their stage in life — to start moving out to the 'burbs with their kids.
- Harris also says that very few experts took note of the changed economics of distance.
Read the whole post.